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Tuesday Top Five: From the playing field to the TV screen

So Brian Boitano has a new show on the Food Network, with a title taken from a South Park gag. Go figure. At this point, anything is possible when it comes to television, although this is really stretching the boundaries.

(Whatever happened to Brian Orser anyway?)

The sports-entertainment TV crossover is nothing new (look no further than Emmitt Smith on Dancing with the Stars, although that’s hardly the start or end of it) but when an Olympic champion figure skater becomes a celebrity chef, we’re clearly on the cusp of either a societal tipping point or the apocalypse.

Assuming it’s the former, here are five new pitches for realitainment shows starring athletes, Tuesday’s Top Five.

Tuesday Top Five: ACC media poll upsets

Over the past 33 years, the ACC media has correctly predicted the football champion 21 times. That's not a bad record, even if you take into account that Florida State was an obvious pick 11 years in a row and won the title in 10 of those.

Still, the media isn't always right (Really! It's true!) and among the surprises have been some real shockers, Tuesday's Top Five.

Tuesday Top Five: Oldest major winners

We were all reminded during Tom Watson’s narrow, heartbreaking loss at the British Open that the oldest player to win a major in the modern era was Julius Boros, who won the 1968 PGA Championship at 48.

For many of us, that’s not nearly as resonant as Jack Nicklaus’ surprising resurgence at the 1986 Masters, with the big putter and floppy hair (even by Nicklaus standards) and plaid pants.

Watson, at 59, would have blown anyone else away. Here’s the five oldest to win a major since World War II, duly annotated as Tuesday’s Top Five:

Tuesday Top Five: The all-star All-Star Games

There was a time, before national television and interleague play, when baseball’s All-Star Game was the highlight of the summer, the next best thing to the playoffs.

That time has passed, of course, with the idea of giving home-field advantage to the winning league offering little additional incentive and the possibility of extra innings putting unnecessary wear on some of the game’s best pitchers.

Now, there’s an easy solution to fix that problem: draft the bullpen from the last-place team in each league and name nine pitchers to each roster. Each All-Star pitches an inning, and in the case of injury or extra innings, the relief bullpen takes over.

Managers would be confident their aces would only get a little extra work, while the last-place bullpen would get a few days at the All-Star Game to hang out. And Bud Selig wouldn’t have to make any embarrassing on-the-fly decisions.

In any case, baseball’s All-Star Game is no longer the best in professional sports. Where does it rank among the five major professional sports, with MLS joining the four obvious ones? That’s Tuesday’s Top Five.

Tuesday Top Five: Waving the flag

The Fourth of July weekend is still fresh in the rear-view mirror, which prompts an occasion of patriotic pondering: Over the last year, which of the U.S. national teams has experienced the most success?

Mostly, we’re talking about the Summer Olympics in Beijing, but there were significant accomplishments in winter sports and soccer (the U.S. men’s second-place finish at the Confederations Cup, its first-ever FIFA final, last month) since then.

Obviously, the gold medal won by Mike Krzyzewski’s Redeem Team was the most notable, but was it the most impressive? An attempt at such a reckoning is this week’s Tuesday Top Five.

Tuesday Top Five: Hurricanes draft picks

It will be four or five years before we know how the Carolina Hurricanes did in the draft last weekend, although they deserve credit for breaking new ground, by their standards, in terms of location (their first-round pick was from Quebec and three out of six picks were Europeans) and philosophy (all six were 6 feet or taller).

Whether first-round pick Philippe Paradis will be regarded as a steal or a bust is yet to be determined, but the record is already clear on many of the Hurricanes’ past drafts, at least those from 2005 and earlier.

We all know the misses — Igor Knyazev, Jeff Heerema, Nikos Tselios — but among the hits, here are the Canes’ five best draft picks since the team moved to North Carolina, not necessarily in overall talent, but in terms of how well they did with the pick.

Eric Staal, for example, was a relative no-brainer at No. 2 in 2003, but Cam Ward was not late in the first round a year earlier, which is why they bookend Tuesday’s Top Five:

Tuesday Top Five: Unlikely Open champs

By making the U.S. Open his second PGA Tour win — and first since 2005 — Lucas Glover becomes the latest Open champion who isn’t exactly a frequent winner.

In the 108 previous years of the Open, there have been three champions for whom the Open was their only tour win. Ricky Barnes, who went into Monday with the lead, almost became the fourth.

At 29, Glover has time to add to his record, but for now he risks joining them on the list of the most unlikely Open winners, Tuesday’s Top Five:

Tuesday's Top Five: See you next week

This is Week No. 2 of a two-week hiatus for Tuesday's Top Five.

Check back next week for what could be the first post of the Official Triangle Sports Summer, which begins the moment the last surviving local college baseball team's season ends (or the Hurricanes are eliminated from the playoffs, whichever comes last), except in summers when the Sandhills host a major golf tournament, which does not apply this year, and ends when the college football teams report for fall practice.

Tuesday Top Five: Belmont hopefuls

Jockey Calvin Borel has a chance at the Triple Crown this summer, even if no horse does. He rode Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby, than jumped to filly Rachel Alexandra and won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. (Mine That Bird was a fast-closing second.)

There’s no guarantee Rachel Alexandra will run in the Belmont Stakes on June 6, and even if she does, the 1 1/2-mile distance will be an even tougher test than the Preakness.

But with top 3-year-olds like Quality Road and I Want Revenge still expected to be out and Derby favorites Friesan Fire and Pioneerof The Nile skipping the Belmont, she’s the favorite for the Belmont right now if she runs it — and sitting atop Tuesday’s Top Five:

Tuesday Top Five: Drugs yes, common sense no

When Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez and NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield both failed drug tests and were suspended last week — Ramirez for 50 games, Mayfield indefinitely — sports fans everywhere shared the same question.

What were they thinking?

“Manny being Manny” doesn’t begin to excuse missing a third of the season because he was taking a female fertility drug, and the idea of a stock-car driver being anything but sober behind the wheel is beyond frightening.

Both rank among the dumbest drug suspensions, earning a place in Tuesday’s Top Five:

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