Weekend Report: Barbecue Makeover, Big East, Big Bluff

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Best line of the week: "It was a bluff they hoped would be called," by Jackson Baker, on the annexation moves and counter-moves by Sen. Mark Norris and the Memphis City Council.

A picture worth a thousand words: Memphis Tigers in Times Square, as noted by my colleague Frank Murtaugh, who got this comment from Big East associate commissioner John Paquette on how it happened: "This is a terrific benefit of a deal we have with American Eagle Outfitters. The sign is at their Times Square store. AEG is the presenting sponsor of our men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. They also sponsor our academic awards. We also are able to use it for acknowledging conference champions after we conduct one of our championships. We welcomed our other new members in a similar way."

The Food Network is coming to Memphis next week to Pollards Bar-B-Q in Whitehaven. Robert Irvine, the muscular take-charge host of "Restaurant: Impossible" will bring in his crew to do a makeover of the restaurant at 4560 Elvis Presley Boulevard, about a mile south of Graceland. The gimmick is that the crew spends $10,000 on design and Irvine whips the staff into shape. I had lunch there Friday with Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins, who represents Whitehaven. "No worse than an 8" on a scale of 1 to 10, was our evaluation of the food and the premises. Our sandwiches were so so big we had to eat them with a fork, the meat was lean, the fries crisp, the beans not bad, the vinyl booths clean. There were only a couple of other customers, however, and the orange/mustard colored cinder block interior decor needs work, but this one looks like a lay down for Irvine and company. Tenesia Pollard, who was at the counter, said the show contacted her two days after she contacted them. Filming is next week, with the show scheduled to air in May.

It's always something at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. With the Big East news came the predictable cry for public funds to fix the turf, press box (cry me a river), big-screen, and they'll think of something else. If there was ever a case for user fees, this is it. College football is a big-bucks goldmine, even for lower tier bowls, as I have reported. Let them pay to play. And put on a ticket surcharge. Attendance can't get much worse than it has been for the last two or three years, so there is huge upside when Memphis joins the Big East and upgrades its schedule in 2013. As for the media, give 'em a Pollards barbecue sandwich and a free beer. Works for me.

The Racquet Club is installing the Hawk-Eye System for the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships February 17-26. The system lets players challenge calls and fans see how close the ball was to the line. Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs said it will be used on all main-draw matches on the Stadium Court.

Attorney Webb Brewer said the mortgage settlement between 49 states and big lenders does not put an end to the city of Memphis lawsuit against Wells Fargo. tn incl. "It is not identical to the issues in our lawsuit," he said. "Ours had more to do with the making of the loans and discrimination targeting minorities for bad loans, which resulted in foreclosures." The federal lawsuit, he said, survived a motion to dismiss and is in the discovery phase.

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