Hope this finds you ready for Christmas and in position to enjoy the weekend rather than fighting the holiday crowds. We had too many questions this week, and that's a good thing. So a couple of good ideas will be top five lists next week when the 5-at-10 is on vacation.
If you took the 5-at-10's entertainment advise on the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl — BYU minus-3 and under the 48 — you have a little extra Christmas entertainment at your disposal. (We're now 4-1 in the bowls against the spread and like Ball State catching the 7.5 tonight. Enjoy)
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's turn this mother out.
From CelticVol —
On Monday, we got word that Justin Hunter was turning pro and Ja’Wuan James was returning for his senior season. Getting James back next year is huge for the Vols and for whoever the quarterback will be. I think that it’s a foregone conclusion that Cordarelle Patterson will go pro which will leave us with one more decision to be made by a Vol. Tyler Bray’s decision. This guy has top 1st round talent and a 6th round brain. If Bray does decide to come out, how high does he get drafted and do you think the weakness of this crop of quarterbacks plays into his decision? If he stays, do you take it to mean that he’s finally growing up and wants to mature a little before taking his talents to the NFL?
Getting James back was huge.
Reports Thursday have Bray already declaring. we have not confirmed those reports as of now, but we all believe that to be the decision in the end.
We also believe Cordarrelle Patterson will declare sooner rather than latter, and that will be that on the one year brilliance of Cordarrelle in Knoxville, which left us with the following thoughts:
— Was Dooley's biggest failing — and that's saying something — not finding a way to get CP 15-plus touches a game?
— We believe there's a real chance CP will have as good an NFL career as any UT receiver since Stanley Morgan
— And why in the world did we not think of CP's CP earlier — as we discussed earlier this week, we're a big fan of Cordarrelle Patterson's cornrow prophylactic, or CP's CP.
As for Bray, well, that's the million-dollar question that some GM will either make his career or end his career on.
Bray has an upside comparable to a Jim Kelly or Drew Bledsoe and the down side bust possibilities of the likes of a Kyle Boller or David Carr.
We believe Bray will test exceptionally well. He can make all the throws, including the 20-yard, across-the-field out that scouts love. He's going to show off a pretty good football IQ.
But the problems with maturity set off one warning sign and the mega-hole on his resume that his biggest win as a starter was an OT victory over Vandy will be noticed.
We think the weakness of this year's QB crop will push Bray into no worse than the third round. We think the changeover on the staff and his top four receivers not returning were the biggest reasons Bray bolted. (And that's not a shot at Butch Jones, but if you were Bray would you want to learn your third offense in four years, especially since this one would a be spread-hybrid that plays away from your strengths?)
As for where Bray ultimately gets picked, well, that's impossible to know and beyond impossible until the testing and the order and the scene is set. As you said, he's got first-round skills, whether that means first-round picks is hard to know.
As of right now, and we reserve the right to change our view, we'll say K.C. trades up to get him late in round 2.
From StuckinKent —
Three of the last four years, Josh Johnson has pitched 180+ innings. Taking out 2011, when Johnson was injured for most of the year, Johnson has started 92 games. Justin Verlander in that time has started 101 games. That means that Johnson has missed about nine starts during that stretch. That's six weeks off. Yes, he did have the one injury plagued year. But since his Tommy John surgery, he's been reasonably durable.
I owned Johnson on my fantasy baseball team. I loved him, but I did trade him away middle of last year. I thought I could get more in return for him than he was worth to me (I have a loaded pitching staff anyway). But for the Blue Jays? Johnson and Buerhle are the staff aces. Dickey just has to be a number three. They have a few young pitchers to fill in. Throw in Reyes, and the bats that they have up there. Whoa. The Blue Jays are probably not going to win the East, but they sure made a lot of noise this offseason. Hard to say that they didn't win this offseason.
The Blue Jays and Angels won the offseason in the American League. The Dodgers probably won the offseason in the National League. Who else do you think won this offseason?
You're preaching to the choir about Johnson. We think he's a monster, and not unlike football scouts who are fascinated with speed, we want pitchers that throw heat. Johnson brings it.
When a guy that nibbles corners and changes speeds — think Glavine-type — makes a mistake, it's a souvenir. When hard-throwers make a mistake it's 50-50 whether it even gets put into play.
As for winning the offseason, well, we might as well continue the Canada lovefest that has been this week and say the Blue Jays. When you can add three pitchers that would be Opening Day starters for roughly half of baseball, that's a pretty good start.
And you're right to mention the Angels, who added Josh Hamilton to the mix and have a lineup that will feature a 3-4-5 roster of rock stars of Trout-Pujols-Hamilton, and that's '27 Yankees-type of scary.
Like what the Dodgers have done in adding Zack Grienke, and if L.A. can stay healthy, it's hard to see a more talented team in baseball. Kershaw and Grienke is a dynamite 1-2 atop the rotation. The lineup could feature a top six of Carl Crawford, Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Either.
Hard to name another team that made that much of a splash, but here are the five moves we think will pay dividends:
1) Like Atlanta signing B.J. Upton. A lot actually. He's right-handed and at worst is going to be a 20-20 guy with an on-base percentage of .350-or better. If he gets a handle on his strikeouts, look out. (We would consider the Braves a big winner if they add one more outfielder — hello Nick Swisher.)
2) Nationals signing Dan Haren. Depth to an already deep rotation — and with the Braves parting ways with Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson — gives the Nats the best starting pitching 1-through-5 in baseball. Adding Denard Spann in the leadoff spot helps, too.
3) Phillies dealing for Michael Young and adding arms John Lannen and Mike Adams.
4) Cincy made a good team better by addressing its main need — adding Shin-Soo Choo to bat leadoff. The Reds are a well-built bunch, plsu adding Jonathan Bronxton as a potential closer and moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation could be huge.
5) We'll leave this open for the team that makes a late charge with some of the names still on the board. Guys like Swisher, Michael Bourn, Adam LaRoche, et al., that could turn a blah offseason into a Merry Christmas pretty quickly.
From Bucket Head
The 5-at-10 is pretty good and your even pretty fair and balanced for an Aubie. I'm sure your going to get into the Alabama-NDame game after Christmas, right?
What were the best moments in sports around Chattanooga this year?
Thanks and Roll Tide.
Thanks for the kind words. We think.
We will most definitely get into the BCS title game with both feet when we get into the New Year.
As for the 423, it was a great year in sports. Here's the scorecard of the year that was:
The overall sports story of the year — The implosion that was UT football this year turned heads, cost the university millions and made Grudemonia a word. It also led the Vols into the Butch Jones era and turned the heat up on Dave Hart's seat to ludicrous speed.
The high school sports story of the year — Ringgold baseball makes inspired run despite losing their best player — and one of the most decorated high school baseball players in this area ever — in Matthew Crownover. If Ridgeland had won, it would have cleared this one, but still
What storyline surprised you the most — Steven Fox was a great one. It was one of many. But we'll take Vic Grider stepping down as the biggest shocker.
What storyline did you nail — The Mocs basketball implosion. (Side note: Special tip of the hat to SportTalk's Dr. B — he is a doctor after all — for completely calling his shot with his summer-long praise of Cordarrelle Patterson, the UT receiver who transfered from a junior college and became one of the best wide receivers in the country. Kudos good sir.
Local sportsman of the year — Steven Fox wins this one in a walk. Wow, what a great run he had in claiming the U.S. Amateur golf title. And think of all the pub he'll bring to the 423 and UTC when he's playing at the Masters, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
Local high school sportsman of the year — Mark Mariakis, Ridgeland football coach, who managed an airplane hangar of distractions and guided the Panthers to the state title game in the Dome.
Thanks for the 5-at-10 and thanks for getting on Twitter, although you should use it more.
I loved last week's Christmas movie bracket and playoff, and you are so right that Bill Rafftery would have loved Bruce Willis' onions.
What are your favorite Christmas songs?
Thanks for the kind words and we're trying to get more active on the Twitter, but sometimes it can be tough. And glad you enjoyed the movie rankings last week. Speaking of movies, you guys know that we're 364 days from this morning until the release of Anchorman 2? We're pretty stoked.
(Side note: Back in the day we did sequels that we wanted to see and two of the movies on our list were Red Dawn and Anchorman, and now those dreams are realities. Know what we'd like to see now: Sequels from Coming to America and Dodgeball, but each with a twist. The main characters in Coming to America II: The Midas Touch would be the guys in the barbershop and the storyline for Dodgeball II: Pepper Needs New Shorts would be on the announcing team of Cotton McKnight and Pepper Brooks on ESPN 8: The Ocho.)
Anywho, on to the Christmas songs. Here are the seeds:
1) White Christmas (Bing Crosby)
2) Little Drummer Boy
3) The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)
4) I'll Be Home for Christmas
5) Oh Holy Night
6) Blue Christmas (Elvis — or occasionally Porky Pig)
7) Santa Clause is Coming to Town (Springsteen)
8) Adeste Fideles
9) Christmas Bells
10) Ave Maria
11) All I want for Christmas (Mariah Carey)
12) Christmas in Hollis (Run DMC)
13) Christmas in Dixie (Alabama)
14) Little Saint Nick (Beach Boys)
15) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
16) Please Come Home for Christmas (Charlie Brown song)
We'll play the bracket out after lunch — but feel free to make a case.
From My Oh Mayans
Since the world ends Friday, it won't matter whether you use my email or not.
First, I love the 5-at-10. Great way to kill 30 minutes. Second, well, I forgot, but if I remember I will email it to you. Does that happen to you?
OK, my real question since, if the Mayans are right and the world ends sometime Friday, what is sports are you going to miss most?
Thanks, and you do talk too much.
First off great nickname. Second, heck yeah that happens to us. All the time. Take today for example: We knew it was a mailbag, but we meant to include the awesome news that Rodney Garner is going to Auburn to get a prime seat on the Gus Bus.
Take Thursday's late theatrics after the news broke that former Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton was leading a secret life as a high-priced escort. Spy and Todd 962 — two of the regulars around these parts — started throwing out zingers, well, all we could think about was the cast that would fill out the Lifetime made-for-TV movie "Secret Favor" in about 18 months.
Favor Hamilton — Either Courtney Thorne Smith or Jennie Garth
Her husband — Scott Bakula
The john she falls for — John Stamos
Her daughter — One of the Olsen twins (yes, they're like 15 years too old, but so what, we've got a lifetime movie, we need an Olsen twin for crying out loud)
Her good-hearted, strung-out hooker friend — Duh, Lindsay Lohen
This could flippin' work.
What was your question? Oh yeah, what would a miss about sports? Wow, that's some kind of home run question for a newcomer. Well-played indeed.
OK, since we're already exceeding the band width for most small cities, let's make this a quick top-five:
1) Friday nights in the fall
2) Saturday mornings in the fall — the excitement of gameday, whether you're on your way to the tailgate, to cover a game or prepping for a big day on the couch.
3) The April weekend in Augusta — truly a tradition unlike any other.
4) Opening Day in every sport, where the season starts anew, especially the first weekend of the NCAA tournament when everyone crowds around the computer/TV to watch their sheets take off or crash and burn.
5) And last and certainly not least — the draft. We love the draft. You know this.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...