Before we get started, a quick note about third-person references. Thursday, the 5-at-10 was asked/called out about using 5-at-10 in an article that was by the 5-at-10. First, the 5-at-10 is a huge fan of third-person references. Second, this is the InterTubes and not the daily newspaper, so we try to broaden our approach a touch. And finally, it's a shoutout to one of our favorite people in sports and one of her best quotes. (Background: When the UT men's basketball team was looking for a coach before they decided on Buzz Peterson more than a decade ago, there was growing support for Pat Summitt to get an interview. The AP story asking Pat about this possibility had this golden quote in it: “Pat Summitt has the job Pat Summitt wants,” Pat Summitt said. — Now that's some third-person referencing right there. Well done, Coach, well done.)
Here we go...
The Super Bowl is here
Quick shoutouts to NFL analysts Peter King and Mike Golic, each of whom picked the Steelers and Packers to meet in this Super Bowl.
That said, this game has the potential to be better than anyone could have foreseen.
If the Packers can manage at least a threat of the running game, they win.
If the Steelers can keep Ben Roethlisberger upright for most of the game against those exotic Green Bay blitz packages, they win.
The truth of course is somewhere in the middle, and the 5-at-10’s pick is at the bottom. Remember, we’re 9-5 in the postseason after sweeping the conference championship games two weeks ago.
Which quarterback has the most to win
Ben Roethlisberger punches his ticket to Canton with a win Sunday. Seriously, there’s no way a three-time Super Bowl champ quarterback is not a Hall of Famer.
Aaron Rodgers moves into the club with a win Sunday. You know, THE Club, the football inner circle of Super Bowl winning QBs, it’s like Masters champs and Kentucky Derby winning owners, it means more inside the ropes than those of us outside the ropes could ever know.
While it’s difficult to say which has more on the line personally — seriously, that’s a lot to chew on for either of those cats — look for Rodgers to be wild early before settling down. If Steelers fans have any reason to be wary about Big Ben, it’s his penchant to try to extend plays, and against a Packers defense that will blitz from every angle, every aisle and every possible position, that can be difficult.
The bets are outstanding
It’s the Super Bowl, and you can bet on anything. ANYTHING.
Want to bet on which player scores first? How about the MVP? Done.
Want to bet whether the Packers will score more points than Kobe Bryant on Sunday? Booked.
Want to bet which will happen first — Ben Roethlisberger throwing a TD or an interception? You’re down.
And that’s not even counting the over-unders (those are predetermined numbers that bettors can say the total will either be “over” that number or “under” it).
How about these for some over/unders:
— Yards on Rashard Mendenhall’s first carry is over/under 3.5;
— Total rushing and receiving yards for Steelers reserve Mewelde Moore is over/under 14.5;
— Total Aaron Rodgers completions is over/under 23;
— Total tackles for Clay Matthews is over/under 4.5;
— And ultimately, the over/under on the length of Christina Aguilera’s national anthem 1:53.
(Side note: The 5-at-10 would go over on all of these, especially the anthem. With all apologies to the 5-at-10 Clan, the kids’ college funds may be hanging in the balance Sunday. Hold that note, Christina. You go girl, show 'em what you got.)
The gift that keeps on Kiffin
The InterTubes have been all a buzz about the NCAA handing down punishment to the University of Tennessee and former coach Lane Kiffin, who left 13 months ago for USC after 13 tumultuous months on the job with the Vols.
The basis of these stories are non-named sources saying the NCAA will tag Kiffin with a “failure to monitor” label — that’s F2M in Twitter-speak, mind you. During his secondary-violation filled stint in Knoxville, pointing out that Kiffin failed to monitor is like saying the 5-at-10 likes to refer to the 5-at-10 as the 5-at-10. It’s kind of common knowledge.
There will be penalties coming, rest assured. The recent history of coaches that have been tagged with the “F2M” label has been less than pretty, including Kelvin Sampson, the former Indiana basketball coach who has been exiled after his F2M troubles.
Remember when the 5-at-10 said Jeff Fisher should retire, wait a year and then go take over for Kiff at USC? Doesn’t seem so far-fetched any more, huh?
College hoops update
There are at least a dozen games of interest this weekend, but here’s the meaning behind three big ones this weekend with local interest:
— Auburn at Georgia (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.): Here comes the Bulldogs’ litmus test — if you can’t beat Auburn, you don’t belong in the tournament; it’s really that simple. That said, UGA is 15-6 with a testy next four games (vs. Xavier, at South Carolina, vs. Vandy and at Tennessee). Winning is expected, playing well may be equally as important against Auburn.
— Alabama at Tennessee (Saturday at 5 p.m.): The Vols have settled into a nice spot. They are not as good as the team that beat Pitt and Villanova, not as bad as the team that lost to Charlotte. Plus, as Tobias Harris evolves, UT gets better and better. For Alabama, this could be a road win of note and maybe give an SEC West team an inside track toward a tournament spot (something that seemed unlikely a week or so ago).
— UTC at Davidson (Saturday, 7 p.m.): This does not matter in the tournament-selection process because of the one-bid stature of the SoCon. Still, this would be a nice, Nice, NICE road win for the Mocs, who have been super tough at home and super schizophrenic on the road.
Until Monday when we breakdown the Steelers’ 34-30 win. Yes that’s the Steelers and the over.
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 ...