published Monday, November 7th, 2011

5 at 10: Bama/LSU, Penn State scandal, and possible Game of the Century rematch?

LSU head coach Les Miles celebrates with his team after the second half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. LSU won 9-6. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
LSU head coach Les Miles celebrates with his team after the second half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. LSU won 9-6. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Wow, what a weekend. A good time was had by all. That said, for parents of young tots who may or may not be allergic to a full night's sleep, the clock-falls-back day is hugely underrated. It's one of the 10 best days of the year to be honest. It's nowhere near Christmas, Thanksgiving Memorial Day or the 4th of July, but it dominates Flag Day and some of those other non-descript days that get a little more pub.

Glad we could discuss that. Now from the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...



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    LSU safety Eric Reid (1) intercepts the ball from Alabama tight end Michael Williams (89) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. LSU won 9-6 in overtime. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Monday morning college football quarterback — LSU-Alabama edition

Five things we learned from this year's "Game of the Century," or if you have been trapped under a rock that's under a rock for the last 10 months, LSU's 9-6 overtime win over Alabama on Saturday night.

1) The difference between the SEC and the rest of college football is well noted. Well, the difference between LSU and Alabama and the rest of the SEC and in turn the rest of college football is huge. Each of these teams averaged roughly 40 points per game before Saturday's slugfest, which did not include a TD and was as good as advertised defensively. There's something nostalgic and emotionally charged about a game where first downs feel like accomplishments, and that's one of the best ways to describe Saturday night. First downs felt like a big deal.

2) As good as the game was and as superior as these teams appear, there should not be a rematch in the national title game if there's another unbeaten team out there. And you can make a pretty strong argument that even if there's a one-loss Stanford, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State that wins its conference championship, one of those team should go over Alabama. The 5-at-10 thinks a team that can't win its conference title should get the chance to play for a national title. Plus, for all you playoff proponents out there, this was a national quarterfinal (it likely gets LSU into the SEC title game, which has been a national semifinal for the last five years), and how is it fair to LSU, which beat Alabama on the road no less, to have to beat them again in the bowl game.

3) LSU's staff is underrated. Les Miles was the best coach on the field Saturday night. John Chavis was the best coordinator. And this LSU staff has put together a team that can beat you in variety of ways. We have said from the beginning that Alabama's defense is the best we've seen in a long time, and we still believe that. But this stat is mind-boggling about the recovery speed and talent of the LSU secondary: On passes that travel 20 yards or more in the air, LSU has more interceptions (7) than completions allowed (5).

4) A very influential side piece to the game was Alabama's kicking woes. Fret not depressed Alabama fans, help is on the way in Calhoun's Adam Griffith, and our prep ace Stephen Hargis tells you about it here (Griffith excited to kick for Alabama).

5) We had great participation in people trying to pick the score. We had three people guess LSU by 3 — TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer, "The Show" host Chris Goforth, and Memphis Exile. Here's the debate: On the radio last Thursday, Goforth said it would be 9-6 LSU. So he nailed the exact score. Granted, that can't be held against Weeds or Memphis Exile because we did not require that. We're inclined to give Exile the prizes (tickets to the Mocs football finale, some TFP gear) since Chris and Weeds are for all intent and purposes, sports professionals. Anyone have a different view?



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    Stanford head football coach David Shaw leads his team on to the field for an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. Stanford beat Oregon State 38-13.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Monday morning college football quarterback — Rest of the on-the-field stuff

1) Stanford continues to roll along. The Cardinal thumped Oregon State and are now 14-0-1 in their last 15 games against the spread. That said, it was a less-than-good-week for the Fab 4 (plus 1), we went 3-3, hitting the under on Alabama-LSU, Stanford and Arkansas and missing UNC, Ole Miss and Alabama. There were a few other games we hit — USC, Houston, etc. — but we went with Alabama. So it goes and the Fab 4 is 31-17-1 against the spread.

2) Any win was a good win for the Tennessee Vols and yes, Saturday's counted. A quick start against an undermanned such as MTSU is paramount. The longer a team let's a homecoming foe hang around, the more dangerous the visitors become. UT started quickly — Austin Johnson's pick and return was HUGE — and finished meekly. Is it troubling that UT has any many second-half touchdowns as the 5-at-10 in the last four games? Yes, yes it is. But worrying stats after a win is better than worrying about improvement after a loss. Certainly the fact that Tennessee would be the absolute beast of the Big East, Sun Belt, Big Sky or any other meddling conference is not exactly an overwhelming confidence boost to Johnny Vols Fan, but a win is a win. Right?

3) Show your gold Vandy. Yes, the Commodores have long since been the innovator and expert on tough-luck losses to better-talented teams, but Saturday in the Swamp was different. The 'Dores lost 26-21 to Florida, marking their third SEC loss by less than a touchdown to a superior foe. In year's past, this would simply be "Pulling a Vandy." But Saturday was different. Pulling a Vandy has always followed a specific formula: Build a quick lead, normally with the help of a big special teams play or a defensive score; Let all the other fans watching other games switch over because Vandy's on the verge of pulling an upset; Stand tough on defense for three quarters before tiring out; make a critical offensive mistake, be it a turnover, penalty or a failed attempt on third-and-1; let the foe score with less than 120 second left to win. Saturday, though, Vandy was down 17-0 at halftime and it could have gotten out of hand quickly. But Vandy fought and scrapped and scored with less than a minute left and if the 'Dores could have recovered the last on-side kick, well, who knows. We asked last week if UT fans would trade Derek Dooley for Vandy coach James Franklin, and now we ask the same thing to Florida fans: Would you trade Will Muschamp for James Franklin? It may be too early to answer that about Muschamp, but if the question was posed to Vandy fans, here's saying they just screamed "No way," into their computer screens.

4) Arkansas hammered South Carolina on Saturday night in the "If a top-10 game falls in the forest the same night as LSU-Alabama, will anyone outside of Arkansas watch it?" game. We're going to break down Arkansas all this week and try to talk Johnny Vols Fans into believing they have a shot against the Hogs this weekend (and try to talk the 5-at-10 into it, too). But let's cover Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks really quickly. They now head to Florida needing to win and needing help to win the SEC East. They are 7-2, but there is an overriding sense of disappointment and doom right now in the program. Sure losing Marcus Lattimore was a brutal blow, but something seems like the wheels are about to fall off in Columbia. We've even heard that this may be the final run for the Ol' Ball Coach. Wow.

5) Hottest SEC team not centered in Baton Rouge? Yep, Johnny Bulldogs Fan, it's Mark Richt and your Georgia Bulldogs. Winners of seven straight after losing their first two, the Bulldogs have the inside track to return the Georgia Dome to face LSU (barring a stunning surprise) for the SEC championship game (which ironically is where they started the season against Boise State, and it likely could mean Georgia will play the two teams in the BCS title game in the same Atlanta venue). Want to know the least hottest team in the SEC? Yep, the Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears and the coach formerly known as Houston Nutt, who were thumped by 17 at Kentucky. Yes, the same Kentucky team that scored all of 14 points against Western Kentucky, put 30 on Ole Miss. Ouch. And Houston, make sure your TV resume is polished up, something tells us you're going to need it very soon.



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    Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky, center, arrives in handcuffs at the office of Centre County Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot. (AP Photo/The Patriot-News, Andy Colwell)

Monday morning college football quarterback — New division

There are not five things here, rather two news items that must be discussed.

1) Welcome to the SEC Missouri, and welcome to the SEC East. The diagonal line that puts Missouri into the East (or more correctly the Northeast) allows for the easiest adjustment schedule-wise during this time of transition. What it likely means for football is, teams will play all six of their divisional foes, their one traditional rival from the other division and one rotating opponent from the other division.

Welcome aboard. As for the story is true that the SEC slow-walked this deal in hopes that the news would not take away from the LSU-Alabama game, well OK. Whatever. But if that's the real reason, then why did the SEC not move the rest of its games to other times that were not opposite the LSU-Alabama game. Seems a little too convenient for us (and the extra time certainly helps with any tampering charges the Big 12 may be examining).

Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment
Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment

2) The awful mess that is brewing at Penn State is tragic. And disgusting.

Former longtime Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been arrested on charges of raping young boys out of a charity foundation he started to help young boys. The attorney general's report can be found here.

If you want to read the report, please know it's disgusting. And infuriating. And it should cost Joe Paterno his job. Dude has been an icon of college football for the last 50 years, but according to the grand jury testimony he was informed about a child being raped in the Penn State locker room and all Paterno did was tell his AD. The people Paterno informed — AD Tim Curley and PSU VP of finance and business Gary Schultz — have been indicted for perjury in this case. Curley asked for administrative leave and has since resigned, and Schultz has retired amid the scandal.

"If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters," Paterno said in a statement Sunday. "While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred."

That's not acceptable. On any level, including Pennsylvania State law which requires state employees to report this kind of information to authorities. And while Joe Paterno did not witness the event, he certainly should have directed the assistant coach that reported it to him to go to the authorities. Plus, it's impossible to think that once Joe Paterno was given this information, he would not call Sandusky, a former player for Paterno and a coach that worked for Joe Pa for 23 years and was believed to be the front-runner to be Joe Pa's successor. C'mon.

Plus, there's no telling how many more kids have been assaulted and/or violated by Sandusky in the nine-plus year since the 2002 incident. A week ago it would have been impossible to envision a scenario that would cause Joe Pa to leave in any other manner than a farewell tour embraced by the masses. That seems highly unlikely today.



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    Tony Stewart holds up six-shooters after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

This and that

— Tony Stewart called his shot and delivered on it. The driver known as "Smoke" said he was coming for Carl Edwards and the points lead in a diatribe that was part entertainment/part threat and 100-percent truth. Edwards somewhat light-heartedly dismissed Stewart's remarks, but it's doubtful he's dismissing anything this morning. Stewart won again Sunday at Texas — his fourth win in the Chase — and is three points behind Edwards.

— We'll cover this more in the Power Poll on Tuesday, but there is really no way to overvalue a quarterback in the NFL. And while there appears to be a lot of good teams in the league, they are all flawed with the exception of the Green Bay Packers, who appear to be on another level than everyone else right now.

— The NBA gave its players an ultimatum this weekend. The players gave the NBA a shrug. Each side is giving its fans the cold shoulder, and here's saying the fans will return the favor in the days — and maybe even the years — to come.



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    Fans cheer before the first half of an NCAA college football game between Alabama and LSU, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Today's question

Despite the loss, Alabama is still No. 3 in the BCS standings meaning that more than likely a rematch is on the horizon.

If LSU runs the table and Alabama finishes 11-1, is a rematch in our future. Should it be?

What do you think?

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Redlegs11 said...

Gotta agree with you.....as much as Miles said he would be honored to play that team again (can't you imagine Slive telling both coaches before the game "Hey if they ask you about a rematch....be sure to say what an awesome idea that would be") .... LSU won on the road. End of story. Nothing else to prove. Who's next should be the only thing Miles and them shouyld be saying, but there's just no way they should be able to break line in front of anyone undefeated (exception being Houston, of course). Of course, maybe it is in LSU's contract to be agreebale to whatever after getting the free two-loss pass duirng its last national title run. Regardless of how you feel...if Boise is unbeaten and Stanford, Oklahoma, OSU, Oregon and Bama all have one loss team, you need to give the Kellen Moore's a shot. Especially if Georgia make it to the SEC title game. Is it so wrong to give someone else a chance....Bama had its chance, they should have no complaints.

Was Bama-LSU a great game? Sure. Do I want to see it again? No sir. If Bama were to win on a neutral field (nopt really since it is New Orleans) do we then have to have a 2-out-3 deal? Hopefully OSU and Stanford remain unbeaten and they can argue that point and provide Bama with a quality opponent in a bowl outing.

Maybe it will work out best for Bama....getting to play Andrew Luck who they will claim stole Trent Richardson's Heisman.

November 7, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
fechancellor said...

The fact that Paterno did not immediately to spring up out of his chair and accompany his Assistant to the AD's office as a show of credibility for the young man and the charge is tough to believe, but there it is.

Paterno could have possibly have ended Sandusky's molestations before another boy suffered at his hands—physically and emotionally. At the same time, but far less important, possibly saving the AD's and the career of other staffer in trouble caught for perjury. Finally, protecting the good name of Penn State where the reputation of the university where Paterno’s 45 years in coaching should have been priority in actuality concern number two.

If Jo Pa was following up on the Sandusky accusation, then certainly the AD would have eventually to yield. As the venerated and beloved coach with the most wins in NCAA, one word from Joe Pa to the State Police even late after the fact might of been enough to keep Sandusky molesting again his forced and coerced coterie of little boys.

November 7, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Redlegs —

Concur 100 percent. Alabama had its shot — at home. People talk about a playoff, well, that's what a playoff is — win and get to play for the title.

Also concur about the Boise State. If/when the Broncos finish the drill and if LSU and BSU are the only undefeated teams, then tee it up. Do we think the Tigers would dominate them? Yes. But have we thought that before about a lot of teams that BSU has faced? Yes.

FE to the C —

You're spot on.

This whole thing is sickening. And if Joe Pa could have prevented one of them, well, his legacy will forever be tarnished not unlike the awful decision Woody Hays made tarnished his.

— 5-at-10

November 7, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

So Joe Pa's way of handling the Sandusky revelation was simply to hand it off to someone else, waiting for them to fumble so he can say, "hey, that's on them, not me, I did my part," like it's a flaming bag of No. 2? This episode should push Paterno into retirement. There have been sadder endings to coaching legends, but this ... it transcends sad.

Heard complaints of the LSU-Alabama game that it was boring. What's wrong with good defense and two good teams just simply knocking the crap out of each other?

Though we may not have the allure of the 1 v 2 matchup this weekend, this weekend's slate is shaping up to be pretty good on its own, starting with Thursday night at Historic Grant Field/Bobby Dodd Stadium. (You were just waiting for me to work that in, weren't you 5er? By the way ... ahem ... had a great conversation Saturday afternoon with Chris in Dalton rehashing what it was like to be the boss of The Freak.)

November 7, 2011 at 12:30 p.m.

Jay,

I seem to remember that Jerry Sandusky has a Chattanooga connection. Maybe his wife is from Chattanooga? Anyway, awful story. Just sickening, really.

Hey, the frat boy turned kicker was an entertaining story, huh?

Game of the Century is a silly title for any regular season game.

November 7, 2011 at 12:36 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

The entire Joe Pa thing is beyond sad. But we do know this — some action needs to come sooner rather than later, and here's hoping Joe Pa is the one doing it. Resign and move along. Today.

Was there a lack of offense Saturday night in T-town? Yes, but a big reason for that was there was 30-plus NFL defensive players on the field.

The Tech game should be fun, and we saw Chris a couple of weeks ago at a Dalton game. Good dude.

BTG —

Seems like that could be. We'll check into it. It is a gross story.

Loved Weeds' column on Dooley finding his kicker on the couch at the frat house. Let's just say that if that had been the 5-at-10 during our college days at 6 p.m. on a Saturday, it would have taken a keg of coffee to get us in a place to be kicking a football by 7 p.m. Not happening.

— 5-at-10

November 7, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.
fechancellor said...

My wrap up on LSU/Bama...

Two of General Robert Neyland's Seven Maxims of Football

"Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made."

"Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game."

Johnnie Majors loved to drop this distillation, "Defence and the Kicking game."

BIspy4,

I truly miss the Tennessee/Tech home and home. What better destination for Vol fans. The Varsity across the interstate and the nightlife after the game had no peer in the SEC.

November 7, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

fechancellor,

Tech and Tennessee was a great series for a looooong time. I stil recall the 6-6 tie back in, what was it, 1985?

November 7, 2011 at 1:34 p.m.
memphisexile said...

I say give it to Goforth. Picking the exact score is pretty hard to do.

I must say, I feel sorry for Miss. St., because they get to play what I am guessing will be a very angry Alabama team this week.

Given how awful Ole Miss currenlty is, and the news being reported that Nutt is going to be fired today, Arkansas looks like LSU's only real game left to play. That game is usually a wild one, and gives this LSU fan some severe heartburn and anxiety every year the day after Thanksgiving. Always fun to watch though.

The whole situation at Penn St. is sickening, I am guessing this will be Paterno's last year coaching whether he wants to retire or not.

November 7, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.
fechancellor said...

BIspy4,

We lost our stating QB Tony Robinson to Cornelius Bennett in Birmingham the week before. Tech's luck of the draw brought Darrell Dickey in his first start, although he did improve all the way to the Sugar Bowl.

November 7, 2011 at 1:40 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FEC —

No matter how old they get, the General's Maxims still stand pretty strong. And to think Kiffin wanted to take them down.

Tech-Tennessee was a good one. So was Tech-Auburn back in the day.

Exile —

Here's saying Alabama goes nuts, like a Vincent and Jules level beatdown on Mississippi State. Something that's just nasty.

LSU-Arkansas could be really good, and you're right, it's always fun to watch. That is as long as Arkansas can handle its BID-ness against UT.

We'll talk to Goforth and get back to you. Well played indeed.

— 5-at-10

November 7, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.
dl said...

At least TN fans had a real game to watch Saturday night!

November 7, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Jerry Sanduskys in-laws lived in Chattanooga up until their death about 7 years ago. The Sanduskys visited here regularly, I meet him and his wife Dottie and oldest son E.J. Many times. Jerry seemed like a gentleman. Sad, very sad for the family. . . As well as family of the victims

November 7, 2011 at 8:59 p.m.
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