published Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

5 at 10: NFL's best, NFL's worst and the College football mid-season report card

Dec. 18, 1963, Al Davis, center, head coach of the American Football League's Oakland Raiders, talks with players at the team's home practice field in Oakland, Calif.  (AP Photo/Robert Klein, File)
Dec. 18, 1963, Al Davis, center, head coach of the American Football League's Oakland Raiders, talks with players at the team's home practice field in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Robert Klein, File)

From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...

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    Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) hands of to Detroit Lions running back Keiland Williams (34) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Detroit, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

NFL Power Poll

OK, we have to take the Detroit Lions seriously now, right. They overpowered the defending NFC North champion Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. They have built a defense that can control the run and pressure with wave upon wave of standout defensive linemen. They have the ultimate difference -maker on the perimeter in Calvin Johnson. (Somehow during last night's broadcast, Jon Gruden how Calvin Johnson, who is 6-foot-5 with a wingspan that is almost 7 feet and has a 40-plus-inch vertical leap, has a catch range the size of a two-car garage, and it made sense.)

They will lose a game because they have not been there before, but they are for real. (And they have been a bettor's dream — getting points two weeks ago against Dallas and giving only 5.5 to Chicago in Monday's 24-13 win. In fact the Lions are 12-0-1 against the spread in their last 13 games. Stunning huh?)

On to the power poll:

Top 5

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    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) works before the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Pouya Dianat)

1) Green Bay: How would it feel to be Detroit, and be the feel good team in the entire league and know deep down in places you don't talk about at parties that you really don't have a chance to win your division because Green Bay is simply awesome.

2) Detroit: The 5-at-10 is a believer, especially with that defensive line coming in mad numbers.

3) New England: Hello Ben Jarvis-Green Ellis. Tom Brady with a running game is against some NFL rules of fairness, right?

4) New Orleans: Drew Brees has been awesome. Maybe it was his appearance on the stage at the TFP's Best of Preps banquet that really inspired him this year/ Thoughts?

5) Baltimore: There are lot of tough one-loss teams (and San Francisco has been impressive), but the Ravens have a lot of pieces in the right places.

Bottom 5

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    A Atlanta Falcons fan watches the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons second half of a NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

28) Atlanta: OK, maybe there are other teams that belong here, but the Falcons are just slightly less disappointing than Philadelphia. Boy, the 5-at-10 was wicked wrong about this bunch — we thought they had legit Super Bowl dreams. Heck, they're only the third best team in the NFC South.

29) Philadelphia: The Eagles had an NFL-best 6-to-1 odds to make the playoffs six weeks ago. Today, with the "Dream Team" at 1-4, it's 50-to-1.

30) St. Louis: The Rams have be thankful for the Cardinals magical baseball run. That way maybe they can win before anyone in St. Louis notices how bad they are.

31) Miami: Reggie Bush was out partying after a recent loss, and he took heat for it. Hey, if you played for a team as bad as Miami, you'd look for ways to forget about it, too.

32) Indianapolis: Yes Peyton Manning is on the shelf. But c'mon, injuries, simjuries. How about playing with pride? The Colts blew a 17-0 lead in a 28-24 loss Kansas City Chiefs, who are hardly the 1985 Bears to begin with and have suffered season-ending injuries to their best offensive AND defensive players. Gross.

Tear, college football is half empty

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    LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (7) after the game with Kentucky in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. LSU defeated Kentucky 35-7 in an NCAA college football game. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

College football has hit the halfway point — yes, we're upset about that — and with the game of century looming on the horizon with LSU and Alabama playing Nov. 5, now is as good a time as any to look at some of the national highlights through the first half.

Player of the year: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin by the slimmest of margins over Standford QB Andrew Luck

Defensive player of the year: Duh, it's the Honey Badger, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. (And if you have not seen the Honey Badger youtube clip, well, you need to. It has some cussing but remember, "Honey Badger don't care.")

Coach of the year: We'll reserve judgment between the winner of Georgia Tech and Clemson because Tech's Paul Johnson and Clemson's Dabo Swinney have those teams in the national title talk when no one did six weeks ago.

Game of the year: Michigan-Notre Dame with three lead-changing TDs in the final 90-plus seconds.

Biggest disappointment: Florida State, and it's not that close after Saturday's lost to Wake Forest.

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    NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver during a news conference before the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Stupid, stupid and it's about time

Three quick things that puzzle the rationale of the human mind:

— The NBA did not resolve its labor issues, meaning that NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the NBA season. That's canceled with a C and means like done and over. Not only do fans loathe the thought of missing games (fewer tickets, changed schedules, historic implications, etc.), once you have broken the seal on canceling games then it becomes easier and easier to cancel games. Think of it this way: When you have a $100 bill in your pocket, it's way easier to keep it as a $100 bill. You don;t want to break. But when you do, you spend $10 here and $15 there and before you know it that hundo is like 12 bucks and some Skittles.

— Why did the Milwaukee Brewers continue to pitch Albert Pujols? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

— Arizona fired football coach Mike Stoops on Monday. What took you guys so long? Stoops, who appears to be the Jimmy Carter of the Stoops coaching brothers, was 41-50 in 7-and-a-half seasons with the Wildcats and had lost 10 straight games to FCS opponents. Wow, not good.

This and that

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    TCU Clint Gresham (54) and other TCU players stand together to sing the school song after winning an NCAA college football game against Air Force in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. TCU won 44-10. TCU has its fifth 10-win season in seven years. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

— After going 3-2 this week, the Fab 4-plus 1 is now 19-8-1 on the season. We thought we included that in Monday's 5-at-10, but JordanRules reminded us that we had not. He also said, "You're not going to get a rise out of me by saying people are better than MJ. It's not going to happen because you know it's not true and I know it's not true. You are being childish and stupid and it makes you look silly..... Na-na na-na boo-boo. I know you are what am I." OK, we made up that last part, but you get the idea, and we're so, So, SO sorry about being childish. We'd get more into this but we're late for finger-painting, and today we're going to draw the five players better than MJ at their age.

— Signal Mountain High School's administration appears to be exploring their appeal options. Here's our prep ace Ward Gossett's report (Signal Mountain High School considers appeal). Time is a crucial piece of this so expect more news as it develops.

— TCU accepted the Big 12 invite. Missouri has had double-secret commissions to explore joining the SEC (Here's a tip Missouri, if the SEC asks, you join, it's that simple. Please make that consulting check out to "The 5-at-10 Inc." Thanks.) The Memphis president said the Tigers "deserve" to be in the SEC. There's talk that Boise State, which is not a state but is in Idaho, which is wicked West of here, may be invited to join the Big East. Wow, the odd numbers and made expansion craze have left some of the non-big-boy programs feeling quite uppity, huh?

Today's question

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    Georgia's Carlton Thomas, 30, runs past Tennessee's Austin Bolen.
    Photo by Jenna Walker /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

This is a two-way family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column. We not only want your feedback, we're depending on it. So, knowing that and knowing that the king that is college football is halfway over, what say you:

At the halfway point of the college season, what are your biggest moments?

Which teams or players have surprised you the most — good or bad?

Or maybe just finish this sentence, "When I think of the first half of the 2011 college football season, I 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 ...

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.
patrickd said...
  1. Player of the year: Trent Richardson
  2. Defensive player of the year: Mark Barron
  3. Coach of the year: Nick Saban
  4. Game of the year: Alabama vs Penn State
  5. Biggest disappointment: Not covering the spread against North Texas.


Oh, we're talking from all of college football and not just the SEC? Keep my first four the same and change my Biggest Disappointment to "the condition Legion field was in this past Saturday."

October 11, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
chas9 said...

Love the pix. Especially the 1963 helmets. Only thing better is the old leather or cardboard headgear without any facemask. Course Al Davis needed a full face cover with fixed mouth gag.

October 11, 2011 at 10:38 a.m.
memphisexile said...

As a Memphis resident and law school alumnus, I can assure you that the Memphis President and AD are idiots. They do not understand that they will never get a big conference invite while the the Memphis football team is one of the worst in the country. They are unwilling to spend the money to upgrade facilities and refuse to offer a big enough salary to hire a quality coach. The current coach had never even been a coordinator prior to being hired. They do not understand that while Memphis is crazy about basketball, no one else cares. Football rules, and that is why Memphis will be left behind. It is a shame, because there are a lot of talented recruits in and around the Memphis area that all leave to go to LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas and others because Memphis is simply not an option for anyone who wants to succeed in football.

October 11, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.
jgreeson said...

PDavi —

Something tells us that you're fond of Alabama's season.

9er —

We lost a good one this weekend. Pretend Al's ceremony was quiet and nice. And we poured one for all the boys.

Memphisexile —

We would comment on your post, except you said it perfectly. Seriously.

And Memphis may be the worst team in the FCS. Weren't the Tigers like a 12-point underdog against MTSU?

— 5-at-10

October 11, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

exile--Sorry to pile on, but go to and read Gary Parrish's column about the idiocy of Memphis suing Calipari and Rose, thus estranging potential big-time donors.

October 11, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

All right, the shot of the dude with huge gourd (what? did Merv Griffin have something to do with that too? For the uninformed, Merv Griffin's theory was to have TV hosts with ginormous domes) in the Falcons paint is ... is ... disturbing.

Since the NBA has been dead to me since Rick Pitino walked through that door at The Garden, they can take more than a couple of weeks off, por favor.

And 5er, PJ has given up dipping. At least he did as of a couple of years ago.

October 11, 2011 at 2 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Memphis a crazy collection of folks. Has been since Dana Kirk and the boys to William Bedford to Penny Hardaway. They do love them some hoops though.

Spy —

We meant to comment on it earlier but the Web folks who found that picture of the world's most creepy Falcons fan deserve a medal. Yikes. And here's saying that that dude has our full permission to go buy a Falcons jersey. If you have more rolls than the Ryan's buffet, then you need to wear a shirt. Deal? Deal.

And that's good to hear about PJ. Did you know the 5-at-10 quit the Copenhagen, too? Somedays are better than others but we won't ever have to explain it to our super-smart 4-year-old either.

— 5-at-10

October 11, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
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