published Thursday, September 15th, 2011

5 at 10: Football lines, the Fab 4 and big stage national showdowns

From the "Drunken Moose Studios," here we go...



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    Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, left, and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden pose with the national championship trophy during a press conference in Miami Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2001. The two teams will play in the Orange Bowl for the national championship. (AP Photo/J.Pat Carter)

College football forecast

Where's Keith Jackson when you need him. No, not that Keith Jackson, the former Oklahoma All-American and NFL All-Pro tight end who was our speaker at the Best of Preps banquet in 2003 and introduced the 5-at-10 to the joy that is the pizza at Mom's downtown.

No, the other Keith Jackson, the college football announcing icon, who made big college football Saturdays seem even more majestic with his "Whoa, Nelly," and "fummm-BBBLE" and "Hold the phone." That's the only thing that could make the 5-at-10 more giddy about this weekend of college football.

You'd have to believe that Keith would be on the call at Doak Campbell Stadium for the FSU-Oklahoma game Saturday night. This game is huge — two teams with legit national title hopes in prime time in the House that Prime Time built.

These are the type of games — big-time non-conference games like this one and Auburn at Clemson and Washington at Nebraska and Alabama at Penn State and LSU vs. Oregon — that make the college football regular season the best in all of sports. It's also the type of games that very likely would be a casualty of a playoff system. Think those coaches and ADs are going to schedule anyone other than directional schools outside of league play with playoff spots on the line.

Just a caveat to think about as you enjoy a full plate of delicious college football. Enjoy.



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    South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore (21) runs for a touchdown, followed by Georgia cornerback Jordan Love (10), linebacker Cornelius Washington (83), and defensive tackle Jonathan Jenkins (6) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, in Athens, Ga. South Carolina won 45-42.
    Photo by (AP Photo by John Amis)

The Fab 4 Picks

The 5-at-10's Fab 4 picks are 6-1-1 this season — and we would be better had we followed Dr. B's advice (he's a doctor after all) about buying the half-point in the USC-Georgia game last week. Alas.

Last week's 3-0-1 showing should not surprise most gamblers. The adage that football teams improve more from Week 1 to Week 2 is 100-percent true, and those trends can be gauged and calculated. What another truth, odd's makers improve more from Week 2 to Week 3, so the lines this week are very good. And that makes picking against the spread that much more challenging.

There are several highlight games this week so we're going to give you our Fab 4 — the games we like best — and may add a couple of extra views on the big-time games.

Georgia Tech minus 14 over Kansas — Call this a hunch, but Tech is scoring 56 points per game and the Jayhawks are allowing 33 and had to rally to beat Northern Illinois 45-42 last week. The total of 59 is intriguing, too.

Indiana minus-15 over South Carolina State — The Hoosiers should have beaten a pretty good Virginia team last week; SC State lost to Central Michigan and beat Bethune Cookman. This is a numbers bet, plain and simple.

Oklahoma minus-3 over Florida State and over the 55 — This is nightcap of a great Saturday, and yes, the Seminoles are at home and yes, OU coach Bob Stoops has been less than stellar on big stages in recent years. (Seems like a long time ago that Stoops was known as "Big-Game Bob" right?) That said, the Sooners are super talented, especially offensively, and the Seminoles can score, too.

Bonus pick (a Fab 5, this week?): Miami minus-2.5 over Ohio State — In the NCAA Doghouse Classic — and we've heard it called the Ineligi-Bowl — Miami welcomes back a host of suspended players including QB Jacory Harris, DT Marcus Forston and LB Sean Spence. Granted, Jacory Harris is on the short list of quarterbacks with Stephen Garcia and Jordan Jefferson that can beat either team — his or the opponents — on any give Saturday, but something feels strange here. This one could get one-sided. Quickly.



Some of the big-time games picks

Alabama under the 53.5 against North Texas

Auburn plus-3.5 over Clemson

Tennessee plus-10 over Florida

Georgia minus-32 over Coastal Carolina and over the 56



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    Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) works out during preseason NCAA college football drills on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Jason Harless)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Lingering SEC football questions

— What will Alabama do at quarterback in the projected thumping of North Texas? Here's our best guess. AJ McCarron has started to separate himself in the QB race with Phillip Sims. McCarron will get every chance to firmly establish himself as the man. That way, Nick Saban and Co. have given each player a chance through the first three weeks, and then can turn the keys over to McCarron as Alabama enters conference play with Arkansas on deck for next week.

— Can Mississippi State end a couple of troubling trends? The Bulldogs have enjoyed an improved national perception since Dan Mullen took over. They finished No. 15 nationally last year and smoked Michigan in a New Year's Day bowl game. That said, the Bulldogs finished fifth in the SEC West last year and Mullen is now 2-9 against in the division after last week's loss to Auburn. Even worse, those only two SEC West wins came against the Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears, who have smelled like feet for the last two seasons. With LSU coming to town tonight, can Mullen find a way for MSU to beat the Tigers for the first time since 1999. Doubtful.

— How many is too many for Georgia? Mark Richt said this week that the Bulldogs want to "get in the win column and play a game they can feel good about" against Coastal Carolina. Uhh, "what are you doing in here little Kitty Cat." We need more dogs. WE NEED MORE DOGS.

— Can Auburn make it 18 in a row? Who are we to say no? They've pulled out wins with onside kicks. They've rallied from being down 24-0 at Alabama. They handled the pressure of being tied in the national title game with less than three minutes on the clock. The 5-at-10 will not pick against them until they lose or go to LSU, whichever comes first.

— As for the UT game, well, needless to say, we have a few mailbag questions on this one, so you'll have to wait until Friday for our take on UT's trip to the Swamp.



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    William "The Refrigerator" Perry. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

This and That

— The social media world was set on its ear when the stories broke that in the 1980s Sarah Palin and Glen Rice, uh, "snuggled." (Hey, remember this is a family-oriented, web-based, sports column.) The claims were made in a new book called "The Rogue," by Joe McGinniss, and the author says Rice confirmed the one-night stand. Just wait until news starts to circulate about a Janet Reno and William "Refrigerator" Perry "snuggling. (Yes, we made that last one up but Sweet 5-star Defensive Lineman that "Love Connection" would make college recruiters drool — Big, Mean, Tough, Fast, and then whatever Fridge brings to the table.)

— Every win is meaningful for the Braves, who used a three-run homer by the currently red-hot Alex Gonzalez to beat Florida 4-1 Wednesday afternoon. The Braves remained 4½ games ahead of St. Louis, which won 3-2 at Pittsburgh, but now there are just 12 games left for Atlanta.

— The Pittsburgh Pirates have clinched their 19th consecutive losing season. (Is clinched the right word there? Help us out BIspy.) Let's take a moment of silence for Pirates fans everywhere. Gang, your loyalty to your team is what makes sports great. Keep fightin' the good fight, and here's hoping that a Pops Stargell, Dave Parker, Bill Madlock or Barry Bonds is in the minors ready to lift the franchise.

— OK, please accept our apologies on the front end for passing this story along. Fair warning — if the thought of an eel swimming up a man's penis and having to be surgically removed from the guy's bladder gives you the heebie-jeebies, well you may not want to click. The lesson here is do NOT swim with eels to cleanse your skin, we don;t care if even Les Miles says it's OK. You've been warned.



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    Eli Gold. (AP Photo/The Nashville Network, Jim Hagans)

Today's question

We know Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstriet will be on the call for the Oklahoma-FSU. They're pretty good together (Musberger can be tiring, but Herbstriet knows his stuff).

We know the Auburn-Clemson game is on the SEC network, and that the charm and nostalgia of the old Jefferson-Pilot days are no longer campy. They are gone from those noon kickoffs like the Bloody Mary breakfasts of our college days.

So on to today's question: Who is best TV sports commentator working? Who is your favorite? And in return, who would cause you to turn the sound down and watch in silence?

Discuss, and remember that Dick Vitale is the easy choice for the mute button.

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.
ordinaryguy said...

Best NFL regional - Mike Keith, Titans Best NFL national - Joe Buck Best NCAA national - Sean McDonough Best NCAA school network - Eli Gold

SHUT THEM UP !!!! Al Michaels Bob Keisling Brent Musburger

September 15, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Best TV tandem today, hands down, is Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Michaels is the consummate play by play guy and with Collinsworth as analyst, you get, shockingly, analysis.

There is no second place. Though Dan Shulman on the Mother Ship's Sunday Night Baseball is solid.

Turn off the sound... sorry, folks, not a charter member of the Gus Johnson fan club. Frankly, I don't watch many games just for the announcers and I find most of them to be either droll, boorish or banal. Yeah, Dickie V can grate on you now. But you really will never meet a nicer guy. Seriously.

That Indiana line over SC State is mighty low for a BCS league team against an FCS school, even if SC State has been a playoff team recently. Tech never covers when given big favorite status like that but I like the over play ... for entertainment purposes only, mind you.

September 15, 2011 at 10:47 a.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

For TV, Ron Franklin and Mike Gotfried were the best combo ever when they were working the Saturday night ESPN games back in the day. It isn't even close. Wish they were still on together.

Bob Kesling should be fired. I can't believe that guy still has a job. He's horrible and never improves. He makes error after error and yet he's been employeed in that position for 12 years. Unreal. If I hear him say the kick "is a spinner" one more time, I'm going to puke.

Mike Keith is great for the Titans. I wish Pat Ryan was still his sidekick though. Frank Wycheck is ok, but Ryan was better. I guess they forced Ryan out to make room for the former Titan.

Eric Zier on the Georgia radio network isn't too bad except for his bizarre post game comments after Saturday's Georgia loss to S Carolina. Zier acutally said "I like where this team is heading". Uh...really? I swear you would have thought Georgia beat South Carolina after listening to the Georgia network guys on the postgame show. Talk about a bunch of homers...

September 15, 2011 at 10:52 a.m.
patrickd said...

Worst announcer of all time:

I would pay $$$ if someone would updyke John Sterling's microphone cord. I'd rather Dickie V. read the vows on my wedding day than to hear Sterling make one more New York Yankees homerun call. If you can further assure me that Sterling will never see a broadcast booth again I'll let Dickie V. croon his best 5 from "Meatloaf: Bat out of Hell vol. 11" at the reception.

September 15, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang,

Super strong start today. We're on board.

OG and Chatt-Vol—

Nice call on Eli Gold. He's a great blend of old-school radio "fan-caster" while still being able to keep you informed about the game.

Mike Keith is money. Great call. That guy is awesome and the Mrs. 5-at-10, who could not care less about the Titans hopes for QB sacks when we're in the car so she can hear Keith's signature, "SAAAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK" call.

Spy —

Got a feeling that Tech will bring the Cowbell on Saturday. Expecting another 50-point showing. What does your guy think about the numbers this week? There are some sharp lines out there.

Gus Johnson, huh? Well to each his own, but Gus Johnson has become like one of those guys that everybody says is underrated, and they say it so much that the guy then becomes overrated. It seems Gus Johnson is trying to be too much Gus Johnson.

For us, and because they work a lot of SEC games, Mark Jones and Bob Davie are brutal. Mark Jones tries way to hard to be Stewart Scott — and that's not a good goal to begin with — and Davie is just bland and not really good.

As for Kesling and even Scott Howard/Zeier — those guys followed in the chairs of LEGENDS. Following John Ward and Larry Munson is like whoever gets the Penn State gig next — good luck and hold on.

PDavi —

So what's your ultimate view on Sterling? Like, dislike? Please try to be a little more clear. That said, trying to get the image of Dickie V singing Meat Loaf out of our head is far from AWESOME BABY.

5-at-10

September 15, 2011 at 11:26 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Don't get me started on Zeier. Just ... don't ... go ... there.

September 15, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
chas9 said...

Kesling is weak and Bertlekamp is worse. Joe Morgan was finally sacked at ESPN, but he was so miserable, he will stay on the list for as long as his ascending voice waves haunt the universe. I saw what you did there with "big, mean, tough, fast." Well played, sir.

September 15, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
Blueoval said...

I would have to say my favorite current duo for college football is Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge (I think they are still together) and I've always liked Herbstriet. The person who seems to get on my nerves is Gary Danielson and he is doing the TN/FL game this weekend.

September 15, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Joe Morgan was so bad it cost Jon Miller his job and Jon Miller was actually pretty good. And thanks for noticing what we did there.

Oval —

Blackledge is fine by us (as long as he's not doing that Todd's Taste of the Town bit — gag). Nessler, too. You'd think as much as CBS is paying for the Big-Stage SEC game every week, they'd go get the college version of Michaels-Collinsworth. Verne and Gary are OK (and Tracy Wolfson's not terrible), but that's the biggest game each week, it needs to have the dream team.

So it goes.

Two quick questions for the group:

1) Are you signed up in the "Can you beat Jay" contest? If not, why not? You could win a $100 gift card. Sign up here http://contests.timesfreepress.com/upickem/registration/login.asp?contestid=38912

2) Any interest in having a twitter get together during the UT-Florida game? If so, the 5-at-10 may tweet throughout the Vols-Gators showdown.

Thoughts?

— 5-at-10

September 15, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
Livn4life said...

You had me on the big non-conference games right up to the Washington-Nebraska one? Are you kidding me? Does anyone really believe Washington will compete with the Husks? I was surprised, no jayfiveattenetc. I was stunned. But then this is college football where a number of unexpected things can and usually do happen.

September 15, 2011 at 1:40 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

After consulting with legal counsel, I have come to the conclusion to....

Take Kansas and the points and the over.

September 15, 2011 at 2:22 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Why does Bob Stoops resemble Lane Kiffin a little bit in that photo at the top of today's 5 at 10?

September 15, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.
jgreeson said...

LivnLarge —

Washington-Nebraska may be a big matchup in name only, but it's at least two big-boy schools from big-boy conferences facing off. The unexpected is to be expected across the college football landscape, but Nebraska is going to cruise in that one.

Spy —

Did you call Matlock? Ironside? Harry Hamlin from L.A. Law?

We'll just leave it at we'll see. Somewhere along the line, your boy Paul Johnson learned that passing more than 10 times a game was NOT against the rules.

As for Stoops-Kiffin, that's a medical condition called "YoungusandArrogantitis" which loosely translates to Young and Arrogant. At least that's what Dr. B would say, and he's a doctor after all.

— 5-at-10

September 15, 2011 at 2:43 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Larry Munson...heeeelllooooo....Was there any better?!?! And yes i have to admit my second favorite was Ward from UT. I would turn the TV volume down just to listen to those two. I mean who doesnt remember the UT/UF game in 08 when Florida missed the field goal?! Then I'm goin with Madden...period. He brought new life to the teleprompter. I'm thinking the tweeting on the UT/UF game would be interesting. Go for it.

September 15, 2011 at 2:45 p.m.
chas9 said...

OK. We SEC fans can all agree that Munson wuz THE best. But second best wuz Caywood Ledford, NOT John Ward.

September 15, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

Munson was awesome. The last of an iconic breed. His greatest hits list — "He kicked it a MILE," "My GOD, a freshman," "Run Lindsey Run" "I think I broke a steel chair," "We broke their nose with a hobnail boot," — rivals' U2 or Springsteen.

And Madden was the first of his kind. Although does he lose points since that kind has morphed into something that has created the Bermans et al. of the world?

9er —

Ledford was more a Munson of hoops than a true No. 2. In fact, we'd put Ward as No. 2 on each list — behind Munson in football and behind Ledford in hoops.

That said, who here remembers the old calls of Joe Dean and SEC "String Music" back in the day?

— 5-at-10

September 15, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
Blueoval said...

Sorry chas but I'm an SEC fan and Ward would be my # 1 radio guy (although his partner Bill Anderson was awful!. I agree 5/9 I don't understand why CBS doesn't have a dream team for college ball....I wish the Vol network would replace Tim Priest with Pat Ryan....although Priest isn't horrible.

September 15, 2011 at 3:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oval —

Anderson may not have been, shall we say, good, but was anyone worse than Loran.

"Loran, whatcha got?"

"Uh, Larry down here on the sidelines there seems to be a lot of concern about our boys cramping. Plus, a lot of the fans may or may not have had enough to eat at the tailgate. Back to you Larry."

Wow.

— 5-at-10

September 15, 2011 at 3:52 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

worst post game interviewer: Tim Least...oops...Priest...as they say on SNLs Coffee Talk: discuss amongst yourselves...

September 15, 2011 at 5:57 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BillyScott —

Welcome to the show and EXTRA bonus points for the "Coffee Talk with Linda Richman" shoutout.

Must be something about the name Tim. Priest. McCarver. Couch. Green. Not good at all.

Or as Linda would say, "The Industrial Revolution was neither an industry or a revolution. Discuss."

Feel free to swing back by anytime.

— 5-at-10

September 15, 2011 at 6:04 p.m.
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