published Thursday, August 16th, 2012

5-at-10: College coaching ninjas, Melky's little helper and celebrating The King

We're starting to see the light at the end of the football preview sections tunnel and we believe it's not a train. We're a lot tired, a little slappy and a touch punch drunk. But we're here, without fear, get used to it.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's go.

Hi Karate chop

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    Alabama coach Nick Saban gestures during NCAA college football practice Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We have tossed out a couple of great early college football lists.

Wait, rewind, let's fill everyone in. From now to the start of college football season, we're going to offer a top five list every day. It's our personal duty as we speed headlong into the best sports time of the year.

Tuesday was the top five Heisman finalists. Wednesday was the top five pirates among today's college football coaches. Today, we're taking a cue from Todd962 and listing the top five ninjas among college football coaches.

1) Nick Saban, Alabama: Dude is a bad man. Chief among the qualities of ninjas everywhere are secrecy and espionage. And Saban is flush in secrecy. Think of it this way: As much success as Saban has had at Alabama and all the attention and focus that has created, can you name one thing about Saban personally other than he likes Oatmeal Creme Pies? (And to be fair, we would feel pretty safe saying that about anyone because they are that good. Gandhi? He had to love Oatmeal Creme Pies. Babe Ruth? No doubt. Osama bin Laden? No, probably hated OCPs, but that man was evil, so that makes sense.... where were we?)

2) Urban Meyer, THE Ohio State: We're not sold on Meyer as the genius coach that most in the media (i.e. ESPN) believe him to be. His success has been generated by having the No. 1 overall NFL pick at a mid-major program and the single best college football player since Herschel Walker. That said, Meyer has the ninja vibe and when you make career decisions that stun your family, well, that's ninja.

3) James Franklin, Vandy: OK, dude is not as quiet and behind-the-scenes as a normal ninja. Still, Franklin is making waves at Vandy — not exactly a common occurrence — so he has to have some tricks up his sleeve. And he is working some magic on the recruiting trail (we don't believe Vandy's out of it for Vonn Bell) and at Vandy that screams ninja.

4) Steve Sarkisian, Washington: Dude can coach. Really. And he's got the Huskies on the verge of making a run. In fact, when the Huskies win 10 games and Sarkisian is offered a big-boy job and half the country asks, "Who's Steve Sarkisian?" the answer is ninja.

5) Les Miles, LSU: We think Les should make every list if for no other reason than we get to quote Les. In fact, he may have been looking for some secret agent/ninja help a couple years ago when he was asked how to stop Auburn terror Cam Newton. “If I could have a spy no one could see, a guy on the field that didn’t count, that would be a great answer.” God bless Les Miles.

That explains everything

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    This June 5, 2012 file photo shows San Francisco Giants' Melky Cabrera reacting after striking out during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego. Cabrera has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for testosterone. The commissioner's office says the suspension is effective immediately. Major League Baseball said on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, that Cabrera tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance, which violates MLB's joint drug prevention and treatment program.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

OK, we may not have talked about it before, but raise your hand if you were stunned by Melky Cabrera's stunning succes the last 18 months.

Dude was a fourth outfielder with the Yankees and came to Atlanta and became a bitter teammate that lead the free world in wasted at-bats and ground outs with two outs and runners on first and third.

Then he goes to K.C. and starts hitting. That could have been blind squirrel stuff or just being the best player on the Royals, which means a river of facing mediocre pitchers and no one caring because you're the best player on the Royals.

But through August, Cabrera has been right there with Andrew McCutchen as the frontrunner for the NL MVP. How? Dude went from fireplace mantle to Mickey Mantle in the blink of an eye... or the cycle of a steroid.

Cabrera was suspended 50 games Wednesday for testing positive for testosterone. The Giants have 44 games left in the regular season and Cabrera's suspension would carry into the playoffs if the Giants advance.

And while ninjas would not use steroids — and if they did, they certainly would not get caught — maybe it's something in the water in the Giants clubhouse.

Around college football

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    Georgia State NCAA college football coach Bill Curry talks to reporters at a news conference where he announced that he will retire after this season, in Atlanta, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Lots going on in the college football world. Let's survey:

— Bill Curry announced his decision to retire at the end of the season. Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has a great view on Curry. And know this, Curry is a real champion. Seriously. That guy is just a fine and respectable human being.

— Lane Kiffin has yielded his vote in the coaches' poll after the dust up whether he did or didn't vote his USC Trojans No. 1 (he did). Now Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is weighing in. Whatever.

— Apparently, 20 schools contacted LSU to see if the Honey Badger needed a new home. Tyrann Mathieu likely will announce his transfer plans in the next day or so after meeting with Les Miles, who told him to move along and get on with getting on.

— Reggie Bush returned his Heisman.

Can you feel it? We're close. Really close.

This and that

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    Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez hugs manager Eric Wedge after Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, in Seattle.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— OK, they've been playing baseball for a while, right? And there have only been 23 perfect games in big league history after King Felix Hernandez threw a gem for the Mariners on Wednesday. That seems crazy, no? And how about the fact that there's been three this season and six since the middle of 2009? That's more than 25 percent of the perfect games ever in the last three years. Nuts. Ninja.

— Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will miss some time with a spleen injury. Here's hoping he's ready for the opener. Witten's a good dude.

— The U.S. men's soccer team won in Mexico for the first time ever. This would be like the Mexican national hot-dog eating champion coming into Coney Island and beating Joey Chestnut. Huge upset. (What's that? Did we watch it? Of course not, it's soccer, but hey, we're all about U-S-A! U-S-A!)

— The Braves punched the Padres in the halo. And from the files of "Ninjas doing work," how about that Paul Maholm? After Ryan Dempster was unwilling to come to the A-T-L, the Braves landed Maholm, who has allowed one run in his last 16 innings over his last two starts — both wins — for your Braves. As for Dempster, well, he's been very un-ninja like with Texas.

— We're planning on chatting with Chris Goforth today around 2 p.m. on The Show on 1370 AM today.

Today's question

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    Elvis on the set of 1962's "Ninjas! Ninjas! Ninjas!"

Elvis died 35 years ago today.

With today's question you have three options as we tip our visor to the man known as the King:

Who's on your Mount Rushmore of individual music acts of all time? (We'll take Elvis, the Boss, Michael Jackson and Zamfir — one of those is a joke of course... we'd never pick MJ.)

Was Elvis a ninja? (We say overwhelmingly yes for Young Elvis and so-so on Vegas Elvis.)

Peanut and banana sandwiches: Friend or foe? (We'd say friend but view them more as an acquaintance.)

Discuss, and happy birthday to the Mrs. 5-at-10 today. And yes, if you're scoring at your home computer, the Mrs. 5-at-10 has her birthday and our anniversary right in the middle of the craziness that is football preview time. She's aces.

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.
chas9 said...

So this guy comes around the corner, grabs the checkout clerk and asks her how much she'd charge to spend the night at his house while his wife is gone. This is a technique that rarely succeeds. Spy, if you were the guy, you need to work on your pick up lines.

In case anybody cares, Jorts was cut off at the knees by the Rockets yesterday.

Also yesterday I'm guessing Todd & JMC's happy hour started around 3:00. Not that there's anything wrong with that. So I looked up JMC's favorite singer. I like to expand myself. I gotta say the All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku is interesting, but her wikipedia bio is a big yawn. Who cares what high school clubs she was in? But Todd's funny and the montage motif is worth exploring.

And my Rushmore of 5@10-stock bands would be Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Doors, and The Stones. Not that there's anything wrong with The Beatles.

August 16, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We full embrace 3 p.m. Happy Hours. Fully and without reservation.

And more props to the web team for the Elvis Ninja. Well-played indeed.

— 5-at-10

August 16, 2012 at 10:36 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

But what about Sonny and Red? Again. I digress.

The solo musical act Rushmore is...

Elvis. No doubt.

Yeah, I go Michael Jackson. "Off The Wall" is a seriously underrated album. Really. Stop looking at me like that.

Springsteen. Dude is 62 and just did a 30-song set and a 29-song set in back-to-back nights at Fenway Park.

And to cap off the Rushmore ... there can be only one ...

Francis. Albert. Sinatra.

August 16, 2012 at 10:58 a.m.
chas9 said...

Here's how to do the peanut butter and nanner sammich. Use crunchy Peter Pan, slice the nanners longitudinally and use whole wheat multigrain bread. (Yes, I did just say that.) Be careful not to get any of the sequins off your jumpsuit into the mix.

August 16, 2012 at 11:12 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Elvis and MJ for sure. Then I'd go with Justin Timberlake (dude is talented, hilarious, and born to perform). Stevie Wonder gets the other spot on the Rushmore.

Judging from the looks of that picture, I'd say that Elvis was definitely a ninja.

Foe to a peanut butter and banana sandwich. However, you only wrote "peanut and banana sandwiches" in your question. That might be interesting, but good luck keeping the nuts from spilling into your lap.

Happy birthday, Mrs. 5-at-10.

August 16, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Chas, your suspicions arent so far off sometimes. People at work didnt even know I drank until I came in sober that one time.

Jay, I need some clarification on what an individual act is going to be defined as. Cause if the Boss is on here, Max Weinberg and the rest of the East Street Band are gonna need some splainin'. Put Sir Elton John in there, yeah I said it. That scarf slinging, bedazzled suit wearing, fruit cake knight could play the piano. Not that theres anything wrong with bedazzling your clothes...ok there is. Once you are no longer a 10 year old girl you dont need rubies on your jeans.

Can ninjas catch colds? Yes, but the ninja must be very quick to grap onto the cold's tiny little wings.

And a tip of the hat to the web team. Yesterday they seamlessly integrated the Chattanooga Aquarium into a upstate New York field of hippies.

And wasnt Elvis a fan of the Fool's gold Sandwich. Loaf of french bread stuffed with a jar of peanut butter, jar of jelly, and a pound of bacon. A heart attack you say? Shocking.

August 16, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...


She also a very talented voice actress. Her flagship character being the voice of Lina Inverse on Slayers (Lisa Ortiz [whom I personally know] does the character's English voice excluding the OVAs) She also sings the opening theme to all three seasons and a variety of other anime opening theme songs.

Glad you did your homework though.

Also, my happy hour actually starts around 8:00 PM Central Time. My primary weapon of choice being Rebecca Creek which I believe is not even sold in Chattanooga yet. Rumor has it though Chattanooga Whiskey is suppose to hit the North Texas market around 2014.

August 16, 2012 at 12:14 p.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Bill Curry is a Gentleman and a Scholar where as Jim Donnan is a Ponzi. My Mount Rushmore would be The Boss, Elvis, Billy Joel and in a different direction Kenny Chesney. As for Ninja's I believe the Evil Genius could go that way also if Miles does double duty also.

August 16, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
chas9 said...

Happy Birthday Mrs. Fiver. If you're half as good as Jay says you are, you must be real special. In honor of your birthday, here's an insight into the distaff view of sports (Olympics style).

I know we've moved on, but here's a final Olympics point. Most of what we (guys) complain about owes to who NBC sees as their target demographic. Which is to say women. That's why there's so much dressage, tennis, rowing, swimming, diving, water polo, gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, ribbon gymnastics, fill in the blank gymnastics and almost no boxing, weight lifting, wrestling, judo, etc. Lots of graceful, aesthetic stuff, not much pummeling, even though the original games were showcases for fighting skills. It's also why the cameras love teary moments, melodramatic redemption stories, and sugary commentary. Most Olympics viewers are ladies.

And that's all the more reason to celebrate Mrs. 5/10. Apparently she also enjoys the manly, sweaty, grunting sports, too. Guys, if you find one like her, you better grab her.

And Todd's right about the glitter. I say ban the glitter from all Olympics uniforms.

August 16, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Mt Rushmore...

Bob Dylan...Jimi Hendrix...Elvis...Clapton (back in the old days when his music had "marbles" (borrowed from Major League Two)

August 16, 2012 at 12:24 p.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--I'd like to meet Rebecca Creek. Maybe take her down by the riverside. Does she pair well with that great North Texas brisquet?

Sir Elton is great. And if you think he dresses outlandishly, he's bespoke Saville Row compared to Liberace. You shoulda seen him. And his cockatoo.

August 16, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

chas9- It does.

August 16, 2012 at 12:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

We thought about Frankie Blue Eyes. We concur. He or Zamfir, Zamfir or Frank, hmmmm.

Side question, how do you rank the following in terms of quality nicknames: Baseball players, musical acts or mobsters? Discuss.

9er (aka Rachel Ray) —

Don't boss us about where we put our sequins.

Stew got what we need —

We were about to heckle you about the Timberlake pick, but in truth, dude has some serious skills. Bieber tries to be like Usher; the quirt should try to be the next JT.

And thanks for the well wishes about not spilling our nuts. Wait....

962 —

When did Elton stop being a 10-year-old girl? Seriously, dude/dudette (not that there's anything wrong with that) is world-class talented.

Your joke reminded us of the scene in Three Amigos where they see the mail plane and someones asks how they know it's a mail plane...

As for the Fool's Gold sammaich, we just gained three pounds reading about the dang thing. Stunning how Elvis put on so much weight there at the end. (Side note: Young Elvis was rolling. Dude saw more tail than a rental car.)

Run-JMC —

Rebecca Creek, huh? We'll give any whiskey a whirl once. The leader in our clubhouse right now is Crown XR — but that stuff is quite pricey.

747 —

Chesney's show is stellar. Fun time had by all. Great call on the Curry/Donnan dichotomy. For those that have not heard, the real SEC claims Donnan defrauded folks of more than $80 million in his ponzi scheme. (Side note: Why is it a Ponzi scheme? Did Andy Williams and Henry Winkler — the guys that played Potsey and Fonzi in Happy Days — come up with the first one?

— 5-at-10

August 16, 2012 at 12:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Great insight on the Olympics. well-played. And did you just reference Liberace's cockatoo?

Run-JMC —

Is there anything that does not go well with North Texas brisquet?

OG —

Clapton is a sound choice. Quite clear you have utmost respect for those that can play the guitar.

— 5-at-10

August 16, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, although, colleagues here have made some inspired choices (Sinatra and Elton John), there's some Titans of the industry who enjoy first rank stature and thus can be mentioned in the same breath as the King.

These picks are...Elvis, James Brown, Madonna and Bob Dylan.

As for Bill Curry, my belief after watching his show on Sundays was he talked himself out of a job, in part, by talking down to Bama fans.

In response to your question to Spy, baseball seems the most fertile ground for nicknames starting with Babe Ruth. Then there's the more modern "Space Man" Bill Lee. What about the Splendid Splinter, Stan "The Man" Musual, "Hoot" Gibson, "The Mad Hungarian" Al Hrabosky, Hammering Hank. Yep, baseball is fertile ground.

August 16, 2012 at 12:54 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I might have gone with Dylan, but frankly, his shows can be uneven. Great one night, what was that the next.

Nickname quality ... I go mobsters first. The Teflon Don. Steve "The Rifleman" Flemmi (a Boston mobster and a first-rate human piece of crap). "Lucky" Luciano. "Bugsy." (the nickname. Not the movie. No.)

I go ballplayers at No. 2. Cool Papa Bell. The Iron Horse. The Sultan of Swat. The Hammer. The Mad Hungarian.

August 16, 2012 at 1:24 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I think I would have to go with Mafia names. They have 10 different names for one guy and it actually carries a purpose. Different names protecting their identity over the wire and helping people identify what may happen to you if you are around them. "Oooo, thats Franky the Arm Ripper Off'er. He'll rip your arms off. Be careful" or "No worries, thats Tony the Tulip tote'r. He's just here to deliver some flowers. That was a close one."

Baseball people get crazy nick names because some announcer didnt take his adderrall and has diarrhea of the mouth. Boxers or fighters in general get some pretty crazy combo name action going from time to time. But I think mafia rules.

August 16, 2012 at 1:32 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay - i dont guess you can wear orange pants i.e. Dooley and strike any fear as a ninja ? . . . just not very intimidated and hard to sneak up on somebody with those god-awful britches

August 16, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Wow, can't believe it took this long to mention Madonna. She changed the game, no doubt. She and Michael used MTV to go from recording artist to icon.

As for Curry, we can see that. We also know he — and Steve Sloan for that matter — had no chance on the Capstone when they agreed to playing the Iron Bowl in Auburn.

Spy and 962 —

We started with mobsters, too, but it's way closer than we thought.

The mobsters have a huge edge in that their names are colorful and more times than not 100 percent true.

Some dude know as "Clubber" more than likely clubbed some one with an actual club.

But let's just take the cream of the crop and look at the three that come to mind:

Gangsters — Sam "Golf Bag" Hunt, a hit man for Capone that carried his weapons in a golf bag; Baby Face Nelson, who despite the name was a nut job that enjoyed killing folks; Bugsy Siegel; Scarface Capone; Machine Gun Kelly.

Baseball — Babe, Cool Papa, Iron Horse, Big Train, Splendid Splinter, Three Finger Brown (although that sounds very gangster), Catfish, Mr. October.

Musicians — Boss, King, King of Pop, Chairman of the Board, the Godfather of Soul/Hardest working man in show business, The man in black, Motor City mad man.

— 5-at-10

August 16, 2012 at 2:55 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

Ninjas can wear any color.

Dooley's first two years in orange however are very un-ninja.

Huesman has a little ninja about him, though.

— 5-at-10

August 16, 2012 at 2:59 p.m.
chas9 said...

For tomorrow: Who are the Bernie Madoffs of the college coaching world?

Or maybe who are the Barnum and Baileys of the coaching fraternity?

August 16, 2012 at 3:25 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Huesman does indeed have a little ninja about him. Dude has his game face on 24/7. On the football field, at the Moc Walk, in the Arena concourse during b-ball season...he's always focused. I get the feeling that he's kind of like Chuck Norris...he doesn't sleep, he waits.

August 16, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.
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