published Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

5-at-10: College-mas eve, Medlen going medieval and more

Remember about Friday's mailbag. We have loads to cover.

From the talks too much studios, here we go.


Who else believes this week is moving in Suuuupppppeeeerr Sloooooooowwwwwww motion? It's like being a 9-year-old at Christmas for crying out loud. C'mon games, get here already.

This is the final day of the offseason/preseason, so before we move forward we have to look back. Here are the five biggest offseason decisions that will shape this college football season (which is taking its sweet stinkin' time getting here):

1) Matt Barkley returns to the USC. This is the No. 1 team in the AP poll is the No. 1 team in the AP poll. It's also a huge financial risk, since Barkley would have been no worse than the No. 8 pick, which is where Ryan Tannehill was picked.

2) Tyrann Mathieu is dismissed from LSU. This is not about Mathieu the cornerback — we believe that Mathieu is no better than the fourth-best defender on that stacked LSU defense. This is about Mathieu the kick-returner and Mathieu the playmaker and Mathieu the Honey Badger. Oh sweet Honey Badger, why did you toke what you wanted? Side note: After watching the Honey Badger film that launched a million Youtube hits, could you think of worse pet? Here's our top three worst pets list — alligator, rattlesnake, honey badger.

3) Danny O'Brien picking Wisconsin. The regular Badgers landed another free agent transfer quarterback. Here's an idea Wisconsin coaches: Go recruit and sign a QB that could be the future of the program. Novel, we know, but give it a roll.

4) Da'Rick Rogers takes his talents to Cookeville. The Vols best player admitted that he was unprepared for a couple of tests in Knoxville and was forced to move on. How it affects the fragile emotional state of your Tennessee Vols will depend greatly on how they play in 50 hours in the Georgia Dome.

5) Barrett Jones comes back. We think Barrett Jones is a stud. The Alabama junior was an All-American left tackle last year and won the Outland Trophy. Not only did he skip the NFL draft — where he would have been no worse than a second-round pick — Jones has moved to center to allow super-freaky-deaky talented Cyrus Kounds;fasdjfhalsdkfhasdgfalksdhf to start at left tackle. Wow.


Braves new ace

Hey, who's that 12-year-old with the silly flat-billed cap the Braves have found? Kris Medlen, welcome to the rotation. Please leave your bullpen pass at the front gate — you won't need it for a while.

The Braves rotation has gone through more changes than the Derek Dooley-Da'Rick relationship. The Braves have dealt with injuries to Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hansen and Brandon Beachy. They've dealt with stinky from Jurrjens and Mike Minor. They have closed their eyes and prayed — unless its Friday night of course — in the first inning when Tim Hudson pitches. They won the lottery with scrap-pile salvation Ben Sheets.

And then there's Kris Medlen, who has five of six starts since being promoted from the bullpen in late July. In fact, if Medlen is not the NL pitcher of the month for August, then we need a recount. In five August starts capped by Tuesday's dazzling eight innings in the Braves' 2-0 over San Diego, Medlen is 4-0 and has allowed two earned runs and issued four walks in 35.2 innings. That's an out short of a 0.50 ERA for a month in the big leagues.

Hey, kid, if you get folks out at that rate you can wear your hat any way you choose. Heck, you could even put a propeller on top of the dang thing and no one would care.

Side note: Some times number ring so true. Dan Uggla hit a 400-plus-foot homer last night. In his other three at-bats he struck out.


NFL questions abound

The super spotlight on college football has obscured the looming NFL season. Well, at least it has around these parts — if you spend a good chunk of time on ESPN, you'll see more on the Tebow-Sanchez dynamic than you'll ever need to know, (For two guys that have split reps in three preseason games and have led as many TD drives as you have, they get a ton of face time.)

We are a week from the start of the NFL season, so with those seven days, we're going to countdown our NFL Formidable 5 (which will return as a regular Tuesday feature this season). As you may have guessed, these are the five best teams in the league. Giddy-up.

1) Green Bay. The addition of B.J. Coleman has pushed the Pack over the top. (Seriously, a team this talented that also has the best QB in the league is scary good.)

2) New England. Brady. Bellichick. Two of the game's top five tight ends. Brady's old lady. A defense that has been adding pieces like Rainman working a jigsaw. Bellichick's hoodie. Brady's hair. There's a lot to like about the Patriots. How did Bellichick's hoodie get on this list?

3) Baltimore. There may not be a more talented team across the board. They have sound pieces everywhere, but is quarterback Joe Flacco ready to win it all?

4) San Francisco. Repeat the above sentence and sub-out Alex Smith for Joe Flacco. Heck, these teams are even coach by Harbaughs.

5) Houston. If the Texans stay healthy — a big if for this bunch — there is some serious talent. The defense is deep and balanced, even without Mario Williams. The offense has the best running-back receiver combo in football with Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. Plus, they play in the worst division in football, so a playoff spot is all-but-secured.


This and that

— Want to know how invested our culture is in politics? On this morning — less than 12 hours after several GOP bigwigs took turns hammering the president at the Republican National Connvention — the top five trending topics were Howard Stern, Christina Aguilera, Terrell Owens (shout-out Chattanooga), Katy Perry hair color and Galaxy S III. Gang, no matter you politics, if you don't pay attention and vote, then you have no real reason to complain about it after the fact.

— Who would get a more fair trail: Harvey Updyke (aka tree poisoner) in Auburn or the three guys who were arrested for jumping Wisconsin All-American running back Montee Ball in Madison? Can you get the death penalty for eco-terrorism or beating someone up?

— Matt Kenseth has joined Gibbs racing. Tony Stewart has not thrown a helmet at him recently.

— The closer we get to the start of the NFL season, the more concerned you need to be about replacement officials. Trust us on this.


Today's question

College football is close. It's here; it's all happening.

Who is the one player your team can't afford to lose? Why?

Yes, Johnny Vols Fan, your answer is Tyler Bray, Tyler Bray and Tyler Bray.


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...

Questions for Friday: What IS Ms. Perry's hair color? Do the drapes match the rug? Who's Katy Perry? If Lindsay Lohan hooked up with Young Caulkin, would the parties at their house sound anything like a train wreck?

August 29, 2012 at 11:01 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

My attorney was in San Diego the last couple of days. The court reporter in his depositions offered him seats to last night's Braves-Padres game - 10 rows behind home plate. He couldn't use them. Had an early morning flight out of John Wayne Airport (Best. Airport. Name. Ever.) in Orange County to fly back east.

August 29, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Drapes and rugs? Who are four people that have never been in our kitchen?

Spy —

Same attorney who "knows" people?

Hope all is well. How are your Jackets going to fare against Va-Tech?

— 5-at-10

August 29, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
Stewwie said...

No Denver or NY G-Men in the NFL top 5?? My off-the-cuff top 5 would be Packers, Pats, Broncos, Giants, 49ers.

I can't think of "one guy" that the Mocs can't afford to lose. Obviously, it'd be great to have both QBs stay healthy all season, but if one went down, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I actually thought about putting Nick Pollard's name here, but now the Mocs have Riberio helping out with the kicking. If I had to pick a name though to answer this question, I might go with Wes Dothard. JMC, whatcha got?

August 29, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

A friend of mine here in Dallas who happens to be a stand-up comic once observed (via Facebook) that more people will watch an episode of Honey Boo-Boo than vote. This was followed by comments such as "Idiocracy (reference to a movie on Comedy Central) here we come". and other references to said movie. I can also bring up political discussions with my one friend from Canada who happens to like following American politics (Nutshell on her views: Your Republican Party is slowly destorying your government). She is an active voter in the Canadian elections so she's not some armchair commentator or anything like that.

To answer your question Jay, with Johnny Mocs fan, it would have to be T-Rob on the offense. At this time, I am unable to comment on wide receivers as I have to see who will actually be the next Joel Bradford. Defense would be Wes Dothard. Simply because he has the most experience. I would argue Chris Mayes and Derrick Lott given their SEC-like sizes but having never seen them play (pending this year), I want to see how big an impact they will "literally" have (not just on paper).

Finally you wrote- "Who else believes this week is moving in Suuuupppppeeeerr Sloooooooowwwwwww motion?"

Yep. In fact last night I was comparing Chattanoogas, North Texas, and SMU's schedules and I hit the lottery. I believe the 2nd week of October, UNT plays a Tuesday Night game at home (due to broadcasting from ESPN2), SMU will play a home game the following Thursday, and the Mocs will play Saturday. Also, saw where SMU was hosting A&M this year. Yes, that A&M. Ford Stadium here in Rick Hart country is only slightly larger than Finley dimension-wise. However, they do have close to 40,000 seats. Right now the nose-bleeds are all that is left and they're going for close to $96.50 a pop. O_O

August 29, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, what I don't worry over these replacement referees will still stick it to the Raiders, however, with the present setup, the entire league is now subject to the same arbitrary ham handed calls. NFL sweethearts like Denver and New England getting fair treatment is refreshing and long over due.

The most telling is interim referees have a conference on any call more than five yards destroying the rhythm of the game, while adding minutes of boredom that extends the length of the game.

August 29, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Well, I did send him to Hollywood to deliver a message to Mr. Woltz and to tell him we enjoyed his pictures very much. But I digress.

The Hokies have new running backs and new wide receivers and the Jackets bring back most everybody on defense (of course, when your defense was subpar before and you bring a bunch of folks back, doesn't it make you wonder if they'll be better this time around?).

I like the matchup of the Jackets' offense vs. the Hokies' defense more than I have in a while. Lane Stadium at night is no easy place to play but I like Tech, Georgia's chances, along the lines of 27-20.

I look at both Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern and really, there isn't one person you can put that "they can't lose this guy" label, aside from Manbearpig at GSU (also known as Brent Russell). Both teams are really pretty deep.

August 29, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Slow day today :/

August 29, 2012 at 4:23 p.m.
jomo11 said...

It is a slow day. . . . did Tyler Bray do anything stupid today ?

August 29, 2012 at 4:42 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang —

We got covered up 12 ways from Sunday.


Mocs can't lose in our mind is Josh Williams (although Wes Dothard is close).

UT's is Tyler Bray.

Alabama's is AJ McCarron (with Robert Lester ranking a very close second.)

Georgia's easily Aaron Murray (without him they go from a title contender to holding on).

Auburn's... well, not so certain really. May not have one, which is good and bad.

Stewwie —

Giants got hot; we're unsure about Manning (we believe he'll be good, but you never can tell what type of adjustment time it's going to take.)

Spy —

We love your boy PJ. We love the triple option. We love Va Tech's defense more. And after the Hokies' slow start last year, here's saying Bud Foster has spent a large part of the offseason working with those nine returning starters on stopping the option. 27-13 Hokies.

— 5-at-10

August 29, 2012 at 8:13 p.m.
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