published Monday, December 10th, 2012

5-at-10: Coach search conclusion, un-Lucky Titans, Bowl contest

From the “Talks too much” studios, let’s do work.

Coach search reflection

We can close the book on the coach-hiring craziness that was the last 20-plus days. It was a roller coaster that left four SEC schools with new coaches, and four fan bases looking around wondering who will fill out the staffs and who will recruit well and on and on.

In the end the only answer we have as college football fans is hope. We hope these hires turn out. We hope these guys are as good as they say and will do what they say in the introductory news conferences.

"We'll work hard." 

"We'll get back to football."

"We embrace the challenge."   

It's the same song and dance, really, just change out school-colored ties and pre-fabbed one-liners about family or other fan bases.

We had every intention to grade each hire, now that Butch Jones is on board in Knoxville. Instead of figuring where Jones fits in the hierarchy of rankings among Arkansas landing Bret Bielema, Auburn hiring Gus Malzahn and Kentucky getting Mark Stoops, we'll rank the others the same way we ranked jobs:

As Dean Wormer said to Daniel S. Day in his office in the moments before Flounder threw up on him, "All grades incomplete."

That's the only way to look at it. And it doesn't matter what the grade is today — if they win, they'll be loved and if they don't they'll be lambasted; and in the case of Gene Chizik, a lot of each in a matter of 22 months.

That's not to say public perception doesn't matter. It does. In a real and tangible way. The internal perception from a college fan base about their football coach is going to depreciate roughly 5 percent every year. Whether it's this booster that got accidently snubbed or that group of message-board leaders who are weary of the staff, it happens. Some years, it won't be 5 percent. Some years will be more. Some coaches — Saban, Spurrier — are Teflon to the theory, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule.

So if a coach starts with a 100-percent approval rating, and does a good job for a decade — and you'll have to do a good job to keep an SEC job for 10 years — he'll be hovering around the hot-seat button line of a 50-percent approval rating for no other reason than day-to-day depreciation. Is this fair? Of course not. It's just our theory.

Best examples: Fulmer, Richt and Tuberville. Each delivered on grand scales. Each had ups and downs, and each got to right around that 10-year mark and the seat started to warm despite the success and consistency.

Now, if the fan base's approval rating starts at less than 100 percent, the curve begins at a lower point so the drop is quicker and can be happen at bigger chunks, since there are already folks in the "Anti-" camp.

What does this mean as it applies to the four new coaches? Hard to know other than they are faced with huge hurdles and are paid huge sums to clear them. Winning is the ultimate converter of course, regardless of who wanted this guy or that rock star.

You win, you win them over. You lose, you lose your job.

————

  • photo
    Indianapolis Colts' Vick Ballard (33) is chased by Tennessee Titans' Jarius Wynn (79) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Indianapolis.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Titans face rocky future

OK, we want some of the Indy Colts good fortune.

Seriously, how many organizations are going to be able to draft a quarterback like Peyton Manning in the spring of 1998, ride a ridiculously successful run for almost 15 years, part ways as cleanly as possible, only to land the future Peyton Manning in Andrew Luck.

One year of Manning injured mixed in allowed the Colts to land the No. 1 overall pick and draft Luck, who led the Colts by the Tennessee Titans 27-23 on Sunday. It was an outcome that secured the Colts of having a winning season and the Titans of having a losing one. 

With Luck — and with luck — the Colts are primed to make the playoffs. With Luck, the Colts have flipped from 2-14 to 9-4. With Luck — and a slew of first-year players and rookies — the Colts will again be a playoff regular.

This does not just impact the Titans on Sunday. This means the Titans are now looking up at the Colts and the Texans in a just-got-tougher-for-the-next-decade AFC South. 

Plus, with the unknown future of Jake Locker — got to believe that next year will be the "Can he do it?" season — magnifies the stress on an NFL team to answer the most important question in the league: Do you trust your quarterback?

Look at the teams currently in the playoffs (if the season ended today) and their trust meter in regard to their QB:

AFC

1. Houston: Matt Schaub is trustworthy, and the Texans are elite defensively and run the ball better than anyone.

2. Denver : Peyton Manning (duh)

3. New England: Tom Brady (double-duh)

4. Baltimore: Joe Flacco is close to trustworthy.

5. Indy: Andrew Luck (yep)

6. Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger is trustworthy when healthy.

NFC

1. Atlanta: Matt Ryan is extremely trustworthy in the regular season.

2. San Francisco: Neither QB is trustworthy, but this is the league's best defense.

3. Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers (Discount Double duh)

4. New York Giants: Eli Manning (Yep, he's a Manning, so he's a suitor. He's bona fide even.)

5. Seattle: Russell Wilson (who proves trustworthy at every stop despite his doubters)      

6. Chicago: Jay Cutler is not really trustworthy, but again, this is a defense that was elite before a serious of injuries and scored touchdowns at a historic pace.

There are only two teams on this list to draft more than one of the above QBs, and the Colts are staring at a 30-year run with 29 years of quarterback excellence.

Luck indeed.

———— 

Bowl contest

It’s back — the third annual “Bowling in the super bowl of bowl game contest.”

We’ve tweaked the rules a touch — and thanks to those who offered suggestions. We thought about doing a confidence game, but wondered about the time that may take if we get 50-plus entries like we have in recent contests. We thought about trimming the field to like five or six games, but part of this is to give everyone a vested interest in the lesser bowls.

We’ll award two prizes again from this year’s event — first and last. It will likely be some tickets or possibly some BCS title game gear.

The marked point values are what you earn by picking them correctly and what you lose when picked incorrectly. These are straight-up picks, although we’re committed to put the Fab 4 picks on every bowl game again this year. We’ll start that Thursday.

Here we go with the games (and please e-mail your picks to jgreeson@timesfreepress.com rather than putting them in the comments):

1 pointers (selected because we like the funkiness of the names — 5 max)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl — Toledo (9-3) vs. Utah State (10-2)

Poinsettia Bowl — San Diego State (9-3) vs. BYU (7-5)

Beef ’O’ Brady’s Bowl — Ball State (9-3) vs. UCF (9-4)

Fight Hunger Bowl — Arizona State (7-5) vs. Navy (7-4)

Pinstripe Bowl — Syracuse (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)

2 pointers (because they teams are from the South — 8 max)

New Orleans Bowl — East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (7-4)

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl — Central Michigan (6-6) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5)

Belk Bowl — Duke (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3)

Russell Athletic Bowl — Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Rutgers (9-3)

3 pointers (because these look like tough picks — 15 max)

Las Vegas Bowl — Boise State (10-2) vs. Washington (7-5)

Hawaii Bowl — SMU (6-6) vs. Fresno State (9-3)

Alamo Bowl — Texas (8-4) vs. Orgeon State (9-3)

Sun Bowl — Georgia Tech (6-7) vs. Southern Cal (7-5)

Heart of Dallas Bowl — Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)

4 pointers (around the SEC — 32 max)

BBVA Compass Bowl — Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Mississippi (6-6)

Music City Bowl — Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. N.C. State (7-5)

Chick-fil-A Bowl — LSU (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2)

Gator Bowl — Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3)

Capital One Bowl — Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)

Outback Bowl — South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4)

Sugar Bowl — Florida (11-1) vs. Louisville (10-2)

Cotton Bowl — Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)

5 pointers (the rest of the BCS — 15 max)

Rose Bowl — Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)

Orange Bowl — Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Florida State (11-2)

Fiesta Bowl — Kansas State (11-1) vs. Oregon (11-1)

10 pointer (duh — 10 max)

BCS National Championship — Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1)

That’s a potential of 75 points or minus-75 depending on which way you’re heading.

Enjoy, and fire away with any questions. One entry per e-mail address.

————

This and that

— Wow, hats off to the Lady Mocs for winning at Alabama. Well-played indeed. And for those of you scoring at home, the Lady Mocs are 2-0 in the SEC and would be leading the conference by two full games.

— At the other end of the basketball spectrum, it’s your UTC men Mocs. Wow. And the published attendance of roughly 2,300 in Saturday’s loss against Eastern Kentucky was tickets sold/given out/what have you. By all accounts there were less than 1,000 in the Roundhouse. We’ll discuss this more later in the week.

— Hey, want to know someone who had a basketball Saturday as bad as UTC’s men? Check out this free throw from App State's Brian Okum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9M1Ks08cLs. If that's Okum-style, we'll pass. In the words of the WCU radio guy, "I'm not sure what that was. Good Lord."

— Full circle: Allen Iverson is fighting foreclosure in the A-T-L. Dude made $150 million playing basketball — that’s not counting endorsements... Wow.

— We’re still looking for basketball storylines to follow. Any suggestions? We were going to keep an eye on Downtown Patrick Brown’s Memphis Grizz, but any team that can’t beat the Hawks is hardly worth our time.

————

Today's question

It’s a free-for-all Monday. Have at it.

If you need a starting point, we can go here — If you did not watch the “You don’t know Bo” ESPN documentary, you need to make time the next time it airs.

Very well done. Excellent in fact.

The 30-for-30 series — the documentaries ESPN has produced in the last couple of years — have been routinely excellent. Great stuff.

And this one was no exception. What’s your favorite 30-for-30? We’d put this one right up there with The U, the Marcus Dupree one and the Len Bias one. It was excellent. Amazingly, the worst one we can recall was the one about the Alabama-Auburn rivalry.

So it goes.

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.
chas9 said...

OK, but what grade does Cincy get for stealing Tommy Tunes?

December 10, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.
chas9 said...

A week ago UK fell from 8th to 26th in the AP poll, the biggest drop ever. The Cats aren't world beaters now, maybe not among the 25 best, but I thought it odd that in the week following nobody in print or broadcast mentioned they were still ranked in the coaches' poll. Only that they had dropped out of the Top 25. Is that because that's the sexiest pronouncement, or has the Coaches' poll lost its relevance?

December 10, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Was able to catch a majority of the 30 for 30 on Bo after getting home from the Mocs game...Is there any doubt that he is the greatest athlete since Jim Thorpe? Kudos to Ridgeland and a trip to the dome!...is it not so very sad that Tennessee plays their championships in Pettycoat Junction stadium while the rest of the south plays in place like the Georgia Dome, Citrus Bowl, etc.

December 10, 2012 at 10:43 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay,

Good stuff regarding the Coach-O-Meter. Don't forget sometime this week you promised to go into further speculation on my letter from Friday's mailbag.

We should start calling the Lady Mocs the "Fight'n JabberJaws" or "Fight'n Dangerfields". No respect, no respect at all.

I know women's basketball is considered a 2nd tier sport in the eyes of many but the fact the "ahem" WFAA of Chattanooga gives the men's ample coverage of their game with EKU and they can't even hit the broad side of a barn and all the women get is a brief shoutout via a graphic, that's just saddddd saddddd sadddd. Channel 9 couldn't spare one truck? If it was against Samford or a SoCon school, I would understand but anytime the Mocs or the Vols beat Alabama any anything, I want to see it (Just my opinion mind you).

Favorite 30 on 30 is the Marcus Dupree one. Close second, Pony Up. Simply because when I live in a new area, I want to learn everything about it. Good, Bad, or Indifferent. I knew of the SMU scandal prior to moving to Dallas but this helped answer a lot of questions.

December 10, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
Astropig said...

The big,huge,ginormous shocker to this CFB fan was Tuberville leaving a top tier conference for...Cincinnati? A little background: I have spent most of the last two years commuting to and from the Cincy area back home to God's Country on the weekends.Even with a decent team, I never once saw one Bearcats billboard,car flag,ridiculously outfitted superfan or family pet done up in Cincinnati U garb. It's invisible up there. I saw more activity for UK than UC and Kentucky has stunk it up since Rich Brooks left.

So I thought that I was dreaming when I saw that Tubs left football crazy Texas to prowl the sidelines in front of a smaller average crowd (about 25,000) than he had at his spring games at Auburn.And Cincy's stadium is old,moldy and hard to get to. Parking is a hassle.(The Reds have been through 4 stadiums since Nippert Stadium was built in '02-That's 1902)The truth is, Cincinnati is a pro football town. They love the Bengals and tolerate the Bearcats.(This also means that TT won't have nearly as many endorsement dollars to spend. Nobody in Cincinnati cares what pickup truck you drive or which is your favorite brand of pressure treated lumber)

In short, It's kind of sad to see a guy that beat Alabama 6 straight times playing the has been circuit like a one hit rock star.

December 10, 2012 at 11:22 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Also, for those curious, the tragedy that beset the "local football" team down here has been throughly covered. Unfortunately, I was unable to catch the game as Sunday was my only full day off and I needed to finish the last of the Christmas shopping for the parents.

While the Cowboys appear to be limping to the playoffs, tragady be darned, people here do realize they cannot continue this come from behind stuff. You would have liked the sports coverage and commentary from WFAA last night Jay.

At the same time, I have unfortunately haven't followed the Titans due to said "anti-luck" until further notice.

December 10, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Completely remiss on our part not to mention Tubs.

All things considered — that's the best hire of the offseason in our mind. Well, it is until Arkansas State hires Bobby Petrino and goes nuclear on the Sun Belt.

As for your Cats. Everyone like to take shots at the big boys. It's like LeBron and the Heatles or the Yankees.

OG —

No, there's no debate about being the best since Thorpe, and likely the best ever.

And yes, big ups to Ridgeland (what a game) and Calhoun. According to TFP preps ace Stephen Hargis, Alabama sent Lance Thompson and a late-arriving Kirby Smart to Ridgeland to watch Vonn Bell play.

And someone explain to us how Darrell Bridges is not being recruited more highly?

JMC —

The Pony Express one was excellent, no doubt.

— 5-at-10

December 10, 2012 at 11:42 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

So ... it's been confirmed that Gruden will not be coaching at UT next year? What's wrong with him?

Boxing needed a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight to hang on to whatever shred of relevancy it has left. It did not need Pacquiao getting knocked on his keester Saturday night. Too bad I missed that fight, because I heard it was good. I was too busy watching the replay of Old Dominion football mastermind Bobby Wilder choking away a two-touchdown lead in the second half to lose by two TDs to ... well, come on, you knew this was coming ... your Georgia Southern Eagles!!! Got a ton of breaks in that game and cashed em all in.

The 30 for 30s have been very good and the one about soccer in Colombia and the cartels I thought was riveting. Unbelievably good and held my attention for two hours about soccer. I pay scant attention to ESPN's programming, other than actual live games, anymore, but the 30 for 30s have been outstanding.

Cincinnati's a great town. Maybe Tubs just wanted some Aglemisas Ice Cream? I prefer Clumpie's, but it's pretty good in its own right.

December 10, 2012 at 11:43 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Astro —

We think Tubs decision to head to the Skyline Chili capital of the world is a huge indictment about the mess than is Texas Tech.

Wonder if UC fans think they traded up?

You're right, there will be some culture shock, but wow, Cincy landed a big name. And it allowed Kentucky to get Neal Brown as its OC. Winners all around.

JMC —

The Cowboys' stuff was sad on a life level that goes way beyond scoreboards and backboards.

Spy —

Let's go Eagles! Clap-Clap; clap-clap.

The soccer 30-for-30 was another great one.

What's this boxing thing to which you refer? We see no boy here.

— 5-at-10

December 10, 2012 at 11:52 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JG - The story is that Bridge's 40 time is a tick slow at 4.7...although I know for "fact" that Ohio State as said if they needed a RB they would take him, but the coach that has been recruiting Bell has been contacting his compadres at other schools telling them about the best back in this area

December 10, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.
Astropig said...

"Cincinnati's a great town. Maybe Tubs just wanted some Aglemisas Ice Cream?"

...Or a cold Hudepohl?

I don't know about the great town part.Maybe I'm spoiled by the natural beauty around here,but to me Cincinnati looks grimy,old,worn out. There are parts of town that are nice of course,but for the most part, what you see from the car is an industrial town that has seen better days. That said, the Great American Ballpark (Reds) is top notch and the Bengals stadium is still thoroughly modern and clean (Possibly because it fronts the Ohio River.The neighborhood around it won't turn into Mogadishu anytime soon). The people are interesting. They are not really southerners,but they can see them from where they live.From where I sat,the overwhelming majority are Ohio State fans.Cincinnati U has the same position there as our Mocs do here when they are marketing against UT.

December 10, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.
John_Proctor said...

Jayster:

Happen to catch the Bo episode of 30 on 30 Saturday and it sure brought back some memories for me. "Bo over the top" from the 1982 Iron Bowl has to be one of my greatest memories EVER. I'm sure as an Aubie guy those plays mean more to you.

I second every thing you said about 30 on 30. The episode about the Ole Miss team of 1962, playing out against the background of the Meredith riots is an example of television documentary reporting at its best.

December 10, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: I agree with you about Tubs. I believe he is there for the Skyline Chili Dogs which are second best to the Varsity. Kirby Smart and Mike Bobo were seen on TV at the Norcross-Colquitt County game scouting the running back from Norcross. Glad to see Ridgeland win one for the locals even though they had to sweat out the field goal attempt to beat the hated Marist War Eagles. Any time Marist is involved it usually goes down to the wire. I have had the privildge to seem them several times against my high school Thomas County Central down in South Georgia. I am glad to FINALLY see the Johnny Vols get a coach so they quit their crying and forget about Gruden. I believe they got a good one.

December 10, 2012 at 12:32 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

yes, 5, boxing is about to go the way of the African Anteater Dance.

December 10, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Astro-

Nice "local" observation from your current locale regarding the "missing" Bearcat fans. Near identical discription of North Texas. I will occasionally see either a UNT sticker or decal on the back of a car and the occasional young person wearing a Mean Green T-Shirt but zero love outside of the Denton perameter. SMU does get a few highway billboards and Ft. Worth does bleed purple. Thanks to LA-Monroe's "giant killer" status (its debatable), I saw a lot more Warhawk maroon and gold floating around my most recent stop-over then in years past. Most of the population appears to still appears to be dirt-loyal to LSU the same way Chat-Town is to the Vols but still...

WarHawks even got an endorsement deal from Raising Cane's* complete with their own ULM tailgate pack.

*Carbon copy of "Zaxby's" in the Louisiana, Texas, and Nevada markets.

December 10, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Couple more, 5, before I have to get back to work.

Nice piece by Weeds on Apyan's take on Coach Jones. Good job to find that local connection and then write something only the lovely and talented Weeds could do.

Petrino to Western Kentucky? I guess we have our winner in the "first school to sell its principles" lottery.

December 10, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.
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