published Thursday, December 20th, 2012

5-at-10: More bowl picks, and a Steve Taneyhill Mount Rushmore (no it's not a mullet)

Heading into the holidays, we're pretty stoked. We still have a spot open in Friday's mailbag, and since we'll be in and out of the office a bunch next week, we're always looking for some top five lists to fill the void.

Thoughts?

While you ponder, let's get to it. From the "Talks too much" studios, time to make the doughnuts.

Fab 4 picks

We're ready for round two of the bowl picks. As you know, we're committed to picking every bowl game, and we're going to do it against the spread. Remember that gambling is illegal at Bushwood and we never slice, so these are for entertainment purposes only (wink, wink).

The Fab 4 picks were 51-21-2 during the regular season against the spread — that's a load of extra holiday entertainment for those that followed along. We started 2-1 in bowl picks last Saturday. Let's do work.

  • photo
    Brigham Young running back Jamaal Williams (21) outruns Georgia Tech defenders Quayshawn Nealy (54) and cornerback Louis Young (8) for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Atlanta, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BYU vs. San Diego under the 48.5: This game hinges around which team can do best what it does best. San Diego State runs the ball; BYU has allowed more than 120 yards rushing only once this season (and that was to Notre Dame, and if memory serves, Notre Dame was pretty good this year). So, while we'll begrudgingly take the Cougars (and buy the half down to -2.5) we like a quick-moving, run-alot slugfest. Somewhere in the 20-17 ballpark.

Ball State plus-7.5 over UCF: Ball State was a better play that we realized this year. The Cardinals were 9-3 against the spread and 5-1 as an underdog. We also like the under-61 here. There will be some entertainment at stake on this one.

Louisiana-LaFayette minus-4.5 over East Carolina: Not unlike the Utah State pick, the Ragin' Cajuns have been one of the teams we've followed closely this year. Among the highlights for this La-La bunch is the fact that when they win, they pull away, so we'll take the over too. Seven of their eight wins this year were by 13 points or more. This figures to be No. 8.

Boise State vs. Washington under the 45: Washington's turnover troubles make us reluctantly like Washington plus the 5, but the under is the better play here. Plus, the extremely low total of 45 is smack dab in the middle of the "If a line looks too good to be true, it usually is," rule.

————

Storylines of the year

We got some nominations yesterday, but we're still looking for more thoughts on the local sports stories of the year. In this Sunday's paper, the TFP will have a really cool Year in Review that is 32, full-color pages and is pretty outstanding.

Let's open the nominations for local sports awards to the group. And by local we mean stuff in the 150-mile radius from the heart of the 423 — Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, most of the SEC, etc.

Let's discuss (with some of our top picks added):

The overall story of the year — Steven Fox, B.J. Coleman getting drafted by the Packers, Lady Mocs beating Lady Vols, Derek Dooley's crash-and-burn in Knoxville, Chipper's swan song/Braves playoff run/infield fly call

The high school sports story of the year — Ringgold baseball makes inspired run, Ridgeland football falls one game short, East Hamilton football surprises, Clifford Kirk retires/returns, Catherine Neely inducted into national high school sports hall of game

What storyline surprised you the most —

What storyline did you nail — (Personal picks here, but no one nailed a story more than Jomo calling the Vols as a five-win team and saying from the start that Sal Sunseri — SAAALLLLL!!! — was going to be a big disappointment.)

Local sportsman of the year — Fox, Beth Keylon-Randolph, Pat Summitt, Coleman, Joe Smith

Local high school sportsman of the year — Mark Mariakis, Catherine Neely, Hal Lamb, Brent Tucker, Moose McGary.

————

  • photo
    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan works during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Two weeks until the dance

Heading into the penultimate week of the NFL regular season, we have two questions:

First, do you like the word penultimate as much as we do? It's pretty boss.

Second and more importantly, what do we know about the NFL playoffs?

While we can't answer the first one for you we're happy to help with the latter.

In the NFC we know — Atlanta has clinched the South, Green Bay has clinched the North and San Francisco is in the playoffs. The 49ers can clinched the West with one more win and the Falcons can clinch home-field with one more win.

The East is a mess with Dallas, Washington and New York each at 8-6. Seattle is 9-5 and leads the chase for one of the two wildcard spots. Along with the three teams in the East, the Vikings and the Bears also are 8-6.

In the AFC we know — New England has clinched the East, Denver has clinched the West, Houston has clinched the South and Baltimore has clinched a playoff berth. Houston can clinch home-field advantage with one more win

The Colts are in with one more win and the Bengals can clinch a spot by beating the Steelers on Sunday.

We know more than we did and we know that ultimate answers will not be found on the penultimate weekend. (Sorry Spy, had to go for one more.)

———

This and that

— Duke is pretty salty. Newly minted as the nation's No. 1 team, the Blue Devils are experienced and deep — two luxuries that are more and more rare in today's college basketball.

— From the "No duh" department, what do you make of this headline: "Jets to try to trade Sanchez." Was your first reaction, "Who wants that guy?" or "Good luck with that."

— We were able to swing by SportTalk for an hour Wednesday and had a blast as usual. Someone called and try to make a case that Sal Sunseri — SAAALLLLL!!! — was a good coach who was getting bum rap for the Vols' struggles this past season. Well, OK. That may be true, but whatever the case, coaches and quarterbacks get the credit for success and the blame for failure. And as Meyer Lansky said, "This is the business we have chosen."

— From the files of sometimes a change does everyone some good, look at the UT offensive line situation from the last 18 months. Sam Pittman did work for the Vols in 2012, turning one of the team's struggling areas into a strength after taking over for Harry Hiestand. As for Hiestand, who was much-maligned during his two years in Knoxville, well, he's had some success this year coaching the improved offensive line for Notre Dame. (Seems that we read somewhere Notre Dame was having a pretty good year. We need to look into that.)

————

Today's question

We're still looking for your favorite Christmas songs in this year's bracket. Whatcha' got?

Also, there was an interesting point someone made on The Twitter last night. Sean Price threw out there: "Brittney Griner must be 30 by now," and we realized Griner, the Baylor all-world basketball star, has moved into contention for the Stan White/Steve Taneyhill Mount Rushmore of college athletes who played for what seemed like 14 years.

Who else would you like to nominate for consideration? It felt like Eric Zeier was at Georgia from 1992 to 2001 before giving way to David Greene who just graduated. Allan Houston played basketball for the Vols for roughly 12 seasons. Others?

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.
orangeguy said...

Kentucky QB in an LB's body, Jared Lorenzen. Thought that guy would never go away.

Favorite Christmas song this year is Run, Run Rudolph. All-timer has to be Joy to the World. Least favorite Silent Night. A woman having a baby in an occupied barn just doesn't strike me as being anywhere close to silent.

December 20, 2012 at 10:25 a.m.
chas9 said...

OG's right. The Pillsbury Throwboy was there forever. So was Tim Couch. And Roark was there a while, but only had one game at QB. And Cobb was a rookie for two years.

And it really, really seems like Catherine Neely was there forever.

I like penultimate when it's used right, which is only about half the time.

ESPN is promoting a show this evening that explains why The Blazers took Bowie over Jordan and the merriment that ensued. And Auburn guy, can you 'splain why some folks pronounce Jordan Jerdan?

jomo for POY.

December 20, 2012 at 10:48 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

considering my sportsman etc picks were rather hasty yesterday, much thought has been given...and in looking at the ideas you posted I would have to say its Steven Fox for sportsman and sports story hands down, it pales in comparison to anything else when it comes to national exposure for the area...In the high school arena I still will stay solid with Ridgeland and Mark Mariakis as the local high school sportsman, the Ringgold story is nice, but they have been a solid contender for several years...in football however with the exception of Calhoun, the last team from the area to play for a state championship was Dalton in 2001...

December 20, 2012 at 10:50 a.m.
tinydancer said...

Too many enjoyable classic Christmas songs to pick just one. However, I will offer a tune written in the last 25 years by Steve Earle. "Nothing But A Child" from the Copperhead Road cd is my favorite "new" Christmas song. Check it out. Just beautiful.

December 20, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, are you feeling okay? There seems to be a whole lot of clinching going on just above.

Has this something to do with your SAAALLLL! (just noticed the 3-4 is embedded, sweet). 10 Ring, you need to work up a bit on this and get on YouTube before the moment passes you by.

Yes, I've heard the announcers coo at the Tennessee line for only giving up 4 or 5 sacks. Still no consistent run game and lots of three throws and out, while opposing SEC defenses are never worn down in 4th, but, of course, the Vols were.

This type of player can help any O Line--TE, Tyler Eifert, RS Junior. (This guy can pancake a dude on one play, hold him close next, then go down the field.)

6'6" 251 pounds

'12 stats: 44 receptions, 624 yards, 4 TD

Not much more to say here except I told #1 if you want to watch a good one with your body type, here he is.

(Mea Culpa, I detest the Irish)

Allan Houston just seemed that long because dad Wade was there. If a coach carries water for a great coach for years and years, he can do that and no more but roll out the balls.

December 20, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Great article today with a lot of good points. For the Stan White/Steve Tanneyhill Mount Rushmore I have two nominations: Onterio McCaleb of your favorite team. Seems like the dude came in with William Andrews and seems like he has been returning kickoffs forever. E J Manuel of Florida State. I think he took over after Charlie Ward. Just in case you did not know but being the sports guy that you are I am sure you do. Andrews and Ward are from the same hometown but different high schools.

December 20, 2012 at 11:04 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Stephen Garcia played QB at South Carolina under Joe Morrison before Spurrier came along, right? And I thought I saw Tom Gugliotta suiting up for NC State still this week?

(Hey, speaking of penultimate - which, yes, is a boss word - I'll throw in a Gugliotta, by the way. I mean, it's no gubernatorial, but .... And yes, I did bring up the speaking of/by the way game at the office yesterday).

December 20, 2012 at 11:12 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Maybe I'm getting burned out from overwork but all I got from today was ::in Charlie Brown grown-up voice:: whaaaa-whaaa-whaaaaaaa SALLLLLLLL!! wha-whaaaaa-whaaaa- whaaaa SAAALLLLL!!! whaaa-whaaa.

Luckily I can salvage a little to throw in (versus throwing-up) my two cents.

Hands down the Steven Fox story is the local highlight piece of the year. While I'm still "burned" the DMN did not pick-up on the story, the fact is I hope to see him dawn that "Power C" cap at the B.N. or the Colonial.

It's all about the math here in the Big D. and the belief is if Dallas can win against New Orleans this Sunday and the Redskins next Sunday, we have the NFC East. Unfortunately, given the injury factor, it's still iffy if we would survive the first round of the playoffs.

Jay, your DMN sections will be going out today when I get off work. I also added one more to the mix. Wednesday's DMN highlighted some of North Texas' future stars that you might be covering 3-5 years from now. ;)

Read from Frierson's scribe that Wes Moore's team was drink'n from the Jusakiyo cursed springs Kool-Aid last night and magically turned into John Shulman's team when splashed with cold water. That's my only explanation for 27.3 percent from the field.. Good grief.

December 20, 2012 at 11:38 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Run JMC —

You jumped to the front of the rely line because the Charlie Brown theme was top notch. Well-played indeed.

And as the father of a 5-year-old who watches Peanuts, the occasional "Good Grief" or "Oh Brother" hits us where we live.

Orangeguy —

The real J-Lo was in a double XX Wildcat jersey forever. Our SEC ace David Paschall did a story on him back in the day and J-Load went through like a 12-pack of Mountain Dew a day.

9er —

You say tomato, we'll say Jerdan. Dude coaches that well, he can pronounce his name however he wants. And we like Randall Cobb's chances next year as a potential rookie of the year candidate.

OG —

We're leaning toward your view on Mariakis edging out coach Neely.

Tinydancer —

Welcome to the show. Feel free to swing by often, because as Bluto says, "Don't cost nothin'."

And we'll definitely check out Nothing But a Child — we're a fan of Mr. Earle's work. No. 29 is a personal favorite.

FE to the C —

Thanks for the kind words. And no doubt, the TE revolution started by Tony G and expounded by the Gronks and Grahams of the world have made it a great time to be a large, agile dude with soft hands.

747 —

Onterio was on the Plains a while. Sadly, Cam Newton was not.

As for Andrews — loved that dude. Wow he ran hard.

And are you suggesting that there's some pretty good football players from South Georgia? Hush yo mouth.

Spy —

The "By the Way" story is an all-timer.

And NC State hoops must have a special waver. Googs was there for 12 years; Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe played in same backcourt for what, a decade?

Great stuff today gang.

— 5-at-10

December 20, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: You said: And are you suggesting that there's some pretty good football players from South Georgia? Hush yo mouth.

They were two of the three best I had the privilege to see play in person in high school. The other was Stan Rome from Valdosta.

December 20, 2012 at 12:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...

747 —

A South Georgia all-star squad would have done work on a college campus.

You've just delivered us with one of next week's top fives.

Way to go 747.

— 5-at-10

December 20, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I felt like Wayne Chism was at Tennessee forever. Maybe I just remembered him better than others because he wore his headband on the back half of his head but I swore he had about three junior seasons. One, how the heck does that thing stay on there? Two, it's intended purpose is to keep sweat out of your eyes, how is it going to reach it maximum headband efficiency when its only covering the back half of your noggin? Wayne, youre stifling your headbands buddy. Maybe it was the same case as Sir Charles' hypothesis about Lebron, the headband is merely chasing his hairline to the back.

What's the 5-@-10's top five 5-@-10 moments for 2012?

December 20, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

I cut my teeth on the Peanuts at about his age (I have the 8MM footage converted to DVD to prove it). Good times man..good times.

December 20, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.
chas9 said...

Lofton was at Knoxville forever, too. He couldn't miss those long shots against KY.

December 20, 2012 at 2:41 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Denard Robinson at Michigan helped Woodson win a national title. Dude never leaves school....

Wasn't Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame for about a quarter century, too? (Maybe that was just Clausen overload from Tennessee, and the uber-hype he got heading into college.)

Here's one for you- Albert Means. I swear that one of my first words was "Albert Means." About 28 years later, he graduated from Memphis. The problem is that he was in the news so long before he ever played a college snap, that he really WAS around forever. Personally, I think Means may deserve his own personal wing.

Chris Leak may need his own personal wing too.

December 20, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
Todd962 said...

As a fan, Lofton would give you a stroke. He'd be at half court, facing the wrong direction, triple teamed, with four minutes to play, and would throw up a three. You would dog cuss him for being an idiot for shooting the entire time the ball was in the air only to have it go in. "Praise Jebus, he's a genious!!!"

December 20, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Todd962 —

Wayne Chism looked more like Florida Evans from Good Times than any one person should.

And as head-scratching as Wayne's yam-band (part yamaka, part headband) was, we are in full support of Cordarrelle Patterson's cornrow prophylactic — or CP's CP.

JMC —

The boy watched the Great Pumpkin this morning as we typed the 5-at-10 and he pulled on his chocolate milk. Good times indeed.

9er —

Lofton is an inspired call. But your Unforgettables, wow, Pelphrey was drawing a pension by the time he left and Farmer graduated and then joined AARP.

Stuck —

It feels like there was a Clausen playing quarterback for the better part of the last 50 years. From Casey to Jimmy to Ricky (or, as the UT fans in our family call him "Harpo Clausen") it was a river of Clausen.

Not sure how long he actually played at Tennessee, but Gerald Williams was part of something like 12 recruiting classes. Committed out high school, went to prep school. Committed out of prep school, went to junior college. Committed out of junior college and went back. Dude was part of more UT signing classes than Derek Dooley.

— 5-at-10

December 20, 2012 at 2:55 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

No doubt. Lofton was a big and rotuine cause of the "No, No, NO.... good shot. Let's play some D."

December 20, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

From the "what the ..." files:

It appears Nike spokesgirl and Olympic distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton was, um, doing some favors ... in Vegas ... for the right price ... and I don't mean telling folks to hit on 16, stand on 17 and always split your aces.

December 20, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, Sandusky is a clear winner in the poor sportsman of the year. But can Ms. Favor Hamilton be a contestant in the distaff division?

December 20, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Hey, times get tough. I cant imagine a female track athlete is raking in the money. It is the worlds oldest profession and if I had ever found someone willing to pay me I wouldnt be doing what I am today. But alas, no one ever came offering and I often became self employed....

December 20, 2012 at 4:09 p.m.
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