published Friday, December 28th, 2012

5-at-10: Friday's mailbag with ESPN least favs, best of the year and more bowl picks

We're finishing up our vacation, so we're going to move quickly.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go.


  • photo
    Cincinnati's Anthony McClung (6) dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Duke's Anthony Young-Wiseman (21) defends during the first half of the Belk Bowl NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From Fresh Fish

What bowl picks do you like the most? There's no way you would bet on every bowl game, even for entertainment only. So which game coming do you like the best?

Thanks and Happy New Year.


Thanks for stopping by and feel free to stay a while, don't cost nothing.

So far we're 11-7 after going 3-2 on the three games yesterday. Going into today, the game we liked best so far was Duke last night. Yes, the same Duke team that was getting 9.5 points and flopped in the final minute in the worst against the spread beat of the yea. Duke turned a 34-34 game into a 48-34 loss in the kast 44 seconds, including a fluttering interception return for a TD by a defensive lineman to cover the 9.5 spread with 14 seconds left.

This is the least confident the 5-at-10 has felt picking games this season. Sure, everyone rides cycles of entertainment, but Duke measured high on every betting gauge we use. That's why it's called gambling, for entertainment purposes only of course.

We're planning on picking all of the New Year's Day games next Tuesday, so here's what we have until then. And Fish makes a fair point, while we're only four games over .500 in the bowl season compared to the 51-21-2 mark we posted during the regular season, picking every game is not the same as liking every game. During the regular season we'd pick the five best picks from almost a hundred different plays; picking every bowl offers little room for error and less room for selection.

Here are the games we like:

Texas Tech minus-13 over Minnesota — Minnesota is the worst team in these bowls; Texas Tech limped to the finish, but the coaching changeover may actually lift the Red Raiders. The over 56 may be the best play, too.

Syracuse plus-4 over West Virginia and under the 73 — Gang, this is a bet against West Virginia (which, yes, we were on the band wagon for the first six weeks) and the weather. The Orange have one of the nation's most underrated quarterbacks in Ryan Nassib. Also, the forecast for Saturday's kick is 60 percent chance of snow, 15 mph winds and highs in the low 30s.

Oregon State minus-3 (buy the half) over Texas — Want to know which coach has the best bowl winning percentage with more than four trips? Yep, Oregon State's Mike Riley.

La. Monroe minus-7 over Ohio — We've made a lot of entertainment on the Warhawks this fall. And with Kolton Browning healthy, La. Monroe is a tough out. We're scared of the total at 60, so we'd likely go under

Here are the rest of the picks:

Rutgers plus-3 over Virginia Tech (buy the half) and love the under 42

Rice plus-3 over Air Force

Arizona State minus-13 over Navy

TCU minus-2.3 over Michigan State

Vandy minus-7 over NC State (buy the half)

USC minus-9 over Georgia Tech

Iowa State minus-1 over Tulsa

LSU minus-5 over Clemson

(And yes we have decided go against the ACC in force.)


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    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) MGM Television

From Joe S.

Do you think you're funny? When was the last time you weren't sucking up to the SEC?

You'll see when the bowls are done — SEC = Overrated.

Suck it.

Joe S.,

Thanks for stopping by, and OK.

Sorry the Grinch came calling around the Joe S. grounds, but lighten up with the "suck it" talk.

And the SEC may be overrated, properly rated or underrated depending what metric you use. And that's open for debate.

But one thing we hope changes in the coming year and in the future is the default mechanism where if any one today has a differing point of view, rather than debate the merits of each view or even agreeing to disagree, it's straight to the "You're a homer" or "You're biased" or "Suck it."

What happened to dialogue or debate? You say the SEC is overrated Joe, and your supporting statement to back-up that premise is "Suck it." Thanks for adding to the discussion.

Hey, this is our 5-at-10, and banter and differing points of view make it fun. But raising a point and then supporting it with "Suck it" is middle school mockery and stupid. (And while we fully endorse almost all things middle school, including the square pizza, we can't endorse stupid.)

We think the SEC was actually a little underrated this year considering that more than half of the first round will likely come from the country's most talented conference. Does that mean Alabama's going to win next month? Not necessarily, but it's at least a talking point with more value that "Suck it."

Happy New Year.


From several of you,

What were the top five 5-at-10 moments this year?

Gang, it's been a great year, and we'll answer this question in an expanded Monday, end-of-the-year 5-at-10.

As we compile our list, what were some of your favorites?


From StuckinKent

A very quick thought Top 5 ESPNers:

1) Kirk Herbstreit

2) Joe Lunardi

3) Buster Olney

4) Jay Bilas

5) Scott Van Pelt

Honorable Mention: John Gruden, Brad Edwards, Rece Davis, Trent Dilfer, Steve Young, Mike Wilbon....I probably could find some others. Probably leaving some off. I like a lot of guys on ESPN. I like guys that don't annoy me when they talk and sound intelligent when they do, and I am left with, "Huh...hadn't thought of that before." The 5 at 10 does this as well....even when I argue with him, I feel like the discussion is enlightening.

Bottom 5 ESPNers:

1) Skip Bayless

2) Stephen A. Smith

3) Colin Cowherd

4) Trevor Matich

5) Jesse Palmer

Honorable Mention: Mark May, Robert Smith

Hmmm....lots of college football guys on the Bottom Five. Not sure if that's accurate. Probably some NFL guys or college basketball guys belong on this list, but I can't think of any off the top of my head that I really can't stand. Really after number three, it is not that big of a deal. And, strangely, I listen to Cowherd a lot. But he grates on my nerves....When I hear him talk (and a lot of guys on this list), I think, "Huh? I have six reasons that you are completely wrong and that's right off the top of my head!" Then when people disagree with him, Cowherd calls them "looney," even when he is proven wrong. Such as his constant argument this year that USC was the best team in college football, despite growing evidence to the contrary from early on in the year. He admitted he was wrong in about a two minute spill, but spent months mocking people who thought that their lack of depth could be a problem. Bayless and Stephen A. I try to turn off if I see them....


Fair point. We listed our top ESPNers on Thursday, so let's do our bottom five right now.

Skip Bayless is the Bizarro Nick Saban when it comes to ESPN folks. He's simply awful and there may be debating who is the ultimate worst, but Bayless is so bad everyone has to acknowledge his badness.

1) Bayless

2) Chris Berman

3) Stuart Scott

4) Brent Musberger (sorry we think he's atrocious and it gets magnified because he does a lot of big games)

5) Lee Corso, Mike Ditka, Lou Holtz, Bob Knight, et al. (being a cartoon character is OK, but lets at least pretend we're going to do a little research)

Bonus: Thing we'd change first — ESPN is the center of the college football world, yet other than Rece Davis, the college football wrap up show is junk.

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.
JonathanMCook said...

I saw where someone forgot to open the cyber front door this morning. Luckily, I had this all on Wordpad for a copy/paste.

I knew eventually Russ would eventually have to play coaching musical chairs since rarely does a head coach keep the same staff for two, much less three seasons, but with the recent confirmed departure of Marcus Satterfield (SAAAAAAAAAAATTTT!!!!!), What would Russ need to look for in OC shopping? Obviously it has to be somebody who can eat, sleep, and speak in tongues the spread offense.

December 28, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

In defense of Ten Cup,

Friendly reminder that all over-the-top flames are reserved for Clay's Coloring Book section complete with fashionable Moccasun Bend strait jackets and the "wit and wisdom" of David Cook (no relation; but we did go to high school together).

Removing the Bowl factor, regardless if the SEC is over-rated or under-rated, the paper this stems from is in the heart of SEC country. Just like where I live is the heart of Big 12 country. Dallas is really more a pro team town than anything but that's another topic for another day. We talk, love, loath the SEC because the core readership regardless of current location is going to gravitate more to that because that is what is in the region. I agree with Jay, highlight your points. We may not agree with them, but we will respect them..guaranteed.

December 28, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.
Blueoval said...

Totally agree with your bottome five EPSNers....especially Berman, Scott and Holtz. Musberger was ok back in the day but he needs to turn in his mic.

I wish Joe S would have made some points but at least it was a short post. Wowzer!

December 28, 2012 at 12:33 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

See- I grew up loving Chris Berman, so I have a hard time hating him now, even though he has clearly gotten worse with age.

Holtz and Corso, while not particularly good, entertain me. So I don't mind them. I understand why they annoy people, though. Mark May is the WORST to me. Can't stand that guy. He may need to move up to #3 or #4 on my list, because I really don't like him. Trevor Matich's expressions and way he talks just drives me nuts. Jesse Palmer is pretty similar to that, although his facial expressions don't annoy me as much.

I don't get why everyone hates Musberger so much. I don't love him or anything, but I don't think he's terrible.

Stuart Scott can annoy me, but he's really just a caricature of himself now. So he doesn't really bother me too bad. But I get why he does annoy people.

Ditka I have no feelings on one way or the other.

I almost included Bob Knight on my dislike list, but then didn't. So I am pretty close to agreeing with you on this. He just doesn't bring a lot to the table.

December 28, 2012 at 1:22 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The less ESPN I watch, the better I feel. I don't even watch sportscenter that much anymore.

Don't you think jay crawford is glad to be on midday sportscenter and away from drip bayless and screamin' a smith, not to mention the worthless rob parker?

December 28, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[Friendly reminder that all over-the-top flames are reserved for Clay's Coloring Book section complete with fashionable Moccasun Bend strait jackets and the "wit and wisdom" of David Cook (no relation; but we did go to high school together).]

Well said, my friend. Browse through Clay's cartoon funhouse one day and you'll feel like you're back on the elementary school playground. Maybe Joe S. would fit in better with those folks.

[Mark May is the WORST to me. Can't stand that guy. He may need to move up to #3 or #4 on my list, because I really don't like him.]

Stuck, I enjoyed your comment about Mark May a month or two ago...I think you said something like, "Mark May is an 6 year old can analyze better than he can." Lol. I totally agree...he's bad.

Sad to see Coach Satt (SAAAAAAAAAAATTTT!!!!!) (nice one, JMC) go, but it really was only a matter of time. And yes, hopefully the new OC is someone who is familiar with this spread that we've been running. The fewer the offensive changes between now and next season, the better.

Looks like the b-ball Mocs have a legit opponent tonight. I'm used to the Mocs getting an easy win the first night of the Classic and then (maybe) a better challenge for the championship. But with the Mocs being undermanned, and seeing that High Point has already beaten two SC schools, the Mocs could find themselves playing in the 4:30 time slot tomorrow if they don't bring their A-game tonight.

December 28, 2012 at 2:28 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

First of all let me say I hope everyone had a GOOD Christmas and I hope we all have a better and happier New Year in 2013.

I think I'm gonna like the new Vols coach, Butch Jones...he seems to radiate confidence...while Dooley didn't...

Joe S. must be a Yankee...EVERYONE knows the SEC is THE toughest conference in the nation...he just can't accept it.At one time this year 5 out of the Top 10 in the nation was an SEC team.

I don't like Mushberger and never about "gushing"!! If you're Bame or Notre Dame he's the man for you....wonder which team he'll be pulling for on Jan. 7th??

December 28, 2012 at 3:03 p.m.
riverman said...

So the Conference that has won the last 6 NCs is, "over-rated?"

That's funny Joe.

December 28, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

My ESPN bottom 5: (1) Lou Holtz (2) Mark May (3) Mark May (4) Lou Holtz (5) tie - Holtz/May

My new ESPN #1: Samantha Steele. Anybody else think she is better than Erin Andrews? (You can define 'better'.)

For entertainment purposes only, wonder what the over/under is for tonight's Mocs BB game. Not the total points, but (1) the reported attendence, and (2) the actual attendence. Remember to factor in the weather and 3 bowl games on TV.

December 28, 2012 at 3:57 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


Regarding your over/under

Announced attendence: 2,234

Actual attendence: 4 (Big Kuhuna, an elderly couple who still thinks Scrappy Moore is the head coach, and that black/Mongolian looking homeless guy who is just sits motionless in one spot in certain parts of the city).

December 28, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...


Great stuff today.

Been a great holiday week.

As for the over/under Billy Scott referenced, we'll say announced 2,250 and actual will be about 1,200 fewer than the crowd at the Best of Preps tournament.

Still looking for moments of the year from you folks.

December 28, 2012 at 4:49 p.m.
BIspy4 said...


Samantha Steele - married to Christian Ponder.

Erin Andrews - still single.

Erin wins.


Do you wish for us to pick our top 5 moments from the year that was the 2012 5 at 10? Do you know how hard that is? It is the gift that continues to give.

December 28, 2012 at 5:49 p.m.
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