published Monday, January 30th, 2012

5 at 10: Super Bowl, Tiger Woods and National Signing Day

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



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    New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts on the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. The Patriots won 49-21 to clinch the number one seed in the AFC. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

NFL

We're going to breakdown the Super Bowl daily between now and Thursday. We've decided to follow a formula to help Weena understand our points and to make it easier for conversation. (Hey, as Linda Richman would say, "Give us a comment, we'll talk, no big whoop.)

Spotlight: New England coach Bill Belichick. OK, take away his obvious abyss of people skills, his distain for the media and his less-than-keen fashion sense and what do you have? We say the best coach in NFL history. And if the Pats win Sunday and hand Coach Hoodie his fourth Lombardi Trophy, who's going to dispute that claim? Other than Tom Brady, name a sure-fire Hall of Famer that was a key part (as in three-plus years) of the Patriots' success? Logan Mankins maybe. Maybe Richard Seymore.

Now, think about which coach pops into your mind when we say best NFL coach ever? Lombardi? Sure he was great, but the Packers were flushed with talent. Walsh? Give us Montana, Rice, Lott, Young, et al., and we like our chances too. Noll? Please? With as much talent as those 1970s Steelers had, we could make the argument that winning four Super Bowls in six years was underachieving. Plus, all of those coaches got to handle rosters in the age of no free agency.

Prop bet of the day: This is where we discuss some of the amazing things you can bet on during the Super Bowl. Of course, you can bet on the coin flip, the first person to score, the outcome, the total number of points scored (in the game, in each half or in each quarter), whether Kelly Clarkson will mess up the national anthem and on and on.

The list is crazy (seriously), and we love looking at the wild proposition bets that are out there. Here's our pick of the day:

Wes Welker receptions over LeBron James assists. This is an even money bet, and with Rob Gronkowski's status uncertain because of a high ankle sprain, we like Welker getting at least 10 catches.

Super Bowl best of list, part I: The best Super Bowl surprise as an individual... and the nominees are:

— Phil Simms going 22-of-25 in Giants' Super Bowl XXI blowout of Denver

— Larry Brown getting two interceptions of Neil O'Donnell in a 27-17 Dallas win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX

— Desmond Howard, who was the Super Bowl MVP as a kick returner (obviously there were no points deducted because of his awful TV commentary on ESPN GameDay because at that time we did not know he was an awful TV commentator)

— Chuck Howley, a veteran linebacker who accounted for three turnovers in the Cowboys' loss to Baltimore in Super Bowl V (yes, a middle linebacker from the losing team being an MVP is somewhat startling)

(We almost went with the return of Ferris Bueller, which has been rumored to happen at this weekend's game. In honor of that rumor, we'll be quoting Ferris and Co. from here on out.)



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    Alabama head coach Nick Saban gestures to the fans as he leaves the field after defeating Georgia 41-30 in an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Recruiting this and that

"He'll keep calling me, he'll keep calling me until I come over. He'll make me feel guilty. This is uh... This is ridiculous, OK I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go. What - I'LL GO." — the memorable lament by Cameron Fry is so perfect for college football recruiting. It's a rough-and-tumble arena in which there are a slew of broken promises and in turn broken hearts.

With that in mind, here's list of five predictions as we head into the final 48 hours of recruiting:

1) Alabama will win the recruiting national championship, print T-shirts and thump their chest about it. This will happen even after Landon Collins decides at the 11th hour to go to LSU.

2) In need for speed in the final hours? That would be Auburn, which has all of 15 commitments in this class and rank 20th national. The Tigers need a productive final two days, and they are in the mix on some of the biggest uncommitted names out there.

3) In the need for stability in the final hours? As out UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown tells us here (Vols lose Santos to Longhorns), Tennessee lost Dalton Santos to Texas over the weekend. Santos was the top-ranked inside linebacker in the country according to at least one recruiting service. Normally, we feel that any kid who wants to go somewhere else, then your program is better off without a player that doesn't really want to be there. This is not one of those times. Santos was a physically imposing player, and as UT looks at the possibilities of switching to a 3-4, there is an obvious glut of inside linebackers on the Vols roster.

4) This may very well be the best class in UTC history. The Mocs already have 15 commitments after landing former Arizona State pledge Al Thompson (read our UTC football ace John Frierson's account of it here (Brentwwod's Thompson picks UTC)).

5) Special Ferris quote: "In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before?" — that of course is from Ben Stein, who plays the economics teacher at Ferris' high school. There are too many questions out there to answer them all, and we'll cover some of the biggest uncommitted players Tuesday. That said, we believe the nation's top prospect — monster receiver Dorial Green-Beckham — is heading to Arkansas and will be a star from day 1.



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    Kentucky guard Darius Miller, left, and forward Anthony Davis, far right, seek to gain control of the ball against Tennessee guards Josh Richardson (1) and Cameron Tatum (23)during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. Kentucky won 65-62. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Brimer)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

College hoops

"If anyone needs a day off, it's Cameron. He has a lot of things to sort out before he graduates. Can't be wound up this tight and go to college, his roommate will kill him." — Ferris on his buddy Cameron.

Here's our top eight of teams that could win the whole thing. (And know this, we're like five weeks from conference tournaments. Yes, five weeks. Crazy huh?)

1) Kentucky. We've had them No. 1 all year, and we still have not seen anything to change our mind.

2) Ohio State. Backcourt is improving and if Jared Sullinger stays healthy, they are a complete team.

3) Syracuse. The Orange must have Fab Melo in the middle to have a shot, but that's a deep group.

4) Kansas. Yes, they lost at Iowa State over the weekend (an Iowa State team that is better than you think), but this group is very good. And we still feel pretty sure Kansas will wreck our bracket — one way or another. In fact, we'll do two sheets, and one will have Kansas in the title game and one will have Kansas losing in Round 2.

5) UNC. Harrison Barnes, coming to an NBA All-Star game near you.

6) Missouri. Teams that can score like this are so, So, SO much fun to watch. No team in the country will be sweating the match-ups and potential match-ups of the NCAA tournament than Missouri, which is short on height and depth.

7) Baylor. Great balance, from Perry Jones inside to Pierre Jackson at the point to Brady Heslip from 3-point range.

8) Michigan State. The Spartans may be the nation's most complete team.



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    U.S. golfer Tiger Woods reacts to a put on the 3rd green during the first round of the Australian Open golf tournament in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

This and that

— "You're Abe Froman? The sausage king of Chicago?" — the snotty Maitre' D. Let's give this one to Tiger Woods, who played in the final group Sunday with some dude named Robert Rock and finished two shots behind this Rock fellow, who is not related to Chris Rock, played Sunday's round without a hat and has 24 career top 10 finishes. By comparison, Woods has 14 major championships. Pre-wreck Tiger would have wrecked this dude — in six holes. Pre-wreck Tiger would have made Robert Rock into a TV by-stander, you know those relative unknowns that are in the last group but card an 83 and are ignored by the cameras. Tiger could get all the way back to his previous levels of golfing excellence, but it will not equate to old-form Tiger dominance because he does not carry the intimidation factor that he once did.

— "What do you mean nothing good? We've seen everything good. We've seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas!" — Ferris' retort to Cameron saying he has not seen anything good today. Sweet buckets of sweat bands and tennis balls, the men's final of the Australian Open lasted a hair short of six hours. It felt like six weeks. Hey, if tennis blows your skirt up, knock your self silly. But six hours? Heck a baseball game that last 3:30 is treated like an insurance seminar.

— "Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies... — they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." God bless Grace in this film, right? She's so money. This goes to LeBron James, who is flat-out bringing it night in, night out. We were all hacked off by "The Decision" and James paid the price. We were stunned by his long absences in the NBA Finals. But how has he answered? He's busted it, and he's flipped the switch past "great" all the way over to "dominate." He's fun to watch right now.

— "Oh, Ed. You just sounded like Dirty Harry just then." — Grace again, and this time it makes us think of bad, Bad, BAD dudes. You want to know who is a bad dude? Rashad Evans, who thumped Phil Davis this weekend in an impressive unanimous decision in a UFC bout this weekend. Is Evans bad enough to topple Jon Jones? We'll leave that to the experts (EC to the red courtesy phone, EC to the red phone, please), but we'll be watching.

— "You're still here? It's over. Go home. Go." — Ferris at the end of the movie. Did you see the Pro Bowl last night? Wow, if you had under 99, you LOST. The AFC won 59-41. There were 14 TDs scored and zero penalties. There was almost a flag thrown for someone trying to make a tackle, but after reviewing it, there was in fact NO defense played at all.



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    Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the third tee during first round play in the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, on Thursday.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Today's question

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." — Ferris on his view of life in general.

It's hard to pick and describe sports icons — it's not unlike grace or obscenity, it's hard to define but we know it when we see it. And right now we're really without a face of sports.

Tiger Woods melted down against some guy named Robert Rock. Roger Federer is now a sure-fire bet to finish third at most majors. Peyton Manning is about to be released — or worse yet, we may be forced to live in a world that has a headline "Manning traded to Seattle for third-round pick."

The sports world needs some new stars to emerge. Like now. Heck, forget now, like yesterday.

Is this about to be LeBron's time? Are we going to have some new Luck (as in Andrew)? Who's the next face of sports excellence?

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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chas9 said...

5/10--I like your elite eight, but Kansas is too high. Wherever Kansas is, on whatever list, they're always too high.

Top Tenn Rankings, week 11:

A week ago the 5@10 asked if we were surprised that Belmont wasn't better. Well, this week they climb two spots to #5, but they still aren't worthy of an at-large invite. Best win is over MTSU, and they split with the Blue Raiders for the season.

Does it mean anything that MTSU gave Vandy a better game this week than did The Vols? We think so. That's why the Raiders stay one spot above Cuonzo's charges. And at 20-3 with wins over UCLA and Mississippi, they could make the dance. Their SOS is weak, so a win over Vandy would've been a huge help.

1) Vandy

2) MTSU

3) The Vols

4) Memphis

5) Belmont

6) Lipscomb

7) ETSU

8) Peay

9) TN State

10) TN Tech

January 30, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Sorry F-at-T(fiveatten), all the comparisons of past greats ie NFL players coaches cheerleaders popcorn venders to today's are mute. They do not count. They are hogwash. And it's not just the NFL, it's all sports. Bellidancer is the best coach of his time period. Let's leave it at that and I am no Pats' fan. The rules, everything has changed. Regarding the former teams with talent, other teams had just as much talent and the winners still won. The Pats basically have no competition in that AFC (L)east. As for the recruiting mess, Santos was never a solid commit. to UTK, only a big hope. The other junk regarding hype and all, is media and social/info. networking created. Leaved the kids alone. Finally, someone besides Tiger Woods won the tournament. I don't wish to be throwing ROCKS(punintended)but who is the guy that won? There seems to be little reporting on him, just a lot of Prewreck Tiger stuff. Man he ain't the Prewreck Tiger, that's for sure.

January 30, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.
fechancellor said...

I caught the Euro Tour rebroadcast last night with no idea the outcome. Woods in the final group hit 26 of 43 fairways and 46 of 54 GIR in three rounds. Woods finished hitting just 2 of 14 fairways in route to a nonthreatening 72. Afterward Woods said he surprised to hit a 3 Metal 305 yards, while his irons were flying past his numbers. 3 Metal sounds like the way to go whenever there is ANY question at the tee box.

It's hard not to have empathy for Kyle Stanley's volcanic meltdown down at Torry. Leading by 3 and throwing up a Snow Man on 18. I can relate. Congratulations to Nashville's Brandt Snedeker, who did not stop grinding on the way to a final round 67.

Best Superbowl surprise? Doug Williams 18/29 340yds 4 TDs in the second quarter. First Black Quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Come on, 10 Spot, how can you deny this greatness?

As for Desmond Howard and Larry Brown, Al Davis threw ridiculous money for each and got nothing but ridiculousness in return.

January 30, 2012 at 11:25 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We'd probably flip UT and Memphis, but your list is pretty stout. What does it say about the state of UTC hoops at the current moment?

And we concur that MTSU has a tournament resume right now.

Livin(Large) —

Hold on now, old-school popcorn vendors are WAY better than today's popcorn vendors.

In truth, fair point about the rule changes — you don't have a chance today without an elite QB. And yes, other teams had talent, but who had more than the 1970s Steelers? Jack Ham was an All-Pro and he was no better than fifth or sixth best defensive player on those teams.

The kid Rock was pretty solid — and wow, FE is right, how about the Kyle Stanley meltdown — and there's no doubt Tiger is no longer Tiger. Will he ever return? Doubt it.

And the Santos flip is not as big as most Johnny Vols Fans are making out, but it does hurt.

FE to the C —

Ah, the 3 metal. Or is it the 3 medal? Either way, Eldrick needs it to find the 3 Fairway (unless of course he's playing No. 3, then the No. 3 fairway is a little too far right).

Stanley's meltdown was epic. Wow, tough deal all the way around and hard to see him ever bouncing back from that.

HUGE miscue on our end of things. We want Doug Williams on that list, we need Doug Williams on that list.

Moment of silence for Big Al, and here's saying that Johnny Raiders Fans everywhere are going to breathe a huge sigh of relief when Kyle Arrington steals headlines for his three picks of Eli and you guys realize there's no way Al can overpay for his overrated services.

— 5-at-10

January 30, 2012 at 1:22 p.m.
chas9 said...

Jay--Any Ferris Bueller mention earns you loyalty points, because "FB's Day Off" is an awesome movie, even better than the excellent "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." But how can you go all pop culture in this space without mentioning the passing of Epstein, the most excellent character from "Welcome Back, Kotter"?

Signed,

Epstein's mother

January 30, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.
fechancellor said...

fechancellor's log supplemental...

10 Ring, do you guys still publish the Monday list giving the scores and money earned per player for each tournament in the box scores? If you do, you can sell me a paper.

It's all about the FEDEX points now, and almost as if the tour is ashamed of the money the pros win. If you're not carrying this information, can you recommend an easy way to find this and ytd money lists?

Lot's of 3's in that sentence. Well judged, although, Woods ain't done.

January 30, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Gotta say that the "Epstein's mother" kicker was the exclamation point on a well-reasoned post.

Our answer is simple: The only Epstein that mattered was the one on "The White Shadow."

Kidding. Rest in Peace Juan.

January 30, 2012 at 2:36 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

We normally do. The Euorpean folks do not move the coin that comes with each finish. We e-mailed the PGA final scores and money lists to you (of course, we just noticed in the paper that we ran those — so it goes).

Not saying Woods is done — just saying he'll never be Tiger again. At least not 2006, Tiger eats everything Tiger.

— 5-at-10

January 30, 2012 at 3:03 p.m.
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