published Thursday, November 8th, 2012

5-at-10: Fab 4 picks, Sal Sunseri's new locale, high school sports' greatness and would you hire Petrino

Remember Friday's mailbag and let's get moving.

From the "Talks too much" studios, giddy-up.

Fab 4 (plus 1) picks

We had the chance to catch up with an old friend Wednesday night, a guy that has made more big money bets than just about anyone we know. Background story on the betting fiber in his family, when we were at Auburn together, he tried to call his grandparents every Monday. One Monday in the fall he reaches his granddaddy about 8 p.m. and the following exchange occurs:

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Weena: "Hey Pops, it's good to hear from you. How'd you do this weekend?"

Pops: "Good. Did good. Stupid Auburn... Stupid Auburn stopped it from being great."

Weena: "Yeah, know the feeling. Is Nana around?

Pops: "Huh. Nana? Son, you know the Eagles are playing and how she likes playing the Eagles... She's down at the Hall watching the game... Stupid Auburn."

Of course my buddy was on his way back from Vegas, and said he has enjoyed success by betting on Alabama in the first half of games because of the Tide's strength and propensity to start quickly.

The betting moral to this story: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So we look to continue this torrid ride — we're 35-15-2 (70 percent) this year against the spread — with the knowledge that past performance does not mean future gain. And remember gang, these are for entertainment purposes only (wink, wink, "Get the papers, get the papers"):

Arkansas State minus-6.5 against Louisiana-Monroe: In honor of Pops, this could be the "Stupid Auburn" game since La-Monroe prevented us from going 5-0 last week. In truth, the Warhawks were Bama-like with a quick 14-0 start but quarterback Kolton Browning was injured and La-Monore faded like a cheap pair of acid-washed jeans. So it goes. Well, Browning is out and the offense had a short week to prepare for tonight's game.

Oregon minus-27.5 at California: Hey, a double "If it ain't broke, don't fix it game." Let's weigh the pros and cons for the Ducks here:

Oregon needs style points: Pro

Oregon's offense scores touchdowns like Spy drinks beer — fast and consistently: Pro

Cal's two best offensive players will be in street clothes: Pro

Cal coach Jeff Tedford is all but out the door: Pro

Louisville minus-2.5 at Syracuse: Is there a more underrated college player than Cards QB Teddy Bridgewater right now? Bridgewater is completing 70 percent of his throws and has an 18-4 TD-to-Int ratio for the 9-0 Cards.

Georgia minus-14.5 at Auburn: Buy the half to be safe in case the Tigers score a garbage-time TD. Of course, that garbage-time TD likely will cut the game to 44-21. Stupid Auburn.

Tennessee-Missouri over the 60: Did you know that the Vols are perfect? That's right, they have gone over the total in each of their nine games this season. In fact, it hasn't been that close, including last week's 55-48 win over Troy that cleared the total of 70 with Troy's first touchdown of the second half midway through the third quarter.


Sal's on the move

At lunch we discussed UT defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri's — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — likely move from the sideline to the coach's booth Saturday. Here were the range of responses:

"Couldn't be any worse."

"Could we move him to Missouri's coaching box?"

"Can we pump muzak into his headset?"

"Can we tell him kickoff is at 7?"

We admire the way Sunseri — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — is deflecting the blame from his players. That's well-played indeed.

And we think a potential move and some adjustments could provide some dividends for the maligned UT defense. The Vols are so bad on that side of the ball right now — and it's not like Leonard Little, Deon Grant and Eric Westmoreland are going to walk into the locker room to dress out for Saturday's game — that trying anything is better than doing nothing.

That said, if it means Sunseri — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — has to coach standing on his head with his shirt off, then so be it. (Although we recommend this as the last resort. Think of the children for crying out loud.)

Let's pretend we were a fly on the wall for the discussion between Derek Dooley and Sunseri — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — when Dooley informed him of the change:

Pretend Dooley: SAAALLLLLLLL!!!

Pretend Sunseri: Yeah, coach. What's up?

Pretend Dooley: Been thinking of making some changes...

Pretend Sunseri: You going to let Cordarrelle play safety like I wanted? Oh thanks coach...

Pretend Dooley: Lord no. Pull yourself together man. No, we're going to...

Pretend Sunseri: Get Brian Randolph back this week? Oh that's music to my ears...

Pretend Dooley: SAAALLLLLLLL!!! Stop it. We're going to make some sideline changes this week.

Pretend Sunseri: OK. Colors? Patterns? What? I think I nice polka-dotted blend with some brighter colors...

Pretend Dooley: SAAALLLLLLLL!!! For crying out loud, get a grip.

Pretend Sunseri: 246 toothpicks, 246 toothpicks... What's that coach?

Pretend Dooley: We're going to move you to the coach's box and make some changes in the way we call the defense. You'll be up there. We'll make sure we've got some snacks and pops and you can even listen to Bob Kesling do the play-by-play. He's no John Ward, but Bob does good things. You'll like it. Plus, we can get some magazines or even some history books up there...

Pretend Sunseri: You want me in the booth? Then, I won't be able to talk directly to the players.

Pretend Dooley: Bingo, SAAALLLLLLLL!!!, Bingo.


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    East Hamilton's Logan Jackson (18) attempts to dodge tackles by Hixson's Kedrick Bradley (34) and Dylan Bargerstock (26) during play at the Hurricanes' home field.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Chin up

We normally cover high school football on our weekly video with preps ace Stephen Hargis, and leave this F-O-I-B space for college sports and such, and by such we mean just about everything else. Ma, MEATLOAF!

We'd be remiss, however, if we did not wish Logan Jackson well. Jackson is an overpowering senior running back at East Hamilton, and after dominating the regular season with a direct and respectful style that earned glory on the field and respect off it, he'll miss the rest of the playoffs after hurting his knee last week.

There are countless stories of joy and disappointment every Friday night, and those tears generated by the heartfelt waves of each are magnified when the finality of the postseason comes calling. Playoff high school football is the grim reaper and the great reward. It's the end of the road or the end of the rainbow and its pot of gold.

But know this Logan, you were a joy to watch. And as tough as Friday night will be, do not dwell on the end and remember the journey. And that's true for all the high school athletes.

We have chill bumps typing this, and know that each of you can relate because whether you played one down, one quarter, one inning or one note, there has been something in your life that you worked for, strived for and sacrificed for.

One of the strongest emotions we can remember was leaving McEachern High School after our last high school basketball game, driving and crying (great name for a band by the way), crying and driving.

And while the pain of that moment has faded the strength of the emotion has remained, and it serves as a reminder of how much high school sports — and our teammates and the highs and lows and our effort and work and sacrifice — meant to us.

The emotion of that night has been the reminder of a lifetime.


This and that

— The Lakers are 1-4, and there seems to be some disconnect and discord. Lighten up, Francis. There are more new pieces than a rebuilt Impala, and that takes time, especially when you're making changes at point guard. Plus, remember all the hand-wringing about the Heatles' tepid start the last couple of years? That worked out, right?

— College hoops starts Friday, and if you want some intel on the SoCon, our hoops ace David Uchiyama does a bang-up job. On the interwebs, friend of the show StuckinKent recommends checking out We did and we concur.

— It's hard for the 5-at-10 to properly rate the job that Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin has done with the Vols basektball program. We'll start with this: We're genuinely interested in this Vols team and believe they have a chance to make some noise. Not sure we ever felt that way with Bruce Pearl roaming the sideline.

— The Colorado Rockies hired Walt Weiss to be their manager. Walt played a slew of years in the big leagues and even spent six years in the Rockies' front office. He has a ton of street cred and his resume is stout. That said, after leaving the Rockies in 2008 to spend more time with his family, Weiss coached his son's Regis Jesuit School team last year. So technically, Weiss is going from high school to the pros.


Today's question

OK, Bobby Petrino's daddy said his boy Bobby was interested in the Kentucky job.

Petrino has a great football resume, as a person, not so much. So whether this works to generate interest from Kentucky, then great for Petrino. And if this works, we need to get our parents to start floating rumors that the 5-at-10 is interested in the Czar of Football job, and we'd settle for a 10-year, $5 million deal. What's next, is Bobby going to pass a note in study hall to UK AD Mitch Barnhart that reads, "Do you like me Yes _ No?"

Petrino floating "I'm interested rumors" is a wise play. His appeal is to a fan base that wants to win and wants an improved product, especially offensively, in the here and now. Plus, it keeps his name out there, which is the best play possible.

Here's the question: Would you want Petrino coaching your college football team? Would you even let him be the offensive coordinator, knowing the potential disaster that could be looming on the horizon?


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.
jomo11 said...

I know yesterday was your post-election, but. . .

He is well-spoken, is a very good family man, He makes great speeches, has a law degree. i know he is trying his best, I just think he is in over his head and does not deserve another 4 years. Just my opinion . . . . . . . .you thought I was talking about Barack Obama ?............... i was actually talking about DOOLEY !!!

November 8, 2012 at 10:12 a.m.
TennFlyer said...

Petrino at a school I support -- no thanks. But if Kentucky is willing to hire the only coach who has had two final four appearances vacated for the basketball job, what makes you think that they would even think to discuss the moral transgressions surrounding a guy who would add instant excitement to a struggling football program. Petrino rolls into Lexington next season with a new Harley and a big contract. Mrs Petrino files for half.

November 8, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

The Wrath of Khan reference is overkill..big time. In all seriousness though, this might be the first conference win but leave it to Tennessee to possibly lose by 3 in the fourth quarter.

Regarding your question of the day, the answer is no, I would not want Petrino coaching the Mocs given the possible PR nightmare that would incur. It would make anything during the "troubles" of the Rodney Allison era pale in comparison. He maybe great at his job but he would also drag down the program with his Dajarnis-like shannagins. My opinion mind you.

November 8, 2012 at 10:47 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Why you would put the image of a shirtless Sunseri doing a handstand into my mind, I will never know, but what has been done can not be undone... so much stomach flapage ... how is he going to coach when he cant see past the moobs that flapped up in his face... Curse you Jay Greeson. And if your Rainman reference is claiming SAAAALLLLL!!! is an idiot savant, then I would say you are half right.

The only way that I am asking Petrino to come to my team is if they are already such a dumpster fire, that it is impossible to get any worse. I would rather be a .500 bowl eligible team that could look it's self in the mirror each morning than have him on our staff. Now if I were .250 team, morals be damned, we got to win ourselves some football games!

November 8, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

We don't want Bobby the P. He'd probably ruin our volleyball program.

Great Pretend Derek dialog.

When Bruce roamed the sidelines, Bruce made the noise. The Vols will go dancing, but they'll be behind UK, Mizzou and Donovan's dandies.

Pop song for the Vol sports offices: Ship of Fools, by The Dead.

November 8, 2012 at 11:14 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

That was well done sir. Well-played indeed.

TennFlyer —

Fair point. And who knows, maybe Bobby P would keep his nose clean (doubtful) know this is his final chance. And yes, Mrs. P would get half.

Run JMC —

Us? Run a bit into the ground? Never. Was it over when the Germans bombed SAAALLLLL!!!? Heck no. And it ain't over now.

And even Bobby P. would have to do some truly Petrino-type stuff to make the days of Rodney look tolerable.

962 —

Yeah that was tough to shake (and shake and shake and shake and shimmy) this morning.

Donuts. Ma MEATLOAF!

And we concur, but we'll take another year of Chizik after this Auburn implosion before wanting Petrino.

9er —

Thanks for the kind words, and there's no doubt Bobby P would hurt volleyball recruiting. And soccer.

SEC hoops is going to be better this year, and if The Conz can keep Stokes one more winter, the Vols will be salty.

Great hire.

Ship of Fools is a touch too harsh. What about "Glory Days" by the Boss?

— 5-at-10

November 8, 2012 at 11:37 a.m.
chas9 said...

Glory Days is a good call.

I mentioned after UL-UK opened the season that it was odd that Miami, Florida and Florida State had all let Bridgewater leave the state.

Pasquali's a smart guy and all, but he's nuts to think The Hogs will come within 5 of The Cocks.

The brilliant 246 toothpicks reference makes me wonder if a Rainman-type savant would do better than the idiot now calling the defense. Put Rainman in the pressbox, as he watches the other team line up, in a fraction of a second he'll analyze how their formation, and spit out the optimum response, which could be signaled in before the ball is snapped.

November 8, 2012 at 12:50 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

The toothpicks was more in tune to the fact that Sunseri — SAAALLLLL!!! — is an excellent driver.

Maybe the Rainman theory could work, especially in the age of video and watching thousands of plays and sets.

That theory could really work — unless the game overlaps a Saturday showing of "The People's Court." It's 12 minutes to Wapner.

— 5-at-10

November 8, 2012 at 1:02 p.m.
fechancellor said...

SAAALLLLLLLL??? He'll be utilizing an Electric Football game to choose his plays from on high, a la Homer Simpson. This could turn out to be a suicide mission for Sal. The folks in the sky boxes giving giant $$$s to the program are possibly more sick and sickened by what they see from on high than the average Vol fan.

Ten Ring, the Vols need even more fire power on defense beyond your additions. How about "Big" John Henderson, Carl Pickens Eric Berry and Al Wilson? On offense, Cobb/Webb!!!

November 8, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent

You guys are killing me with the Rainman references. Sal says as one of his defenders is left in the dust by the opposing defense, "Uh-oh. Your shorts are on the highway." (That's one of my all-time favorite movie lines.) Post-game interview. "What was that game like, Sal?" Sal pauses to think....."Wet."


I should also, in honor of the Rainman coaching defense theory, bring up the story about Kellen Moore, Boise State's former quarterback. When he was in high school, he went to the Fiesta Bowl where Boise beat Oklahoma. He had been given the Boise playbook already and was learning it. He looked at the personnel on the field and the formation, turned to his father, and said, "They're running the statue of liberty!" His dad thought he was nuts, but he insisted. Then Boise ran one of the most famous statue of liberty plays in the history of college football. I always thought that really proved just how bright of a kid Kellen Moore is, and why he was so good at the college level. Still too small for pro ball....and that's unfortunate. He'll make a great offensive coordinator, I would think.

November 8, 2012 at 1:50 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I want petrino around my football program like I want a buffet of cole slaw and tequila.

Now ... back to my fast and consistent beer drinking. Slainte, y'all.

November 8, 2012 at 7:14 p.m.
tquillen said...

Tempting as it is, I would prefer that Petrino not be coaching The University of Tennessee, and I don't think he will be.

But I would take almost even odds he will be at Kentucky or Auburn. And, if there is no regime change at UT, Petrino will be beating the Vols regularly.

November 8, 2012 at 9:31 p.m.
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