published Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

5-at-10: Our version of the Gruden interview, NFL power poll and more conference movement

Hey, it's a holiday week, so that means Thursday's 5-at-10 will be a top five list of . (Yes, we're still looking for ideas and you folks are smart — well most of you folks, sorry Spy — so whatcha' got?) Plus, any mailbag entries need to get in here because it's starting to fill up.

From the "Talks too much" studios, bring it.

UT still chasing Gruden

The stalk-fest that is the want of Johnny Vols Fans eveywhere to have Jon Gruden as their next football coach is approaching an unhealthy level. We had a slew of rightly thinking, grounded and educated folks fly off their hinges with every Twitter nugget or interweb morsel of intel.

Hey, we believe Gruden is way, Way, WAY more in play than we did three weeks ago. And that's a good thing for the University on several levels: It means he has interest; it means AD Dave Hart is going to make him say no (and likely say it multiple times); and it means that the UT powers that be understand the importance and the urgency of this hire.

That said, there still appears to be way too many folks — and this includes the Arkansas fans who believe that because Gruden wore a red tie last night that he's on his way to Fayetteville — that have all their eggs in the Gruden basket. (And remember what Twain said, "If you put all your eggs in one basket, you better watch your basket." Some times you win, some times you lose, some times it rains. Think about that. Rayanne, that's a beautiful name.)

There are folks who are claiming they know it's a done deal. OK. (And that's both at Arkansas and UT, for what it's worth.)

There are folks who are saying there's no way it's happening.

Either way, we'd love to be in the interview room as Dave Hart tried to convince Jon Gruden to come to the 865:

Pretend Dave Hart: Coach, thanks for taking the time. The University of Tennessee is a great place, a proud place, and we have a tradition...

Pretend Jon Gruden: Quiet down there bub. I know all about this joint. My wife was a cheerleader here. She was big-time — Andrew Luck big-time obviously — and we have a working knowledge of the University of Tennessee and the obvious possibilities are very exciting, I think. Obviously.

Pretend Dave Hart: Obviously.

Pretend Jon Gruden: Obviously.

Pretend Dave Hart: Obviously?

Pretend Jon Gruden: OBVIOUSLY!

Pretend Dave Hart: OK, let's talk turkey. We have an opening. We want you.

Pretend Jon Gruden: You need me. Obviously.

Pretend Dave Hart: Obviously. Yes, we need you. We need Tennessee football to be successful and we're willing to do what it takes. What are you thinking it will take?

Pretend Jon Gruden: Obviously a coach’s success rate is largely dependent upon those around him, not just on the field, but everyone's got to embrace a new system. And for a great system to work, I believe that you have to work with great coaches systematically. And I believe that's pretty obvious, obviously.

Pretend Dave Hart: Obviously. How much? How much is it going to take

Pretend Jon Gruden: As much as you got, and as much as you're ever going to have.

Pretend Dave Hart: Obviously. Will you do it for $6 million a year and what kind of coin are we talking about for assistants.

Pretend Jon Gruden: But to answer your question, A, it’s a great question; and B, it probably is a combination of both. Guys don’t belong in certain systems. They don’t fit in certain programs as well as they would others. I believe there are great things ahead and obviously there'd be great rewards.

Pretend Dave Hart: Obviously.

Pretend Jon Gruden: Obviously.


NFL Power Poll

There is no sport that fortuitous plays more of a critical role than the (cue Ron Jaworski) THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.

There are going to be injuries. It's a fact like there are going to be tough road games, there are going to be bad calls, there are going to be head-scratching turnovers and there are going to be at least three moments that you think, "How in the name of the sweet goddess of Reese's Cups and Chocolate Chip cookies does Rex Ryan make a seven-figure salary?"

So NFL teams have to balance and/or gameplan injuries. You have to either have system that minimizes the quarterback's role or a system that does everything it can to protect the quarterback. On Monday night, the San Francisco 49ers were well-served by the former. Colin Kaepernick was excellent in what can only be described as the best and most creative run-based play-calling we've seen in a long time.

In fact, as important as injuries are, the presence of Jim Harbaugh was worth 21 points for the 49ers last night in a slugfest 32-7 win over Chicago. Harbaugh is the best football coach breathing, followed by Belichick, Saban and Derek Dooley. (Sorry, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention; seriously if you had a Rushmore right now of the best football coaches who's the fourth face? Tom Coughlin? Mike Tomlin? Chip Kelly? Discuss)

And knowing that — and the fact that Colin Kaepernick looked the part of future star — elevates the 49ers this week. To the power poll:

1) Atlanta: It has been a "Just Win" league and it continues to be a "Just Win" league, but haphazard performances like Sunday's narrow home victory over the Cardinals lead to early playoff exits. And of all the teams on this list, the Falcons are haunted by early playoff exits.

2) Houston: The defense imploded, but how many other teams have the ability to win a 6-3 run-fest and a 43-37 overtime shootout as comfortably as these Texans?

3) San Francisco: Alex Smith better get well soon or Kaepernick's going to make him Wally Pipp. The best defense in football — Chicago's lone touchdown drive was enabled by a brutal call from an official — and it's not that close. In fact, this may be the best defense the league has seen in several years considering that Aldon Smith has become Charles Haley 2.0.

4) Denver: The injury to Willis McGahee could be painful. That said, this may be the chance Knowshon Moreno needs to get jump started. Either way, as long as Peyton Manning is running the ship, the Broncos are fine.

5) Green Bay: How great is Aaron Rodgers? The list of injuries around him is staggering, and the Packers continue to make strides and win games.


More conference movement

Just let us know when all the conference shuffling is done, OK.

Maryland has voted to leave the ACC for the Big Ten. Apparently, Maryland really wants to be a part of the Leaders Division. Or maybe it's the Legends Division. Either way, that excellently awfully nonsensical B1G logo will look excellently awful on the already nonsensical Maryland football uniforms.

And speaking of football, seeing as how Maryland is being thumped up and down the field, the Terrapins will fit right in with the plod and prod style of the B1G. Yay.

Rutgers is reported to be joining Maryland in the move to the B1G, and the attractions for the Scarlett Knights are clear, and most of them center on not being in the Big Least anymore.

The attractions for the B1G and its conference power players are also clear: 14 teams; two major market additions in New Jersey and Baltimore; neither team will challenge for a football title. It's a win-win for everyone not in the ACC.

And to make matters worse for the ACC, there are some rumblings that Maryland is going to fight the $50 million buyout to leave the conference and the Terps believe they have a case.

If they can break out of the ACC and only have to pay a fraction of that $50 million, then the next wave of conference feasting will be here. In fact, the ACC will be in serious trouble and several schools like FSU, Miami, Virginia Tech and even Clemson will be in play for other leagues.

And there's a real chance that there could be a basketball super conference formed by some of the left overs from the Big East.

Just when we thought the expansion merry-go-round had settled, someone put in another 50 cents. Thanks Maryland, that's a Legendary move. Or is it a Leader move?


This and that

— Not only are Arkansas and Tennessee fight for Gruden, there will be a slew of folks lining up for the top names in this coaching silly season. Cal and BC likely will be looking for new coaches. We know Kentucky is as is UTEP. We don't what the future holds for Auburn — but we're expecting a Biblical whipping this weekend in Tuscaloosa so anything is possible. And the same handful of names are starting to appear and re-appear. Strong, Malzahn, Golden, Taggart. One thing we know for sure — there will be a slew of raises passed out this December.

— Wow, here's some more on Auburn. The 3-8 Tigers, who are winless in the SEC and have a date with pain Saturday, are led by Gene Chizik, who is the eighth-highest paid coach in the nation at a little more than $3.5 million. The Auburn staff ranks third in pay with almost $7.7 in salary, behind Texas and Alabama.

— OK, we actually paid a little attention to college hoops last night. Was that the same UTC bunch that played Kansas tough at Kansas that struggled against Troy? Is what it is, we supposed, and it's early, and they're young, and some times the ball bounces funny, and, did we leave out any coach-speak? To be fair, this is a young UTC bunch and this is November. Still, of all the teams we know and all the situations we know of, this UTC team needs to play better at home if they expect anyone to be paying attention come late January. And that's just a plain truth.

— Our UTC football ace John Frierson wrapped up the Mocs football season nicely here And we stand by what we said Monday — it's playoffs or bust for UTC in 2013 considering the pieces it returns. Period and end of discussion.


Today's questions

There is a documentary set to air Wednesday on the Investigation Discovery network that makes a case that O.J. Simpson didn't kill his ex-wife or Ron Goldman.

Granted, the Investigation Discovery network is hardly 60 Minutes, but the claims by Clay Rogers say that his brother Glen — a convicted murderer who has been sentenced to death in both Florida and California. (OK, we'll bite, if Glen Rogers is sentenced to death in two states, does he get the gas in one state and to ride the lightning bolt in the other? What's the order on that? Who gets dibs, and it seems that the state that gets to kill him first would have to let the other state get first choice on their method, right? Could this be a two-team death penalty draft? We love the draft, but you know this.)

Anyhoo, where were we? Oh yeah, O.J. Think about if O.J. actually didn't do it. Wow. Granted Fred Goldman — Ron's dad — has released a statement saying that he believes the evidence still overwhelmingly shows O.J. did the killing. Still, if he didn't — and he was acquitted after all — the whole world would owe dude a big, fat, "Uhhh, about that... yeah, our bad."

Are we ready for that? If O.J. actually did not kill those folks, would that not be the worst case of misplaced blame ever? Is there even a close second?

What would be the most widely accepted belief that turned out to be bogus in sports history? Lance was clean? Ryan Leaf?


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.
TennFlyer said...

Here's an idea for a top 5 list - You're king for the day, other than putting the letter letter I in the word team to shut up high school coaches across America, you can move five teams from their current conferences to another. You cannot move the entire SEC west out.

November 20, 2012 at 10:29 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...


Loved the pretend Gruden interview. In reality, I didn't know this guy from Adam given the fact I'm not a big enough superfan to have listings of people who "might" be contenders.

That said, if the Big Orange nation honestly believes that if by some longshot Gruden were to accept this job and and somehow "magically" transform this Knoxville cluster ::forum edit:: into a Nick Saben calibur team in two years or less then Gunner Miller is a bronie and there's a bridge on Market Street I would like to sell you at good price.

::ahem:: moving on.

Apparently Moc Nation is in bizzaro world. I was hoping for Shueman's men to show mother Konxville via another sport "THIS is how you take Troy to the barn and make them like it" but apparently it was the other way around. On top of that in the Double X Chromosome division, Dupree is "out of commission" for 10 weeks. >.<;;; Luckily, according to Frierson, she's only out for two games officially.

ACL- The gift that keeps on giving.

I will be at home tonight to catch the La Tech match-up (Is it me, or is Big Kuhuna starting to look more like Mr. Whimple from the old Charmen commericals?)

November 20, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.
chas9 said...

Lizzie Borden arguably got a worse rap than OJ.

UK could go for Cincy's Butch Jones. He has a nice resume, including a bowl win over Vandy. He replaced Kelly, who's doing well at Notre Dame. And anybody named Butch has to be a stud.

A Wildcats' spokesman said "I can only confirm that we haven't offered anyone."

Which brings up this question: When did sports grammar diverge from regular English? In non-sports English, we say "I can only confirm that we haven't offered the job to anyone." How is it that in sports talk you leave out the direct object and put the indirect object in its place?

Also in sports talk, verbs become nouns: "Butch Jones would be a good get for Kentucky." And "The Vols lost the contain."

I noticed in TV clips yesterday that Jim Chaney is a bit jiggly. How can athletes and coaches, who know the importance of fitness, let themselves go to pot like that? And since we mostly see Jay's head photoshopped onto somebody else's body, I have to wonder, has The Fiver let himself get jiggly?

Thanks for the pretend conversation. Hilarious, as usual.

November 20, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
Todd962 said...

TennFlyer, I saw a picture of block letters spelling out the word "TEAM" the other day. The person responsible for the picture had highlighted that in the negative space of the letter A there was a lower case "i." Of course my mind was blown and I immediately realized it was hidden in the a-hole the whole time.

Jay, with the holidays approaching, there are some pretty big movies that will be making their debuts this winter. Are there any that you are getting pretty stoked about beside Red Dawn? I know critics are claiming that Lincoln is doing well in theaters despite historical evidence to the contrary.

November 20, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.
fechancellor said...

John Ward: Bill Anderson do you have any final thoughts on the Vanderbilt game and Coach Dooley's status?

Bill Anderson: John, Vanderbilt exploited every Tennessee weakness, of which there are many. By my estimation, considering the opponent, losing to Vandy by this margin may go down in the history books as the worst game in Tennessee history.

John Ward: The Insurers of Tennessee!

Bill Anderson: John, there's no doubt Coach Dooley has coached his last game at Tennessee.

John Ward: Natural Gas!

Bill Anderson: Since you asked John, Jon Gruden may be a candidate along with Charlie Strong from Louisville. Two different offensive philosophies here. Gruden runs the West Coast offence, while Strong goes four wide. These coaches are just two who might fit at Tennessee.

John Ward: Golden Flake Potato Chips!

November 20, 2012 at 11:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

Sorry. That was a really weak example I gave. A more realistic sentence would be "AGAIN The Vol defense lost contain. S a a a a a a a l l l l !!!!"

Reading the Tennessee timelines and perspectives by Greeson, Weeds and Pasquali got me to thinking about whether UT will make it back to Rocky Top or not. Is there a period of years after which the "once great" becomes irrelevant?

Which could lead us to a top five list for holiday week.

What are the top five programs that used to be elite (legends for a decade or more), then fell and wandered in the wilderness for at least five years, and managed to climb back up the mountain to national contender every year for a decade or more? Bama? Tennessee? Florida State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame haven't been back up long enough to be sure it'll last.

And what are the top five once-feared titans who fell off the edge and never regained their once-lofty perch? Harvard, Penn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas?

If we get good answers to these question, we may see what UT's chances are.

Kudos to fec for that always hilarious rallying cry: "Natural… gas."

November 20, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.
jgreeson said...

TennFlyer —

Are we moving teams to help our team — like moving Alabama out of the SEC would not really help Auburn since Auburn would play them every tear. Moving LSU, however, would definitely help.

Or are we moving teams to help the SEC?

Interesting question.

As for 'I' in team, well, let's venture back to the days of the 5-at-10's high school career. Let's say for kicks and giggles that a wise-crackin', know-it-all-future-sportswriter and his mates were getting the business from a head coach who hit us with the "There's no 'I' in team." We may or may not said, "Yeah, but there is an 'I' in scholarship.

We may or may not have been forced to run until lost our lunch. So it goes.

And if we're adding a letter to a word, we're putting the 'R' in Colonel. And that's all we have to say about that.

Run JMC —

Tell us more about this bridge. We're always looking for a sound investment opportunity.

9er —

No doubt that sports vernacular has changed for the worse. In fact, the Sports Guy (think that's who it is any way) has a hilarious bit about injuries in sports and how announcers say, "Ben Roethlisberger is out with a rib." Not an injured rib or a cracked rib. Just a rib.

And Butch Jones would be a good UK hire. Dude is going to have some success and it gets them into Ohio a little bit. However, if UT hired Butch Jones there would be an avalanche.

We are at least 20 pounds lighter than our college weight, 6-4, 220 or about 20 pounds heavier than our high school playing weight. That said, we could stand to get a little more exercise and eliminate some jiggle.

962 —

There are a slew of movies that we're stoked about — WOLVERINES — but Lincoln is one we'll see OnDemand. At a whisker under 3 hours, we can see Lincoln being very much like Amistad — well-written, interesting, superbly acted and long-winded and boring in spots.

— 5-at-10

November 20, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.
TennFlyer said...

I meant it more of a "I would like to see "U of Wherever" play in the "blank" conference. For instance I would like to see Boise St in the Pac 12, Pitt in the Big 10, Florida St in the SEC, Kentucky in the ACC, UTK in the Sunbelt or Division 2AA in the TSSAA something comparable to the talent level.

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

FE to the C —

Well-played sir, well-played indeed.

Give him 6... more Natural Gases.

9er —

Hmmmmmm. Interesting.

— 5-at-10

November 20, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.
jgreeson said...

TennFlyer —


November 20, 2012 at 12:17 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Jay, you have obviously out done yourself with this one... But lets talk turkey...who believes that Gruden is going to give his awesome gig of co-hosting the greatest show on earth...Monday Night Football with his ole Pal and broadcats Journalist extradonaire...Mike Turrico?!?! Not this guy! But and this is a huge But...if Gruden does leave...something tells me Jaws would like to fill that seat next to Turrico...

If you ask me...which noone is..the Vols are going to have to pick a hot shot assistant from the NFL just like the Nitny Lions did with Bill " you can have your names on your back O'Brien....

Oh by the way Vol Nation...I hear Phil Jackson is looking for a job..perhaps the away games wouldnt be too much of stretch for him...

November 20, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
TennFlyer said...

I probably should not have dissed D2AA. Sorry.

November 20, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


Turn of the century iron bridge that can be split in two as it lifts to allow tall boats to go across.

Due to space restrictions, we strongly DO NOT recommend doing your Blues Brothers impersonation while playing "She Called the Katy" in your car and the bridge is in the incline position.

November 20, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
chas9 said...

TF--I'd like to see UNC in the SEC. It'd be good for UK's basketball and football teams. Maybe Gawga Tech, too. Same reason. Also, the North Avenue trade school has a helluva fight song.

November 20, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

chase wrote-

"TF--I'd like to see UNC in the SEC. It'd be good for UK's basketball and football teams. Maybe Gawga Tech, too. Same reason. Also, the North Avenue trade school has a helluva fight song."

And from personal experience across the bridge they have some pretty good onion rings and an orange icy along with a spectacular view of I-75 traffic.


November 20, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

No doubt, Gruden appears to be a longshot on paper, but not because of the cushy MNF gig. We think the lure of the NFL would be the biggest hurdle for Gruden, and yes, we've heard the reports from the NFL beat guys.

Not only is Phil Jackson available but it has been reported by two websites and a Knoxville talk radio station that the exhumed body of Knute Rockne has been seen at the Knoxville Body Farm. Coincidence? Not hardly.

TennFlyer —

UT has some edge across the lines of scrimmage, but who's going to stop Corn Elder in the D-II-AA title game?


That's good advise — well, unless it's 103 miles to Chicago, it's dark and you're wearing sunglasses.

9er —

UNC and Duke are going together. UGA doesn't want Tech. If/when the SEC adds it will likely be Va. Tech and N.C. State.

But how sweet would it be if they snuck in and plucked THE Ohio State University from the B1G. That would a legendary move. Or a leader's move. Whichever.

And not only does the North Ave. trade school have a boss fight song, the Budweiser song when Alexander is full is a cool college environment.

— 5-at-10

November 20, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.
jgreeson said...


Those onion rings are better than pretty good sir, and it's called a Frosted Orange.

Of the non-people things we miss about the A-T-L, the Varsity is pretty high on that list.

— 5-at-10

November 20, 2012 at 1:27 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[seriously if you had a Rushmore right now of the best football coaches who's the fourth face? Tom Coughlin? Mike Tomlin? Chip Kelly? Discuss]

Chip Kelly is a good pick for the 4th simply because he's contending every year with his very innovative offense that (for the most part) is difficult to stop.

Also, I think that Mike McCarthy is a bit underrated as a head coach. So what that he has Aaron Rodgers...Belichick has Brady but that doesn't lessen the respect Belichick gets for the Pats' success.

The Mocs are doing lots of things right but they need to get their shots to fall. Guys took good shots, but 4-22 from the arc is not going to get it done. Either way, this tourney is a good learning time for the players to continue to gel and for Shulman to figure out his rotation going forward.

I was surprised to not see a 10-second violation called near the end of the game when it appeared it should have been called. The Mocs did a full court press to try to get a turnover. Troy called timeout with 26 on the shot clock (9 seconds had passed) and they were not yet across half-court. When inbounding the ball, they threw the ball into the back court and were not called for a 10-second violation when they took a few more seconds to cross half-court. Why no violation for this play? Did the 10-second rule reset simply because they called timeout?

November 20, 2012 at 1:34 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I usually got a burger with "two" orders of rings and a coke. But I know the Frosted Orange is legendary.

FYI, while the opportunity presented itself, I avoid the A-T-L on the account I live in the D-F-W most of the year so my "big city" quota is filled.

Note though, if and when you get to cover a Dallas-based sporting event, I will take to JG's Old Fashioned Burgers here in Dallas (where the real locals eat).

November 20, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

JMC - my favorite when I was in the DFW was Campisis Egyptian Restaurant - best Italian food anywhere. Also, you can get a feel for an old mob hangout. If I remember right, Jack Ruby used to dine there.

5/10 - Has Tedford been fired? If so, do you think UT, or even AU (if/when they lower the boom on Chz) call?

November 20, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stew —

We can see McCarthey's value. And yes the clock resets, not unlike calling timeout and the NFL play clock — at least that's our understanding.


Good intel. Not sure when/if we'll every get to Jerry World, but it's always nice to have knowledge.

McPell —

We thought Louis in Brooklyn was tops — try the veal, it's the best in the city.

Don't think Tedford is in play; although he'd be a hoss OC if he'd take it.

— 5-at-10

November 20, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.
BIspy4 said...


As someone who has been on Investigation Discovery - twice! - and who has met O.J., I can say that...

  1. Even I don't watch Investigation Discovery.

  2. Dude's guilty.

Driving into work and the song "Ten Years Gone" comes on the radio and it is almost exactly 10 years to the day I left Fairground Street in my dust. Funny how things work out.

November 20, 2012 at 2:29 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - for your top five list (or the Friday mailbag)...Name 5 college football games (past, present, or future) that you would like to attend in person and why.

November 20, 2012 at 3:27 p.m.
chas9 said...

Including alma maters and fight songs, what are the top five schools' songs? Rambling Wreck, Rocky Top, Fight On, USC, My Old Kentucky Home, Anchors Aweigh, Michigan's... Few schools' songs even rise to the level of consciousness.

November 20, 2012 at 3:36 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


"my favorite when I was in the DFW was Campisis Egyptian Restaurant - best Italian food anywhere. Also, you can get a feel for an old mob hangout. If I remember right, Jack Ruby used to dine there"

I know EXACTLY where that is located at. Over on Mockingbird (aka the SMU strip) next to a small liquor store near the corner of Lower Greenville. I've walked by it enough times but never found a reason to go in a dine (and I've lived here five years now). Will give it a shot next payday.

November 20, 2012 at 5:23 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

jmc - it's worth the try. It doesn't look like much, but every meal has been good.

November 20, 2012 at 6:58 p.m.
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