published Thursday, November 29th, 2012

5-at-10: Fab 4 picks, SEC title game and more

Remember the Friday mailbag, and if you have a non-coaching search question, we could use one.

From the "Talks too much" studios, it feels so good to be back at the Dexter Lake Club, we're going to do a tune for you now entitled Shamalama Ding Dong, so hit it...

Fab 4 picks

It's a fair time to review some of the basic rules of our picking procedures since we violated one of the main ones and got beat using another. And remember, we only pick games for entertainment purposes only, and considering we're 47-20-2, it's been an entertaining year.

  • photo
    Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis (1) fights off an attempted tackle by Tennessee defensive back Justin Coleman.

1) When a line looks too good to be true, it usually is. Hello Mississippi State getting points against Ole MIss and losing out right last week.

2) Ride the hot hand. Utah State was 11-0 against the spread going into last weekend and beat Idaho 45-9. Utah State was giving 38, so for the second time this year a meaningless Trey Farquhar field goal in the second half allowed Idaho to cover a 35-plus point line. (Farquhar's field goal on the last play of the game in a 52-13 loss to BYU pushed Idaho within the 40-point spread.)

3) Nothing is due except babies, postage and library books. If you think so-and-so is "due" a good performance, sorry. Just put the phone down, hand your entertainment funds to your significant other and spend the afternoon stress-free.

4) If the line is less than 7, do not take the underdog unless you think they are going to win the game. On bigger lines and over/unders ask yourself how many would it take for you to feel comfortable taking Auburn over Alabama? Would you feel safe with Auburn plus-44? Maybe. And since the line was 34, any time you can find a game that has a 10-point swing between line and comfort, you have to ride it.

There you go. And here we go.

West Virginia minus-20 against Kansas: It's also important to remember that you can best against teams as much as betting on teams. This is doubly true here. A senior day for a Mountaineers team that has underwhelmed for the last month against a 1-10 Kansas team that is ready to put the equipment up.

Hawaii minus-5 against South Alabama: OK, rule one that you know you have a gambling problem is you're betting on NFL preseason games. That said, there is a lot of opportunities to make extra entertainment on picking preseason games. We'll cover that later. As for the Hawaii-South Alabama, that's a comparable idea since this is two really bad football teams — Hawaii is 2-9 with wins over Lamar and UNLV; USA is 2-9 with wins over Nicholls State and Florida Atlanta — and a game that will draw a negative Neilson ratings. But we're not wagering which games will be entertaining; we're wagering entertainment. And the fact that this game is in Hawaii and will kickoff at 11 p.m. Eastern is worth way more than five points between two equally bad football teams.

Oklahoma State minus-4.5 at Baylor: Baylor is playing as well as anyone. But look back at the affects coaching rumors have had on Louisville and Texas Tech and Florida State in recent weeks. Baylor's Art Briles is considered one of the front-runners for the Arkansas job, and we like the cut of the Cowboys' collective jib. Side question: If you met a guy named Art Briles, would you expect him to be A) a football coach; B) a general contractor; C) a barber who could have some cool shop names like Hair Art or Briles' Styles; D) Your State Farm guy, Art Briles, who likes doing the Discount Double Check a little too much.

Louisiana-LaFayette minus-8 at Florida Atlantic: Hunch No.1

Northern Illinois minus-6 against Kent State: Hunch No. 2 (Hey we got to keep moving, right.)

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  • photo
    Alabama defensive backs Robert Lester (37), Dee Milliner (28), and Will Lowery (29) celebrate after intercepting an Arkansas pass in a September game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MICHAEL WOODS

SEC title game

There is a ton of talent headed to the Georgia Dome on Saturday. Heck, the teams are going to be pretty good too. Kidding, kidding.

Seriously, we talked earlier this week about how many future NFL first rounders will be on the field: We'd set the number at 12 — Bama's Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack, Cyrus Kouandjio, T.J. Yeldon, D.J. Fluker, Amari Cooper for sure and there could be more among the youngsters; Georgia's Jarvis Jones, John Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, Shawn Williams and Todd Gurley and there could be more among the youngsters.

But the growing buzz about this being Georgia's time and how good and ready the Bulldogs are... We're not buying it.

Georgia thinks they belong in this game; Alabama knows it. Week-in, week-out Alabama takes everyone's best shot and remains standing — well, unless Johnny Football is involved and the stars are lined up and A.J. McCarron throws his only two interceptions of the year.

Alabama now has been favored in 40 consecutive games, laying seven against Georgia. And the 7-point spread is the closest line Alabama has had all year — and joins Alabama minus-7.5 at LSU as the only single-digit spreads this season. (If you think we'd buy the half and put a little entertainment on the Tide, well, you're right.)

We're hoping this will be a classic slugfest, a back-and-forth football classic. We're fearful though that it's going to get twisted early and Alabama gets rolling.

Call it Hunch No. 3. (And yes, it was cemented when Aaron Murray declined media interviews this week, which screams nerves to us and that's never a good feeling to get from your quarterback.)

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Coaching search, the next day

OK, unless we missed it there has not been an outlandish report that the UT boosters have offered Jon Gruden an island in Chickamauga Lake and a stake in VW and Pilot and a chance to have an office in that big golden thing they built for the World's Fair.

We have had our first report/counter denial in this silly season.

There were reports from a couple of big-time reporters in Alabama that Auburn interviewed Charlie Strong. Strong emphatically denied those reports. So it goes.

We spent a lot of space here the last couple of days on Gruden and the UT search. Let's spend some time on each of the five big openings out there:

Tennessee

We thought Gruden was 50-50 earlier this week. Truthfully. Now, it's more like 1-in-3 and maybe lower than that. We still believe the Vols are trying everything physically — and even fiscally — possible to land Gruden, but it's hard to know. Here's the names we're hearing most frequently, in order:

  • photo
    Miami head coach Al Golden disputes a call during the first half of an NCCA college football game against South Florida, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 in Miami. Miami defeated South Florida 40-9. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Al Golden, Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong. (Side note: These opening have made for entertaining sports talk radio around these parts this week. Even causing the 5-at-10 to pull the Ford over last night when a caller on SportTalk told Quake, Cowboy Joe and Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) that he'd heard that Gruden was coming and bringing Raheem Morris as his D.C. and Andy Reid as his O.C. Yes, that scenario would mean the UT Vols would have three former NFL head coaches on staff.)

Auburn

Every conversation we've heard has included Bobby Petrino. And as we wrote in a text to a former fraternity brother who knows a few folks down there when discussing the potential/likelihood of hiring Bobby P, "As an Auburn grad that makes the 5-at-10 sad; and hopefull. Does that make sense?" It makes perfect sense. As does the inevitable end of wherever Petrino lands.

Arkansas

We think it's Briles' gig to lose and have thought that way for a while, but who can really know what's going on in Arkansas. For crying out loud they have known they were going to run John L. Smith since the La-Monroe loss in September. The Hogs should have landed the biggest fish available by now since they had the most time to put a deal together. Now, at the 11th hour they got played and out-manuevered in the matters of high-finance and corporate negotiations by Les Miles. LES MILES! Getting duped by Les Miles is like getting beat in Trivial Pursuit by Carl from Sling Blade. That can't happen, and it really can't happen at the 11th hour. So AD Jeff Long and Co. are so barren of ideas and a plan that on Tuesday, after a 12-hour work day someone threw out the idea of, "Hey let's make Les Miles say no. What's the worst that can happen?" Who thought this was a good idea? Here's the worst that can happen: Now every other candidate knows they were not your first choice and that happens everywhere, but that information can't get out. Second, you look like bumbling goofs, which is never a good thing, but is especially bad when a sizable chunk of your fan base already wants to rehire the coach you fired for lying to you and breaking state laws. On a real note, we've heard James Franklin's name more than once, too, and we're a believer in what James Franklin can accomplish.

NC State

They need to go ahead and hire Sonny Dykes. It would be a good move and the Wolfpack would get arguably the hottest name on the market, despite being no better than the fourth job open.

Cal

Here's where we think James Franklin could be a major league player. Dude has won with Vandy's academic requirements, he can do work at Cal. If we're the Bears, we ask him what it takes and we make it happen.









————

This and that

— Longtime friend of the show Choptalker sent along this gem http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2012/11/atlanta_airport_workers_report.html Yes, apparently the Saints' team charter was egged when it arrived in the A-T-L for tonight's hotly contested tackle football game between New Orleans and Atlanta. We normally avoid pro picks, but we like the Saints and the 3.5 tonight. Call it hunch No. 3.

— The Braves ponied up $75 million for five years of B.J. Upton, who will replace Michael Bourn in centerfield. The presence of Upton's right-handed bat in the Braves lineup will offer some welcomed and needed balance. Upton hit.248 with 28 homers and 31 steals last year. He does not figure to fill Bourn's role atop the batting order, so there likely still could be another minor addition or two — maybe a speedy left-fielder to bat leadoff; maybe a journeyman third baseman and leave Martin Prado in left anf give Andrelton Simmons a shot at batting first. Either way, it's kind of nice to see the Braves write a check again. Yay.

— The baseball Hall of Fame ballots arrived to voters this week, and you could hear the controversy before the envelopes were opened. In recent years, guys with Hall of Fame numbers like Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro and possibly even Jeff Bagwell have been hedl out for being caught using steroids or being rumored to have. Well, here come the heavy hitters of the steroid-era as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and even Mike Piazza are on the ballot for the first time.

— Nice win for Duke against a tough Ohio State last night. The power players have power this year. That's pretty profound right there. Duke is 3-0 against Top 5 teams; the rest of the free world is 0-30.

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Today's question

It's a free-for-all all week, so discuss.

We have two questions for you running with the theme of the week.

First, in the coach-search realm, what's your worst nightmare of a hire for UT or Auburn? And state which team you're a fan of, becuase we think it would be interesting to see what Alabama and Georgia fans hope doesn't happen at those locations. (Side note: "Hire Saban" is not going to happen — in either direction — so move along and find another answer.)

Earlier this week, in honor of the death of J.R. Ewing, we asked for the most identified character-actors in TV history. What about in movie history? Who are the guys and gals that had the most iconic/identifiable roles that when you see them, you say, "Wow, that's Luke Skywalker."

And remember, guys like Pacino, who was Michael Corleone and Scarface, and Harrison Ford, who has Indiana Jones and Han Solo, have more than one so it's not the direct Mark Hamill = Luke Skywalker.

Discuss.

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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sportsfan said...

Jay - I'm tiring of all the who's the next coach talk. It might be or might not be Gruden. Therefore, I'm suggesting we consider a change of topics today. What's your Rushmore of albums (vinyl? I must be older than I look)?

November 29, 2012 at 10:16 a.m.
orangeguy said...

The more I hear the more I expect Jimbo Fisher to be announced next week at UT. Just a dot-connecting hunch. I think Hyams report that Gruden had canceled his meeting with Hart was the unofficial official "see, we tried, guys."

Think I could get on board with Fisher. Lots of underachieving talent at FSU, but QB is so important and EJ Manuel has never been the model of consistency.

November 29, 2012 at 10:31 a.m.
Blueoval said...

As a UT fan I would hate to see Petrino. Yes he would win games but I don't like the way he has exited places. I have coaches I would like to see at UT but am just waiting for the press conference to see who they choose and try not to get caught up in everything I read. They have to get it right though, the program needs it.

Yahoo sports had a good article on the most desirable open places to coach and they named UT first. Reason was facilities and the tradition/history of the program. Interesting......

Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane, Henry Winkler as Fonzie, Larry Hagman as JR Ewing, Tom Selleck as Magnum PI

November 29, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Sportsfan —

We're in. Are you asking the best albums ever or our personal favorites/ones we played so much we had to replace?

Orange Guy —

Fisher definitely is in play — anyone notice how many of his assistants are in play in places across the country. Stoops went to UK; Gran is a candidate at Southern Miss; FSU's OC is being tossed around too.

Oval —

Ditto about Petrino. Well said.

Wow, Tom Selleck is an excellent call on the Rushmore of TV characters-actors as one dude.

— 5-at-10

November 29, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
sportsfan said...

Personal favorites. Don't really care about MJ's Thriller.

November 29, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, the most authoritative on Gruden is the story out of Memphis where Chucky was reported to not only coach the Browns, and also obtain equity in the team. I can't say I've seen too many offers like this before.

Was the secret meeting held at the West Memphis Pilot in the trucker's lounge? West Memphis is known for some pretty nefarious goings on over the years.

Tennessee will have to offer up to Gruden the gate and all concessions at Neyland. "Please pay these prices (concessions) and pay no more," as announced before home games will by the board. Even this is not enough.

Tennessee is but an anvil for Gruden's designs. His 100-85 record in no way justifies the preening by Chucky, and the swooning by much of the Vol Nation.

November 29, 2012 at 11:36 a.m.
Livn4life said...

SONGS for the Tennessee hire from a JohnnyVolsFan: Many hope for "GRU..DEN..on a Saturday afternoon! More Really, he's gonna get away too soon. Oh no no no!" (from Groovin')(alternate would be "Chucky's in Love!" only if he is for sure being hired) "Silence is GOLDEN, GOLDEN; but my eyes still see!" "Tuh tuh; duh, duh! Tuh tuh; duh, duh! Tuh tuh Duh Duh, Tuh tuh Duh..."Theme from GET SMART(old school) "Bah bah bah, bah Bobby P, Oh Bobby P, coach at Tennessee, Bobby P; he's got em Blockin' and Tacklin' all the hens are cacklin' Bobby P, Bah bah bah Bobby P!"(from Bah Barba-Ann) Aside note on Petrino: The stars may be in alignment for the Boy. Last night I saw Jupiter near the moon. Here's the rationale: His last name begins with PETR; an influential Volunteer donor sells PETROLEUM. He may the man to Pilot the Big Orange Vessel! Just Saying.

November 29, 2012 at 11:48 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Worst nighmare on Rocky Top would be a toss up between rehiring Kiffin and hiring Bah Bobby P. But....even if that happened, I'm still all Orange!

November 29, 2012 at 11:52 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

"big golden thing they built for the World's Fair"

It's called the Sunsphere, Jay. ::Scary moment:: My parents actually took me to the World's Fair when it was in Knoxville and the still have the 8MM footage of it. ^^()

I hate to say this, but apparently it's the duldrums for me. It's too early to talk Lady Mocs/Bama basketball, no interest in any of the match-ups, and I don't think anyone really wants to read my soapbox on how ridiculous $324.00 is for a football ticket! (see Paschall's article) That's not a football ticket, that's a 30" flatscreen on special. I don't care if Tennessee were playing for the championship.

Like the Mark Hamill references. Fun fact that won't cost you noth'n.

While most people only associate Mark with playing Luke Skywalker, Members of Generation Y and beyond really know him more as the voice of the Joker in the original Batman Animated Series (I was in high school but still never missed an episode). His portayal of the Clown Prince of Crime was sooo opposite a performance that no one really knew until much later it was him.

I also conclude that his performance, whether you believe this to be true, was the foundation for Heath Leger's portrayal later. (there was an actual AP article written about this). The same for Kevin Conroy's portrayal of the Dark Knight himself regarding Christian Bale's performance.

November 29, 2012 at 12:31 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

JMC - another fun Mark Hamill fact. He and Kristy McNichol were in a film called The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia, about 1979 or 80, which was filmed here in Chatt.

November 29, 2012 at 12:39 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Shouldn't there a Gruden countdown clock somewhere, like the Doomsday clock or some other such contraption?

It's hard to go iconic movie roles and not think of Connery, Sean Connery as Commander Bond. Or Robert Englund as Freddy. DeNiro could be Jake LaMotta or Jimmy from Goodfellas or even Travis Bickle or Rupert Fupkin. Maybe Cary Elwes as Wesley, also known as the Dread Pirate Roberts.

November 29, 2012 at 12:48 p.m.
sportsfan said...

BTW - GA plays Bama Saturday at 4 pm. Who does everyone have? I'm picking Bama.

November 29, 2012 at 1:14 p.m.
jgreeson said...

News to ponder: We're shooting out Best of Preps pictures this week and Ridgeland's Vonn Bell turned the corner for the photo shoot in a pretty sweet Alabama pull over with the big cursive 'A' in the middle.

So there's that.

Sportsfan —

These are albums now so we're talking about the early days of the 5-at-10 music tastes. We wore out Kenny Rogers' The Gambler. We wore out the Endless Love 45. And the Double Dutch Bus. Oh, and Billy Joel. Good times.

FE to the C —

Chucky has the goods right now and he's parlaying them. Bully for him.

Livn(Large)

Well played indeed. And yes, Kiffin returning would be bad. Realy bad. It would have to be accompanied with some bad wrestling-style intro music like some AC/DC or some "Pour Some Sugar on Me."

Actually that would be such a spectacle it's kind of tempting, no?

Run JMC —

Sunscreen? Sunsphere? Tomato, toe-mat-oh.

And dude, didn't know you were the Mark Hamill historian nice.

McPell —

Wow, there's a lot of Mark Hamill knodledge out there.

Spy —

Deniro is too diverse. Cary Elwes was also the Jeff Gordon character to Days of Thunder, but he will always be Wesley/Dread Pirate Roberts, you're right.

As for the Gruden clock, nope, not yet. We are refering to the days as G-minus 4, until they name Lord VolderGruden the supreme being of the state.

— 5-at-10

November 29, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I learned last year while watching SciFi but Robert England was a regular on the short-lived TV series "V" (They did a mini-marathon around Christmas time). I remember when it was on broadcast television (1982? 83?) but was too young to be into it.

Anyway, he played this mentally-challanged assistant to a club/bar owner who was part of the Earth resistance movement. If you remember the mini-series prior to the actual series, it was about a group of lizard aliens who invade Earth posing as humans. ABC did reboot of it a couple of years ago but it never caught on.

It was definitely interesting seeing him literally pre-Freddy.

November 29, 2012 at 1:37 p.m.
BackupQB said...

1 hit wonders in film? How about starting in the spirit of the upcoming holiday season with "Cousin Eddie" from Christmas Vacation (sure Randy whatever his name is was in other roles, but you're lying if everytime you see that mug, you don't think Cousin Eddie!). Jennifer Grey ("Nobody put's Baby in a corner!") and that kid from 6th Sense ("I see dead people") are honorable mention.

Albums - not sure if you can get it in vinyl, but I like 'Appetite for Destruction' by GNR, U2's 'Live Under a Blood Red Sky', Metallica's self-titled album (the black album?), The Police 'Synchronicity,' Michael Jackson's 'Thriller,'Prince's 'Purple Rain' and a 5 @ 10 fav, Run DMC's 'Raising Hell.'

I guess the Dookies are pretty good, huh? 3-0 vs. Top 5 in NOVEMBER = ridiculous! Plumlee vs. the Hoosier big man would be great! Dickie V would explode.

No coaching search talk? 1 question: did all Tuesday night/Wednesday buzz CAUSE Gruden to cancel the meeting with UT officials? Or was it disinterested all along? Or ... is the cancellation a 'smoke screen'?

Mailbag - what are the most memorable November meltdowns/chokes by a #1 or #2 team in the BCS era? And, has any #1 or #2 team ever lost twice in November/December in the BCS era (could happen to Bama)?

November 29, 2012 at 1:49 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

McPell-

I knew that movie was filmed in the 'Noog but did not know Hamill was in it. Good stuff.

November 29, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Did you know that Mark Hamill made zero appearences in the episode of The Simpsons in which Bart visits the Sunsphere in Knoxville and Nelson knocks it over with a rock.

I thought that Ralph Macchio would be a no brainer for the movie rushmore thingy but after further extensive research, it ends up he was one of the "yoots" in My Cousin Vinny. Why was Daniel Son so nervous about being in prison when he could have just crane kicked the bejeezus out of any one in there?

What about Mr.T for a one tv, one movie role hall of fame?

November 29, 2012 at 2:40 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BackupQB (June Jones) —

Those albums were money, but we burnt through almost all of them — and Raising Hell and Eazy Does It at least twice each — as cassette tapes.

Nobody puts baby in the corner is good, as is Cousin Eddie.

We'll go Luke Skywalker, Ferris Bueller, Danny Noonan and Apollo Creed.

— 5-at-10

November 29, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. 962 —

Not only was he one of the Yoots, he also was Johnny in the Outsiders.

Side note: The Outsiders' cast was stud-tastic before they were studs. Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Cruise, Estevez, Rob Lowe, Swayze, Diane Lane. Buckets at the names.

Clubber Lang was a nice call.

— 5-at-10

November 29, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Mr. T was also in one other movie which was one of my favorite (and very few ) R-rated movies my mom would allow me to watch at 9-10ish back in the day: DC Cab. That movie unfortunately is one of those that have wound up in 1980s D-List trivia but does exist.

November 29, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.
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