Before we get started, we'd like to wish a happy 50th birthday to James Bond the movie character. It was 50 years ago today that he made his debut. And while we had prepared something on it, Thursday was busy and the mailbag got stuffed rather quickly, so here's the Reader's Digest version: Connery was the best Bond; Daniel Craig (the current one) is pretty dang good. As for the best movie, well, there's Dr. No way anyone could peg just one. Just know this, today is the 50th birthday of the most popular movie character ever.
From the "Talks too much studios" on to the mailbag...
The Tennessee Vols are so close to getting over the hump. But will it be close enough for Tennessee fans? I got to thinking about something this past weekend and I wanted to hear what you had to say. Everybody wants to be where Alabama is at right now. They’re on top of the world. They get whatever player they want and I think you have to give Nick Saban 99.9% of the credit. Do you think Mike Shula left Alabama in as bad of a shape as Fulmer/Kiffin left Tennessee?
Of course everyone wants to be where Alabama is right now. Yes, Nick Saban deserves a huge amount of the credit — and his $5 million-plus pay check — for Alabama's juggernaut, but the Tide were able to get atop the heap in two years under Saban in large part because of the groundwork laid by Mike Shula.
Shula left Alabama in a much more workable situation than what Derek Dooley inherited. In fact, the house of cards and smoldering ashes Dooley picked up is more comparable to the mess Shula got when he arrived at the Capstone. Remember, Mike DuBose had imploded in 2000 and was fired. Two promising years of Dennis Franchione were halted when Dennis bolted for his "dream job" at Texas A&M. Then Alabama hired Mike Price, who never coached a game before the scandal about his "extracurricular" activities and his famous exchange with a stripper in a hotel room:
Stripper: "Roll Tide coach."
Price: "It's already rolling."
So Shula took over a program looking for stability and accountability. It needed balance and calming force. Shula provided those, he just did not win enough. And after going 26-23 in four years — including a 10-win season in 2005 — Shula got got.
The comparison is not between what Saban and Dooley inherited, because there is no comparison. Remember, the bulk of Saban's 2008 Sugar Bowl team was Shula's guys. Guys like John Parker Wilson, Antoine Caldwell, Andre Smith and Rashad Johnson mixed with the newcomers in Saban's 2008 recruiting class — the greatest single haul in the modern recruiting era — to get the Tide rolling. And it's really rolling now.
The comparison is between the messes picked up by Dooley and Shula respectively. Shula was not allowed/not able to complete the rebuilding project, but he poured some of the concrete. And whether you believe Shula deserved one more year, not even Shula's mom would think her baby boy would have the Tide where Saban does.
Shula, four years, 29-26 overall, 13-19 in the SEC
Dooley, 2-plus years 14-16 overall, 4-14 in the SEC
And those comparisons between Dooley and Shula are going to yield similarly difficult questions in the months and years ahead.
This is a big bye week... In my opinion we couldn't have picked a better week to be on a bye. In our first 5 games we have played 2 teams that are currently in the top 10 and lost to both... but we are coming off a tough (gutty) four quarter performance against the Dawgs. Now is the absolute best time for Dooley to make personnel changes. Also a great time for Sunseri to figure out how in the world we can contain teams and keep them from bouncing the ball outside. We are in the heart of our schedule and if during this bye week we can get our defense to settle in and just limit our big plays then we will be in any ball game that we play from here on out. Not saying that we will win all the games but I feel like we can squeak out at least one upset and beat the teams that we are supposed to beat. If what I said holds true, are you as a Vols fan happy with an 8-4 season? GBO!!!
Welcome to the show and feel free to swing by anytime.
We are going to write a column in Saturday's TFP about different things UT fans can do today to truly enjoy the bye week. Anyone got any suggestions?
That said, KAus, you're spot on that this is the perfect time for UT's bye week. They went into the off week knowing they played hard and well at times against a top-five foe. But they also know there is plenty of work to do.
As for the personnel changes, we think LaDarrell McNeil is going to be more involved in the secondary. That's a good thing. We think Tennessee's kickers are still going to kick. That's a not-so good thing.
Two things we'd like to see: Brent Brewer move to linebacker and Cordarralle Patterson in the Wildcat. (Side question: With our brother LaDarrell and our other brother Cordarrelle on the roster, if you have 'Darrell' anywhere in your name, wouldn't you instantly have UT atop your list? What say you Darrell Patterson?)
As for KAus' question, we believe 8-4 would be a marked step forward. First off, to get there, UT would have a win over a ranked foe and erase the glaringly and glowing 0-12 that is Dooley's record against ranked opponents. Secondly, 8-4 would likely mean a decent bowl destination because, a) UT travels well, b) the Vols would be on at least a four-game winning streak, and c) UT still has appeal.
Now 8-4 will not cool the heat completely on Dooley's seat, and at 8-4, the outcome of the bowl game becomes huge, Huge, HUGE for Dooley and the Vols. There's a lot more than one game difference between 9-4 and heading into the winter at 8-5 with a loss.
But, we believe Johnny Vols Fans everywhere would be happy with 8-4 if Dooley could pull of the monster recruiting coup of getting Bray, Hunter and Patterson to stay. An 8-4 mark with those three cats back means UT opens 2013 in the top 15.
Oh, the paychecks would be nice, but making a living depending on the whims of 18-22 kids would cause a few dozen headaches a day. Calgon take us away.
Wow!!! Thanks for the Braves tickets for Friday. That is way better than expected. And go Dawgs by a TD. Just wanted to write and say thanks for doing the contests and having this thing every morning. It's a good way to start my day and I don't know about everybody else but more times than not I start checking the clock and your site a few minutes before 10 and thinking "What crazy stuff is he going to have today?" (I loved the pregame speech and the Braveheart picks was nice.)
I don't really have a question. Well I kinda do — what's your most underrated comedy movie?
See you around and thanks again.
Glad to and enjoy the game. And if you are lurking around waiting on the 5-at-10, is there a chance you're doing it at 5 til 10. Hhhmmmmmmmm.
OK, couple things here: First a wise newspaper buddy or ours once told us that in this world, think of a book of matches, and that's the grand total of exclamation points you get to use. Tiger just went through three. And secondly, when you start a sentence with "I don't really have a question. Well I kinda do —" the end of that needs to be something trite like what do you have for breakfast (2 cups black coffee; 1 breakfast bar; 5 sports things at 10 a.m.). Not some home run question like "Underrated comedies." Sweet buckets of truth and syrup, we need more coffee.
OK, we're back and we're ready for a big-boy question. Now more times than not, when we give an answer, we're right and that's all there is to it. Well, unless the Mrs. 5-at-10 is involved. Or our kids. Or our mom. Or Paschall. Or most of the folks in the neighborhood. And there's our bosses at work. And Weeds. Well, you get the idea. When we give an answer to the neighbor's dog, that puppy knows we're spot on.
Anyway, most underrated comedy movies is dependent on 1) your tastes in comedies (we've never been much of a Woody Allen guy) and 2) your definition of underrated, because one of the ones on our list may not seem underrated to some but we contend it's an all-timer that does not get the proper respect.
So here's our top 5 of underrated comedies, and gang, feel free to toss some out — we're certain we'll forget at least two. And remember, this list is pulled for different reasons and values of the meaning of underrated:
• "The Jerk" (should be ranked among the best ever but rarely is, and is amazingly rewatchable 30-plus years later)
• "Better off Dead" (John Cusack had a run of subtle greatness in the 1980s: From bit roles in "Class" and "Sixteen Candles" to stellar run form 1985-89 that included "The Sure Thing," "One Crazy Summer," "Stand by Me," "Eight Men Out" and "Say Anything.")
• "Role Models" (Paul Rudd is the modern day John Cusack)
• "Dodgeball" (Heck, the ESPN Ocho scenes with Cotton and Pepper could spawn a sequel. And the 5-at-10 is not a Ben Stiller fan.)
From Stewwie (in daily conversation)
I think overall the NBA refs are good (and WAY better now than 10 or 20 years ago)...and the new flop rules will help them look even better. That said which has the best collection of refs/umps, and which has the worst?
NBA, NCAA b-ball, MLB, Baseball Minors, NFL, NCAA football?
This question was so good we wanted to pull it out and explore.
First off, we agree with the sentiment that the worst refs are the ones that hold some belief that the crowds and the TV cameras are there for them. Of that list, here's our ranking and reasoning why (and the NFL referees are riding an unprecedented wave of popularity because we all got to see how much better they are than the common folk. And that's a good reminder for all walks of officiating):
NFL refs — This is the high-water mark for NFL refs. Enjoy it gang.
NBA — Stew said it well and this group is way, Way, WAY better than they used to be. Plus, this group has to deal with the face-to-face challenge of being right there under the microscope of fans, players and coaches. NBA refs do a great job of give-and-take with the players — something from which the MLB umps could learn.
NCAA football — The upper-echelon conferences, especially the SEC, have guys that are really good. The lower leagues not so much.
Minor league baseball — These folks work at their craft and are obviously the most motivated.
NCAA hoops — There are some good ones; there are some that do not know the rules. No group is more affected by home-court advantages and intimidated by rockstar coaches.
MLB — This group is the most stubborn and the most self-indulgent. Could you imagine a three-step hopping offside call that mirrored some of the umps' third-strike punchouts?
From Daily Reader
Mr. 5 at 10,
A friend of mine who is a friend of yours passed along you blog and I wanted to say I really enjoy it.
I appreciate the fact that you can have a discussion and nobody starts arguing about every little thing. It's even funny every now and then.
I have a question though. For those of us that are kind of new, could you explain some of terms you use regularly. Thanks and thanks for the column.
Thanks for swinging by. And we're happy to be funny — every now and then.
This is a very question and we know we'll forget some of the regular terms we use, so if some of the regulars remember some, feel free.
F-O-I-B sports colum — This stands for family-oriented, internet-based sports column, and is bandied about when the language turns blue. Think about the kids gang.
We love the draft. You know this. — A common refrain that stands as a testament to the 5-at-10's strange devotion to the NFL draft.
Awesome in its awesomeness — The highest of praise.
Pretend _ — Fill in the blank of a person who we pretend to interview. Common suspects are Les Miles and Jon Gruden. Pretend Al Davis was a regular until he passed. Moment of silence please. That will do.
"Talks too much studios" — The name picked by readers last year since, well, the 5-at-10 can get rather wordy.
Johnny _ Fans — Whatever the team, be it Vols, Dogs, Mocs, Tigers, whatever, this is their fan base on an individual fan.
Not that there's anything wrong with that — A shout out to the great Seinfeld refrain when the reporter thought Jerry and George were gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
BID-ness — This is business. We're just old-school hip-hop like that.
Some hints — You never can tell when a movie quote may appear. And there's no such thing as a dumb comment, well, except for some of the stuff Spy says.
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 ...