published Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

5-at-10: Huge UT fan, NFL power poll and Rockets, Astros and the Yak Woman

Hey, there may be a head-spinning amount of stuff happening, but don't forget Friday's mailbag. If you do, well, there's no telling what could happen, because a player in the streak has got to respect the streak.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

Back in Black

How big is this Tennessee-Florida match-up? Well, there are whispers that UT may look to go with all-black uniforms Saturday night. Here’s a photo of a possible helmet.

Gang, theses are rumors. RUMORS. But they’d be pretty cool, no?

Sweet buckets, this game means a lot. That said, our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown says the chances of this are "really slim" and he's quick to point out that UT boss Derek Dooley is a big, Big, BIG fan of tradition.

Fans anthem

Not happy

Have you seen this video about the young UT fan who has a meltdown when he realizes his flag football team is not in orange jerseys? Take a moment.

We all know fans like this. Heck, a large chunk of us are/were fans like this. (Side note: The only difference between this kid and most of us is that they didn't have video cameras in phones and this crazy intertube thing to share embarrassing moments around the globe when we were young.)

So it goes, but here's proposing two things:

First, the stakes get raised and emotions get twitchy when teams start experiencing success. That's a good thing, especially for Tennessee considering the Vols and Johnny Vols Fans everywhere have been forced to watch from the porch the last couple of years.

Second, here's hoping someone in Knoxville sees this and does the cool thing. Send this kid a jersey or a pair of tickets to the Akron game in 10 days.

C'mon Vols, little fellow just gave you a worldwide commercial that will bring smiles to even Alabama fans' faces.

NFL power poll

  • photo
    Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed (20) celebrates his touchdown on an interception with quarterback Joe Flacco in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. Baltimore won 44-13.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We'll rank a top five every Tuesday of the NFL season. This is not a list on potential or pretense (sorry Green Bay, we know you have talent, but there's no room for 0-1 teams after Week 1).

So, after last night's touching tribute to Art Modell by Baltimore — which likely went over as well as a toot in a crowded elevator in Cleveland — here's the five best in pro football:

1) Baltimore: If Joe Flacco plays like that — well are we ready for a world in which Joe Flacco is the NFL MVP? — this team will go 19-0. We bet the 1972 Dolphins are not overly worried about Air Flacco just yet.

2) San Francisco: If you sub out Alex Smith for Joe Flacco in the above sentence, well you get the idea. Again, the 1972 Dolphins — the only team to finish the year unbeaten and win the Super Bowl — are not shaking in their old-guy shoes. That said, the 49ers defense is special, and after stuffing the preseason power poll pick Packers (yes, alliteration is your friend), San Fran is a playoff lock in the worst division in football. Anything less than 12 wins would be a shock.

3) Atlanta: That's an offense loaded with options folks. Julio Jones, we have believed in you from the start. If not for Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones would be the best receiver in the league. How about that overstatement, huh?

4) New England: Here's another overstatement for you: New England will have a top three defense by year's end. Don't sell them short.

5) Dallas: Hey, the Cowboys went to New York, beat the defending Super Bowl champ and did it without a healthy or effective Jason Witten and with pro bowl defensive tackle Jay Ratliffe in street clothes. That said, the Cowboys are the '72 Dolphins of September almost every year.

Baseball puzzles

  • photo
    Sugar Land Skeeters starter Roger Clemens waves to the fans as he leaves during the fifth inning of a minor league baseball game against the Long Island Ducks at Constellation Field Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, in Sugar Land, Texas.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Braves appear to be coasting toward the one-game Wildcard playoff — they are 6.5 back of the Nationals and 5.5 in front of the Cardinals for the top wildcard spot.

The AL playoffs race is a hodgepodge of possibilities from overachievers (Hello, Oakland), underachievers (We're looking at you Detroit) and everything in between. (Side note: There are 10 teams — three division leaders and seven in the mix for the two wildcard spots — and almost all of them are rooting for the same thing: Let our team make it and let the Yankees fold. It's good to be the king.)

That said, the biggest eye-popping development in baseball is the report that Houston may add Roger Clemens for the stretch run. Yes, that Roger Clemens, the 50-year-old right-hander who has pitched eight scoreless innings for the Sugar Land Skeeters and shutout the U.S. legal system on the steroid charges by focusing his defense on the scumpuppy that is Brian McNamee rather than Clemens' guilt or innocence.

Couple, three things here.

If the Astros try to do this, baseball needs to step in. Houston is 44-97 — 53 games under .500 and 31 games back of the wildcard spot. The Astros were eliminated about the same time their fans turned their attention to preseason football practice. (It may have even been spring football practice, but we're trying to be kind). So it's not like the Astros are making this move to make a push for a competitive edge.

No, Houston has only two avenues of explanation. Either the Astros are tanking on purpose to secure the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft or they are trying to sell tickets. The first one is out since the Astros are 11 games clear of baseball's next biggest loser. So, if the Astros are going to be a sideshow carnival, will the rotation be Clemens, the Yak Woman, the bearded lady, Wandy Rodriguez and the sword swallower? Selling tickets is great, but being a circus is not.

As for Clemens, his motivation for this is clear. He may say he wants to pitch because he loves the competition. Great. He'll even allude to the fact that he wants to help the young pitchers. Sure you do Roger, because your career has been about sharing. (Did the sarcasm come through there?) Some may say he's a spotlight chaser of the highest order and he has very little else beyond the glow of the stadium lights. Hey, all of those are cool and there are millions of us who would do just about anything to pitch in the big leagues.

However, we believe he is hoping to reset his Hall of Fame clock with a single appearance, let the dust settle and the public opinion soften on the steroid mess and try again on the ballot five years from now. Dude is obsessed with being in the Hall, and if he appears on the ballot this coming offseason as scheduled, he has no chance. Plus he would be among the heavy-lifting class of big-time steroid names like Bonds and Sosa.

Do the right thing baseball. We're not holding our breath.

This and that

— Major congrats to Andy Murray, who should not be confused with Aaron Murray, who is not related to Billy Murray. Andy Murray ended one of the more painful chases for a major championship in tennis history with his somewhat surprising win over Novak Djokovic. Hey, we notmally do not spend a lot of time on tennis here, but Murray's run of so-close — especially at this year's Wimbledon — has been magnetic, and to see the journey complete was fun. "Relief is probably the best word I would use to describe how I'm feeling just now," Murray told the AP afterward. "You do think: Is it ever going to happen?"

— We're simply giddy about the UT-Florida game this weekend. This is one of those games that should matter, and this year it does. Plus, as our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer wrote today, the stakes always matter.

— Looking for your high school football fix, here's the TFP sports editor and prep ace Stephen Hargis breaking down the week. And hey, 5-at-10 family, message received. Did you see Hargis' tie? Well-played all around.

— Caesars Palace in Vegas just finished a $17 million buffet. Yes, $17 million. It has more than 50 items and nine chefs. Two things here: One, you notice that gamblers are not building $17 million buffets, it's the casinos doing those type of ventures. Second, somewhere there is a Golden Corral executive sitting back and saying, "Yeah, big deal. Do they offer Cotton Candy." Take that Caesars Palace. Plus, is that place beeper friendly and did the real Caesar stay there? We say no on both counts.

Today's question(s)

What's your Rushmore for superstar athletes who could not leave the game and hurt their legacy?

We'll take Clemens, Favre, Gordie Howe, Jordan. That's a pretty strong list of studs, too. This also leads us to...

What's your Rushmore of athletes who left on their own terms?

We'll take Chipper, Ted Williams, Barry Sanders, Larry Bird.

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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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.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Does Sandy Koufax count? If he does, then he has to replace Chipper. Chipper hasn't even left the game yet.

HATE the black. Hope the Vols don't go that rout. But they probably will.

September 11, 2012 at 10:24 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Hargis and yourself are a desk and an arm chair away from taking your Forward Rewind to a whole new level, Im talking guest appearences from local coaches and players, the big time is coming your way. And I was just as shocked as you looked when accoutrement came out of your mouth.

Couple things from the announcers for last nights games. One, Gruden, we understand that you like to call the strong safety blitz "stingers". You dont have to explain it everytime. (And Dennis the Menace called and wants his haircut back.) Two, I cringed when I discovered Boomer was doing the second game with Dilfer. He is the equivalent of having Adam Sandler from the late 2000's(after he was not funny anymore) call the games. "Rivers back to pass...talli-ooo-hoo pow zing, broken up by the Raaaaaaiiiiders!" He wasnt nearly as bad as I would have expected but somebody needs to call ESPN and make sure that doesnt happen again.

I like the black uni's. Theyve wore it one other time during the Lane Train era on the Halloween game, correct? I was excited when they came out that night rocking them, could have been the Halloween elixar I was drinking, but they look cool all the same. It beats a reflectant eye sore that isnt even close to a team color that some other ball clubs wear.

Elway certainly left on his own terms and at the top of his game. (He has horse teeth though and they scare me.)

September 11, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

The Rushmore is a no brainer

Jim Brown Sandy Koufax Teddy Ballgame Bill Russell

that is all...for now

FYI for those who watch the WWE...the Lawler collapse was not a "work" he did have a heart attack on the air last night...reports are that he underwent surgery for a blockage

September 11, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
Livn4life said...

VolFans have a lot to look forward to in the game Sat. but concerns as well: The running game cannot be forced, Defense has to bring it with some more consistency early, Turnovers need to be only for breakfast that day and the Kicking Game, let's not talk about that. I do not like GameDay showing up so soon as the Vols are trying to climb back up in the SEC East but it's not my call. Focus is crucial for this game. All the trappings are distracting. But I believe the Vols will finally break through. Not wanting to refer back to a former coach's battle cry but IT'S TIME!.

I will be most interested in how your Power Poll looks in weeks 10, 12, and 16. Will these teams keep it going? San Fran was unreal in Lambeau. We shall see.

Andy Murray is related to Anne Murray the country singer right? Oh no, she is Canadian...never mind. I took a swing at that one anyway. Congrats on his US Open Tennis Championship. He is not at Fault.

Clemens is a complete embarrassment. We know it is a ticket sell gimmick and a PR attempt on his part. You are so right, MLB, step in and end this before it disasterates(one of my own made up words).

John Elway is a classic example of athletes who left the game(as player) on his terms.

September 11, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
chas9 said...

OK, Mr. Wordsmith guy. (That would be you, Jay.) This morning I've heard three separate national news readers/anchors say Andy Murray won his first grand slam. Not grand slam tournament or event, just "grand slam." Don't you have to win four of something to win a grand slam? Andy hasn't even got a hat trick yet. Are these guys ignorant? Or lazy? We know print journalists are superior in every way to Ron Burgundys, but still!

Kentuck has a good point. My boy Sandy is the greatest. Guess it depends on what you mean by going out on your own terms, since Mr. K had arm aches.

If leaving on your own terms means while you're still winning but not necessarily at your peak, Navratilova is there. A month short of turning 50 she won a grand slam event. (Not a grand slam, mind you.) Did anybody ever have such a long dominating career? George Blanda, maybe.

September 11, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Good call on Jim Brown, OG. He left at the top though he did say he might come back in 1983...at the age of 47. It didn't happen or else he would have made the Rushmore of players who hurt their legacy.

I am very surprised that Murray was able to last 5 sets with the Djoker. Good to see him finally win one though. People have compared Ivan Lendl's career with Murray's and it looks like Lendl has been a great help as coach to Murray over the last year or so they've been together. Not sure who the next player to get their first slam is now. Maybe David Ferrer but he's 30 now. John Isner needs to break through and win one for the U.S. of A.

September 11, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Pretty vanilla 5 at 10 today. But then again what do you expect the Tuesday after Monday Quarterbacking.

I liked Wiedmer's column regarding the Vols vs. Gators then plus now. I pretty much pointed out some reasons why the tickets are not going for this as in the past so I will refer you to that column for my take (Spoiler alert: It's the economy with a side order of technology).

I hate the black helmets. This is not the XFL.

My Saturday football schedule is looking promising:

Louisiana-Monroe vs. Auburn at 11:15 SMU vs. A&M at 3:00 Tennessee vs. Florida at 5:00

No desire to play Rushmore

I hate the Glennsville State match-up but I guess even Division II need a paycheck game too. We'll be lucky to see 500 in attendence. That maybe a contest for tomorrow. How many will not show up Thursday night.

September 11, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.
whatsnottaken said...

The greatest are those who waited until after the season to retire rather than announcing early and having a year-long lovefest at each stadium/park. Sorry Chipper, but you fall into that group.

September 11, 2012 at 11:12 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

how much would you be willing to wager on the attendance at Chattanooga / Glenville sir? the dripping sarcasim of 500 when we all know the attendance will be over 12,000

September 11, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
Stewwie said...

I like OG's estimate of 12,000 for Thursday night's game. With no other SEC game to compete with, the Thursday home opener for the Mocs normally does quite well regardless of the opponent. Plus now there's a buzz about the offense with Huesman running the show. And how will Terrell do in his first game back?

Expect a packed house the following Saturday on homecoming against Appy St.

September 11, 2012 at 11:22 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang,

Great start to the day.

Stuck —

Koufax could be there, but injuries dictated that term as much as he did. Could make the same argument for Larry Legend, too.

962 —

Excellent point about Berman. In fact we turned the volume down and watched the game with music in the background.

How bad is Gruden's hair? Watching the gamae last night, the Mrs. 5-at-10 said, "Chucky's the only guy we've ever seen that the headset/earphones make his hair look BETTER." And she was spot on.

Kiffin trotted out the black tops, orange pants for the South Carolina game, if memory serves.

OG —

Jim Brown is a home run and needs to be added. As for the rastlin' we got nothing for you. If it's beyond the era of Tommy "Wildfire" Rich and Rick "Nature Boy" Flair, we got little for you.

Livn(Large) —

It is time. It's time for a UT performance that delivers the goods. Elway is good too.

Well-played.

9er —

You are spot on. Winning a grand slam is all of them. And we have several leather bound books and smell of rich mahogany. Wait.

Martin, Blanda, Favre and Clemens were all very good for a long while. Know who else?

This is Ray Lewis' 17th season. At linebacker. And dude had like a dozen tackles last night. Impressive.

Too good to be Stew —

We were stunned by Murray's win too. Stunned. So it goes, and Isner has just a slightly better chance than the 5-at-10 at winning one.

Run JMC —

There will be more than 500. It's the home opener. That's a quality schedule for Saturday, and here's hoping the Tigers find a way. (How sad is that? Wow. We're still with them though. We can't go anywhere else, we have too much Auburn stuff.)

— 5-at-10

September 11, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Whatsnottaken —

We can see that point. We also think there is some measure in announcing before the year so the media types don't ask you about it every week or after every 0-for-4.

Gang —

If the weather's nice, we'll take over the 12,000. Should be a fun event.

In fact, we think the Mocs should make Thursday a staple on their schedule.

— 5-at-10

September 11, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
chas9 said...

At first glance, I thought today's 5@10 was titled (in part) NFL power roll, which I figured referred to the technique employed by Oakland's neophyte long snapper trying to get the ball back to the punter. It's gonna be a long season for Cowboy Joe's ilk unless that position's upgraded. Long snapping must be harder than it looks. Jay, if The Raiders open up tryouts, would you go for it?

Denver's visit to the ATL will be a cool QB matchup, established star against the future. Who's your money on?

Does Sunday's Jets game leave you wondering if there's a spot in the NFL for The Tebow?

September 11, 2012 at 11:53 a.m.
Todd962 said...

I would say there are two possible outcomes tonight that are dependant on how the first half goes for the Mocs. Either they will have a great turnout for the season opener to which people will stay the whole game and cheer their team on, or T-Bones is about to have the busiest Trivia Night they have ever had in their entire existence. Im down for either, someone just make an announcement by half please.

And is George Blanda's "Frankenstein Monster Shoe" sitting in the hall of fame somewhere? Why that ever seemed like the best way to line up for a field goal escapes me.

September 11, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Todd has a GREAT point on the Elway horseteeth. I have no neigh-saying on that one.

September 11, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I like the fact our little Montley Crew has a more positive output for attendence on Thursday. I'm really having problems imagining 12,000 simply because I know how extremely fickle the fanbase can be. Especially after one loss that was expected and one loss that was not. I grant you Appy State and GSU are the biggest draws every year (now more than ever) but in reality I don't seriously believe Thursday Nights make all that big a difference. Many years ago, Quake went on a major on-air tyrade where it seems every time the athletic department tried something different out of so-called "community requests" (Including Thursday Night games), you'd still get the same quote "5600 show-up".

I grant everyone at the time of said on-air commentary, the program was not in as good a shape as today but I do have a long memory.

Personally, I would be more excited if the Mocs were playing another OVC team (Martin or East Kentucky) or another non-conference FCS team, but this appears to be more a "grooming" for the big show the same way Georgia State was a "grooming" before this Saturday's game against Florida.

I am positive that the Mocs will at least make 18,000 if not 20,000 for App. State considering what is on the line and the upset from two years ago. Especially with Tennessee playing Akron that Saturday and Georgia playing Vandy.

September 11, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.
patrickd said...

I wouldn't categorize myself as a big Tennessee fan. With that said, those helmets are tough.

September 11, 2012 at 2:23 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Snapper — no thanks

Tebow — not sure

Monday night match-up — Mailbag

962 —

Somebody get T-Bones on the horn and have them set up a special pregame football trivia. It would set records like NOBODY's BID-ness.

This needs to happen.

Livn(Large)

Elway had big teeth? We mare-ly noticed. That said we should have seen the clues:

Fav 80s rock duo — Hall and Oats

Fav 60s TV show — Mr. Ed

Fav cliche — Horse of a different color

Originally drafted by — Colts

Played for — Broncos

Coincidence? We think not.

JMC —

We think 12,000 should be the baseline. And an impressive win could mean 18,000 or so for App State, which is a MONSTER game.

PDavi —

Could you be having a better September?

Those helmets are tough. And if the Vols want to correct that $4 million shortfall from last year's budget, coming trotting out on to the field in good-looking black jerseys. They'd sell $1 million worth of Nos. 8 and 11 by themselves.

— 5-at-10

September 11, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I'd put Willie Mays and Muhammad Ali on the Rushmore of guys who hung around a little too long.

5, no reminiscenes of one OAB Jr?

September 11, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, thoughts on David Boyd resigning yesterday?

And I hate to bring the room down, but I can't help but think about Mike Brooks on this day.

September 11, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

When we were there, OAB was more about education than MDJ. He became more involved after we left, though.

For the most part he was pretty good to us. Don't really remember him lowering the boom during our 2-plus years on Fairground St.

There are legions more with more pertinent and telling tales.

Our time there was filled with good friends, good times, good Docs and some pretty good newspaperin'.

Selah.

— 5-at-10

September 11, 2012 at 3:08 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Something I also meant to bring up yesterday is the game Sunday involving our beloved Titans. Locker looked shaky at best after the first couple of drives and Nate Washington had three or four bad drops. Thats not what bothered me though. I can accept those as first game jitters.

What did concern me however are the high balls Locker lofts over the middle for his receivers. All the people at my house were commenting how he was going to get someone creamed and sure enough, he nearly got Washington murdered trying to catch a ball coming across the center.

We all thought he was unconcious, seeing how he flat backed and his arms were locked in the "I just got knocked the expletive out" position, but the injury report says he acquired a leg injury... interesting?(Do we think they are trying to avoid him having to sit out a head injury?)

And then to top it off Locker thought he was Ray Lewis for a brief moment and tried to tackle and slam a fumble returner and seperated his shoulder. Did I mention this was all on the same play? Could be a long season for Titans fans, longer than usual...

September 11, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5,

Very true, very true, very true and unbelievably true.

September 11, 2012 at 3:35 p.m.
patrickd said...

Jay, my september's going well but I'm a believer that you're never as good as it seems and you're never as bad as it seems. Because of that, I think Alabama and Auburn are much more evenly matched than it appears.

How'd I do on the delivery? Did I rush it?

September 11, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

Not sold on Locker. Never have been. Thought he was a reach when they tabbed him. Has a real Heath Shuler feel, no? And that's Heath Shuler NFL quarterback, not Heath Shuler politician.

We may break down the Titans come Wednesday — or mailbag.

Spy —

Heard about R. David Boyd last night. Cuh-Razy stuff.

Dude could coach his whistle off.

(Back story: The 5-at-10's high school hoops coach at Campbell left CHS many moons ago and has gone on to win a slew of state titles at different schools — Tucker, Berkmar, Milton — and got into hot water with the GHSA for recruiting allegations. We know for a fact he did not recruit when we played for him. We also know for a fact that when certain programs have success, people want to play for them.)

And yes, we're remiss for not mentioning 9/11 before now.

Rest in Peace.

— 5-at-10

September 11, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
jgreeson said...

P-Davi —

Somewhere Weston Wamp just smiled and said, "Now that was smoooooothhhh."

Well-played sir.

Hey look Kiehl Frazier just made another bad throw. Who knew?

— 5-at-10

September 11, 2012 at 4:07 p.m.
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