published Monday, September 24th, 2012

5-at-10: College football lessons, NFL drama, Sunday splendor

We hope your weekend was a blast. Seriously. First day of fall was Saturday, the weather was spot on, etc. We're going to start today with a funny scene Saturday. Cue the music.

The 5-at-10 clan was at Finley Stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch the Mocs and were recording the Auburn game. We see someone we know at the pavilion and this followed:

Someone we know: "So you think Auburn has a chance? That'd be some kind of upset."

5-at-10: "Well, it makes us think of a Bible verse. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."

Someone we know (with stunned look on his face): "Dude, didn't know you were a Biblical scholar too?"

Mrs. 5-at-10 without missing a beat: "He's not. It's a line from "Hoosiers."

She's right of course. Amen.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's go...

College football lessons

We're going to pick 10 college teams that have a fair amount of area interest and share a brief view on them as we make the first turn on college football's tri-oval. If you don't agree, feel free to comment or you can see our complaint department and get your 5-at-10 subscription fees refunded. And with a tip of the helmet to the Emmy's this week, we'll do it with some Hall of Fame TV stars. Deal? Deal. (Side note: Complaint department is open every fifth Monday from 7:05 to 7:09 a.m. That may be Central time, too. We're not sure.)

  • photo
    Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) celebrates with wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) after a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tennessee: It's hard not to feel like Schultz from "Hogan's Heroes" about these Vols. "We know NOTHING." UT was a 35-point favorite over Akron in a 47-26 win that was tied at 23 at halftime and was 26-23 10 seconds into the fourth quarter. We know the Vols have NFL pieces — a few on offense and A.J. Johnson is so good he could start for Alabama — but we don't know which UT team is going to show up. This Saturday, both the Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde versions were there.

Alabama: "Elizabeth, this is the big one." OK, Fred Sanford does not get enough credit, and that was his go-to line. This Alabama team is the big one. Period. The Tide handle their BID-ness and are relentless. Watch or listen to the Tide, and two things stand out: They are other-worldy physical, and they have five-star recruits on special teams that would be starting players at 11 other SEC defenses.

Georgia: "Moving on up." The theme to "The Jeffersons" seems fair here because Georgia effortlessly handled their BID-ness on Saturday, Alabama-style. The Bulldogs are the second-best team in the SEC. We could even give the Bulldogs a Mr. Burns, "Exxccelllent" after their 48-3 thumping of Vandy.

  • photo
    UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman makes a pass during a game against Appalachian State Saturday at Finley Stadium. The game marked UTC's Southern Conference opener.
    Photo by Allison Love /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

UTC: "Hey, hey, hey... what's going on here?" OK, maybe Mr. Belding's catch phrase does not belong in the pantheon of TV one-liners, but he's all-Moc after all. Allow us a moment here, and we're judging our words with measure and purpose. Saturday's second-half collapse that led to a 34-17 defeat was a bad loss. Yes, Appy State is always going to be a tough challenge, but this is not the App State of three-straight titles and multiple NFL players. There was a very good crowd that was in to the game from the start. It was a Chamber of Commerce-type of Saturday, weather-wise. And the Mocs imploded after building an early 10-0 lead. Plus, the quarterback situation is still a situation, and that must get better in a hurry or it likely will get much worse.

Auburn: And now, for something completely different. Shout out to Monty Python and the gang for the best way to describe an inspired Auburn effort. Hey, a loss is a loss is a loss, and there's no such thing as moral victories. That said, Auburn stood toe-to-toe with then-No.2-ranked LSU and fought for 60 minutes before falling 12-10. Was it a win? No. Was it a marked improvement from the first three games. No doubt. There are moments that can make or break a season, and this one may have helped save the year for Auburn.

The crowd was in it, the stands were full, there were several big-name recruits in the house, and Auburn was a play away from pulling a monster upset. That's way better than being a play away from losing to La-Monroe or being a planet away in a drubbing at Mississippi State. Plus, you know how we said last week, you get a good idea of what kind of respect-level a coach has in his locker room by the type of effort his team gives in big games and big moments? Consider this a stamp of approval for this coaching staff from inside the locker room. And while we're here, the Vols and the Mocs face similar circumstances this week.

Georgia Tech: We like Paul Johnson. We know he can slap coach football. We know our guy Spy and PJ are tight. We also know there is unrest on The Flats. As Sgt. Joe Friday would say,"Just the facts, ma'am," and Tech's overtime loss to Miami leaves the Jackets cooked in the ACC before October hits.

  • photo
    South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, left, hands the ball off to running back Marcus Lattimore during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

South Carolina: Who was that masked man? Quarterback Connor Shaw started Saturday's rout of Missouri with an incomplete pass. He finished 20-of-21. South Carolina is 4-0 for just the ninth time in its 119 seasons on playing football. Shaw is 11-1 as a starting quarterback. All of those numbers are impressive.

FSU: And awaaayyyy we go. The Seminoles look every bit the part of the ACC's version of Alabama. They come at opponents in waves. Plus, how good would this defensive lineup look with two potential first-rounders Brandon Jenkins (out for the year with a foot injury) and corner Greg Reid (dismissed before the season for case of the stupid)?

Florida: "Can you smell what the Boom, has cookin'?" Apologies to the Rock, but Coach Boom — aka Will Muschamp — continues to build on the momentum from whipping Tennessee. Florida is now 4-0 with an open date to get ready for suddenly human LSU. Plus, the Gators have to leave the state of Florida just once more —Oct. 13 at Vandy — this season.

West Virginia: "Let's rock." Little Al Bundy to cap the list. This selection may stun you, but the Mountaineers were our pick to make a bona fide run at the BCS game from before the season. Nothing has changed with that. (Side note: The Mountaineers did spoil us from a perfect 5-0 week on our picks, though. And sweet buckets of sweet moments in gambling history: How about that late Clemson TD to cut FSU's lead from 19 to 12. And yes, the spread was 14. Stupid Clemson.)

NFL drama

  • photo
    Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) celebrates his game-winning field goal with teammate Sam Koch after an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Baltimore, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. Baltimore won 31-30.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The ref debate is not going away. In fact, it's getting worse. In fact after the Patriots' last-second loss to Baltimore, New England linebacker Brandon Spikes took to the Twitter: "Can someone please tell these #&^%$ zebras foot locker called and they're needed Back at work !!!! #BreakingPoint."

Here's the 3-and-out key storylines from Sunday's madness:

1. The replacement refs are struggling. And while there has not been the Holy Grail — a blown call that directly affected the outcome of a game — there have been plenty Holy Growls. There have been mistakes in the basics (Jim Harbaugh got an extra challenge Sunday), in position and real threats in player safety and the games are dragging on and on (heck, the Jets-Dolphins was a four-hour game). All of this happened Sunday, the same day that reports on the meetings between the NFL and the regular refs have the sides nowhere close to a deal.

2. Super finishes. Baltimore's dramatic win over New England (aided somewhat by balky officiating). The Chiefs sending the Saints to 0-3. The Raiders stunning the Steelers. And none of these were as exciting as the Titans' 44-41 overtime win over the Lions that feature two Detroit TDs in the final 30 seconds.

3. We'll cover this more in Tuesday's power poll, but are we ready for an NFL with only three 3-0 teams and those teams are Atlanta, Arizona and Houston, which has the combined Super Bowl pedigree of Moe, Larry and Curly?

Spectacular Sunday

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    Brandt Snedeker reacts after chipping in for a birdie on the 17th hole during the final round of play in the Tour Championship golf tournament in Atlanta, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

OK, the replacement refs had a bad Sunday. So did Dabo Swinney and Paul Johnson. As did the cast and crew of "Mad Men," which was blanked in the Emmys despite 17 nominations.

But compared to Brandt Snedeker, no one had a Sunday worth writing home about.

Snedeker, the shaggy-haired former Vandy star who is truly one of the good guys in golf, won the Tour Championship at East Lake and secured the Fed Ex Cup with the win.

All told, Snedeker played 18 holes of golf Sunday and made $11.44 million. Sweet buckets of payola, that's some cabbage. No one this side of Bill Gates makes that kind of coin in an afternoon. For math nuts out there that's $635,555.56 per hole and $168,235.29 for each of his 68 swings on Sunday. Good work if you can get it.

And to make matters even better, read the following quote Snedeker gave to reporters afterward: "It's going to be an unbelievable thing to go through this process of being financially secure for a long period of time. Looking at what we can do to help other people out with that money. I'm not by any means a flashy guy. Of anybody that I know, I do not need $11 million. So there are going to be things we can do to really help people. So that's the way I look at it. This is unbelievable to be financially stable for the rest of my career. As long as I'm not an idiot, I should be fine. Really. I really think we can make a difference and help a lot of people out in Nashville and Tennessee and the surrounding areas, for sure."

Wow, in the files of good things happening to good folks, we all won a little bit with Snedeker on Sunday. Well everyone this side of the replacement refs, anyway.

This and that

— The Braves head into the final stretch of the regular season with a playoff berth all-but secured. They are 4.5 games behind the Nationals but are 8.5 games clear for third in the top wildcard spot. Atlanta's magic number for a postseason spot is two — meaning any combination of Braves' wins and Milwaukee Brewers losses that add up to two gets it done.

— We watched parts of the Emmys on Sunday and realized two things: First we are pop culture deficient in today's world; secondly, the entertainment world lost some real giants this past year. Dick Clark, Andy Griffith, Whitney Houston, Richard Dawson, Sherman Hemsley, et al. Moment of silence, please.................. That'll do.

— The NASCAR race is tight; tight as the bolts on the Brooklyn Bridge. That said, we believe it's Jimmie Johnson and then everyone else. So it goes.

Today's question

It's a Monday free for all. There was a ton that happened this weekend and we're sure we missed something so fire away.

If you need a starting point, you can finish the following sentence, "Here's what we know about (insert you favorite college football team)....."

Enjoy, and gang, the 5-at-10 had a record-setting week last week. Thanks for being part of the party.


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.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

WVU did not look good against a really bad Maryland team. I'd say the Mountaineers are going to lose a minimum of two games in the Big 12. Let's face it- the Mountaineers were known for face planting a couple of times a year against Big East teams they had no business losing to. They step up in conference competition. How are they going to make it through that without having a major face plant? Let's face it- there are 9 (!) quality teams in the Big 12, capable of beating WVU on any given week. I don't see them making it to the BCS title game.

Just something I'm watching: There are two undefeated Big 10 teams eligible for a bowl game this year. Who are they? Minnesota and Northwestern. That's two teams no one would think would be the two undefeated teams. They meet at Minnesota on October 13. Minnesota plays at Iowa this week. Northwestern plays Indiana at home this weekend and at Penn State next weekend. It is possible (Minnesota-Iowa is a toss up and Northwestern-Penn State is probably going to featured a slightly favored Northwestern, and Northwestern will be heavily favored against Indiana) the two will be unbeaten heading into that showdown in mid-October. I'm rooting for those two teams the next two weeks. I want to see these two both unbeaten and going at it. I think it would be nice for these two teams that aren't used to any attention playing a battle of unbeatens that late in the year.

September 24, 2012 at 11:28 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Huge props to Snedeker, one of the nicest guys not just in golf but in the world. Can't forget the shot he pulled off at 18 at Black Creek in the Chattanooga Classic, needing an eagle to force a playoff and hit his second shot to 18 feet behind the pin, then makes a nasty downhill put to force extra holes. He lost in the playoff, but those two shots told me about the moxie this kid has.

Can't decide who can't cover/tackle more: Georgia Tech or New England. That was just ... bad. Compounded by taking the over in Oregon/Arizona (what the youknowwhat was that?), West Virginia to cover (I thought that was a cinch. Nope), the Steelers, the Saints and LSU. Glad the Falcons, Wake Forest (not by much) and Florida came through.

I think the ice under Al Groh is a little thinner than that under PJ. You score 36 points, you should win a football game. You give up 600 yards and 30 first downs (30! ... 30!) you don't deserve to win. Seeing how Clemson's defense couldn't stop FSU, you figure the over is the good play in the Tech-Clemson matchup? What's that gonna be set at ... 90?

September 24, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, out at South Pittsburgh (with the quarter moon rising in the south and a light breeze blowing is one bodacious place to watch a game. Many huge offensive plays,especially Signal converting long 4th downs, some for TDs.

South Pittsburgh scored their part burning up the ground many up TDs of 80 yds.

At the 4:00 minute mark Coach Grider may what I thought a controversial call when his Prirates went for 2. Although his run offense was outstanding, the only down side in this move was not making the goal line, and that's exactly what happened.

Instead of becoming tied with Signal on the PAT, the Pirates were stopped and down one with four minutes to go during a drive extended on another high anxiety forth down catch.

This after the South Pittsburgh time keeper failed to turn on the clock at three seconds for third down, necessitating a man made play to capture a game that should have been in the books at that point.

September 24, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Tough loss for the Mocs on Saturday. I kept waiting for big holes open up for the RBs...especially considering how Appy fared against the Citadel. I was most surprised to not see any new wrinkles to the offense or any trick plays. WRs have to catch balls thrown their way, though Jacob did put a little too much mustard on a few of them. Tough game coming up this weekend at the Citadel.

September 24, 2012 at 11:36 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

This will be very short and sweet. We're either cursed are there is some serious negative chi being generated around 615 McCallie Avenue. Right now, my mother, as she always does, would say quote:

"If your grandfather (Jack MacMillan Armstrong-Head Coach: Oak Ridge High School) were still alive, he could whip those *&^%$#@ into shape in a heartbeat."

That said, here is what we obviously know:

Huesman is sooo in the (f-bomb) hot-seat its not even funny.

We still have a long way to go before we can convince THIS community that yes, you can send your kids to UTC and still root for the athletic programs as well. It won't effect your Crimson and Orange blood.

The breakdown definitely did not help with potential recruits at the game.

The critics are having a field day (Salsa anyone?)

Even as strong as my loyality is, I'm seriously considering a "cool it" phase simply because I have no answers for any of this. Unless God himself just REALLY hates UTC with a passion (not to be confused with current events or conspiricies fueled local Glen Beck wannabe R. Exum).

I'm still trying to figure out why it looked like less than 3% of the playbook was used.

With all that said. I'm skipping the Citadel game. I "may" take in the SMU home game depending how my week looks.

September 24, 2012 at 11:44 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Pro Addition...

Congrats go out to...Brandt Snedeker for scooping up 2 trophies and $11 million at East Lake. He shouldn't be for giving out some of this loot seeing if the present stroke can win a major. There could be some power left in that sweet swing, but please don't tear it down completely. You dont' want to end up Padraig Harrington, always tinkering with a good swing.

As for your pretty putting stroke, don't change a thing!

No Call Cheap of Sunday goes the Oaktown's DHB catching a helmet to helmet in the end zone that caused a neck injury that brought the crash cart on the field. No harm no foul, right Pittsburgh?

September 24, 2012 at 12:09 p.m.
chas9 said...

Told you Eli's better'n Cam.

Told you Driskel's better'n the golf ball chucker.

Told you Rutgers would take Arkansas.

How much do you fine Belichick for grabbing the ref?

And Fred Sanford's immortal words might also apply to the NFL team in the ATL. Can anybody stop the Falcons? I know nobody can stop Tony Gonzalez, but I can't figure out why. How does he do it?!

Like Sgt. Schultz, I know nothing, but I know THE SEC is "the big one' with four of the top six teams in the AP poll. Never been done before.

September 24, 2012 at 12:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

Big Ten is as bad as their divisional names.

Sleep on West Virginia at your own risk.

Spy —

Groh's time may be up. Lot of power brokers less than thrilled with Saturday's meltdown.

And sweet buckets, the Pats are ordinary.

And yes, Snedeker is aces with us.

FE to the C —

Spitt is a prep football cathedral. Great place to watch a game. And props to your Black and Silver.

Stew —

It was a tough loss. A painfully tough loss.

And know this — the sports editor's phone has been ringing with folks wanting to know about Terrell.

This team needs a win this Saturday badly.

Run JMC —

If you are talking about Jacob Huesman, then yes his job as the starting quarterback is up for debate.

If you are talking about Russ Huesman, there's no way he's on the hot seat.

It was not a good second half.

9er —

Eli is better than Cam, but that was not the question. The question was, if you're an NFL owner would you draft a 31-year-old Eli or a 24-year-old Cam?

Driskel was not that great against Kentucky — although he was sharper than a receiver playing quarterback. (You're welcome.)

Rutgers was a little bit of surprise.

We sit Belichick for a game. No questions asked. THAT CAN"T HAPPEN, and we don't care if he was telling the ref, "Hey buddy you dropped your wallet."

— 5-at-10

September 24, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Great 5@10 today. Glad to see my Dawgs put together a complete game and boy does it feel good to have not one but two running backs that can finally break tackles. I thought your War Eagles/Tigers were going to sneak an upset in there Saturday. As for my alma mater UTC. Heart breaking again. How many times can the fan base hope and think this will be the year only to have the majority of it yanked out from under them before Oct. same ole same ole as they say. Huesman needs to put Terrell in there and let him do his thing. He has proven he can win in the Socon and little Huesman has not so far. Hopefully they can get the ship corrected before it sinks completely.

September 24, 2012 at 1:14 p.m.
chas9 said...

In his story today, Patrick is right that "The Vols feel they let a big win slip away against Florida last weekend" but of course that's looking thru orange lenses.

An objective view is that The Gators slobberknocked Tennessee. They also slobberknocked Kentucky. Using Florida as a measuring stick, you have to conclude Tennessee's offense is better than Kentucky's, though the Wildcats were without their starting quarterback (insert wide receiver joke here).

But an objective view also must conclude the KY defense is better than the TN defense. TN had zip interceptions, KY had one. Tennessee gave up 555 yards on 63 plays, Kentucky gave up 406 on 74 plays. TN gave up 336 yards rushing, KY only 204. FLorida hit 14 of 20 passes against TN for 219 yards. Against KY it was 17 of 26 for 202. And because their offense gave the ball away to Florida, The Wildcat defense was worn out on the field for almost 38 minutes, versus 33 for The Vols.

Any Vols' fans think their defense is better'n Kentucky's? As Patrick says, that'll be a problem this Saturday.

September 24, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

No doubt the 2pt loss to LSU was a win in Auburn eyes, but was it a loss in LSU eyes?

My props to mrs mcpell for completing a football trifecta with me this weekend - high school action Friday night at Boyd Buch, UTC Saturday night and a finale with the Titans on Sunday. 2 brief notes: Young Huesman has potential, but needs seasoning. The replacement refs are worse in person than on TV.

September 24, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.
jgreeson said...

747 —

Good to see back around. Georgia handling BID-ness was impressive — and beneficial to our retirement portfolio (for entertainment purposes only of course).

And that Todd Gurley is a beast. He's kinda got that Boy Named Sue vibe, too. He's a load.

And there is a definite QB controversy brewing up on the hill.

9er —

Fair point about the defense. And the Cats were hamstrung by Morgan Newton turning it over all over the place.

And that'll be a problem no doubt.

McPell —

Nice triple play. Tip of the helmet to the Mrs.

— 5-at-10

September 24, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Pats offense? Still pretty good. Thirty points on Baltimore's D and it feels like they left some out there too (and why no questioning of Belichick for not going for two to try to make it where a touchdown or a field goal down the road don't beat you?).

Pats defense? Hello, Pats defense? Is anybody there? Hello?

September 24, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

jgreeson wrote-

"If you are talking about Russ Huesman, there's no way he's on the hot seat."

Unfortunately, I was talking about the latter. Do I think Russ is going to get canned at the end of this year? Probably not. But right now his ability to convert the non-believers just got "A HOLE-LOTTA HARDER".

As pointed out by past sports writers, this was not the App State teams of years past. This one was basically crippled, with a broke arm, and no poliferal vision. And yet they still beat us.

As much as I would love to see how this all plays out in the land of Earthquakes and Doctorites of Basketball, I have to do some peliminary car shopping this afternoon.

Fun...Fun...Fun. T_T

September 24, 2012 at 2:25 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - for the record, I was wrong about Sergio winning the FedEx cup. Congrats to Snedeker for representing the home state...

September 24, 2012 at 3:55 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

How about that MAC? Central Michigan beats Iowa, Western Michigan beats Connecticut, Ball State beats South Florida, Northern Illinois beats Kansas. Eastern Michigan gives Michigan State a decent game before losing, and Akron gives Tennessee a scare. Toledo and Ohio win vs FCS teams. The only bad loss was Bowling Green getting skunked by Virginia Tech. There were two league games. MAC > Big East.

September 24, 2012 at 5:05 p.m.
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