published Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

5-at-10: SEC questions and answers, reality TV, and Da'Rick is Da'Done

There is much to do. So, let's do it.

From the "Talks too much" studios, it's 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

Tuesday SEC Questions and Answers

We're going to fly around all 14 teams in the nation's best college football conference each Tuesday. We'll even rank them in order of how we view them. As Elihu Smails says, "Well, we're waiting."

1. Alabama (13-1 in 2012)

Does the Tide have a weakness? The offensive line has three new starters, but each of those new faces has been in the program at least three seasons. So, let's ask again: does the Tide have a weakness? Nope. Not really.

Saturday: vs. Virginia Tech, 5:30 (ESPN)

2. Georgia (12-2)

What is the ceiling for a team that returns 10 offensive starters and has two legitimate Heisman candidates? Well, here are a couple of UGA team records that are in more than a little bit of jeopardy: The school record for TDs in a season is 54 (set in 2011), the record for average points scored is 32.6 (2007 in a season with 11 or more games) and the total yards mark is 5,719 (2011). The scoreboard operator in Athens better have primo health insurance — carpel tunnel and neck spasms are no joke folks, and if you get a cramp that last more than four hours, seek medical attention right away.

Saturday: at Clemson, 8 (ABC)

3. South Carolina (11-2)

  • photo
    South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and his teammates are eager to get this season started Thursday night.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Is Jadeveon Clowney blockable? The quick answer is nope, considering the following two facts: 1) South Carolina had to pull him out of scrimmages during the preseason so the offesne could even work on stuff; 2) Vegas set the over/under on his sacks total at an eye-popping 18.5. With a name like Jadeveon, you know he has to be good.

Thursday: vs North Carolina, 6 (ESPN)

4. LSU (10-3)

Who is the best defensive tackle in the country? While there are a slew of very good defensive linemen around the nation, the best tackle and end each play in the SEC. Clowney is a no-brainer as the best end. The best defensive tackle is Anthony Johnson, the LSU man-child that was once a UT-commitment back during the Lane Train administration.

Saturday: vs. LSU, 9 (ESPN)

5. Florida (11-2)

Can the Gators be ready for their real opener? Between injuries and suspensions, the players in Saturday's game against Toledo will not be exactly the names fans and coaches may have expected after spring. Still, among the big concerns is whether running back Mike Jones is healthy for week 2 against Miami after a viral infection has derailed most of his preseason work.

Saturday: vs. Toledo, 12:21 (WDSI)

6. Texas A&M (11-2)

Will Johnny Football be eligible? This question looms larger and more meaningful — and potentially more devastating — with every new story out of College Station. The new report has the NCAA meeting with Manziel and Co. for six hours on Sunday. Here's saying they were not discussing his views on the classic writers from pre-war Europe.

Saturday: vs. Rice, 1 (ESPN)

7. Auburn (3-9)

How is Justin Garrett? While all the hubbub of the preseason has been centered on finding Nick Marshall at quarterback, defensive leader Garrett is almost back to full speed. Garrett, who moved from linebacker to a hybrid safety position in Auburn's new 4-2-5 scheme, hurt his foot early in practice but appears to be ready for the opener.

Saturday: vs. Washington State, 7 (ESPNU)

8. Ole Miss (7-6)

Can the Rebels' kiddie corp deliver from Day 1 in a huge, Huge, HUGE opener? The much-lauded Ole Miss recruiting haul last February can already be felt on the feild. Freshmen defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, receiver Laquan Treadwell and tight end Evan Engram will start at Vandy on Thursday. At least two other true freshmen will almost assuredly play. Here's saying they will be.

Thursday: at Vandy, 9:15 (ESPN)

9. Tennessee (5-7)

  • photo
    Junior Justin Worley was told Sunday night he would be the starting quarterback for Tennessee in the Vols' season opener Saturday against Austin Peay.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Did you know that Justin Worley is the Vols? Wow, has there been a more drawn-out, predictable finish since 'Titanic' in recent memory? (Pssst, the boat sinks in the end.) Well, congrats Justin, you get to play behind the league's best offensive line. Tough break Justin, you are working with the league's most inexperience receivers. Ah, the dichotomies of college football.

Saturday: vs. Austin Peay, 6 (Pay-per-view)

10. Vandy (9-4)

Is this too low for a Vandy program coming off a record-setting season? Maybe. But, here the question marks are large for the Commodores, and without suspended receiver Chris Boyd on the other side of Jordan Matthews, Vandy's biggest strength is tempered greatly.

Thursday: vs. Ole Miss, 9:15 (ESPN)

11. Mississippi State (8-5)

Has Dan Mullen peaked in Starkville? The Mississippi State coach has an experienced quarterback in Tyler Russell and a productive runner in LaDarius Perkins, but still the questions about a down turn loom. The Bulldogs did lose a ton of talent on the perimeter at receiver and in the secondary, and the SEC West is a tough place to try to find yourself.

Saturday: vs. Oklahoma State, 3:30 (ABC)

12. Arkansas (4-8)

Will Alex Collins be the SEC freshman of the year? Yes. Yes he will. The south Florida speedster will get a shot early as a freshman, and the results could be fun to watch.

Saturday: vs. La-Lafayette, 4

13. Missouri (5-7)

Which of the league's James Franklins will have a better year? We think it will be closer than most folks know, since the Vandy coach is dealing with a slew of distractions and the Missouri quarterback is dealing with less off-the-field noise than he did a season ago. Franklin, a senior who spent most of last seas battling injuries and quarterback debates, has completed more than 60 percent of his throws and has 32 career TDs. (Side note: We believe each James Franklin is entering his last SEC season, though.)

Saturday: vs. Murray State, 7

14. Kentucky (2-10)

Did you know that college basketball practice can start a full two weeks earlier this year? Yep, so we're really something like five weeks from hoops season. Enjoy the down time Johnny Wildcats Fans.

Saturday: vs. Western Kentucky, 7 (ESPNews)

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NFL cuts

  • photo
    In this fie photo, Tim Tebow holds his first news conference with the New York Jets on March 26, 2012, in Florham Park, N.J.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tim Tebow still has a spot on the New England roster.

Da'Rick Rogers is now looking for a football team to join after Buffalo cut him loose.

As we admitted on Press Row with Paschall on Monday, we thought Da'Rick — the former Calhoun High star and Tennessee star/problem child — would be an NFL player for roughly a decade. Dude has all the tools.

And as Paschall pointed out, it's not like Da'Rick made the final round of cuts with the 49ers or the Packers. Dude was not one of the best 75 players in camp with a Bills team that is going to start the season with an undrafted free agent at quarterback.

We talked a little bit Monday in this forum about the difference between elite stars and the rest of us. We believed Rogers had the skills to be a productive NFL player for a decade. We still believe that physically. Apparently, when the game becomes a business, handling your business becomes as important as the game.

————

Arm ailments

We hated to see Matt Harvey being shut down with serious arm injuries. The game of baseball is better when there are shutdown starters with must-see stuff in the league.

Harvey's injury will be re-evaluated and there is a potential need for Tommy John surgery, which could limit his time next season, too.

OK, here's a question: These arm injuries, and it seems like there are as many MLB pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery as opposed to those who haven't, have become more and more common. Harvey averaged more than 100 pitches per start this season. Not a huge number but bigger than most.

But Steven Strasburg hurt his elbow averaging much fewer.

With pitch counts and extra days off and all the precautions for these multi-million-dollar arms, have we severely limited the strength of these kids' arms.

Think of it this way: If we had a generation of kids that came up with auto-piloted cars, and then we asked them to drive themselves, they are destined to fail right?

Nolan Ryan and some of the voices from his generation say today's starting pitchers have not developed the stamina and the strength to be durable.

Discuss.

————

This and that

— Not sure if you have seen this slide show, but Nike has released the look of several school's new uniforms. Go here for looks at the new digs for Georgia, West Virginia, Oregon State and UNC among others. The new UNC duds are pretty sweet.

— OK, want a testament to how real reality TV is? Lamar Odom has been on the trainwreck of a TV show that centers on the Kardashians for the last couple of years. He has been able to hide affairs and drug use from everyone involved? Really?

— Wow, a great story if you a few minutes here. Don Van Natta details claims that Bobby Riggs threw his match against Billie Jean King 40 years ago, rigging the match to pay off gambling debuts. Great story.

— Programming note: Press Row will have our Georgia Bulldog segment today from 2-2:20 p.m. We will have UTC AD David Blackburn around 2:30. Give it a listen on ESPN 105.1 FM.

————

Today's question(s)

We have several points of entry throughout today's 5-at-10, which is long — like college football season long.

If you need another, well, here are but three:

a) What's your wildest college football prediction?

b) For those not as enamored in the hidden arts of football, Tracy McGrady retired Monday. That is not a question. This is: What's your starting five of straight to the NBA from high school guys? We have Moses Malone, Kobe, LeBron, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard. Yes, we're overloaded on big guys and we're asking LeBron to play the point, but still. That's a pretty stout five, no?

c) Best reality TV show out there right now?

Discuss and give us a call at Press Row today — Paschall's in Athens so we're flying the ship solo. Give us a shout, especially from 1-2 Eastern at 648-1051.

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.
chas9 said...

I'll take the 'Cocks minus the eye-popping 18.5. And Peay plus 50.5. Who ever heard of a 50.5 point line? I know it's a horrible mismatch, but nobody this side of Bama can give up that many points. And buy the half.

August 27, 2013 at 10:10 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Off your NBA bench I would have if for nothing else but for the entertainment value, Darryl Dawkins, Chocolate Thunder himself. Not sure if he would make this team given some of the other guys who qualify, but the NBA is entertainment afterall.

Now without googling, how many of you can remember the nickname for Bill Willoughby who was drafted by the Hawks as the second highschooler to be chosen after Dawkins in the NBA?

JG, technically, Moses Malone was straight to ABA then to NBA..but that is nitpicking.

August 27, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Speaking of Austin Peay.... Fly is open, Lets Go Peay!...with homage to James Fly Williams.

August 27, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

The line of the USCe-UNC game is actually 10.5. The 18.5 is the over/under on sacks for Mr. Clowney this year.

And we think 50 is a pretty good line, but we concur — take the Governors.

MT —

Fair point on Mr. Mo. And Dawkins is another nice call. He and McGrady both have spots coming off the bench.

August 27, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

As of this writing, less then 56 hours until kick-off. Booo-YAH!

Wildest prediction? Okay, you asked for it. Chattanooga upsets Alabama by a field goal (You didn't say it had to be realistic).

Your opener, from a true classic, reminded me of what I wrote on my Facebook page the Thursday I left for Chat-town via roadtrip vacation:

It's 818 miles to Chattanooga. I have a full tank of gas, a half empty can of Red Bull (the big one), it's dark, and I'm wearing sunglasses..Hit it.

Got 10 "likes" on that.

Agree with Nolan. Who as you know is Grand Pooba around these here parts. Look no further then Yuu Darwish. Best arm on the team, but rarely do I see a post-game interview where he doesn't have an ice bag strapped to his shoulder.

August 27, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.
chas9 said...

I took off my sunglasses and I can see clearly now. You did write 18.5 sacks. That IS eye-popping. And I still think the Cockspurs will bloody the goats.

For those who weren't there then, in the cheer MocTastic quotes, Peay is pronounced as "Pea."

August 27, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Wish somebody had the time to look at the number of arm injuries for pitchers who went the college route vs those who went the pro baseball route straight out of high school. There has always been speculation that certain schools/coaches have a bad habit of way overusing pitchers in college.

August 27, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Agreed with your starting 5 of high-school-to-NBA stars.

Not agreed with Auburn as the #7 SEC team. They will be better this year of course, but I don't think they're in the top 10. I think Ole Miss, TN, Vandy, MS St., and possibly Ark. are better.

August 27, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

It's not even the biggest this weekend. Oregon is a 59 point favorite over Nicholls State. Oklahoma State was a 72 point favorite over Savannah State a couple of years ago. It's not unusual for a line of a BCS conference team against a very poor FCS team to be over 50. I don't want to touch the bet, because when you get that high, you're really talking about if the Vols keep their foot on the gas the whole way. I'm not sure if they will or not. It could easily be 42-0 at half, and the Vols only win 52-10 or something. It would be an easy win, but they would still be a 10 points from you winning the bet outright. (I saw the spread at 51.) So why would you bet on a game like this? Only if you are addicted to "entertainment."

August 27, 2013 at 11:44 a.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I don't care for any of the so-called reality shows. I am however awaiting the follow-up ads to that insurance commercial featuring Butch Jones building a mailbox "brick-by-brick." Nick Saban looked at the mailbox and said Butch built the box eight inches too far from the roadway and declared it uneven. Saban said Butch was not dedicated to the process of mailbox building. James Franklin claimed he has the best mailbox in Tennessee. Mark Richt said the mailbox looked fine but declined further comment as it is not his mailbox. Will Muschamp angrily cursed the mailbox. Steve Spurrier and Les Miles drove by in an old Jeep and threw empty beer bottles at the mailbox.

August 27, 2013 at 3:27 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

MocTastic,

I remember Bill Willoughby.

There are some other good ones - Al Harrington, Jermaine O'Neal, Amare Stoudemire. And there are those who aren't as good as they think they are - Josh Smith, Andrew Bynum, Eddy Curry, Sebastian Telfair and Kwame Brown. I saw Kwame in high school and like Jeff Francouer, he was at a level far above the players around him. And yet ....

Through the first 11 games last year, Mr. Clowney had 8.5 sacks. Had 4.5 against Clemson and 0 against Michigan, leaving him with 13. I think 18.5 is way, way too high.

August 27, 2013 at 4:29 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Nice list of additional names, Spy. Stoudemire proved early on that he could play with the big boys in the league. Too bad he's been held back by injuries over the years. He hasn't really been the same since his arthroscopic knee surgery a few years back.

Ditto on taking the Under for Clowney's sack total. You gotta think that he'll be double-teamed quite a bit this year. Either way, the Cocka-doodle-doos (as a team) will get their share of sacks, but not as many may come from Clowney due to the extra attention on him.

August 27, 2013 at 4:43 p.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

Tough not to agree with Nolan. in fact, if all things are even on most counts, go with Nolan. Ask Robby Ventura.

MT —

We think kids get over-worked in high school every bit as much as college, but that extra wear and tear makes for an interesting point.

Stewwie —

We may have the Tigers a tad high. Sue us. Or Stew us. It's the beginning of the season and we're all undefeated.

Stuck —

Concur. And lay the 59 with Oregon.

Spy —

Quit using that logic and stuff. It makes our head hurt.

Grate Dog —

Well-played sir, well-played indeed. We may have a faux coaches appearance on Friday, any suggestions?

August 27, 2013 at 4:58 p.m.
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