published Thursday, August 29th, 2013

5-at-10: Josie Wales welcomes Game Week, SEC to watch for, and Fab 4 picks-plus 1

Gang, excellent stuff yesterday. Simply fantastic. And major kudos to Walden for hitting two home run movie quotes. Here's two of our favorites — and frequently used, we will add — from his choices:

"Don't forget the tattoo, Ed."

"Hold him Newt."

And Spy, well, Spy went to the treasure trove of options from the post-Civil War poet that was the Outlaw Josey Wales. In fact, in honor of Spy's inspired called, we'll let Josey introduce each item here today.

From the "Talks too much" studios, we want everyone to whistle the theme to "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" as we wade into gameday. Giddy-up.

Game week Thursday

"Are you going to pull those pistols or whistle Dixie"

Tonight it happens. It happens for South Carolina-North Carolina, Ole Miss-Vandy, USC-Hawaii and UTC-UT-Martin.

Tonight, the preparations become the process. (Unless you're Alabama, then the process is the process. You know what we mean.)

  • UTC holds pep rally for football season opener
    Hundreds gathered in Miller Plaza on Wednesday for a pep rally encouraging locals to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's football season opener against the University of Tennessee at Martin today.

We'll cover each of those games in some form today, but let's start first with the one with the most local interest. Here's UTC football ace Johnny Frierson's breakdown of tonight's festivities. Of particular note, is this very interesting stat he shares — "The Skyhawks have allowed just 17 sacks the past two seasons despite throwing the ball 773 times."

That's excellent stuff. We have lofty hopes for these Mocs. We believe this game is crucial for a cornucopia of reasons in matters both physical and metaphysical. There is the need for wins in practical matters, but in this first game, after an offseason of being told how good they are, how will the Mocs react against a team that has nothing to lose? And if they react poorly, could they recover? We don't believe we'll need to ask that question tomorrow, but we know where the pressure falls tonight, and that's on UTC.

How the Russ Huesman and his Mocs handle that pressure will speak volumes about whether the lofty preseason aspirations were just high hopes or legitimate goals.


SEC items of interest

"Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is."

Right now, we're looking for answers. We want so badly for our preseason beliefs to develop, but the unknown only adds to the excitement. (Side note: We're so pumped, we almost showed up at work with the William Wallace face paint. Aye.)

Here are five things we're keeping an eye on in the SEC this weekend:

1) Which defense makes the most plays in Clemson on Saturday night. We know each offense is stacked — Clemson and Georgia each have one of the nation's top six quarterbacks and a legitimate first-round skill-position weapon to go with him — and we know each defense is rebuilding. If we figure that each offense will make a slew of plays, then we assume that the low number of defensive stops will make each magnified. So, which defense makes the biggest single play. We say Georgia. Jordan Jenkins, meet the world; world, meet Jordan Jenkins. Say hello everybody.

2) Which new coach has the best SEC debut? Mark Stoops and Kentucky have the scariest against Bobby Petrino and Western Kentucky in Nashville. (Yes, Kentucky-Western Kentucky is in Nashville. Go figure.) The others — Bret Bielema's Arkansas team hosts Louisiana-LaFayette; Butch and the Vols host Austin Peay; Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers welcome Washington State — are at least double-digit favorites. You know where our attention will be — Finding Nick Marshall Mize... REEEEE-gardless — but each offers a new beginning for proud fan bases starving for football relevancy.

3) More newness, please. OK, we're pretty stoked to see how the Vols handle themselves. (Side note: This is far and away the best time to schedule a cupcake for the opener. The last thing this program could have used was a season-opening grudge match that could have led to a potential loss and the fans thinking, "Here we go again.") Butch Jones and Co. have a slew of hurdles. They have to find playmakers. They have to craft a legitimate quarterback out of the group of Steady and the Potentials they watched all preseason. They have to un-teach everything Sal Sunseri — SAAALLLLL!!! — taught the defense. (You have to admit, Sal's Vols were sooooo cute when they tried to tackle folks.) They're dealing with a lot of stuff. Game 1 should be a rout — the Vols are favored by 50 for crying out loud — but the details will lead to discoveries this week in Knoxville.

4) How impressive is Alabama against Virginia Tech? The Vegas numbers on the Tide are staggering. Alabama is a 3-to-1 pick to win the BCS. Led by Alabama, the Vegas favors the SEC in an SEC-vs.-the rest of the country in the BCS chase. Alabama is favored in every game this year, and barring injury or amazing surprise will have been favored in 53 consecutive games after the regular season is concluded. Alabama is a 20-point favorite over Virginia Tech, and the Tide's closest spread at the moment is being a 7-point favorite at Texas A&M. We believe Bama covers Saturday.

5) Sneaky good one in the alphabet soup bowl. We like this LSU team more than most, and believe they will handle TCU in Dallas on Saturday night. In fact...


Fab 4 picks-plus 1

"Buzzards gotta eat same as worms"

Last year we rolled with our Fab 4-plus-1 picks. We had a good thing and it picked up speed. We went something close to 19-1 over an October stretch and closed with a 9-0 mark on New Year's Day.

All told we finished 85-36-2 last year against the spread. That's 70.2 percent. We were 52-27-2 (65.8 percent) in 2012. That's 137-63-4 (68.5 percent) over the last two years.

Now these picks — repeat after me — are for ENTERTAINMENT purposes only. We also feel the need that if you occasionally risk your entertainment vouchers, well, past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future gains. In fact, some folks may want to complete pick against every one of these picks because they feel we're due for a stinker. (As Spy knows, the only things that are due are rent and library books.)

Here we go:

LSU minus-4 over TCU: There are so many excellent hooks to this game. TCU-LSU, brought to you by Alphabits cereal. Or, the Purple Power Play between TCU and LSU, and it would be awesome if Prince played halftime in old-school Purple Rain get-up. On the field, we believe LSU has the best trio of head coach and coordinators in college football. That helps rebuilding the offense. Plus, the two best playmakers on the field — Jeremy Hill and Odell Beckham — play for LSU. That's enough for us.

Oklahoma State minus-13 over Mississippi State: Simple equation here: We think Oklahoma State is better than a lot of people think and we think Mississippi State is worse. This one could get ugly — and don't you know Mike Gundy knows the value of beating any SEC team. He's man, he just turned 46.

UCLA minus-18 over Nevada: The Bruins are good and have a legit top-10 national QB and an All-American linebacker. Nevada is rebuilding. This one reeks of 45-10, and you're welcome.

UAB plus-5 over Troy: We think UAB may actually be the better team here, and the points are a bonus. As they say in Bull Durham... "It's a simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball."

Ole Miss minus-3 over Vandy: Buy the half — and man, if you got this 10 days ago when Vandy was the favorite, well, well-played indeed.

Good luck... and remember — entertainment purposes only you guys.


This and that

  • photo
    Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Yaisel Puig contends to be Yaisel Puig. He was pulled in the middle of the Dodgers game last night because he did not slide trying to break up a double-play. Hey, we've been in Puig's corner from the get-go. That said, if dude's not going to respect the game, well, that's a problem. Big-time.

— Aaron Hernandez was a troubled guy? Really? Never could have guessed since he's a multi-millionaire with a dream job who decided to shoot someone in the face. Allegedly of course.

— The Titans close their preseason tonight. It will be interesting to see if either quarterback does anything of note against the Vikings tonight.


Today's questions

Gang, don't forget the mailbag. And there's more than a little to discuss today, but if you need a talking point here are two:

a) If you are stranded on a deserted island with only a TV and a DVD player and you get only one performer's catalog of work, what actor's catalog do you pick? Josey Wales (aka Clint Eastwood has to be the front-runner, right?)

b) Of all the ridiculousness of the NCAA — and that's a lot of ridiculousness — this Johnny Football debacle takes the cake, right? If we're AJ Green, we're pulling a Ronald Miller from Can't Buy Me Love on Mark Emmert's house. Yep, burning bag of dog poop right on the porch. Unbelievable.

But, it's game day and that makes everything better — even the NCAA.

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.
chas9 said...

Who'd win a death match between Austin Peay and UT-Martin?

Is $600,000 too much for a wide receiver?

August 29, 2013 at 10:06 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Here's my college football picks:

BCS Title Game: Alabama over Oregon.

Bold Prediction: Texas A&M doesn't get to double digit wins, including the bowl game. That's even if Johnny Manziel plays.

Bolder Prediction: Miami becomes the best team in the state of Florida again.

Boldest Prediction: Texas actually goes to the national championship game, instead of Oregon/Alabama.

Super Boldest Prediction: The SEC beats itself up. No team comes out with less than two losses. No SEC team in the national championship game.

You can see I've got my bases covered there on the national championship game. I think (with a safe pick), it's Alabama-Oregon. With my slightly offbeat pick, I'm going Texas-Oregon.

Surprise teams: Ole Miss, Washington, Oregon State, Miami, Texas, Northwestern (I pick the Wildcats to be in the Big Ten Championship Game). Overrated teams: Florida State, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Boise State.

So there you go.

August 29, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Everyone. Today, I am on paid leave for today's festivities. So to play off of what I've got so far, I'll reference the Spaghetti Western of the Day.

The Good: Sleeping in on and off today. Mocs kickoff less than 11 hours. Central Market Guacamole.

The Bad: The city's undying lackluster support for said Mocs game. If you hate the school that much, why do you bother sending your kids there? There's always Amnicola High School as Wally would say.

Speaking of the late big guy. I finally got to listen to his "replacement". Way to lower the bar Lockheart. T_T Wally may have stuttered from time to time, but at least he didn't sound some reject from Small Town Security.

The Ugly: My bank account.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your day and I'll try to sneak in a listen to your show Jay if possible. GO MOCS!

August 29, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Slow start to the day.

9er —

Depends on the wide receiver.

We do know that $180K was a steal for Cam Newton. Allegedly. Even that craziness made more sense than Johnny Football. A half? Really?

Stuck —

Ole Miss and Auburn are two teams that could surprise. In fact, Vegas agrees, dropping the BCS odds on the Rebels from 500-to-1 to 100-to-1 and on the Tigers from 1000-to-1 to 200-to-1.

Don't like either to surprise THAT much, but those are big movements.


Give us a listen. Don't cost nothin'.

August 29, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: The 5@10 gets better and better. You have some wild predictions for the BCS.

Yaisel Puig is stating to do some good Andruw Jones impersonations with his actions on the field. Even though he is a much better player.

Favorite Eastwood quote from Heartbreak Ridge: "Sir you are boring the h*** out of me." This while smoking a cigar after his men did all the work in Grenada.

I am ready for some football and cannot wait to see the Dawgs play Saturday night. I truly believe that people are underestimating the defense and will be plesantly surprised.

August 29, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
Harrythornton said...

Clint Eastwood would be good, but I would take the Harrison Ford oeuvre myself. Lot's of good flicks there.

Stanley Kubrick would be my choice of director. Dr. Stranglove, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, et al. R. Lee Ermey had some great lines in FMJ. Sound off like you gotta pair!

I like the LSU pick, but I think MSU is a lock the other way. To me the biggest lock of the weekend is Arky laying a mere 10.5 against SW Louisiana. I also hope you are right about my Dawgs and JJ. Leonard Floyd maybe one to watch too.

August 29, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

5/10 What the over & under on the number of offensive plays for Auburn? 75?

August 29, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

One actor's catalog on a deserted isle? As much as I'd go all John Wayne on this, maybe DeNiro - Godfather II, Midnight Run, Goodfellas, The King of Comedy, Casino, The Deer Hunter ....

August 29, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

"In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity." --Hunter S. Thompson

Doc Gonzo was not referencing the NCAA when he wrote that, but it is an adequate synapsis of the enforcement procedures in today's college sports environment. Let's have another round of applause for the NCAA. In the race to totally destroy one's own credibility, the NCAA just pulled ahead of Anthony Weiner. The lesson for today's student athlete is: deal strictly in hand-to-hand cash transactions with people who know how and when to shut-up. Cash is not easily traced. And if the NCAA starts poking around, invoke the Fifth or at the very least invoke Sgt. Shultz; "I know NOTHING!"

As for one actor that I would want their catalog on a deserted island, I will go with Robert Duvall. Take a look at the man's filmography sometime. The Godfather. Apocalypse Now. Network. MASH. Bullitt. To Kill a Mockingbird. True Grit. Lonesome Dove. Sling Blade. The Great Santini. The Apostle(a highly underrated film). The list goes on.

August 29, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.
jgreeson said...

GD —

Duvall is right there, and all of those are so money. He was also in Godfather II, as well.

But ad in Clint's stuff as a director and that seals it.

Spy —

DeNiro now has as many stinkers, though. Clint's stinker quotient is way down.

McPell Marshall —

75 is a great over/under and a great barometer for Gus Bus success. Over 75 is a great sign. Under — unless there are a slew of big plays — not so much.

Mr. Harrythornton III —

Harrison Ford is an inspired call. Load of great stuff, including American Graffiti.

Dawg —

Andruw Jones is a strong comparison. And thanks for the kind words.

Our favorite quote from Heartbreak Ridge —

Mario Van Peebles is talking on the bus and finally asks if he can buy a beer (which they are drinking on the public bus) and Clint says, "I'll give you one if it'll shut that hole under your nose."

August 29, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
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