published Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

5-at-10: NFL power poll, Bowl contest update, is Saban worth $7 million and Rock-Roll HoF

Gang, get to smiling. It's Christmas time.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's deck the halls. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.

NFL Power Poll

There is so much that goes into crafting a winner in the NFL. (Cue Ron Jaworski... "The NATIONAL Football League" really seems to fit there.)

Look at the elite teams in the league. There is good-to-elite quarterback play. Notice we said quarterback play, and not merely a good-to-elite quarterback. There's a difference. Ask Kansas City, which is 11-3 and looming and lurking in an effort to sneak in and grab home-field advantage from the Denver Broncos. No one is ever going to say Kansas City starter Alex Smith is a good-to-elite quarterback, but he's playing at a good-plus level and that's enough. (And when you can throw screen pass after screen pass against Oakland and Jamal Charles turns them into TD after TD, well, that's a bonus. Do the Raiders even practice? Egad. It's not like the Chiefs ran some fancy set and called some play like "The Annexation of Puerto Rico." No they threw swing passes and screens.)

Good NFL teams also are tough. They're tough against pressure and injury and almost any situation. They deliver in moments that matter and they matter in moments in which they need to deliver.

  • photo
    Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, left, and tight end Joel Dreessen celebrate a score in the fourth quarter of their NFL game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

They survive and recover from road bumps and avoid making them road blocks. Were the Week 15 struggles of the Broncos, Patriots and Saints hurdles to clear or obstacles that could derail the dream? We believe in each case those were the former because each of those clubs have the look of toughness.

What about the other fringe teams? What about the collections of stars in Dallas and Detroit and Cincinnati? The disappointments of late-season lost opportunities could be spring boards or anchors. Each of these sums appear to be less than the shine of their parts, and more times than not that's a lack of leadership, either from the coaching staff or from within, and frequently can be both.

That said, look at the two Super Bowl favorites from the NFC in Seattle and San Fran. Those teams headed East and handled inferior foes with a business-like approach and a toughness that portends good-to-elite things.

Power Poll

1) Seattle

2) Denver

3) New England

4) Carolina

5) San Francisco

Bottom five (with draft spot)

28) Jacksonville (No. 5 overall)

29) Atlanta (No. 3 overall — tied)

30) Oakland (No. 3 overall — tied)

31) Washington (No first-round pick; No. 2 overall pick would go to St. Louis)

32) Houston (No. 1 overall)


Bowl mania

We are in the process of finalizing the bowl contest. We are going online and doing it through We are also doing it in conjunction with Press Row, the 3-6 p.m. sports show that features SEC Rainman David Paschall and that-always-clever TFP sports editor, ole whoshispants.

Good times.

We'll provide a link this afternoon. We're pretty excited and everyone is welcome to play. We'll post the results here.

That said, as we were doing our morning digging on the interweb, we noticed that tickets to the BCS title game between FSU and Auburn are pretty pricey. Sweet buckets, the parking passes are going for $300-plus on The tickets start at $774 and elevate from there, and yes there is a suite available with 24 tickets that, including tax and handling and FREE shipping, will run you a total of $175,343.


Thank goodness the shipping's free, huh? Heck, that would even make $7 million man Nick Saban wonder if it's worth it.

The other end of that spectrum is Central Florida looking at anything possible to move Fiesta Bowl tickets and that there are more than 400 Texas Bowl tickets available on the interweb for the cost of a Subway footlong.

Starting tomorrow, we'll rank the bowls and offer up tidbits on each so you can be smart at various holiday parties and events.


Guess who's coming to meeting

In arguable the most puzzling invite in recent college football, Lane Kiffin was asked to swing by the Alabama offices and review the Tide offense.

The man who invited the former UT and USC boy blunder? None other than Mr. Nick Saban himself.

Puzzling no?

What could those cats have in common, other than an intense love of Oatmeal Creme Pies (seriously, if you do not love Oatmeal Creme Pies, then the terrorists have won; you down with OCP? You know this) and a potentially blinding hate from every Johnny Vols Fan everywhere.

Still, wonder where Lane Kiffin will land? He has been rumored as a possible OC at Florida, but that seems like a huge risk for Will Muschamp who has the hottest seat in the country and needs a home run hire in regard to production.


This and that

— The junior college all-american team was announced Monday. Here's the link. Defensive tackle Owen Williams — a UT commit — made the second team.

— Good Monday night game with Baltimore beating Detroit on a 61-yard field goal. And was it us or did Calvin Johnson look old? Kidding, kidding. Mostly. And some of the headlines for Justin Tucker, the Ravens kicker who has made 33 consecutive field goals, including all six in last night's 18-16 win, were awesome. Legatron was one we saw retweeted by Kelley Smiddie which was especially good.

— From the tough night files, Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber lived the nightmare in Pittsburgh on Sunday night. First he dropped a snapped and was tackled at the 1 that led to an easy Steelers TD. Steelers return ace Antonio Brown ran back Huber's next punt for a TD and on that play Huber was lit up by Terence Garvin helmet to chest de-cleater. Huber broke his jaw on the play — he left the field with blood streaming from his mouth. Today we learned that Huber also broke a vertebrae. Tough times indeed. And amazingly, there was no flag on the play, which begs the question "Is the NFL concerned with player safety or stars' safety?" Discuss.

— Have you seen the video of Jason Dufner making the single worst birdie putt ever? Here it is and who said everything was going Auburn's way this fall?


Today's questions

There's a slew to discuss.

Is Nick Saban worth $7 million?

Also did you see that Google released some of it's most used searches: Most searched athlete in the U.S. was Aaron Hernandez.

If you still need a talking point, well, the newest additions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced Tuesday morning. Here's the list of the nominees:

  • photo
    Alabama coach Nick Saban talks with media during Pro Day at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band


Deep Purple

Peter Gabriel

Hall and Oates


LL Cool J

The Meters



The Replacements

Linda Ronstadt

Cat Stevens

Link Wray


The Zombies

Of that group, Nirvana, KISS, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens made the cut. Thoughts?

First, if you have 16 nominees and six make the cut, that's not exactly select is it?

And while the name is "Rock and Roll" Hall of Fame, if they are taking rap artists — and they are — there is no comparing the careers of LL Cool J and Cat Stevens. Sorry. And there's no comparing groups NWA — which included industry giants Dre and Ice Cube — and Hall and Flippin' Oates. Seriously? Maneater made the Hall and NWA got skipped.


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.
MocTastic said...

JG, NWA in no way can be considered rock and roll, nor can they be considered "roots" contributors to the foundation of rock and roll. When there is a rap HOF and they put in the Beatles and Buddy Holly, get back to me on why NWA belongs in the Rock'n Roll HOF.

Now JG can come back at me with other names of performers in the HOF who dont' fit the rock'n roll music requirement, but, just because they screwed up in the past doesn't mean they should continue to screw up in the future.

Is there a rap/hiphop HOF? If not, maybe JG can start one in Chattanooga and make it another tourist destination for the Scenic City. After all, in the end, the Rock'n Roll HOF sold its soul many years ago to make money with some of its inclusions.

Johnny Unitas and Jimmy Brown were great is sorta like baseball in that they use a ball. Maybe they should put Johnny U and Jimmy Brown in the baseball HOF.

December 17, 2013 at 10:16 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Agreed with MT that rap artists have no BID-ness being in a rock 'n' roll HOF. And I'm not sure why there isn't already a separate hall for Motown/Rap/Hip Hop. A good place for it might be none other than the ATL. When 95.5 The Beat was still on the air down there, they proclaimed that city as "The Hip Hop Capital of the World." Some new-school artists hail from there like Jermaine Dupri, T.I., Luda, and Usher.

And I've always thought that Hall and Oates is underrated. Lots of good hits from those fellas. Mrs. Stewwie and I saw them in concert here when they came last year. Good for them in making it to the HOF.

It does seem odd that Saban would ask Kiffin (of all folks) for help with the offense. Also, no question that Florida needs help on offense and Kiffin would certainly help, but I'm not sure that he'd be a good fit with Muschamp. In fact, there's not many people he'd be a good fit with, but his best bet might be to keep his talents on the west coast and try to land with a team over there somewhere.

December 17, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

Agree that NWA is not Rock and Roll. And they likely are charter members of the Rap Hall of Fame, if there is one.

That said, the organizers are putting them on the ballot, so if they are on the ballot then they have to be judged fairly.

And the names that are already in there — P-Funk and Grand Master Flash and Run DMC and Public Enemy; even Madonna for crying out loud — are worth bringing up if for no other reason than it's comparing apples to apples.

December 17, 2013 at 11:26 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Rotten apples.....

December 17, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
chas9 said...

What's you Rushmore of Calvin's?

I like my country straight up and raw, so I wasn't a fan of The Nashville Sound with its Montovani strings. But Ray Price could sing. Thanks for The Good Times.

December 17, 2013 at 1:21 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Really thought Deep Purple, with Ritchie Blackmore, one of the rock guitar giants, would get in. So too The Replacements, a great band that never quite broke it big but were darlings of the music critics. And they gave us "Can't Hardly Wait" which was also then the theme song for a Jennifer Love Hewitt movie and that right there should be enough in merit inclusion.

Linda Ronstadt ... Cat Stevens ... Hall and Oates ... what, is this the KBilly Super Sounds of the 70s Hall of Fame?

Let's say if Florida does bring in Kiffin, expect the Gators to begin landing top-3 classes. Until Kiffin departs. Then they'll just be top-10 classes.

December 17, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Yes + Deep Purple not in the RnR HoF? Tells me the voters ain't from 'round here. You could not cruise Brainerd Road in the '70s + not hear "Roundabout" + "Smoke on the Water". What in the Wide World of Sports is a-going on here?


December 17, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
ordinaryguy said... are showing your age...young whippersnapper...go check the which is the OFFICAL sales charts for will not find either of your favs there...I was fortunate to grow up during the 60's and 70's which was the greatest of all music...that being said the biggest selling duo in rock history does belong...there are several who were on the list that would belong before NWA or LL...Deep Purple, Yes, and the Zombies to list them...just saying there are many not in yet who should go in long before those two...

December 17, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Yes is not in because of a long standing disregard of "progressive rock" or "art rock". Led by the magazine Rolling Stone the denigrators have long argued against these bands. I think some of the thought pattern is because these bands didn't celebrate or express the angst of the teen, but wrote music for music for music's sake, expressing it in forms not usually seen in rock music. For example, Roundabout by Yes as you heard it on the radio was probably a shortened four minute version, not the 8-9 minute version on the album. The people who love short catchy tunes just don't have the attention span to sit through 19 minutes of Close to The Edge. Genesis finally got in, Yes finally got nominated. It is slowly happening, but I fear that it is because they are just running out of old bands to nominate.

December 17, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

spot on MocT...much like the hatred that Wenner or should I say Weiner holds for the early work of Chicago (when Terry Kath was still alive)...other than the radio hits, it was brilliant work...and we must remember Hendrix himself said Kath was the best player he had ever heard...the concept of the hall is great, but the power held by Jann Wenner is extreme and to the point of a dictatorship which means we have to suffer with some of the selections...keep in mind Stevie Ray Vaughn and The Doobie Brothers are just two more examples of those still waiting for the call

December 17, 2013 at 2:35 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

OG, Chicago was a much different band after Terry Kath, especially since it appears it was a Peter Cetera-led musical direction. That first Chicago Transit Authority album is great stuff.

December 17, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.
MocTastic said...

JG, I may have missed this, but with Ned Ryerson riding off into the sunset, I see that Gene Henley is covering the UTC women's basketball team, but who has the coverage of the football program? Thanks.

December 17, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

It is my understanding that the meeting between Saban and Kiffin had to be cut short. The sacrificial lamb made a break for it and the virgin priestess was stuck in traffic.

I could go on a prolonged rant about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, better known as Jann Wenner's Mistake by the Lake. Or I could just continue to ignore that institution. It is the holiday season so I will try to look at the bright side...The RRHOF gives the professional sports franchises in Cleveland something they can point and snicker at.

December 17, 2013 at 2:53 p.m.
Stewwie said...


I asked Jay about that a couple weeks back. Here was his response:

[The immediate plan (short term fill) is for Gene Henley to cover the women's basketball beat and for Stephen Hargis to pick up UTC recruiting through signing day. We are planning on making a hire when we find the right person, and we'll take a hard look at everyone's role at the end of the school year.]

December 17, 2013 at 3:43 p.m.
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