published Friday, January 18th, 2013

5-at-10: Friday mailbag with more Te'o, QB debates and top sports liars

Gang, another great week and thanks for playing along. Feel free to reply to any of the questions below. Here we go with more, and we're still debating our NFL playoff picks for Sunday.

Enjoy and enjoy that crazy glowing ball of fire in the sky — anyone know what that thing is called?

From the "Talks too much" studios let's do work...

From Irish Fan

Have never read your column before this week and I will never read it again. You have no idea what happened -- no one does. And you just jumped in trying to be clever at some kid's expense.

Is it impossible to believe that someone tricked Manti and if not why would the ND AD put his reputation on the line like he did?

Shut up and go back in your small market hole.

  • photo
    Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o walks off the field following an NCAA college football game against Wake Forest in South Bend, Ind. A story that Te'o's girlfriend had died of leukemia — a loss he said inspired him to help lead the Irish to the BCS championship game — was dismissed by the university Wednesday as a hoax perpetrated against the linebacker.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Irish Fan,

Thanks for reading and feel free to swing by any time.

Here's what we know — either Te'o was in on it or he is one of the most gullible folks ever. And that's possible we suppose, and the chance that Te'o is a victim is given more credence because of the way Irish AD Jack Swarbrick fully supported Te'o. While Swarbrick's defense is certainly a plus, the release of the transcript of the SI interview with Te'o looks bad.

As you said, no one knows what happened, well other than Te'o. So everyone is allowed their opinion, right?

That said, you obviously do not read this forum very often if you think we're about having fun at some "kid's expense." That's not our style, but Te'o is hardly a kid who has been forced into the public eye. Dude is comfortable in the spotlight and even craves it according to some teammates.

If you want to debate something, bring more than insults and indignation. Either way, agree or disagree, read or don't read, is fine with us. (And we really love our small-market hole, thanks for asking.)

————

From Newbie

Ever met anyone online? Can you recall a more strange story than this Manti Te'o thing? Who is the bigger liar -- Te'o or Lance? And you didn't answer your Rushmore of sports liars from early this week. What's yours?

Thanks for the 5@10... I read it every day and am starting to pick up some of the jokes. You are pretty funny for a newspaper reporter.

Newbie,

Thanks, we fancy ourselves as pretty humorous — even for a newspaper reporter.

And since you're fairly new to the forum, we'll allow you to bend the question limit this time (and remember to swing by whenever you can — as Bluto says, "it don't cost nothing.")

No, we've never met anyone online. In fact, we may be one of the last people we know who is not on FaceSpace or MyBook or whatever it is. We finally got on the Twitter (@jgreesontfp) late last year.

Lance is the bigger liar and it's not close. One of the crazy things about being the sports editor in a "small market hole" is the insane number of emails we get, and one of the ones we got last night was from a body language expert who was willing to be quoted about Lance's body language during his interview last night. We're going to try to reach him today, but here's our un-expert body language opinion: Lance was lying and we know this because his lips were moving.

Our Rushmore of Sports Liars, in order — Pete Rose, Lance, Tiger Woods and then probably a syringe to represent the steroid era in baseball. (Side note: Te'o would make a push for the Rushmore for sports hoaxes, which would definitely include Rosie Ruiz, who won the 1980 Boston Marathon by cutting off a bunch of the course and taking a cab to the final mile or so, Danny Almonte, the kid who was like 16 and pitched in the Little League World Series with the rest of the 12-year-olds, Kevin Hart, who faked his own college football signing party despite not having a scholarship offer, and the crazy story of the 2000 Spanish Paralympian basketball team, who competed and won gold in the developmentally disabled level — IQs under 70 — despite having 10 of the 12 players on the roster that were not disabled.

————

From CelticVol

Hey 5@10,

My wife and I had dinner with 2 diehard Alabama fans this past weekend. Of course one of our conversations was about Alabama winning the National Championship Game and how they dominated. As we’re talking the subject turns to Nick Saban. This diehard Alabama fan looks at me and says, “You know I really don’t like Nick Saban.” My eyes got real big and I almost choked on my coconut shrimp. He goes onto say, “He has a horrible personality and he’s a liar.” I can understand this coming from an Auburn fan or a Tennessee fan but this came from a diehard Bammer. Yeah I know that Alabama fans love all the National Championships and beating their opponents to a pulp but do you think they really ‘like’ their coach?

CelticVol,

Almost all of them don't like Nick Saban. They LOVE Nick Saban.

We believe your buddy is an Outlier. In fact, we're pretty sure that if word spread that Nick Saban needed a kidney, he would have more non-family volunteers than any other person on the planet. (Rushmore of celebs who if they needed a kidney would have the most people volunteer: Saban, Obama, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber. Side note: If Manti Te'o's imaginary girlfriend needs an imaginary kidney, we'd image a scenario where lots of folks would pretend to give her one.)

Millions of Bama folks would line up to give almost any organ to Saban (wait, well, you know what we mean). In fact, we agree with something Clay Travis has written before that if another school or an NFL team came in and offered Saban $10 million per year and Alabama AD Mal Moore said, "OK, fans we need your help. We've got $6 ready to go, but we need another $5 million in donations," he'd have it by the end of business on Tuesday. Seriously.

In fact, the only feeling 99 percent of the Bama fan base feel about Saban that is not positive is fear — fear that he will leave and the recruiting machine and winning machine that has turned the Tide into the 1970s USSR hockey team will slow down.

————

From Orangeguy

You think Chip Kelly will change the NFL?

Orangeguy,

Yes, we do.

We think Chip Kelly will have success in the NFL, but we think the offensive change has already started. That's not the change Chip Kelly will incorporate. There already are mobile quarterbacks using the midline and zone option, and that trend is going to continue no matter what Aaron Rodgers thinks. (Rodgers said he believes the running QB will be a fad and go away; we tend to disagree because watching a lot of high school and college football, all of the younger levels are using mobile quarterbacks. It make sense too, especially for high school teams to put your best athlete at the one spot that you know is going to get the ball on every snap. The number of pure drop-back passers are dropping every year. Look at this year's draft class — top three prospects may be Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon in a weak draft class that may be the first since 1996 without a QB in round 1. Next year the top three draft prospects likely will be AJ McCarron, Logan Thomas and Johnny Manziel. That's six QB prospects and half of them are completely comfortable running the zone option.)

Most of the changes to embrace mobile quarterbacks has been to maximize one QB's strength. Case in point, Washington was putting RGIII in the best place to succeed and changed its offense when Kirk Cousins was playing.

Where we think Chip Kelly will change the NFL is in his philosophy. His use of a running QB will be about the offense and not the quarterback. We've heard reports that he's going to try to land spend draft picks and free agent coin and build a dominant defense. He's also looking to have two or three mobile quarterbacks, knowing that his system puts QBs in harm's way. It's a forward-thinking approach.

Of course his time in Philly could mirror Spurrier's time in D.C., and if that happens there will be a feeding frenzy of college ADs falling all over themselves to hire Chip Kelly on the rebound. (Side note: Did anyone else giggle a little bit that Kelly landed in the NFC East. So, after leaving college football completely confounded by trying to stop the spread and the zone option, new Dallas defensive coordinator Monte "Abe Simpson" Kiffin will get four games a year against Chip Kelly's Eagles and RGIII's Redskins. War Kiffin.)

————

From JMC

On a sidenote, I read Paschall's article while eating breakfest regarding this year's attendence numbers at Finley and its reflection of a 20 grand drop in revenue. This may once again bring up a possible topic for upcoming Five at Tens. Allow me to quote from the Book of Eckstein:

And thou said "At that point in time, we were still in contention for the league title. We had a disappointing result against Appalachian State, when they ran away with it in the fourth quarter, but I would have expected much better for Georgia Southern....other games were a little less than we expected, and I really don't have an answer for that."

I do. 1) UTC has plateaued. Russ may have helped raised the program from the cellar but three winning seasons out of four years and nothing to show for it (i.e. Conference champion, co-champion, or post-season), would make any fan fickle no matter how hardcore they are. Until the Mocs start going 9-3 with post-season action, people will still stay away. 2) Non-sexy conference. With less than half the conference schools being private schools no one cares for (period) and all of UTC's biggest rivals having either left the SoCon or fix'n to leave the SoCon, there really isn't whole lot to get excited about. That said Jay, maybe it might be a good time to pull up my scenerio chart regarding UTC's fantasy move to the FBS in a "very special" Five at Ten (I can resend it to you if you lost/deleted it). I'm not saying this is the "ultimate cure all" to Finley's woes (It's definately not). But it would not shock me one little bit that "scenerio" is presented sooner than later.

Love to hear your thoughts on this.

JMC —

The dream-scenario about moving to the FBS for UTC is still so far down the rails we don't know if the light at the end of the tunnel is a train or the way out. (Plus, until a new chancellor and AD are tabbed, the future is at best murky for next month, never mind the next generation.)

That said, we wanted to discuss the first two parts of your view. We'll start with this: If UTC's football attendance was a living, breathing organism, it suffered a direct hit that was painful and lingering when the Mocs imploded against The Citadel in the late Fall of 2011. We've heard more than one person reference that "Come from ahead, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" debacle as the example that UTC will always be UTC when it comes to football.

We think that's harsh and not true, mind you, we're just passing along what we've heard.

As for your assertions and how it relates to attendance, the nonconference lament is spot on — when you're bringing in teams that no one knows their mascots, well that's a tough sell in a market that is three hours from UT, UGA, Georgia Tech, Vandy, Auburn and Alabama. Now, the flip side of that coin is it's super tough for UTC to schedule high-profile foes here in the 423. And, next year, the Mocs need a nonconference sweep of non-money games because...

We don't feel like Russ and Co. have plateaued. We feel the timeline of rebuilding the program was escalated by B.J. Coleman's decision to transfer home. And while that's a good thing on almost every level, it also has raised expectations more quickly than maybe the foundation was prepped for. Think of it this way: We've been the sports editor here since the early 2000s, and at that time and for most of the next seven or eight years, a UTC fan wanting more than 6-5 from the football team would have comical.

Enter Russ and B.J. at the same time and the talent is lifted, the production is lifted and the expectations are lifted. All of these are good things of course, but we don't feel the Mocs have plateaued.

That said, another break-even season in 2013 — especially with all the pieces and parts the Mocs have coming back — and we'd be a lot more likely to agree with you.

————

From Stewwie1

[Rushmore of active QBs or all-time QBs at this moment?]

I was thinking all-time QBs, but just for fun, can you do both?

Stew1 —

We'll do a Rushmore of QB Rushmores in the following four categories:

Active QBs Rushmore — Brady, Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees

All-time QBs Rushmore — Brady, Elway, Montana, Unitas

QBs Rushmore of guys drafted after the third round — Brady (6th), Kurt Warner (undrafted), Johnny Unitas (9th), Bart Starr (17th round)

Underrated QBs Rushmore — Aikman (dude was way better than people realized), Dan Fouts, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton

———

From Stewwie2 (who got two mailbag entries because we forgot this one last week)

Jay, let's assume that Ohio State was eligible this year. Had the 4-team playoff been in effect, the Buckeyes would have gotten in along with Notre Dame and Bama. But who do you think gets that 4th spot and why? Has there been any guidance given for the selection committee on how many (if any) conference champs should be required to make the playoffs?

Stew2 —

It has been reported that the selection committee will be charged with picking conference champions whenever possible, especially champions from the Big Six conferences. And since Notre Dame would be considered the at-large team, the pressure would be high to make the other three conference champs, which would leave Oregon and Florida on the outside looking in (which would mean the only team — Oregon — in the mix that could challenge Alabama would not have been in the Final Four).

So, if Ohio State was eligible, we think the field would have been:

No. 1-seed Ohio State vs. No. 4-seed Stanford and No. 2-seed Notre Dame vs. No. 3-seed Alabama. Since we know the Irish-Tide outcome is as one-sided as Katherine Webb vs. Manti's imaginary girlfriend (who we feel certain Brent Musberger would have thought was hot, if you know, she was real), let's play out the rest of the scenario.

We think Stanford upsets Ohio State in a Rose Bowl that would be electric. Considering The Cardinal snuffed out Oregon's spread offense that had better pieces and more explosion than Ohio State, we think Stanford would have had success against Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller.

And we think Alabama would have thumped Stanford, too. The only difference may have been whether Brent Musberger would have kept his tongue in his mouth.

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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chas9 said...

Forbes says the Big 10 is the richest conference, SEC is fourth. What're we doing wrong? They moved Ryan Leaf from rehab to prison. What's the next stop?

They're auctioning off Curt's bloody sock. Really. There's no truth to the rumor, though, that his sweaty jock is expected to bring in close to a million dollars.

I wonder how much they could get for Manti's fake girlfriend's fake panties? It's a whole new world of fantasy football.

I watched Te'o's fake news conference yesterday. I didn't find his claims believable, did you? My guess is that Irish Fan who disdains small market holes is actually the ghost of Manti's "girlfriend."

Going by yesterday's results, Florida is on top, A&M way below that, Kentucky way below that, Tennessee way below that...

January 18, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
Walden said...

Hey Irish Fan, why don't you shut up, and go back in your unmasked-football-team hole?

January 18, 2013 at 10:28 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- do you think the Notre Dame AD is in jeopardy of falling into the "Penn State syndrome" and get fired, since he knew about the "hoax" on Dec 26 and still allowed ESPN to run Manti girlfriend stories right up to the BCS champ game ?

also, would love to see you at Mocs B-Ball game saturday, you missed an exciting one last night

And, finally it is really sad that John Candy died before he had a chance to play John Madden in a movie

January 18, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

Thanks for your response. I was unaware exactly how much of an ill-effect the Citadel loss had actually produced. Please note though I'm in absolutely no rush for the Mocs to jump to the FBS anytime soon or drink it's Kool-Aid (as Spy would say). I was just hinting that based on what I read Tuesday, one major key factor might be the lack or recognizable opponents for the Mocs. I do have one "way out in left field" suggestion for Mr. Eckstein and that would be switch out one of the non-conference games for North Dakota State but then I would really be accused of drinking the Kool-Aid (You really should have seen what I saw). They do travel. That is all I will say.

How did Irish Guy wind up on here? This is not exactly the New York Times. Oh well.

Missed the Lance Armstrong thingie because I've been too busy watching the President thingie on History for the past three nights (part four is tonight). Really cool stuff.

January 18, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Jay, it hurts me that you deny our online relationship. To say you've never met anyone online, when I am clearly standing right here as someone who you've only met online, is not a very thoughtful thing to do. But I forgive you, and will move forward now.

Here are the latest internet things that made me chuckle:

Picture of empty shower with caption that reads "Latest nude photos of Manti Te'o's girlfriend."

Much like Tebowing, there is now a thing called Te'oing. It consists of taking a picture with your arm around an imaginary person in a chair. It provides a subtle amusement to me.

Picture of bar's sign that read: "Congratulations to Lance Armstrong for finally having the ball to come out and admit his lies."

Fun side fact from bar trivia last night. The trait that Lance shares with Napoleon and Hitler? They both also flew solo in the coin purse. Glad I was able to share that with you nice people.

Jay, I have always admired your ability to answer the angry reader's letters with a level of professionalism that addresses their issues and leaves them wondering if maybe they shouldn't have flown off the handle and referred to another man's small hole in such negative light. That's your atta-boy of the day. Keep up the good work.

January 18, 2013 at 10:59 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Well-played sir, and yes, Florida is the class of the league and it's not that close.

Schilling's fall is sad; Ryan Leaf's fall is a cautionary tale; Irish Fan's tale is neither sad nor cautionary — just wish it had been a little more about the debate. So it goes.

Walden —

That made us laugh.

Jomo —

Great question about Swarbrick putting himself in a precarious spot with his over-the-top support. Now, he's in the position that he could look foolish too. As for sitting on this, since there is no apparent criminal activity (well other than how the distracted Te'o and the Irish played, and there's no way this — the fact that this was happening and becoming common knowledge — did not affect his play) we do not think it would have Penn State-type ripple.

And nice win for the Mocs last night. Very nice. We're planning on bringing the boy Saturday night if all goes to plan.

Candy would have been a good Madden, but if they are making a movie about Madden (or Gruden or just about anyone else) Frank Caliendo gets the lead. Dude's impressions are amazing.

JMC —

Not sure how Irish winded up here or if they'll be back. Always happy to exchange ideas with those who disagree, but have little desire to participate in name calling/insults.

Todd —

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing more than a chuckle — love the bar sign... good stuff. (Side note, anyone else noticed that the sign outside Rumors Bar on Hixson Pike has restaurant misspelled. They had to get a deal on that right?)

One coin in the change purse will be the new way to describe Lance, Hitler, Napoleon and the like (guess we could call them a "Ball Club" huh?)

Where do you play bar trivia — used to make some coins playing back in the day.

January 18, 2013 at 11:24 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Regarding the overall reference of "online only" associations. I was in one of the first major online campaigns involving a semi-popular Japanese animated series during my student days at UTC. Counting myself, there were eight of us total. I would say the first two years, none of us actually met. It wasn't until we attended the San Diego Comicon that all of us actually got to meet (minus one of us who couldn't make the trip). It was a very interesting week to say the least.

I'm on Facebook, but my friends list is literally a very small number (40) for a reason. To be "friended" by me, I either a) know you personally, b) be affiliated with you [ex. DFW Stand-Up comics, Chattanooga Anime Club] or c) have a common interest where interaction is almost daily. Also, if I don't hear from you after a while, I will un-friend you.

I love the reference of Te'oing. Even though Jimmy Stewart mastered Te'oing five or six decades ago (think a certain furry animal with long ears).

January 18, 2013 at 11:26 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Haven't checked in in a while due to the baby and all.

How about those Mocs last night? Something else to come back from that far back.

I also think Saban and Alabama are the best team in the country when they have a month to prepare (see what they did to Michigan and Notre Dame this year- probably their two best performances). So in the first round of a playoff, look out. But the second game could be more like what we saw from Alabama other times this year- very good, but not unbeatable.

Am I arguing they should not have won the national title? Absolutely not. Am I saying that in the future we may be surprised by a second game collapse out of the Tide after a dominant semifinal win? Yes. That's what I'm saying.

January 18, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JMC - Just an FYI...Eckstein has no control over the schedule...that is done by UTC...Merrell has nothing to do with that aspect...he only runs the stadium which as a reminder is not owned by UTC

January 18, 2013 at 11:51 a.m.
chas9 said...

The Aggies may have handled SEC pointy ball very well, but they must wonder about the other sports. Yesterday Florida's men hammered A&M 68-47 and UK smeared the women 100-47.

Run-JMC-- Great call on connecting the late girlfriend with the estimable Harvey. Yesterday upon the stair I saw a girl who was not there. She wasn't there again today. I sure do wish she'd go away.

January 18, 2013 at 12:04 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

So ... do I take my fake girlfriend to the top of Kennesaw Mountain and give her a cubic zirconia ring, asking her if she'll be the pretend love of the rest of my life?

And how can any Rushmore of sports liars not include anyone from professional wrestling? Hulk Hogan joining the NWO? Vince McMahon's Montreal screw job of Bret Hart? Classics. I still say Lance, Peter Edward Rose, Eldrick Woods and Raffy Palmiero, who was later nominated for a Golden Globes for best performance on steroids by a .320 hitting outfielder with less than 20 homers.

January 18, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.
Walden said...

Jay- glad I could give you a chuckle, I aim to please (you aim too, please). Here's a question I've been wanting to ask. Why does F.O.T.S. StuckinKent not post in the comments section?

January 18, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

OG-

I am aware Sir Eckstein has no direct control. Unfortunately, the auto-check in my brain missed that before it was already posted. But I figured if he was hinting for a guarantee money game, that will do it. ^^()

chase-

Thanks for the acknowledgement. I was surprised no one else considered that zinger before me.

January 18, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

In case you are interested, DMN reported Houston Nutt from Arkansas and Old Miss fame is being interviewed for the Running Backs Coach. His experience and I quote "Nutt has no NFL experience but he does know Jerry Jones".

Gotta love it.

January 18, 2013 at 1:47 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Nice QB lists.

I think your Stanford pick is the right call for the 4th spot in that playoff. Since they played Notre Dame close, it's reasonable to think they would have suffered a similar fate to Bama that the Irish did. But Stanford did look strong at the end of the year so who knows. Good point from Stuck too on Bama's success with loads of preparation time.

The Teo story sounds like something the National Enquirer would have made up. Unfortunately, it's legit. And what's even more perplexing about the whole thing is that there's an NFLer who claims to have met the woman while doing charity work in Samoa. ??? When telling this story to Mrs. Stewwie yesterday, I had to go through it about 3 times because it just doesn't make sense and there's too many questions left unanswered.

January 18, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Let's suppose Te'o had won the Heisman. Would this girlfriend hoax predicate him giving the trophy back? Or should 100 plus tackles and 7 INTs as a linebacker on one of the nation's top two defenses suffice? Maybe it's because he had 11 other games in which to excel and which he did for the most part before the trophy was awarded that make me look the other way. He was a second-team all-American the year before, so it wasn't as if he came out of nowhere.

But if he had not had the numbers or impact through the rest of the season like he had for that Michigan State game, would voters still have given him Heisman credence? It's supposed to be on the body of work, and it's still an impressive resume', regardless of the fable now surrounding him - and possibly involving him.

January 18, 2013 at 3:20 p.m.
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