published Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

5-at-10: UT bubble chatter, NFL shopping spree and Chipper in pinstripes?

Tournament tests

Gonzaga made its case for a No. 1 seed with a comfortable win over St. Mary's on Monday night. We can not offer much insight because we were neck deep in the hodgepodge and entertaining mess that was J.R. Ewing's funeral. Good times.

As we hit tournament week, we'll pause for one second to make sure Stuck and Chas are properly hydrated and don't hyperventilate.

There are three types teams this week: Teams needing to state a tournament case for inclusion; Teams needing to state a tournament case for as high a seed as possible; Teams needing to state a tournament case by winning their conference tournament. Gonzaga — which has a definite Bad News Bear quality to it, right down to the questionable Kelly Leak/Kelly Olynyk hair choice as your best player — made their statement; St. Mary's left their fate to the tournament committee (we think they are in, but Sunday will be a little stressful since the game was pretty one-sided).

That said, if the experts — Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi — are to be believed, the Zags' win did not affect other bubble teams too much because St. Mary's is listed as a 10 seed by each.

Jerry P has Tennessee, Iowa State, Kentucky and La Salle as his last four teams in the tournament, and if his ranking of "on the fence" at cbssports.com is any indication, he has the Vols as the last team. Joey Brackets has a boss nickname that screams gambling street cred and has La Salle, Boise State, Kentucky and Virginia has his last four in and Tennessee, MTSU, Ole Miss and Baylor as his first four out.

So, knowing that Tennessee and Kentucky must first and foremost handle their BID-ness at the SEC tournament in Nashville — we think the Vols need two wins to feel good about Sunday; the Cats need one — there is plenty of scoreboard watching to be done.

Here are five teams that are in the bubble mix with UT and UK and what the immediate future holds:

Iowa State (21-10) — Thursday in the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma

Villanova (19-12) — Wednesday in the Big East tournament against St. John's

Boise State (21-9) — Thursday in the Mountain West tournament against San Diego State

La Salle (21-8) — Friday in the A-10 tournament against the winner of Butler and Dayton

Virginia (21-10) — Friday in the ACC tournament against the winner of N.C. State and Virginia Tech

It's fair to think losses by any of the above teams really would help the Vols' and the Cats' chances.

————

Spending spree

Free agency starts today at 4 p.m.

Suffice it to say some billionaires will make some millionaires even more millionaire-y. Richness for everyone. War Richness. (We have a mental picture of Jerry Jones in his best Monopoly outfit — right down to the monocle — and slinging around those old-school cartoon bags of cash with the $$ on the outside. Good times.)

The moves started over the weekend with players opting out of deals and teams trading star receivers. (Side note: Of the things we believe is that wide receiver is the one position that is most like that 'hot' girl in high school. There are going to be some that appear to be so attractive that you think "how can that guy give up THAT" until you spend some time with the diva and realize that the me-first approach and the neediness and the tempermentalismnessity (yes, Spy we made that up) makes the physical gifts seem secondary and even wasted. We can even call it the Randy/Kate Moss principle.)

Before we get to the names to keep an eye on in the free-agent pool let's review the nominees for the Barkevious Mingo "best name" and three guys that went from the Pro Bowl two years ago to hoping their phone rings during free agency:

Best names (name only) on the market

1) Defensive end Frostee Rucker (how does dude not have a Wendy's commercial?)

2) Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (if Captain is driving a boat on Lake Chickamauga, do we call him Capt. Captian Munnerlyn?)

3) Cornerback Quentin Jammer (arguably the coolest name/skill combo with a cover corner being named "Jammer;" It would be like if Tom D. Brady's last name was Passer... T.D. Passer... that would be outstanding)

Big names (in stature — guys who surprisingly will not get a lot of interest)

1) Brian Urlacher (who is not listed among USA Today's top 50 free agents)

2) Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (ditto)

3) Tight end Dallas Clark (ditto, although if we're the Falcons and Tony G. elects not to return, we'd call Dallas and see what's up)

Here are the top names on the market as of this morning:

1) WR Mike Wallace

2) WR Greg Jennings

3) T Jake Long

4) RB Steven Jackson

5) S Dashon Goldson

————

  • photo
    Chipper Jones awaits his turn at bat against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, September 14.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Yankees stink

The brass for the New York Yankees hinted that the team would love to talk to Chipper Jones about his interest in playing for the Bronx Bombers.

Relax, at least for now. Jones posted on social media that he is enjoying "life as a bad golfer."

But this story is telling and perplexing in that, a) the Yankees are old and hobbled; b) how bad would it hurt Johnny Braves Fans to see Chipper wearing pinstripes. Somewhere Mark Wohlers just spit up.

While we do not think — read: pray — Chipper comes back, the fact that the Yankees need to look for his cell number — and the fact that they are chasing Derrick Lee — is less than good news for Johnny Yankees Fans.

In the toughest division in baseball, the Yankees have multiple-month injuries to Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera and Alex Rodriguez. That leaves the lineup in shambles. Here's saying unless they really break the bank — and the farm system — the Yankees could well be battling the Red Sox in the AL East to see which team doesn't finish last.

Think about that.

————

This and that

— Free agent concerns for the Titans and Falcons start at tight end. Will the Titans be able to keep Jared Cook (we say no)? Will the Falcons get Tony Gonzalez to come back (we say yes)? Atlanta also needs a running back, and while Steven Jackson and even Reggie Bush could be interesting, high-profile names, we'd look at saving some money on an Ahmad Bradshaw and going after a pass rusher with the extra coin left over.

  • photo
    UTC women's basketball players celebrate getting to go to the Big Dance after pulling out a one-point victory over Davidson in the Southern Conference tournament final Monday in Asheville, N.C.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Major congrats to Wes Moore and the Lady Mocs, who survived some early struggles and won the Southern Conference basketball title. Despite allowing Davidson to shoot better than 50 percent from the field — and with UTC struggling to make shots — Moore and Co. landed their ninth NCAA tournament bid together by forcing turnovers and being poised down the stretch of their 64-63 win. We'll discuss this more this week, but now the question becomes how good of a seed will the Lady Mocs get? They have an argument for somewhere in the 11 neighborhood.

— We have said from the start that looking at spring training baseball stats for patterns is like finding trends in the MegaMillions drawing or scouting a Bingo game film for tendancies...... But (it's like a fraternity party, there's always going to be a but somewhere) looking at the Braves' hitting numbers, you have to be tickled with new faces B.J. Upton (.405) and Chris Johnson (.344). You also have to wonder what is the ceiling for strikeouts for Dan Uggla. Dude has fanned 15 times in 36 spring at-bats. BINGO.

— Nice win for the San Antonio Spurs over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

— The price tag for the Sandusky debacle has reached more than $41 million for Penn State. We think it will get to nine figures, considering this only part of the fines and not including litigation.

————

Today's question

While we're pondering some bubble talk and free agent moves, and feel free to weigh in on either. (Who you think the Falcons/Titans/whomever should go after, etc.)

We also got thinking about players making late-career moves. With talks of Chipper on the move and the inevitable NFL moves that will happen today, what is your Rushmore of players that looked wrong in a different uniform.

We think Joe Montana in a Chiefs jersey is up there. So is Michael Jordan in a Washington uniform. Emmitt Smith playing for Arizona is there and the old footage of Babe Ruth in a Brooklyn Dodgers uni.

Discuss, and personally, if Chipper comes back he zooms onto this Rushmore.

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.
fechancellor said...

10-Ring, here's some possibilities: Dale Murphy to Philadelphia, Reggie Jackson to the Angels, Franco Harris to Seattle, Dan Pastorini to Oakland for "The Snake" Kenny Stabler, who wound down his career as a Saint.

March 12, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
chas9 said...

John Rocker cursed, spit up, and slung a cooler against the wall.

Tip o' the leprechaun hat to the Lady Mocs.

I'm happy for The Zags, but I'll take the candy-stripe wearing IU squad for #1 overall. Is hydrated kinda like beer-rated?

Weeds' seeds are good, but I think this year the committee should have no one, two, or three seeds, just 16 four seeds. And Lunardi on The Vols has been squirrely. I expect one win for Tennessee would be enough if it were over a higher seeded team than the SC-Mississippi State victor.

I'm relieved that The Wildcats will apparently stay off the short list of champs to chumps in back-to-back years by making The Dance. But when Vegas sets odds to win it all, UT and UK will both be listed at something like 100-1 against.

Which is only slightly better than Spy's odds of being elected Pope. It could happen. The old guys in the red beanies don't have to vote for somebody in that locked room. Any Catholic in good standing can be tapped. Of course, that'd mean taking the celibacy vow, but how cool would it to be to get to ride in the Popemobile?

If Willie Cauley-Stein goes pro in two sports, he might try to fill T-Gon's cleats.

I was on the road Saturday, so I switched the car radio back and forth between the Vols and Lady Vols games. Does anybody agree with me that Sesame Street's Bert would do a better job for The Vol Network than the Bert they currently employ? His only contribution was (over and over) to observe that Mizzou's Bowers could really play. Really?

March 12, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JG I agree Urlacker will not get a lot of interest however, he might just work for the Falcons...Chipper in pinstripes? Every lunatic fringe Bravos fan would call up Jim Jones to find out where the kool-aid is, the greatest franchise in sports history should be bloomberged for even leaking that possibility...Congrats to the Lady Mocs!...It will be interesting to see if the uber politically correct media will refer to the ladies as just the Mocs as Chattanooga is one of the few remaining to keep the "Lady" monicker...Your rushmore is spot on, although I am tempted to add Pete Maravich when he went to the Celtics...Dallas last night was TERRIFIC and after seeing the teaser for next week, I can forsee Bobby becoming the next best thing to JR...and at 72 Linda Gray is still a head turner...finally just heard where Sports Illustrated named President Obama one of the most powerful men in sports? What in the heck is that all about?

March 12, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
orangeguy said...

My personal Rushmore of players in wrong uni's: Murphy in Philly, Glavine in Muts colors, Aaron playing out the string in Brewers uni (obviously didn't witness firsthand but the pictures are truly odd), Dave Justice anywhere but Atlanta was especially shocking to me as a youngster.

I think Montana/Chiefs, Jordan/Wiz, Aaron/BrewCrew, & Favre/anywhere but Green Bay is the Rushmore. Chipper in Pinstripes would be slap-tastic. Ouch-standing indeed.

Wes Moore deserves a street name on campus. That guy just flat gets it done.

Most everyone thinks Vols are in. I need to see a deep SEC tourney run to look forward to the Dance.

March 12, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay,

Missed JR's funeral because I was doing the usual open mic over at the Tavern on Richardson. Had some new material I wanted to field test as well as retooling of some more established jokes (same punchlines, just different re-tellings). Got a lot a laughs with the retools but just a few chuckles from the new stuff. Going to try again tonight at Dallas Comedy House over at "Da Ellem".

Followed Frierson's tweets via Facebook at work and was able to click on WRCB's streaming broadcast (airs at 10 PM here) and got to see a lot of the highlight reels. I agree that an 11th seed is most logicial. I would even argue a 10 seed had our Warrior Princesses ran away with the tournament and not struggled as they did. I know most everyone is this town is undying loyal to former coach Pat Summit's program but if there was ever a time for the WHOLE city to pull for this program, NOW is that time!!!!

I heard JR talking about Chipper Jones being cooed to the Yankees-blasphemy!

To answer your Rushmore question: Brett Favre in a Vikings/Jets Uniform (I'm sure everyone will guess that), Michael Jordan in a Birmingham Barons uniform (and getting a royal spank'n from a certain ballclub formally of East 3rd Street fame), Shaq in a Lakers/Celtics jersey, and one that really cut me deep personally, Steve McNair in a Baltimore Ravens jersey.

March 12, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: I am looking forward to the conference tournaments that lead up to the big dance. I like to see the underdogs win every once in a while in both.

Congratulations to Coach Moore and the Lady Mocs. Now if the Mocs could just find them a coach that would be real nice.

Chipper in Yankee Pinstripes is just sacrelige pure sacrelige. I hate to even think about it but the way todays players are it would not surprise me but I do not think it will happen.

March 12, 2013 at 11:42 a.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Franco Harris is a great call. So is Tony Dorsett the Bronco.

9er —

Bert has kind of grown on us. Money. But we're from the school of wanting the school-sponsored announcers bleeding with the fans. MONEY.

Spy may have more than a few hurdles for the Pope bandwagon.

OG —

You know that the famous movie poster of "The Graduate" with Hoffman standing in the doorway with the lady's legs in the foreground. Those legs belong to Linda Gray.

Hey, the president likes basketball, so there you go.

Orange —

We're with you. We think UT is in and think they have done enough to be right there, but anything short of two tournament wins is going to leave it to chance and cause a lot sphincter puckering around the East part of the state.

JMC —

Dallas was fun last night, and the last 10 minutes was as fun free TV we've seen in a while.

McNair is an inspired call.

March 12, 2013 at 11:46 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

I was going to make a comment about Linda's legs and yes was aware of that info on The Graduate...but I deferred due to the rampant PCism and did not want to offend any female readers...As far as the prez liking basketball? SO WHAT...the prior president owned the Rangers, did he make the list...NO, this SI deal is only to show how they can kiss political tushy too

March 12, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
chas9 said...

Since SI has come up, I must grouse that their 75 years of March Madness commemorative issue carries not a single photo of Kentucky players. Of course, it does have Laettner hitting "that shot."

I like Orange's list of jarring uniform images, and I'd add that it must have been odd to see The Babe in a Braves uni.

The entire Wolverines team looks like they're in the wrong uniform when it's the human highlighter pen model they currently sport, shoes and all. And how crazy is it that Michigan is #6 in the national AP poll, and only a five-seed in the Big Number Conference seeds?

I get annoyed that during the best part of college basketball season many SEC fans start talking about spring football practice. But it's good to note that UK sold 33,000 tickets to its spring game.

And they didn't have to entice them with $1 beer like Louisville did. Not that there's anything wrong with dollar beer. Just don't dye it green.

And Kentucky's now #7 in the nation. In baseball. (I know you don't care, but at least it's in season.)

March 12, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Dawg747 —

Completely agree.

But... (there's always a but) what if the Yankees called and offered Chipper $16 million for one season to play third (occasionally) and DH?

OG —

Always air on the side of politeness.

You know how liberal those media folks?

9er —

Kentucky has been in the NCAA tournament?

The color numbers on the same color jersey is not good looking. Not in orange, maize or white.

If you are going to say something bad about $1 beer, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, 9er: isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

— 5-at-10

March 12, 2013 at 12:51 p.m.
chas9 said...

Wowzer! I thought for a minute Jay was gonna go on as long as Rand Paul. Our boy may have a future in politics. Just don't drink the beer before the filibuster begins. But he still talks too much.

In yesterday's Lexington Herald-Leader John Clay makes a clever case for The Vols winning the SEC tourney. Given how with home court advantage they barely eked out a W over Mizzou, I'm dubious. Nashville is a sorta neutral court. But The Cuonz's charges are dangerous.

March 12, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Very true JG...although I am know for my on air bluntness

March 12, 2013 at 1:12 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

How about Squadway Joe Namath in a Left Coast jersey at the end of his overrated career? Almost as bad as seeing Phil Niekro in a Yankees/Blue Jays jersey in his twilight, which started about the time Rabbit Maranville's career ended.

And have heart, UTC men's hoops fans. If Georgia Southern can kick one of its legendary players returning as a coach to the curb, maybe you can get what you wish for, too.

March 12, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Didn't Chipper grow up a Yankees fan anyway there in the big city of Deland? (I've been to Deland. Unfortunately, there are pictures to prove it)

March 12, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

chas9 is right - the college of cardinals (motto: Knowledge is Good) could select yours truly as pope.

But I think they might object to having a Hooters in Vatican City. And me taking Saturdays off for college football and taking off the second Sunday every April for the Masters.

March 12, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Was a public administration major at Auburn. (And yes, six years of undergraduate studies is very common in that major thank you very much.)

No way the Vols walk the walk in Nashville.

OG —

You? Blunt?

We can see it.

Spy —

Ah, ole Squadway. Where's Suzy Kolber?

The reverse of the painful jersey debate would be whom? Dave Winfield in the Padres, Yankees, Twins, Blue Jays, Angels, Indians uniforms?

— 5-at-10

March 12, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Wonder what Chipper's hot pants du jour, Little Miss Lexi Ray (not her real name. Stage name? Probably. Real name? Ha!) thinks of him getting a big bucks offer from the Evil Empire.

March 12, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.
chas9 said...

The Catholic 7 is now The Big East, with Spy as commish.

KC-P was my POY, too.

March 12, 2013 at 3:01 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

Congratulations to the Lady Mocs and Coach Moore! Great, Great Job!

I like Coach John Shulman and think he deserves another year...the Moc men have come SOOOO close so many times and then lose...well,frankly, it's heartbreaking...

Last night's "DALLAS" was the best I've seen since "Who shot JR?"

Enjoying "Southland" except for all the (almost) full frontal nudity....Yikes!! I'm TOO old for that!! LOL!

March 12, 2013 at 3:19 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Where would Chipper fall on your full-blown He-Man-Yankees-Hater chart if he signed on with the Bronx Bombers?

9er —

You sir did call KC-P. Didn't you also have Tony Barbee as coach of the year though.

ER8 —

That's an inspired, Inspired, INSPIRED call about Southland.

— 5-at-10

March 12, 2013 at 3:28 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Myron Medcalf on ESPN.com picks Tennessee to win the SEC Tournament.

Maybe. Depends on what happens with Florida. No SEC team has been remotely good on the road. So we'll see what develops. I think the Vols need to focus on winning two, and then take it from there, if they get that far. I don't count on the Vols, because they never succeed in the SEC Tournament. That includes last year when they finished with the second seed in the SEC and missed the NCAA Tournament.

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/9039218/previewing-picking-winners-second-week-conference-tournaments-college-basketball

March 12, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Below Clemens and Boggs. Below Jeter. Definitely below Mickey Rivers and Bucky F. Dent. Above Mariano Rivera. Come on, who can really hate Rivera?

March 12, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.
chas9 said...

No, but Coach Cal says Barbee's a great coach.

March 12, 2013 at 4:18 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

No one hates Rivera. Strike that. No one who has never had to face Rivera with the tying run on second and two outs hates Rivera.

9er —

Coach Cal thinks Bea Arthur is a good coach.

Want to know the two official kisses of death in our view for a coach:

a) Your players do not play hard when everyone in the free world knows a coach's seat is hot;

b) Opposing league coaches are campaigning for you to keep your job.

Granted Barbee has the toughest gig in college hoops — trying to win in an Adidas/Nike world with an UnderArmour product is brutal. Still, if Barbee was kicking and taking names, no one would have to remind anyone he's a good coach.

And if Coach A is whipping Coach B, of course Coach A wants him to stick around.

— 5-at-10

March 12, 2013 at 4:39 p.m.
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