published Thursday, May 30th, 2013

5-at-10: UT QBs, College sports zaniness, Braves' empty bats

Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals is tonight between the Pacers and the Heat. The lines are starting to form, and the stakes are supreme with the series tied at 2. While we are going to discuss other things today — we believe LeBron will go into beast mode tonight, and we also believe there is a real chance he could shoot 20-plus free throws tonight, which will send conspiracy theorists into a full spin cycle — we did want to tip our cap to a rule we like.

Are we the only one that much prefers the 2-2-1-1-1 format in a seven-game series? It seems much fairer, right?

From the "Talks too much" studios, we're going to need some more FBI guys.

College football's offseason

We're here. The dog days are in sight and the college football magazines are starting to hit the Bi-Lo stands. (Side note: Yes, the info in Lindy's and Athlon's and the rest is extremely dated once the preseason practices start, but we still pick them up. You do too. In fact, those things should be about spring practice reviews as much as fall previews. Well other than Phil Steele and his basement filled with notecards and stacks of spiral notebook. Here's saying Phil Steele has a huge collection of back-logged college football info most of it likely in Trapper Keepers. And we mean this as a compliment.)

That said, because we do what we do, and the TFP is located neck deep in a region that if this were the middle ages would be known as Collegefootballandia, we are never that far from it.

  • photo
    Georgia safety Josh-Harvey Clemons closes in on a tackle during a 2012 game against Ole Miss.
    Photo by UGA photo/Jim Hipple

Take a look at this week's TFPs: SEC meetings, a two-day look at UT's incoming freshman quarterbacks here and here, and the looming suspension of Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons. We're dealing with a lot of stuff — candlesticks always make a nice gift... let's get two.

More times than not, as Mr. Harvey-Clemons demonstrated, college football news in late May and June is rarely good.

But let's take at look at Downtown Patrick Brown's profiles of the two incoming UT freshman snap-takers. (Side note: We like snap-takers more than signal callers. Signal callers is a touch overused for our tastes and in truth, centers also call signals. We just firmed and finalized this opinion right now to be frank. Or to be George. Anyhoo, where were we?)

We believe that the new kids on the orange block will be fully in the mix from the start of preseason drills. We also believe one of them will be the full-time guy sooner rather than later. We believe it will be Joshua Dobbs, but would not be shocked if it was Riley Ferguson. Dobbs is a want-to-be rocket scientist (seriously) who is athletic and a perfect fit for Butch Jones' system. Ferguson is a more polished thrower who comes across as filling Jones' description that the QB be the "alpha male" of the offense. Should be interesting.

We really believe that no later than the middle of October it certainly will be one the new kids. And that makes recruiting a QB in this cycle paramount. Sure, UT had two in this class, but if one of the true freshmen wins the job, the other will almost certainly transfer. Plus, if Nathan Peterman is left on the outside looking in, he could be on the move too, which means QB becomes a priority.


NCAA foolishness

There is a ton of things that are right about college sports. The grad rates are up. The big conferences are making more money than ever. The level of most sports — and almost all the big ones that do not sound like "Ben's Masketball" — is superior now to any time prior.

There are huge problems to be sure. Lawsuits loom on several horizons that threaten the very structure and foundation of college sports. The divide between the haves and the have nots is only growing and the unknown abyss could be a monumental jump into the future (think Evel Knievel over the snake river) or a potential death spiral for more than half of the college sports programs out there.

There's also the black eyes and bad seeds that make scandals in Miami and Columbus, Ohio, far too common.

And the thing that arguably makes the common fan have less hope than ever about the NCAA are stories like this one from the West Coast Conference meetings that was retweeted by Portland basketball coach Eric Reveno on Wednesday.

Apparently, a women's golfer at a WCC school recently washed her car on campus, and since the water and the hose were not available to all students, she unknowingly committed a secondary violation. The school self-reported it and and the NCAA ruled it a violation and told her to repay $20 — the approximated cost of the car wash.

Wow. Just wow.


Conference meetings

Hey, the rest of the SEC figured out a way to beat Nick Saban: stuff the ballot box. So the coaches voted to stay at eight conference games. Hey, it's SEC football, we're good with it. (Raise your hand if you're like us and will watch a river of old SEC replays this summer on CSS or SportsSouth or whatever those cable channels in the 320s are. Yep, we will too.)

"Personally, I think we'll end up moving to nine (conference) games eventually," Florida coach Will Muschamp told reporters at the meetings in Destin. "My personal opinion (is) you create an SEC Network, at the end of the day, it's going to be driven by the dollar, and having those games is going to be important, and having enough quality games on television promoting a nine-game SEC regular season, in my opinion, will eventually happen."

That opinion is 1000 percent right on the mark.

In other SEC news, coaches have vowed not to sling zingers at each other during the offseason. Call it the devil in the details of the backlash of two SEC coaches referring to Nick Saban as "Nicky Satan" and "the devil himself." Here's hoping that Steve Spurrirer, a true original and the OG of one-line zingers ignores the agreement. It also has the feel of politicians agreeing to run a clean campaign and then start slinging more mud than 16-year-old's suped-up monster truck.

Also, as our SoCon ace John Frierson/Ned Ryerson (Bing!) reports here, the power trio of VMI, ETSU and Mercer are set to join the SoCon and the announcement could come as early as today.

Sorry, after losing the familiar and powerful names of mid-major heavyweights like App and GSU and Davidson, hearing about VMI, ETSU and Mercer offers the energy boost of a turkey dinner and makes us yawn with indifference. We have heard the rumblings of some hoping that the SoCon would chase Belmont, and that would offer a little more pop.

Still, the reshuffling of deck chairs in the future will leave the SoCon weaker.


This and that

— We normally leave the MMA stuff to area experts such as Eustice_Chase, but we stumbled across this video this morning. It's a one-kick, four-second KO. As the Yahoo! writer noted, it takes more time to sneeze than it did for the winner to drop the other guy.

— The Paternos are suing the NCAA. Wow, the stress level in the NCAA office has to be set on MACH 22, right? Of course the NCAA responded by telling some women's equestrian team that using school oats to feed her horse is a secondary violation because those oats are not available to other university equine. OATS-standing. (We made that last part up.)

— Anyone else tired of hearing everyone's opinion on Tiger and Sergio? Now Jack Nicklaus has to answer questions about it. E-gads.

— The Braves were blanked by a hodgepodge collection of Blue Jays pitchers. Atlanta got four hits and struck out 11 times. The all-or-nothing Braves offense has exactly one everyday player hitting better than .270 (Freddie Freeman at .309) and has three projected regulars at .190 or worse. And they are 10 games over .500 and lead the Nationals by 4.5 games in the East. CUH-razy.


Today's question

Feel free to flow freely.

Predict tonight's NBA action. Are the Braves real or living on borrowed time with a lineup filled with more holes than Spy's favorite T-shirt? Give it a whirl.

Or, fill this blank...

What's your Rushmore of current young stars who will follow the Lindsay Lohan trail?

We know Justin Beiber is on the list. Beebs in recent weeks has gotten in the news for weed, a monkey and one of his entourage speeding through the neighborhood to the point that Keyshawn Johnson wants some answers. (Side note: When you have reached the level that a renowned NFL prima donna wants to have a word with your about being more responsible and acting better, well, then you need to re-evaluate. Imagine if Randy Moss or T.O. wanted to talk to you about some of your Tomfoolishness. That's a low-point right? And have we talked about Beebs having a pet monkey? A pet monkey, really? And if you had a pet a monkey, what do you name him? Curious George? Cosell? Joey Crawford the monkey, which seems to work for almost any pet.)

Maybe one of those Disney shows has a couple, too.


Discuss and remember the mailbag for Friday, we have a couple of open slots.

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.
Astropig said...

Two things:

UTC needs to decamp to the OVC,PDQ. VMI, ETSU and Mercer S-U-C-K as opponents. ET is years, no, LIGHT years away from being competitive,VMI got out of the SoCon once before for being uncompetitive and Mercer will make the jump from Div III with just one season's seasoning. The SoCon is now as watered down as a Long Island Tea at The Pink Pony. (Not that I would know,mind you)

I'm glad that another coach is talking seriously about a 9th game in SEC league play. The SEC is the brand and the brand is everything. You must defend the brand at all costs. Playing Charleston Southern makes for bad TV and (eventually) worse revenues. With the cost of tickets going up,up,up, fans deserve to see good football on autumn afternoons,not hopeless mismatches that are over by halftime.

May 30, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.
chas9 said...

Apparently UK has only the seventh-best college basketball fans, behind #1 Louisville, Arizona, Duke, Arkansas, North Carolina and Texas. So says the Emory Sports Marketing Analytics enterprise. It rates how much money teams make, regardless of the quality of their product.

May 30, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
Livn4life said...

5-Ur, No matter who starts in the Orange and White this year, I am pulling for them. I am signing up with the Jones Gang and hope they rob a few teams of wins they are expected to do so. At this point, it is hard to say who gets the nod at starting qb but we JVFs have to believe Jones will not stay with one who is not working out. It is my belief qb is already a priority but right now that involves one who can clearly run the new offense. I am all ready for some college football but then I was last weekend while visiting Boston. The report of the womens' golfer out west brought to my mind's ear the tune "Working at the Car wash yeah...." That was a long time ago. But those secondary violations do add up. All Will Muschamp needs is an Oxford pipe as he gives his Personal Opinion on the big issues involved in SEC football. Of course to really look intelligent he'd need to...Not going there on a nice Thur. morning. I do hope the OldHeadBallCoach does what he does best in the jabber dept. despite the socalled armistice. Nothing has been signed has it? Paternos...on they go trying to unmake something which continues to draw attention to a horrible chapter in the story of Penn State football. Whatever the outcome, I see it as not helping. I love Woods G. on 105.1 in the afternoon but he was gushing about how right the P.Fam is with all of this. I have to disagree. They are privileged people whom I think mean well but do not seem to care that many have formed their opines on the JoePA involvement/noninvolvement with the Sand(man)usky nightmare and will never unform them. I just do not see any of this helping the situation. VMI,ETSU,MERCER(scares JVFs)instead of GA State, AppSt and Davidson? COME ON MAN! What happened to the SoCon?

May 30, 2013 at 10:26 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

The OG of zingers??? was that a subtle shout out?? I think it has past since you commented on the PC movement run amuck with the possible forced name change of the Redskins...Where is the harm???...what about the Braves, Indians, Chiefs, etc. is bad enough one person caused Chattanooga to adopt the logo of a "moc"kingbird..political correctness is quickly taking over everything in society...whether you agree with Chris Broussard or not, the fact that the worldwide leader issued an apology because he expressed his religious convictions is proof

May 30, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...


Love the Phil Steele reference. Like him or hate him, he's still usually the go-to reference guide. Also, I give him props in one factor. He's willing to put out an FCS version since finding Bigfoot and Waldo is TEN TIMES easier than finding "national" pre-season information on the Mocs.

Which brings us to the subject at hand..


I believe I addressed said issue yesterday regarding the SEC-FCS games. But in case you missed it:

"If it makes for better football, have it to where only FCS schools that made the post season get to play SEC/Big 10 Schools for their money game (I would definitely watch North Dakota State take on Alabama without reserve - just me though).

I do agree there should be more room for non-conference mid-levels (Sun Belt, C-USA, etc.) to be able to play the big dogs as well (LA-Monroe: gamechanger*)"

In other words, Charleston Southern would not be in the mix.

I'm not as much on board the OVC wagon as everyone else. If UTC is to survive, they need to move up to the Sun Belt. For right now though, we're in a "grin and bare it" mode "until further notice".

Although my inner 7th grader was running around this morning joking about Jim Reynolds calling the play by play for the Chattanooga Mocs and Mercer Meth Boobs (nod to Macon's only other notable attraction besides the home of Little Richard).

Finally, not as much "gung-ho" regarding when football season is back. I have more than enough "non-sports" related events to keep me busy (including a planned trip home in July for family/geek related stuff...and good food)

May 30, 2013 at 10:49 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

One other sports-related note of interest. I read about Engel Stadium being completely restored for playing baseball again.

For who?

-Lookouts an't moving back there anytime soon

-UTC does not have nor will be fielding a baseball team anytime soon (despite the wishes of a handful of over 60 year olds)

-We're not hosting any Spring Fling Events

Is there something coming down the pike that the Chamber or the city is sitting on? Is Chattanooga getting an MLB team or the Looks going to be upgraded to one? (Hilarious I know but still..)

It just does not make any sense is all.

May 30, 2013 at 10:58 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JMC I agree with you, but I vested interest in the program...hold our own and dominate the SoCon then in three to five years move up to what might or might not be the FBS level...what some may not understand is those "guarantee" games pay more to a lower level FBS team than they do to a FCS team...were the Mocs in the Sun Belt now that game with Alabama would pay almost ONE MILLION instead of the approx 450,000 they will receive...


May 30, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Did not the Yankees tear down "The House That Ruth Built" ?? I can see that happening one day in Noogaville

May 30, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.
chas9 said...

OG--Once we Noogans of a certain age shuffle off our moral coils, say in another 20-25 years, it'll be possible to tear down the house that Joe Engel built.

I say again that UK's Stoops may be the best new SEC football hire. Today Rivals rates Kentucky's 2014 class (#11) ahead of Bama's (#12). They have the Fighting Butches at #3, A&M at #5, LS&U at #7, The War Eagles at #14, and The Water Lizards at #15. Course it's early yet.

May 30, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
TNBuck said...

JMC - I like your idea Re: Good FCS schools get to play big time teams, but, is that realistic with the way scheduling works?

Schedules are generally set 3-5 years ahead of time, teams rise and fall that quickly, save a few powerhouses. Also, the 'good' FCS teams are least likely to get interest as the powerhouses seem to want glorified scrimmages. Just my $.02.

Also, in regards to scheduling, I have to say it's funny seeing someone mention the SEC is actually behind B10 in something football related.

JG - I almost wrote something yesterday similar to your thoughts on Keyshawn. My Rushmore of people I'd hate to have turn me in starts with 1. OJ 2. Ray Lewis, 3. T.O., 4. Ochocinco, 5. Jamarcus (side note: why do we usually list top5 when making Rushmore lists? Aren't there only 4 faces on Rushmore?)

May 30, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

What's wrong with the Pony? Cindy not working there anymore?

5, the Braves haven't exactly acquitted themselves against better teams (e.g., the whuppin' they got out in San Francisco) and their recent win streak was on the low hanging fruit that is Minnesota and the Mets. And while I was typing this, B.J. Upton and Dan Struggla each struck out again. Methinks they even swing and miss in BP or off a tee at this point.

Struggla has 66 Ks - and 31 hits. But wait - it gets better (or worse, depending on the perspective). B.J. Upton has 62 whiffs - and 23 hits. There are three Braves with at least 60 Ks. And we are not 1/3 of the way through the season.

May 30, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

West, Stephenson, James each fined for flopping, but no Battier.

May 30, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.
chas9 said...

When The Bravos got the Upton brothers, which of us knew which one would be the superstar?

May 30, 2013 at 12:56 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Looky here, Ten Ring, just like the Prestel Wagon Lady (Marge Simpson for nonbelievers) I'll be there when you gush at a Lebron dunk describing it as "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," or Lebron has cured cancer, or Lebron has made the peace between dogs and cats (Grampa Simpson claim).

Peyton v. Ely, I take Ely. The NYC fans and media can be murder, but Ely stuck it out. Ely is doing it in a more conservative offense than either Marino or Peyton. Peyton and Marino each have or had better receivers than Ely. Ely just has more sand than either.

I will now digress from my prepared remarks. Saturday, #1 is working out for the Mocs. Probably the only time I'll see him in camp mode. Hope to see many local players in attendance.

May 30, 2013 at 1:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We can see the fan ratings you referenced being a bit hard to gauge since it is based on support/coin regardless of success, which would explain Arkansas on the list. The Hos sell out even when they struggle.

Auburn not so much.

As for the Upton family, we think we all could see Kate had the tools to be a superstar.

Laughter —

To fine those three and skip Battier is to honor Fredo, Sonny and Tom Hagen with Academt Award nods and to skip Micheal Corleone.

AP —

Your ticket argument is rock solid, but the extra TV games will be the reason it gets flipped to 9.

Spy —

Is your seat at the Pony still in the middle, five or so rows back?

OG —

That was more of a shout out to the original gangster tag that some of the rap kids use. But hey, dual meanings have many meanings.

As for the Washington club in the NFL, well, we can see that Redskins was an insult back in the day whereas Braves, Chiefs and Warriors were levels of achievement in those cultures.

That said, Congress in sports makes our head hurt.

TNBuck —

We try to keep Rushmores to 4 and then the occasional top-five lists to 5. We do not always succeed though.


Private groups are trying to save Finley. Think they are hoping to have some tournaments — summer and such — there and maybe a throwback Lookouts game.

It's a process.

Livn(Large) —

Completely concur on the Paterno stuff. We can see how the family would want to do everything to clear his name. But it's hard to see it helping in the end.

The toothpaste has been squeezed.

And we think Uggla just whiffed again.

May 30, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[Are we the only one that much prefers the 2-2-1-1-1 format in a seven-game series? It seems much fairer, right?]

Agreed that it's fairer. I remember that StuckinKent made a good point about this last season.

[Here's saying Phil Steele has a huge collection of back-logged college football info most of it likely in Trapper Keepers. And we mean this as a compliment.)]

Lol. It wouldn't surprise me one bit. Dude is good though and he leaves no stone unturned when it comes to gathering stats to help determine his rankings.

[What's your Rushmore of current young stars who will follow the Lindsay Lohan trail?]

I nominate Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes for this Rushmore.

[West, Stephenson, James each fined for flopping, but no Battier.]

LB, I guess only the outlandish ones are getting busted, but some of Battier's behavior comes close to qualifying. On rebounds, sometimes he'll give up trying to get the ball and instead bump the opponent and fly to the floor. It typically doesn't look outlandish because he's perfected his theatrics. But the NBA should see right through that trash when they review the tape.

The NBA needs to set a stricter punishment policy for flopping for next year's playoffs. A fine for the first offense, then an automatic suspension for each subsequent offense. At this point in the playoffs, guys don't care about losing a few $$$ if it means helping the team get a ring.

May 30, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

My seat is at the bar by satellite stage 2.

May 30, 2013 at 2:17 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


Thanks for the inside info. I like the throwback game concept. That will be interesting to see how well attended those are (or what kind of uniforms will be used) or how many players will be pitching while wearing Joe Ledbetter mustaches.

For the win: bring back "Dirtest Car in the Parking Lot".

May 30, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

In regards to I-man's quotes:

"The addition of these three institutions will solidify the Southern Conference and ensure our position as a vibrant league with a bright future. We are delighted to invite three quality institutions, two of which are returning to a home they previously enjoyed for many years.....Our membership is excited about rekindling old rivalries and establishing new ones. Most importantly, we've been able to grow while not extending our geographic footprint to an extreme extent.”

Somebody PLEASE give this man a shovel. I live in Texas and I can SMELL it all the way down here.

May 30, 2013 at 2:59 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I just farted out what might be a great investment opportunity for anyone interested. The Keepin' It Kleen Carwash in Overland Park, Kansas. If the overzealous bureaucrats at the NCAA think the fair market value of a standard hose-and-bucket wash is $20, just think what we could charge for the "Workz Package". Soap, wax, wheel cleaning, a vacuum, and some of that Pina Colada spray...We're in the ballpark of $100 or more. A couple of high character ladies decked out in daisy dukes and a wet T-shirt working it will keep the tip-jars full. I'm gonna need to run that last part by HR.

Now's the time to get in on the ground floor of yet another "can't miss" business.

May 30, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Shotgun on GratefulDawg's employee recruitment position. We're gonna be rich!

May 30, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

GD —

We're pretty sure any HR department worth their weight in salt will tell you that Daisy Dukes is capitalized.

Other than that, we're happy to have second shotgun behind Todd. Giddy up.

We open up a couple of "for entertainment only" betting establishments in your facility and we can see this being the Bill Gates of the car wash world.

Mailbag time.

May 30, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Todd, you're in. Welcome to the burgeoning car wash empire that is Keepin' It Kleen.

Jay, focus man. We're on the fast track to fame and fortune. There is no time for strict adherence to grammatical rules. Daisy Dukes or daisy dukes? We could ask e.e. cummings, but he's dead. By the way, if any of your "entertainment" seekers get thirsty, we keep the good stuff behind the counter.

May 30, 2013 at 10:15 p.m.
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