Gang, thanks for all the feedback this week. Good times.
From the "Talks too much" studio, as Ned Nederlander said, "It's a mail plane — didn't you notice it's little balls?"
From Former Train rider
I'll admit it, I was front and center on the Lane Train and thought he was going to turn UT around super fast.
Now that Kiffin is out of work, what's your Rushmore of worst coaching hires ever? Thanks, and thanks for the 5-at-10.
FT rider —
In regard to Kiffin, we can all see the young emperor's new clothes, or lack thereof.
We believe Kiffin will resurface as a QB coach somewhere next year in the NFL or as an OC in college. Dude has some coveted qualities for each position in that he helped make Jonathan Crompton a serviceable quarterback in his year in Knoxville and on the college level, Kiffin is still an elite recruiter.
So he'll be fine, and we're super interested to see what he has to say tomorrow morning on College Football GameDay.
As for your Rushmore, Kiffin at USC is a possibility, but not Kiffin at Tennessee. At the time, Mike Hamilton was lauded for hiring the hottest name out there. (Hammy's big mistake regarding Kiffin was the chump-change buyout.)
Now Kiffin's successor in Knoxville gets a spot for sure, and Kiffin's current successor in SoCal makes a run. To the Rushmore:
Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox: Spy, would you like to finish this?
David Shula, Cincinnati Bengals: Dude finished with a 19-53 record, and unlike every other head coach everywhere, he did not get another coaching gig. Yep, Shula went from NFL head coach to Steakhouse exec.
Derek Dooley, Tennessee: Dude was plucked from the power program that was La Tech with a losing record and in three years at an SEC school that spends more on football than the GDP of most foreign lands, Sir Orange Pants went 1-13 against the SEC in his final two years. Yes, 1-13.
Isiah Thomas, several basketball retreads: How does he keep getting gigs? Thomas edges Coach Ed Orgeron, who is in charge at USC after his stellar 10-25 run at Ole Miss.
Jay wrote: We think it's fair to say AJ is on the Rushmore of the best QBs in SEC history to be sure.
That's a bolder statement than it looks. Who else is on this Rushmore? Cam and Tim have to be there too, right? Unless Cam is left off for only playing 1 year. What about Johnny Football and Aaron Murray? And these are guys from only the past 5 years.
Great question. And there may have to be different Rushmores considering the passing of this era is so much more prolific.
But, since we're into making tough decisions ("She's into malakas, Dino) we'll go with our SEC QB Rushmore.
Here's the basic qualifications: Simply had to win an SEC title. Period. And national titles are almost a requirement, too. Personal stats matter as well. So, here's what we got:
Danny Wuerffel — Dude won a Heisman and a national title. He was the perfect piece in Steve Spurrier's Fun-n-Gun and helped the Gators introduce the world to the corner route. In truth, Wuerffel and Spurrier launched college football's most dominant program of the last two decades.
Tim Tebow — Yes, another Gator who willed his team to a title and lived up to the hype. Quick side question, how would the world be different if Tebow had picked Alabama and Mike Shula rather than Florida?
AJ McCarron — The team numbers are going to be scary. To quote our man chas9's numbers from Thursday: A. J. has a chance to become the first quarterback to hoist three crystal footballs. He throws a pick only every 74.2 attempts, best in SEC history.
He's 30-2 as a starter. His 93.8 winning percentage is a league record. In his last four games, McCarron has completed a sparkling 77.7 percent of his passes for 938 yards and nine touchdowns. Yes, his winning percentage benefits from playing for a great team on a historic roll. But his individual numbers suffer because of that too. Still, if they run the table this year, and McCarron finishes 39-2 with three national titles, he may be the greatest college football player ever.
AJ Suggs — Kidding. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. We'd likely take Cam Newton here because he had the single greatest season in SEC history. Yes, Johnny Football's numbers were better last year, but Cam did it being the bell cow of a team that won the whole shebang. We're open for debate on this last spot, so fire away.
From Bevo Jr.
I am a transplanted Texas fan, and love how much your paper covers college football. (Could use a litlte more on the 'Horns, but that's another email.)
Just started reading the 5-at-10 and it's now a regular part of my mornings.
What do you think would have happened if Texas had joined the SEC rather than Texas A&M? And after Oklahoma drills us Saturday, who do you think the front runners to be Texas' next coach will be?
Thanks, and what happened to your radio show?
Bevo II —
Wow, welcome to the show and get your money's worth as far as questions.
Let's take these in reverse order. The radio show is in a very uncertain place. We have been in discussion about continuing it and have not heard anything in a while. It felt like Press Row had a chance to be something pretty good — and the feed back and support these last two weeks has been greatly appreciated — so we'll see what the future holds for us in radio.
As for candidates for the Texas job, well, there are going to be some big names tossed around. We think Texas is not done at making a run at Nick Saban. We don't think he'd go there, but that does not mean Texas will take "Thanks but no thanks," and go about their BID-ness.
We think Kevin Sumlin will get very secretive feelers to gauge his interest, and if he's interested, he could be the front-runner. If he's not interested, Texas will deny they were ever interested. In some ways coaching searches are like finding dates to the middle school dance. "Does she like me?" "Maybe." "Well, maybe I like her."
We think Will Muschamp will get a call and so will Charlie Strong. We also believe a big chunk of the Texas fan base wants an offensive guy, and there will be a lot of whispers about Art Briles at Baylor. The other one.
Here's a name we'd keep fresh — Chip Kelly. If the NFL think does not turn out to his liking, well, the Longhorns could be the Longhorns sooner rather than later.
As for joining the SEC, let us think about that one for a minute.
From Laughing Boy
Mail Question: Does Tony Gonazles consider giving it another year, next year? Jackson, White, Jones, others, should be healthy next season.
Could be. And as flimsy as that is, that's the best we got.
The dumpster fire that has become the Falcons is the most unfair for Tony Gonzalez, who is far and away the very best at his position. In fact, Tony G may be the single most dominant player at his position of our lifetime. He and Jerry Rice.
Think of it this way for every other position in all of sports, if someone asked who is the best....(fill in the blank)? No matter the spot — quarterback, shortstop, point guard, whatever — there can at least be some discussion about who's the best ever. If you have a 'who's the best ever' tight end, it's Tony G and everyone else. (Rushmore of the clearest best-evers of our generation: Rice as the best wide out ever; Tony G as the best tight end ever; Mariano Rivera as the best closer ever; Jordan as the best 2-guard ever. Thoughts?)
Yes, all of those guys could be back and 100 percent next year, but the defense is sketchy and the question becomes is it worth it for an outside shot at best. And the saddest part is his former team looks way more Super than his current one.
Friday question: How much do you love the draft. Will the top five QB's drafted be (in this order) 1) Teddy; 2) Tajh; 3) Murray; 4) A. J.; 5) Mettenberger ? If not, why not? I hear UCLA and Oregon have some talent, too. Oh, and A&M.
We love the draft. You know this.
Here's the top 3 according to Kiper:
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Brett Hundley, UCLA
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Here's the top three according to Todd McShay
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Brett Hundley, UCLA
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Johnny Football, Texas A&M
Stephen Morris, Miami
Here's the ranking we give according to what we've seen and how we believe they could test at the combine:
Brett Hundley, UCLA — Kid has the it factor, is more athletic than Bridgewater and has a stronger arm.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville — has any one player ever gotten more out of one game than Bridewater did against Florida? Maybe Matt Flynn on Monday night for Green Bay a few years ago or Jamarcus Russell in the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame. Bridgewater looked medicore leading the House of Cards to all of 24 points at home against Rutgers. Yes, the same Rutgers that Arkansas scored 24 on.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon — and if Chip Kelly is still at Philadelphia, which figures to have a high pick, this could be a perfect fit.
AJ McCarron, Alabama — Winner. Big. Accurate. Will be a steal for someone like a Denver or a New England late in round 1.
Zach Mettenberger, LSU — Dude is going to test off the charts, in regard to arm strength and accuracy. Arguably the biggest risk/reward guy in the class. Well, he and Johnny Football.
That said, we'd be willing to spend a second-to-third round pick on about any of the guys mentioned above, especially Aaron Murray, who we think could be a 10-year NFL starter.
Jay- What offseason changes do you expect from the Braves ? talk is they WONT resign McCann, who i think is the heart and soul of the Braves
McCann's time is almost assuredly done. Dude is 30 with a ton of miles on his shin guards and no ability to play anywhere other than first base, which belongs to Freddie Freeman for the foreseeable future. (Side question: Is Freddie Freeman related to Morgan Freeman? What about Morgan Fairchild? Yeah, that's the ticket.)
We think — like Weeds wrote this week — that Tim Hudson's time is likely up in the A-T-L, too. As is Uggla's.
Atlanta needs to add a second basemen who can actually contribute with a bat in his hand.
They have the pieces to be right back in the mix next year, even with the subtractions, because remember, the bullpen will be much better and there's no way there could be more injuries next year and the starting rotation of Beachy, Minor, Medlen, Tehran and Maholm — and that's not counting Alex Wood or any other up-and-comers — is deep and talented.
Who knows, maybe when McCann signs with an AL club and comes back to Atlanta, they can have him throw out the first pitch.
To the mascot.
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 ...