published Monday, September 16th, 2013

5-at-10: Weekend rewind on Johnny Football, Bama's toughness, sitting Struggla and Floyd 'the barber' Mayweather

From the "Talks too much" studios, we got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

Johnny Football wins the highlights; Alabama wins the war

We feel pretty certain the topic of college football will be broached today on Press Row from 1-3 p.m. with Paschall on 105.1 FM.

We feel pretty certain that a little tussle in College Station will get some attention, considering that it was a 49-42 slugfest that was the highest-rated afternoon regular-season college football game since Miami-Notre Dame in 1990.

We also feel the need to say this: On Saturdays, Johnny Football is outstanding. We have heckled and bemoaned him for his antics, but the kid was magical against the Tide, accounting for more than 500 yards. (Side note: That's how far Andy Dufresne crawled to his freedom in Shawshank,) Maziel may be a clowned prince of punk off the field that has zero regard for teammates or rules or anyone else not named Johnny (Fill in the Blank). But on Saturdays, wow. Dude was amazing. (Side note: Mike Evans is a beast and will be the better NFL Aggie, but still.)

And it still wasn't enough against an Alabama team that may have the best offense Nick Saban has trotted out during his historic run in Tuscaloosa. You want to know what else this Alabama team is? They are tougher than your mother-in-law's meat loaf. Sweet buckets of resiliency and persistence, how many college football teams can go on the road on the biggest day-time stage in two decades and take two quick haymakers in 100-degree heat with a record-setting crowd going nuts, and be totally unfazed?

We only know of one — and they have won back-to-back national titles.

Here's our top-five takeaways from the lovefest Saturday that was:

• We'd love to book an Oregon-Alabama title game right now. With all due respect to the Clemsons, Ohio States and everyone else, Alabama and Oregon are the two best teams. They know it, we know it, everyone knows it. It may not work out that way because of circumstance and schedule — the Pac 12 conference is only a sneeze behind the SEC, guys — but that does not change which two are best.

• We love Oregon's commitment to new, different and shiny uniforms. We're on board with the trend (as long as Auburn doesn't touch its uniforms, that is), but the concoction that nuked Tennessee on Saturday was bad. It looked like a highlighter got a hold of a bad Lemon-Lime sushi slushy. E-gads.

• We'd love to be on the short list (or even the search committee) for the next Texas coach. Hey, Mack Brown, get Vince Young's number and you guys just head off to the Cheesecake Factory and relive the glory days. And Hotty Toddy to the Rebel folks who read the 5-at-10. Monster win at Austin for Hugh Freeze. In fact, coupled with Mississippi State's continued fall, it was a mighty fine weekend for the Rebel Black Bears.

• Here's love to a few teams other than that have surprised to start the season: the vibe from Spy's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets; FSU has some weapons and a schedule to match; Kentucky, which did a favor for every one who was worried about an unbeaten Louisville getting a BCS spot over a once-beaten SEC or Pac-12 team.

• We'd love to have a couple of picks back from this weekend. Think we all suspected the Ducks' track meet. So it goes. Fab 4-plus one picks went 2-2-1 on the weekend, losing West Virginia's stumbling attempt to cover 38 against a hapless Georgia State team and Western Kentucky's implosion at South Alabama. It also included a double-decker lesson of the irony of timing in the betting world: Louisville was -13.5 on Wednesday when we made the picks and right at 15 at kickoff, a pretty large 1.5-points swing considering the Cardinals beat Kentucky 27-13; Arkansas State was minus-7 when we made the pick but kicked off at minus-6, another large point in a 41-34 win. We're now 11-3-1 on the year against the number. Better than average even if we were exceedingly average this week. (Also, Johnny Football's late TD made a slew of gambling folks either irate/giddy considering it flipped the game and its 8-point line. Entertainment for everyone.)

————

NFL parity

How crazy and balanced is the NFL?

Fantastic finishes and close calls. Sure there were some blowouts, but those are normally predicated on untimely turnovers or bad QB play. That said, there has been some elite QB play, which magnifies bad QB play. So it goes.

Here's five views from a Sunday of fun, and we'll have our weekends NFL winners and losers Tuesday after a huge, Huge, HUGE Monday night game for the Steelers and Bengals.

• Seattle is the best team in the league.

• With a few more seasons and a little more practice and film study, Peyton Manning may make for a fine NFL quarterback some day. Good luck with that kid, we're all rooting for you.

  • photo
    Atlanta Falcons fullback Jason Snelling (44) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

• The Falcons are going to have a hard time winning 10 games, especially if they can not stay healthy. That said, the modern day wide receiver Rushmore may be Johnson, Bryant, Jones and Green. Sorry Larry Fitzgerald.

• We'd trust a card-player with a nickname that has a city in it — Cincinnati Phil or D.C. Dave or Seattle Lou — before we'd trust Jake Locker to deliver a game-winning drive on a consistent basis.

• A Florida TV station apologized to its viewers for being forced to show the Jacksonville-Oakland game rather than the Manning Bowl. Want to know when it's time to try something new? When your local TV affiliate is apologizing for airing your games to the home folks is a pretty good starting point.

————

Floyd the barber

We all loved Floyd the barber's scenes in Andy Griffith, right? Dude was simple and confused and lovable and considerate.

  • photo
    Floyd Mayweather Jr. jabs at Canelo Alvarez against the ropes in the tenth round during a 152-pound title fight, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, in Las Vegas.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The only thing he shares with Floyd Mayweather is seems is a first name. And that's alright, considering you want those traits in the guy that cuts your kid's hair and the exact opposite from the last relevant boxer still working.

Mayweather was money Saturday night. From having his gear delivered in bags with '45-0' stitched on the side — Mayweather's current record after thumping former undefeated challenger Canelo Alvarez — to the A-list celebs who wanted to get close to the champ, it was surreal night of boxing that made us really miss the spectacle that was the sweet science.

Yes, huge college football Saturdays or playoff baseball or the NFL postseason or the first weekend of March Madness each offers a tremendous about of buzz. But nothing we can remember generated the type of sizzle that a monster pay-per-view title fight once did. Sure, MMA offers some of that, but where are they now — something like Death Challenge 147?

We miss that. Saturday night — as Floyd Mayweather made a guaranteed $41 million — we were reminded why.

————

This and that

— This is not sports — but we have never promised to be limited to the grand illusions of the games we play. Major hats off the TFP folks who put together the Civil War special section in this weekend's paper. It was awesome.

— The PGA event finishes today after some weather delays. Monday golf for the pros is OK as long as you're not covering it. Monday golf for the 5-at-10 gets 100 percent approval from this angle.

  • photo
    South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney is hugged by a teammate after making a sack on Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Jadeveon Clowney will need foot surgery. He's going to have it after the season and not miss any games. Just making an observation here, but why? Let's say this thing gets aggravated to the point he misses the combine recovering. And let's say his 40 time goes from a high 4.5 to a low 4.8, and his draft stock goes from No. 1 overall to No. 21 overall. Using last year's salary numbers, top-pick Eric Fisher got a four-year contract worth more than $22 million with a signing bonus (the only guaranteed part of NFL deals) of $14.5 million. Tyler Eifert, the No. 21 overall pick, got a four-year, $8.25 million deal with a $4.3 million signing bonus.

— Atlanta's magic number stayed at 4, and the Braves' lead for home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs is two games. The Braves sat Lil' Danny Struggla for the weekend series against the Padres after he saw limited action against Miami in the prior series. Struggla is 2-for-24 in September and if you had to guess, does Struggla make the postseason roster?

— We're waiting for NASCAR to invite the 5-at-10 into the Chase. Hey, everyone else got in. It's like Upward NASCAR, everyone gets to play. It's not like we'd do any worse than Junior.

—————

Today's question(s)

TONS of stuff to cover today. Help yourself to the potpourri of items in the above.

If you need talking points, here are but three:

1) Would you draft Johnny Football in Round 1? What about Round 2?

2) With all the hubbub of steroids, do we not make enough of a deal about pitchers that have to be out there that used steroids? In turn, don't the accomplishments of 'acknowledged' clean hitters deserve more acclaim? We ask that as a precursor to, is David Ortiz a Hall of Famer? Discuss.

3) Who you got Floyd Mayweather or Sugar Ray Leonard? Discuss. (And here's our Rushmore of Floyd: Floyd Mayweather, Floyd the barber, Sleepy Floyd, Floyd Landis. Are we missing anyone?)

Discuss.

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.
JonathanMCook said...

Ten-Ring:

I grant you the A&M/Bama lovefest would be top tier on the discussion board but I'd rather go into some of my personal favorite sports highlights this past weekend.

UT/Oregon: As with all Saturday traditions, I was knocking out the last of the apartment cleaning duties with my Vols/Mocs T-shirts neatly folded at the foot of my bed. Picked up some loaded nachos from Freebirds "to-go" and changed into the first colors that being my orange/white T-shirt and ready to go.

By halftime, I was already watching Bama/A&M.

Having never seen Oregon/Tennessee play, I was hoping to see Nike U. dressed in some badass forest green with a hint of gold. Instead, my eye corneas get fried at the sight of the Oregon football team dressed up like "pukies" (made up slang term I coined many years ago to describe the color of those roadside "help" vehicles TDOT has all over the Volunteer State). Not as bad as Georgia's now famous uniform blunder but has officially made my no.2 list for ugliest college uniforms.

By the time halftime ended on both games, I already switched into T-shirt no. 2 and pulled up gomocs.com. Kudos to the gomocs staff for streaming the audio from the actual 105.3 broadcast to where it was loud and clear with the video. I knew the potentual for lopsidedness would be there but was expecting a little more of a fight from AP given the railroad job they experienced with big bros Tennessee and Vandy. But at least if anything we have a good momentom going into the bye week before we take on Spy's boys in the Marsh one last time.

Since I can't afford NFL ticket and can't go to a sports bar without running up a $35-$45 tab (when you factor in drinks), I only get to see the Titans play is if there's regional coverage (i.e. they're playing either Dallas, Houston, or New Orleans). Can't root for them when they're playing the Cowboys unlike other transplants (I'm looking at you Chicago-folk) but the other two, no prob. The game was interesting up until the 4th when Tennessee started to fold like cardboard in a compactor. I'll admit though this years team is an vast improvement from last year's team but obviously still needs a lot of work.

September 16, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Floyd Patterson and Pink Floyd.

Locker was Turrible with a capital T except for two drives. That's not good enough in the N-F-L. Short pass late in the fourth could have been enough to win the game. The Titans hurt themselves with 3 straight penalties at their goal line too leading to the safety. All three wiped out positive gains.

We went back to the Mocs game after considering calling it a wrap after the Martin game, and we enjoyed it, even if Peay would literally have a hard time with some high school teams.

I watched much of the Tennessee and Alabama games yesterday. Tennessee just doesn't have enough bricks yet but it's coming. Alabama, just pencil them in against Ohio State. Oregon will slip up somewhere and Alabama will hammer the Buckeyes. The Big 10 is Turrible. How about Lil Bowden beating that 37 spread at Michigan?

Seattle vs San Fran was worth only getting 4 hours of sleep.

Want to get to see Ooltewah vs East Hamilton before halftime, you better get there early.

September 16, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.
chas9 said...

Johnny Walker goes 1st round, but A. J. goes higher. If you don't agree, you don't know football. But Johnny will be a better pro than Tebow. Yes, Ducks vs. Elephants will be awesome. Question: How do you get down off an elephant? Answer: You don't. You get down off a duck.

The linemakers are awesome. They said UK would lose by 14ish and they did. They said UT would lose by a gazillion and they did.

I'm not going to use Oregon as any kind of yardstick for Tennessee, 'cause The Quackers are sui generis. But I will say The Cats are improving at an encouraging rate. Stoops knows how to tweak a team to maximize outcome. Now both UK and UT have Florida next up, and The Gators will be a useful measuring stick.

When it was looking like Oregon would win by 100, I hazarded a guess that The Vols hadn't lost by that many since 1902 (vaguely remembering my gridiron history). I was wrong about the margin, but very close on the year.

Yes, Julio is on the Rushmore. And I think you underestimate The Falcs.

If the oddsmakers had established an over-under number for Civil War deaths at its onset, they'd have been seriously off the mark. If you want to understand our nation, you must understand that mighty clash. All of it, not just the troop movements and body count. I add my congrats to all who are putting on our remembrances.

September 16, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, you're missing the great Floyd Little.

Johnny Deep pockets is a tremendous college QB. But in the pros, the very first thing they look for is arm strength. He has great touch and uncanny ability for extending plays, i.e., the Eli Manning-David Tyree play he pulled off Saturday. Joe Montana, comma, was not blessed with a strong arm, either. But in modern day NFL, I don't know that Johnny Autograph makes it as a QB.

Louisville did beat Kentucky, no? When it gets down to it, they don't ask how, just how many. Louisville also survived Teddy Bridgewater not having one of his better games.

And I thought Tennessee got rid of Sal Sunseri.

September 16, 2013 at 11:40 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Switching from football to basketball, nice pick by Coach Wade with Shaquille Preston in in the L-A. Basically just another ace in already well-stacked deck going into November. Only problem is the earliest game that I am even "remotely" interested in is the November 19th home game against Kenny State over in the A-T-L.

The Vegas Invitational will be the "real" true test.

The women-folk will have my full undivided attention for five reasons: Alabama, Tennessee, Belmont, UAB, and that school that will neither confirm nor deny giving a sheepskin to JG himself. :P

September 16, 2013 at 11:46 a.m.
chas9 said...

I thought boxing was dead. Guess I was wrong. How do they round up $41 M for Mayweather? Is it all about the betting?

I kept hearing and reading "That's not Tennessee football" and "That's not Tennessee defense." Well, actually, yes it is.

September 16, 2013 at 12:04 p.m.
jgreeson said...

JMC —

Nice term of the Ducks' duds.

Add a Samford win and the Lady Mocs are in line for an Alabama state title.

LB —

Will be a slew of folks at Ooltewah-East Hamilton. A TON of humanity for sure.

Pink Floyd — the QB from Dazed and Confused — was a good one, too

Thoroughly enjoyed the 'Hawks-9ers game.

9er —

Those bookmakers know what they are doing for sure — the pages were crisp, the spines solid, the table of contents correct.

Not sure Johnny Football goes first round. In fact there may be as many as 8 NFL QB prospects ahead of him.

Spy —

About 99 times out of 100 we agree that they do not draw pictures on the scorecard, but a 12-0 U of L that had to hold off the 14th-best team in a 14-team SEC will struggle to keep a 1-loss Oregon or 1-loss Bama out of the big game.

SAAALLLLL!!!

— 5-at-10

September 16, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Floyd's $41 million is the lowest he could possibly make. It likely will get to $50 when all the pay-per-view receipts are counted.

Floyd Lawson: You know, everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it. Calvin Coolidge said that.

Andy Taylor: No, Floyd, that wasn't Calvin Coolidge that said that, it was Mark Twain.

Floyd Lawson: Then what did Calvin Coolidge say?

September 16, 2013 at 12:22 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Who didn't see that coming.

Well played on the Samford win but think the Lady Mocs would also have to play Troy, Alabama State, and UA-Huntsville for that title.

:P

September 16, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, to answer Floyd Lawson, Calvin Coolidge, known for saying very little, had this to say when a young girl approached him and said she bet somebody she could get him to say more than two words.

"You lose."

September 16, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.
chas9 said...

"Sloppy" Floyd, north Georgia legislator, has a prison, a highway, and a state park named for him. You can't deny a Sloppy, and you gotta wonder how he got his nickname.

Johnny plays like Randall Cobb, only better. Cobb's been tearing it up for The Packers. Surely some NFL team would use a first rounder to get a Cobb squared.

September 16, 2013 at 1:40 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

chas 9, he also has a building named for him, the Sloppy Floyd Building across the street from the Gold Dome.

September 16, 2013 at 2:32 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Test, test. One, two. Hello Chattanooga!

Did the TFP's computer box blow a fuse? I don't know what happened so any finger pointing and assessing of blame would be purely speculative and unfair. That being said, I bet the guys in the sports department were goofing around and knocked something over.

September 16, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.
jgreeson said...

GD —

Yep, mom always said never play ball in the house.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.

September 16, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy,

Was that later renamed the Pink Pony?

September 16, 2013 at 5:13 p.m.
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