published Monday, September 23rd, 2013

5-at-10: College football review, NFL winners and losers and Braves clinch

From the "Talks too much" studios, lock the hubs on your jacked-up, drop 'er down 4x4.

College football rewind

We knew going in it was going to be a rough weekend, and we were correct. So it goes.

Here's our five takeaways from Week 4:

  • photo
    Butch Jones
    Photo: Donald Page / University of Tennessee Athletics

1) Swamped. Butch Jones made a quarterback change, and Nathan Peterman offered up game-time evidence why Justin Worley was the Tennessee Vols QB1 to start the season. Peterman was epically bad in a disastrous first half of the Vols' 31-17 loss at Florida. Peterman's terrible first half in his first — and almost assuredly last — start for the Vols put UT in a 17-7 halftime hole. While the score does not look historically bad on the surface, considering that Florida gift-wrapped UT's first TD on a play when the Gators lost starting Jeff Driskel for the season and were overwhelmingly stagnant offensively early on, merely bad QB play for the Vols could have been a 10-7 lead or better. (Side note: Tyler Murphy looked the part in replacing Driskel and now appears to be the QB1 of the Gators. Which is awesome because it raises the 'M' QBs total in the SEC to six with Murray, McCarron, Manziel, Marshall, Mettenberger and now Murphy. It could be seven if UT listed their starting QB as "Missing." Where were we...) Worley rallied the Vols in the second half, but take that with a grain of salt considering it was facing a Florida defense that had lost its top two corners at some point. There is some obvious frustrations as UT beat ace Patrick Brown tells us here. Let's play letter grade Monday — and we'll continue this on Press Row from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 with David Paschall. So what grade do the Vols get? We'll share ours around lunch.

2) If you go to Louisiana at night, bring a lunch and a hard hat. Because if a stranger don't get it a shotgun will. The LSU Tigers built a 21-0 lead in a driving rain storm that became a 35-21 win over a fiesty Auburn team. LSU is physical and tough and talented all over the field. (Side note: LSU is currently getting three points from Georgia. Interesting, no?) Running back Jeremy Hill was a load, and proved the winning Tigers have no problem lining up and running right at people. (Buckle up, Grantham, the Tigers like to run it.) It also proves the losing Tigers will struggle with that approach, which is hardly surprising for those that follow Auburn considering Jake Holland appears to be the only middle linebacker on scholarship on The Plains.

3) Hats off to Georgia Tech, Kenny Guiton, Baylor, UCLA — great tribute to their teammate who died — and Johnny Football for making the most of their moments on Saturday. And we definitely do not want Johnny Merchandize watching our kids for an afternoon, but the kid is fun to watch.

4) Difficult to judge the top national title contenders this weekend, since the top teams either were sluggish (Alabama, Georgia and Clemson won games but hardly overwhelmed anyone), off (enjoy the rest Oregon) or thumped overmatched foes (Ohio State, Florida State, Miami to name but three). Stanford's two-touchdown win over a ranked Arizona State team likely qualifies as the weekend's big winner.

5) The Fab-4-plus-1 picks dominated Saturday. After losing the Thursday night Clemson game, we went 4-0 Saturday against the spread with the under in the Vandy-UMass (54.5, 27-7 final), the over in Duke-Pitt (52, 58-55 final), Missouri over Indiana (minus-3, Tigers won 45-28) and Nebraska over South Dakota State (minus-20, Huskers won 59-20). We are now 15-4-1 — 78.9 percent — against the spread on the season.



We'll have our power poll on Wednesday, but let's go with some winners and losers for this Tuesday that features the all-time Pittsburgh confusion — the Pirates are about to clinch a playoff spot and the Steelers are a dead-team walking three weeks into the season. Is this 1991? Where's Bubby Brister and Bobby Bonilla?

Winner: Jake Locker. Hey, we've been as critical of Locker as anyone, but dude rallied the troops and delivered a money throw to win an NFL football game. That screams winner. And as good as his stats were — 23-of-37 for 299 and a TD with no picks — he was victimized by more than a couple of drops that would have really floated those numbers.

Loser: The Atlanta Falcons. At 1-2 in a tough division with painful injuries mounting, this bunch is going to be in a long fight to make the playoffs.

Winner: Cleveland. The Browns responded to the controversy of dealing their best player with a big 31-27 win at Minnesota. This may have been a rare case where the Browns were better off being away from home so the fans wouldn't protest — the especially uncommon road-field advantage.

Loser: San Fran. Uh, guys, losing at Seattle is fine. Acceptable even. But at home to the Colts? Everyone still on the "Kaepernick is the best thing since sliced bread" bandwagon?

Winner: Andrew Luck. Dude can play. That is all.

Loser: The Giants. GUH-ross — 38-bagel to the Panthers is unacceptable. In fact the whole NFC East is so bad, that Dallas' 31-7 win over the Rams was the division's first over a non-NFC East team. RGIII? What was that?

Winner & Loser: Green Bay running back Johnathan Franklin started the week as a third-stringer. Injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks forced the rookie into action and Franklin rushed for 103 and a touchdown. That's the good. The bad: Franklin's fumble was returned for the game-winning TD in the Packers' 34-30 loss to Cincy.

Losers: Those of us who think Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback working. Sure he has a ton of skills, but according to Elias Sports, Rodgers is now 5-17 in games decided by four points or less. That's not a winning stat.



  • photo
    Atlanta Braves players and coaches celebrate after the Braves defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-2 in a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. The Braves clinch NL East as the Washington Nationals lose to the Florida Marlins.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Well that was nice.

Your Atlanta Braves punched their postseason ticket this weekend. There is home-field advantage to play, and that's quite the carrot considering the Braves are the best home-team in baseball.

What got this bunch here? How did this happen?

In fact, you can make a hard argument that Fredi Gonzalez should be manager of the year. Yes, Clint Hurdle will almost certainly get the nod since he has the Pirates in the playoffs.

But Fredi G — as bad as he was two years ago — has the Braves staring at home-field advantage after the following:

  • Injuries to every starter other than one of the Uptons and Chris Johnson
  • Losing your two best set-up guys (O'Flaherty, Venters) before the season
  • Losing your No. 1 starter (Hudson) midway through the year
  • Replacing the face of the franchise and the leadership within the clubhouse
  • Having Greg Walker as his hitting coach.

Simply put, Fredi G is the most accomplished member of the G family since Kenny G and Ice T was an O.G.


This and that

— Dylan Moses, a 6-foot-1, 213-pound high school linebacker from Baton Rouge, committed to LSU this week. Not a huge surprise, but how early is too early? Moses is a 15-year-old freshman in high school and will be part of the 2017 signing class. He started getting offers 15 months ago.

— Henrik Stenson won the the Tour Championship on Sunday to clinch the season-long PGA Tour FedEx Cup. All told, Stenson, who is playing lights-out, collected $11.44 million for the double dip. Stenson now is No. 4 in the world rankings — he was outside of the top 200 just two years ago.

— More golf: Tiger Woods finished second in the season-long FedEx Cup race after his worst showing ever at East Lake. But Woods did secure the top spot on the money list, the PGA of America's points-based player of the year and win the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average. The PGA Tour player of the year award will be announced Friday, and Woods is one of the favorites with five wins this year. Not bad for what everyone perceives as an off-year, huh?

— Matt Kenseth went faster and turned left better than everyone else at New Hampshire. Side question: Have you seen the Jimmie Johnson's legends commercial? Why did they get a fat guy with a bad 'stache to stand in Earnhardt's spot? Really?

— Arizona Cardinals stud Rashad Johnson lost part of his finger in his glove. And kept playing. #tougherthanme.


Today's question

Feel free to offer up the letter grade of your college football team. Or your weekend winner or loser from college football.

Heck, feel free to be brave about the Braves.

But if you still need a talking point, let's go here:

Is Julia Louis-Dreyfus the most successful TV woman ever? (By the stats, it's an overwhelming yes.) What's your Rushmore of TV funny women? Ball is there. JLD is there. Mary Tyler Moore. Who else is in the running?

If you are a Falcons fan, should be worried?

How blah-tastic must Riley Ferguson and Josh Dobbs be to not be better than what we've seen from Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman?

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.
jomo11 said...

Jay- dont you think that Peterman would be better, long term than Worley, since Peterman is faster than Worley and better able to chase Defensive Backs down after interceptions ? . . . . .And as Vol fans seem to blame this loss on Fulmer, Hamilton, Kiffin and Dooley, who would you blame this loss on ? . . Why not Florida ? . . .because no one would blame it on Butchy

September 23, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: "It could be seven if UT listed their starting QB as "Missing."

That is one of the funniest oneliners you have ever come up with Jay!

As for the Dawgs grades this past weekend:

Offense: A Defense: A Special Teams: F

As for the UT quarteback situation I am not a fan but I thought the same thing about Dobbs and Ferguson. Are they that much worse than the current UT QB's?

September 23, 2013 at 10:26 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay, long and interesting weekend. Will be happy to offer the breakdown.

Mocs: off; but read where Russ & Co. have been training successfully against the formable triple option. Looking forward to 5 PM at Statesboro. Score: pending

Vols: I've seen a lot of "unique" pass and running plays while watching football. Never heard of the "Chinese Fire Drill". But apparently it appears to be Butch Jones' favorite. Final score D-

Mean Green: What can I say? They hung in there. I can say from personal experience this program at one time was dealing with an "Allison-era" run and has since turned it around. Say what you will, but when you can block a punt for a TD and run for a 96 yard return against a battle-hardened SEC opponent and keep the game tied at 21-21 until toward the end of the third quarter, then that says a lot for your program. One of the TV announcers said it best "Their coach said this is not a body-bag game, this is not a paycheck game, we're here to try to beat these guys. Final score: C+ (Had they came within a touchdown or field goal, I would have gone B+)

Titans: Didn't get to watch but enjoyed the highlights. Final Score: A- Especially given the fact the announcers kept bringing up the last time this franchaise beat the Chargers was when they were still the Houston Oilers (I was still in college back then).

Cowboys: One-sided as hell. Most die-hards down here would have liked it like that but the victory would have been better if we were playing New England or Philidelphia. Final Score: A

September 23, 2013 at 10:28 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Oh, nearly forgot, special shoutout to Chat123 for his in-depth "commentary" on Weed's Sunday column. Remember Chat, Walgreens pharmacy is open everyday from 10 AM - 8 PM where they will be more than happy to refill your perscriptions.

"They're coming to take me away a-ha"

"They're coming to take me away oh-hoo"

"They're coming to take me away tee-hee"

September 23, 2013 at 10:33 a.m.
chas9 said...

Vols are up from F to D because of the second half. Gators only get a C. Ugly as Aunt Esther.

It has been observed that for college football fans, especially Dr. B, the most popular guy on the team is the second string quarterback who has yet to see action. Head coaches get paid the big bucks to make wise decisions, and are roundly criticized for sticking with the starter who's a bit underwhelming.

When they start the new guy and the experiment breaks bad (and has it ever broken badder than it did Saturday?) we kinda get why the coach is so slow to change horses.

Serious question: After the Peterman debacle, do we think more of Coach Butch for being willing to try whatever it takes, or less for giving in to fan pressure and throwing the young meat to the Gainesville lions? I'm asking a serious guy (The 5@10), not Proctologist B.

Weeds had it right. The story of the game is that The Gators' back-up QB is better than The Vols' back-up QB.

Didja catch that one of the UT-UF game common taters (probably ol' Verne) told us how new coach Bielema really had Arkansas rolling, before Rutgers came back and won 28-24. "What's a Rutgers?" Tennessee asked before the Scarlet Knights beat Johnny Majors' 17th ranked team in 1979.

To the 5@10 question last week whether Auburn or Tennessee would keep their game closer, I said The Plainsmen would, because "if UT is trying new combos, there'll be the bugs that come with unpracticed/untested stuff." I was right about the pitfalls, but I didn't expect the early Driskel injury. Yes, I think the margin would've been bigger with Driskel in the game. But Murphy will be better for The Swamp Lizards from here on out.

Betty White, Carol Burnett and Gracie Allen. Esther Rolle and Bea Arthur honorable mention.

September 23, 2013 at 10:40 a.m.
chas9 said...

Why is A&M only -3 over Arkansas? Strange! Too good to be true?

And why is Florida only 14 over The Cats? Strange.

While jomo may be a bit harsh with the Knoxville cats, you gotta admit he has a funny line about why UT should start Peterman. And Jay, ever's a long time. The hapless QB could develop in time. Question: Does anybody know of an athlete who started out shamefully bad but came on later to star?

September 23, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Loser-Kenny Britt. In three hours he went from "throw me the darned ball!" to "put me in the darned game!" They need to unload him and try to add some offseason defensive line depth with his salary.

September 23, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Two words for most succesfull TV woman ever: Lucille Ball, end of discussion. Look beyond her shows: I Love Lucy (1951-1957), The Luci-Desi Comedy Hour (1957-1960), The Lucy Show (1062-68), and Here's Lucy (1968-1974)and countless other guest appearances one must take into account DesiLu Productions which produced such shows as The Andy Griffith Show, The Jack Benny Program, Gomer Pyle USMC, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mission Impossible, Mannix and many MANY more. Lucy was directly responsible for approving shows such as The Untouchables and Star Trek for production.

To say JLD is the queen of televsion of all time is to use glasses which are blind to history. Lucille Ball, along with her former husband Desi changed tv into what it is today.

September 23, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Still drying out from a wet Saturday at Historic Grant Field/Bobby Dodd Stadium.

That the Braves won the East is not surprising. The Nationals had played more like the Senators (or with a small s, to convey our current legislative predicaments) than they presumed division front runners until about three weeks ago. With Kershaw, Greinke and Kuo, the Dodgers, even with a hit and miss offense, likely are the toughest out of any in the NL playoffs. And Mattingly really deserves manager of the year consideration for pulling the Dodgers out of their stall and into a climb.

Dear Falcons: If you want to be a Super Bowl contender, you hold on to double-digit leads on the road against the Dolphins. Love, Vegas.

And tickets for Sunday night's Pats-Falcons game were at $100. For upper end zone. Wonder what they are now?

Gameday in Fargo and the place looked bonkers. Of course, it was a day that wasn't snowing so that may have had something to do with it. Still waiting for Gameday to darken the door of a Sun Belt program. (gimme a second until I stop convulsing with laughter at that prospect - and get my dentures back in).

Lucille Ball was pretty successful on TV.

When is it too early to judge the Butch Jones hire? Because the last two weeks have been pretty awful for the Orange and White. Granted, they were playing great and good teams. But ... that was bad.

September 23, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring is there an award for most controversial lies and drops on the PGA Tour? I propose the Woods Trophy.

Didn't expect to see you with your yellow pad at Signal Friday night. Thought you'd be somewhere where something on the line like Ooltewah. #s 1, 2, and 3 all had touchdowns. I supped recently with all three at my birthday dinner.

I skipped the Florida game to go down to a Battle reenactment. Tennessee grade F, and I don't see it getting any better. Hell, I'm even flying my Vol flag upside down. I hope Coach Davis can hold his #3 ranked 2014 recruiting class together as there be more beat downs to come.

September 23, 2013 at 12:24 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Guess someone swapped my Cammy Juice for Purple Drank last week, or the Gus Bus shouldn't have taken that left at Albuquerque. Auburn gets an A for effort (last year they would have given up in the 1st Q), and and F in ball handling. Still a year or 2 from competing in the SEC West.

Lucy is no doubt #1.

September 23, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.
chas9 said...

LS&U is da bomb. Is there a Cam Cameron cam for their OC?

September 23, 2013 at 12:52 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

C-Niner: I recall that Jim Plunkett struggled as a Patriot, then won a Super Bowl as a Raider.


September 23, 2013 at 12:56 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

THE Ohio State and THE florida have offered a freshman down this way a football schollie. Kid did dunk last year as an 8th grader for his AAU team, coached by a good friend of mine.

September 23, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

JMC, while the Mean Green did not pick up a win between the hedges, they certainly have no need to hang their heads. That was a scrappy performance by UNT. They capitalized on a couple of big special teams plays and what I found particularly impressive was their ability to slow down the UGA rushing attack. The Mean Green was committed to stopping the run Saturday and held Todd Gurley under 100 on the day. They sacrificed in the way of pass coverage and Murray rang up 400 yards, but they were able to make us one-dimensional on offense for much of the game. A tip of the hat and good luck the rest of the way to the Mean Green.

One thing Georgia has going for it right now is the deepest and fastest corps of receivers in all the time I have been following UGA Football. Losing Malcolm Mitchell in the season opener was a tough break; Our "game-breaker" is gone. Justin Scott-Wesley threw his hat in the ring in the race to replace Mitchell with the 85 yard reception against the Gamecocks. Saturday, Reggie Davis was on the receiving end of the longest pass play in Georgia history going 98 yards for the score. Reggie and Dustin both have a good set of wheels and can turn on the jets in the open field.

September 23, 2013 at 3:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

GD —

Good call about UGA's receiving depth. Although catching passes from some one like Murray is better than most.

Spy —

Be sure to inform that lad of the fine amenities of Auburn.

FE to the C —

No doubt holding that class together is a big priority.

No. 1 looked good on that tight end screen.

MT —

We think Lucy is No. 1, but JLD has had mad success on three different shows as three different characters. (And that's not counting her SNL days.)

BiB —

Plunket's a good one. If memory serves Tommy Glavine led the NL in losses in his first full season and was something like 33-41 after three plus years in the bigs.

McPell —

Lots of fight. Lots of talent gap to close too.

Laughter —

Kenny Britt's time in the 615 is almost up.

9er —

We have called our entertainment broker to see if that line is for real.

And Uncle Verne was AWFUL Saturday. He may make a pretend appearance on Friday.


Chet is like Beetlejuice. Don't say his name three times.

Dawg —

Thanks for the kind words. And for reading along. The absence of the freshmen is the biggest hidden part of this QB drama for sure.

Jomo —

Well-posted sir. And nice job dealing with Chet.

September 23, 2013 at 3:31 p.m.
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