published Friday, January 3rd, 2014

5-at-10: SEC homers, bowl best and worst, rude family members and more picks

OK, we've put the holiday hurdles and happiness behind us. Yip-ee. Boo-hoo. Whatever.

Let's get back on schedule with a Friday mailbag and try to get back in the groove. Deal? Deal.

  • photo
    Alabama's head coach Nick Saban walks the sideline.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From the "Talks too much" studios, how foul a mood was Nick Saban around midnight:30 this morning? Get that man three OCPs, stat.

From Tom B.

What was that Mr. SEC-homer? Georgia got smoked. Alabama got smoked. Auburn's going to get smoked.

Quit sucking up to the SEC and realize that other conferences are just as good.

Tom B. —

Dude, take a step back from the keyboard and breathe. It's going to be OK.

We do a lot on the SEC because that's what people in SEC-country want to read and talk about it. So it goes. As for the 'sucking up' part, well, guess that's in the eye of the beholder.

And to be fair, what other conferences are 'just as good' as the SEC?

Still, the Alabama loss was shocking on a lot of levels. And before we get to a breakdown of the Bama meltdown, we must say that Twitter was made for moments like this. And the vitriol from UT fans during the Alabama loss was overwhelming — and quite funny.

It kind of leads us to a point we talked about on Press Row yesterday on 105.1 FM — do you cheer for rival teams in bowl games just because they are in your conference? Does it help the perception of the conference? Does that matter?

We took the stance that we don't, unless we have some green entertainment on the game. David Paschall, our co-host, says he always goes for the SEC. So it goes.

It was quite clear that several of you on the Twitter took some pleasure in that very uncharacteristic Bama performance. And the numbers told the staggering story of how rare that type of effort the 45-31 loss to Oklahoma was for Alabama in general and a Saban-coach Bama team in particular:

  • photo
    Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops holds the Sugar Bowl trophy with his team after defeating Alabama 45-31 in the NCAA football matchup in New Orleans, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Last time Alabama gave up 45 points was the 1996 SEC title game.

Last time Alabama lost back-to-back games was the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

Alabama has allowed 38 or more points exactly 3 times in the last decade.

Alabama has now lost nine games in the last six seasons and twice in the last five weeks.

As for the Twitter hilarity, try some of these:

Stephen Hargis @StephenHargis

Definition of irony: a team with a bandwagon for a mascot beating bama

Brad Shepard @Brad_Shepard

Texas can do better than Saban

Kelley Smiddie @KelleySmiddie

Late in the Sugar Bowl some loud fans were chanting Over-rated! Over-rated! I don't think Oklahoma is overrated. What am I missing?


Everybody knows Alabama should be in the National Title game.

Wiley J. Stidham @wiley34

Well Bama, this is what happens when you bring in Lane Kiffin for coaching advice. LOL #KarmasAButch

Lonely Tailgater @LonelyTailgater

What is Oklahoma's most treasured on-campus feature? Harvey Updyke would like to know.


From Billy-In-Brainerd:


I think Connor Shaw has great NFL potential…maybe the most of any Spurrier-trained QB…your thoughts?

B-i-B —

Outstanding question.

  • photo
    Florida quarterback Rex Grossman is sacked by Tennessee's John Henderson. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

Considering that Rex Grossman is likely the highest pro hurdle of the Spurrier regime that Shaw has to clear, saying he has the most NFL potential of an Ole Ball Coach pupil is underselling Shaw. That of course is nothing new — Shaw has been undersold his entire career.

Look at his resume: South Carolina is 33-6 in the final three years of Shaw's career with three 11-win seasons. Know how many 11-win seasons South Carolina had before Shaw and Spurrier linked up? Bagel.

Plus, Shaw worked the last three years in the shadows of arguably the greatest collection of SEC QB talent in the league's rich history. A.J. McCarron won two national titles. Johnny Football won a Heisman. Aaron Murray set every meaningful SEC passing record.

And then there's Connor Shaw, who just meandered along and won football games because he's a football player make football plays. Football.

And we completely agree that Shaw has very good NFL potential, especially considering the following three things are going to work greatly in his favor:

1) He has experience and expertise running a complex offense. We do not think Spurrier uses the "Everybody get open on 2" offense.

2) The spread-type tendencies moving to the NFL in several locales, which means a) NFL teams will need QBs that can run, and Shaw can; b) NFL teams will need QBs who are comfortable in the spread, and Shaw is; and c) NFL teams will need reliable back-up QBs, and Shaw most definitely is that. (Side note: This also bodes well for the NFL future of one Jacob Huesman, but that's a different discussion for a later date.)

3) The success of Russell Wilson will only increase the chances that someone is going to spend a third-round pick on Shaw and be tickled pink with the result.

We are completely in your corner on this. In fact....


From Jay

Man, thanks for the 5@10, it's a great way to waste an hour at work.

OK, you bowl picks stink. What happened? Also, since you obviously didn't make any 'entertainment' this bowl season, what players do you think made themselves some extra change with bowl performances that surprised you?

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Jay —

Great question. And great name.

OK, the guys that made themselves the most coin:

1) Johnny Manziel. He eliminated any doubt about his status as a top-10 overall QB in this draft. Dude made plays, played with passion and showed leadership in the moment.

2) Blake Bortles. The UCF quarterback had sky-rocketed up draft boards in the latter half of the season, and in the Fiesta Bowl, Bortles showed why he has a girlfriend so striking that UCF coach George O'Leary said earlier this week "deserves 6 million Google" searches. Dude will get paid.

3) Teddy Bridgewater. The Louisville quarterback cemented his spot as the No. 1 overall quarterback in this draft with an efficient and precise showing against Miami. Bridgewater shredded a disinterested Hurricanes bunch to the tune of

4) Oklahoma. The Sooners and quarterback Trevor Knight just jumped 10 spots in the preseason polls with a win over Alabama. And yes, Knight, the OU freshman who went from possible starter to Sugar Bowl MVP with a 32-for-44 night for 348 yards and four TDs, will be on the short list of Heisman candidates to start 2014.

5) Shaw. For all the reasons above.

And three that likely cost themselves some money with questionable bowl showings:

1) Jordan Lynch. The Northern Illinois quarterback who was a Heisman darkhorse for much of the season was completely shutdown by the Utah State defense. Yes, Utah State. If dude could have been viewed as a "Swiss Army" knife guy by NFL scouts in November when he was running and passing for big numbers against weaker foes, he now is a free agent signee with serious questions about if he has a position at the next level.

2) Mike Evans. The Texas A&M wide out had two huge personal foul penalties and let his emotions get the best of him in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. First-round talent for sure, but is he mature enough for that lofty a pick?

3) AJ McCarron. Dude completed better than 60 percent of his passes and threw for 387 yards in Alabama's Sugar Bowl loss. Those numbers are good. But it was also the first time he has faced serious pass-rushing pressure and he had three turnovers. How did you perceive his performance?


From A reader

Hey, I have been reading your blog for awhile and I wanted to ask your opinion on something. If you don't use my name you can put this in the mailbag, but I need an answer from you pretty quick, OK?

OK, my brother's wife is a piece of work. She talks all the time. She bosses him about every little thing -- stuff that is ridiculous and mean. And it's becoming kind of a deal in our family. Everyone sees it and no one knows what to say about it.

We don't want to embarrass him but man it makes for some tense moments around the holidays -- I think my mother is going to choke her.

What should I do to try and help? Thanks, and you and Paschall are great on the radio.

A Reader —

Wow, not sure how to answer this, but we'll go here.

First, the conversation has to be with your brother first. If your mother confronts his wife in a public setting, that will be a lose-lose for everyone, especially your mother.

In fact we suggest you have the conversation with your brother. Ask if you can buy him a Co-Cola and ask if everything is OK. How's the wife? How are things? You know the drill.

If dude is happy being bossed, then you and the rest of the family need to get comfortable with it.

If dude is troubled by it, ask how you can help. If he's not and doesn't even notice it, well, then maybe she's just bossy and that's something you all are going to have to deal with, like if she had a third arm or snakes for hair. Is it hard not to notice, sure, but he's cool with it so you have to be too. Otherwise, what's the other option... that your family makes his wife feel uncomfortable? How is that cool? And eventually that means she'll stop coming to events, which means he'll stop coming to events, and everyone loses.

Other than that, Jack Daniels makes a nice Christmas companion at difficult family events. But not too much, because JD can seriously limit your governor, you know.


From Ted

What has happened to your picks? Your scrapping by.

I want to know who you got in the NFL playoffs so I can go the other way. You had Bama last night for crying out loud.

Thanks and if I want to send a Twitter question to you and paschall on Press Row, what's the best way?

Just kidding about the picks... mostly.

Ted —

We are 17-15 in bowl games against the number. We like Missouri (plus-2) tonight a lot over Oklahoma State and over the 62. We like THE Ohio State (minus-3) tonight, too, and the over 70 in that one as well.

We like Ball State (minus-7) and Vandy (minus-2.5) on Saturday.

And yes, we have not lived up to the 74 percent we hit on bowl games against the number last year or the season-long numbers of 68 percent in 2011 and 70 percent in '12. We are 69-55-2 on the season. OK, but certainly not up to our expectations.

As for this weekend in the NFL, we'll go with the Eagles minus-2.5, Chiefs plus-2, Bengals minus-6.5 and Green Bay plus-3.

As for the Twitter, well, you can follow us at @jgreesontfp and hit us that way or you can call the Hardee's hotline at 423-648-1051.

Thanks for reading and listening.


From a slew of you

Who you got in the title game?

Gang —

We will break it down Monday, but we are locked and loaded for Auburn. Have been since before Thanksgiving.

And if you needed more destiny, the last time we had multiple inches of fun snow outside the 5-at-10 compound was when Auburn won the national title. What did we have on the ground this A.M.? Multiple inches of fun snow.



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- what kind of chest tattoo will AJ McCarron get to commemorate this loss ? . . . And dont you think that Texas can now do better than Saban ?. . . .Funny when Bama has a shutout against Ole Miss it is because of Saban's defense, but when Auburn or Oklahoma wears out Bama it is Kirby Smart's defense ?. . . . .And i guess the media is not taking shots against Bob Stoops when he says the SEC ( the greatest conference of all-time, that ever lived ) is overrated ? . . . . and finally even though they won easily, maybe Bama has just never recovered from the physical beating the Mocs put on them . .ka-ching

January 3, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.
chas9 said...

Those Stoops boys can sure coach. And if you don't have Lacoltan Bester on your all-name team, why not?

Teddy Bridgewater is leaving. If Coaches Strong and Franklin leave, too, Kentucky's uphill climb will be easier next year.

And if Strong leaves, would U of L be smart to hire back the motorcycle riding boiled lobster who has already shown he can win there?

The ejection of Chase Behanan at Louisville and injury of Michael Cobbins at OK State make UK's climb to the top of the roundball mountain easier, too.

Can you catch a football (or kick one) at minus three degrees? Or does the ball just shatter on contact? That's the forecast for the Green Bay game. I know Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever endured was a summer in San Francisco, but I doubt the Niners are ready for this.

On the other hand, The Packers are only 3-4 when the Lambeau temp is six degrees or less at kickoff.

The Bears gave Cutler seven more years. Will Toronto give their dopey mayor Ford more years? SNL hopes so.

We expect the NFL gear shop to sell lots more Manning jerseys this year. The question is, given what a big year it's been for same-sex relationships, will sales of jerseys featuring Pittsburg's William Gay's name also be up?

January 3, 2014 at 10:27 a.m.
jomo11 said...

and Jay- please tell me that the little white horses that pull the Boomer Sooner wagon, are getting 24 hour guards in case Harvey Updyke is around

January 3, 2014 at 10:29 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

My response to any "Dear Abby" type inquiries: Drink MORE, just not to EXCESS...come to think of it, that is my response to almost any question...

Spy: What say you?

I just got the's the "Jay-G + Dave-P Show" at QB Club Monday [notice who I listed 1st]...get there early...seating is limited.


January 3, 2014 at 10:50 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[(Side note: This also bodes well for the NFL future of one Jacob Huesman, but that's a different discussion for a later date.)]

The sarcasm came through there...right? There is no way he makes it as a QB in the NFL. No way.

I asked earlier in the week about how well the Titans and Broncos would do if they had swapped QBs this year. Would the Titans be a playoff team right now with Manning? Would the Broncos be left out with Locker/Fitzpatrick?

January 3, 2014 at 10:51 a.m.
chas9 said...

According to a TFP headline, a Memphis grandmother slapped her granddaughter and called 911 for beer. Looks like on their way to Pigeon Forge the Griswolds will need to visit Graceland.

And in other news of the weird, Bill Nye, The Science Guy, will debate Petersburg, KY Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. Only in Kentucky. Or Tennessee. Or Alabama.

January 3, 2014 at 10:59 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring,

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ Alabama, you've got a wheel in the ditch and a wheel on the track.♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

Brutal morning in Nawleans for all them Pachyderms trying to drink off last night's stunner. Some, for sure, climbed in the wrong bed and will be awakened to a new set of facts in the late AM.

Haven't heard a peep from San Antonio. I only know for sure that #1 and his Baylor QB buddy are there competing for stars.

10 Ring, you might know this one too. A nice bumper shot for Chattanooga's "Fresh King of all Media."

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ I got a jacked up four wheel drive.

Big like Mr. T.

Amanda's riding shotgun.

She's a teenage prom queen

Let the big wheel roll

Let the damn big wheel roll ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

January 3, 2014 at 11:31 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Please tell us they are calling that debate "Ham on Nye." Thank you. We'll be here all week.

Stewwie —

We were not being sarcastic. Jacob's going to run well. He's going to test well. He'll get a chance to try out somewhere, and the more teams that embrace spread tendencies will need three QBs with spread back grounds.

B-i-B —

Yep, Paschall and the TFP sports editor will be in full effect at the Mocs Club on Monday. Come for the food, suffer through the speaker. And can't wait for the Lady Mocs questions... wait, make that Mocs women's basketball questions.

Jomo —

Well played on the white horses. He may burn the schooner to the ground.

January 3, 2014 at 11:34 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

If a lineman gets out of the way just one time and Yeldon gets into the end zone or down close, it's possible Oklahoma is no longer "back", the SEC and Alabama are not "overrated" and everything is business as usual. Or the punt return called back for two unnecessary clips. That's just sports. And the kicker never should have taken the field after the Auburn meltdown (multiple misses, not the late return). Go with the Calhoun kid and it's a 31-20 halftime score.

West Virginia is likely to catch heck in the dome.

January 3, 2014 at 11:35 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Come on LaughingBoy, take your whipping like a man . . .

January 3, 2014 at 11:42 a.m.
chas9 said...

Jay being sarcastic? Say it ain't so. And there's no cheese on that sammich.

You young pups won't remember this, but Kentucky used to dominate Bama the way Oklahoma did last evening. It was when Paul Bryant coached UK. Which shows how great The Bear was. He could beat you with his guys or with your guys.

The best Bear-coached Cats team was 1950, when they shocked undefeated Oklahoma in what would've been the BCS championship bowl game if there had been such in those days.

January 3, 2014 at 12:02 p.m.
chas9 said...

Mark Richt's Dawgs not mean enuf? Maybe he should import some of those Korean canines who ate Kim Jong Un's uncle. Yowzer!

January 3, 2014 at 12:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We talked about Kim Jong Un's uncle in the budget meeting this morning. The suggested headline:

Who let the Dogs Out?

Good times.

LB —

Yep, Cade Foster — like milk for Ron Burgandy — was a poor choice.

And it was not so much that Alabama played terrible as much as Oklahoma — especially the QB — played so far above their heads their noses bled.

January 3, 2014 at 12:23 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Even with Oklahoma doing great and Alabama turning it over at every opportunity, it was a one score game until late. That tells me Alabama is not leaving the national title picture anytime soon, despite what many are hoping and was my point. Remember the run they went on after the Utah game.

January 3, 2014 at 12:41 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[We were not being sarcastic. Jacob's going to run well. He's going to test well. He'll get a chance to try out somewhere, and the more teams that embrace spread tendencies will need three QBs with spread back grounds.]

Agreed that he will run and test well, but that's why I think he'd have a better shot playing another position. But even that'd be a long shot. I see your point about the need for multiple QBs who know how to run the spread, but there are some (including myself) who think that the spread in the NFL is just a fad. Once the Ds figure out how to stop it, and teams get tired of losing their star QBs to injury, it will pretty much go away.

I was a little disappointed that Jacob didn't improve any more than he did between last year and this year. He's got to work on his throwing this offseason. Get the WRs to run routes and work with Durden on mechanics. Heck, even call up BJ and get his thoughts on how to improve.

[And in other news of the weird, Bill Nye, The Science Guy, will debate Petersburg, KY Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. Only in Kentucky. Or Tennessee. Or Alabama.]

Not catching your drift, Chas. This actually will be good. Ken Ham knows his stuff and is always good to listen to. Hope Bill is ready to get owned.

[Even with Oklahoma doing great and Alabama turning it over at every opportunity, it was a one score game until late. That tells me Alabama is not leaving the national title picture anytime soon, despite what many are hoping and was my point.]

LB, nobody in their right mind is going to debate that Alabama will remain a contender for the foreseeable future. But the opportunity to rub it in to Tide fans is a little tempting since we rarely see lord Saban endure losses at all (much less 2 in a row).

January 3, 2014 at 1:31 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, as much as I heed your prognosticating skills, FSU is the best team I've seen so far this year. I just don't see Auburn's defense impeding FSU at all and FSU's defense is good enough to make a stop or two or three. This won't be a repeat of last year's title game (and enough with the "Notre Dame didn't play anybody and didn't deserve to be there" especially since they beat the Big 12 co champ and the Pac 12 champ and beat nine bowl teams. I still contend that game wasn't won on talent. It was won by coaching, as in Saban took overmatched Brian Kelly to school in the four weeks leading up to the game. Not a Brian Kelly fan, by the way and speaking of that, neither am I fan of his latest coaching hire. But I digress...)

Something I saw on ESPN today while finishing off my usual chicken sandwich, fries and sweet tea for Friday lunch. Bob Stoops is the only coach to win the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls in the BCS era. Big Game Bob indeed.

And 5, I really don't know what to make of Vad Lee asking for a transfer, other than Tech is going to have a new starting QB in the fall.

January 3, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.
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