Man, was that the sun we saw this weekend? Did we actually go outside without 12 layers of clothes? Yes and yes. And now back to the artic blast.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's make the magic happen.
UTC monster weekend
It's hard to imagine a better weekend for Mocs fans. Let's review:
UTC XX Mocs coach Jim Foster joined the rarified fraternity of coaches with 800 wins on Saturday before more than 3,300 fans as the opening game of the Mocs hoops doubleheader.
UTC XY coach Will Wade continues to dazzle as the Mocs extended their winning streak to something like 12,000 games. Seriously, UTC has now won 10 in a row and is 8-0 in the Southern Conference. In fact, there were more than 6,600 at the game Saturday night, and according to all-around TFP sports ace Stephen Hargis, two football commitments commented that the environment Saturday night was at least part of the reason they picked the Mocs. Read that last sentence again.
The final two commitments for the Mocs football team capped a dizzying week for Russ Huesman, recruiting coordinator Will Healy and the rest of the UTC staff that resulted in adding several playmakers and possibly landing the QB of the future.
Good times for sure.
An extra football crosses in front of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning as he throws another during NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Friday. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
We start the most important week of the NFL year discussing the most meaningless NFL endeavor of them all. Team Rice beat Team Sanders in the Pro Bowl 22-21, and if you watched any of it, well, that's on you.
Now, Super Bowl week. It will be filled with discussions on weather. It also will be filled with discussions on whether — this is Peyton Manning's final game; Richard Sherman, thug or theater; which state, Colorado or Washington, will sell the most pizza during the "highs" and lows of the big game considering the new laws in each state; can the Seattle defense slow the Denver offense and potentially so much more.
Amid the hype and hysteria, there will be a ton of stuff to kick around that is less important as well. In fact, in concert with Press Row, our 3-6 sports radio show with TFP college football ace David Paschall on ESPN 105.1 FM and simulcast here on timesfreepress.com, we will have a Super Bowl Rushmore every day this week.
Today's Rushmore — worst Super Bowl games. Discuss
The Mocs were not the only ones adding big names and filling pieces.
Here's a quick scan around the college football landscape as we are now nine days from National Signing Day:
• Alabama may have just filled their quarterback quandary with the announced transfer of former FSU QB Jacob Coker. Coker, who is set to graduate in May and has apparently changed his name to Jake — Jacob was an ACC name; Jake is an SEC, man's-man name after all — will have two years of eligibility left and will be eligible this fall since he will have completed his course work at FSU and will enroll for Masters classes in some major that FSU does not offer. Hello, loophole.
• The news has been relatively quiet for the Tennessee Vols. Such is the case when you have 1,242 commitments before the end of the regular season. That could change today when Derrell Scott, a four-star running back, picks between finalists UT and South Carolina. Also of note: The Vols feel quietly confident about the strides made with A'doree Jackson, a five-star defensive back from California. The Vols still are a long shot, but they are in the game.
• New Penn State coach James Franklin keeps haulin' in recruits, and this time he did not steal one from the Commodores. Nope, this one Franklin poached from Rutgers when four-star wideout Saeed Blacknell flipped and from Cal when four-star defender Koa Farmer pledged. Franklin and Urban Meyer are about to infuse some talent and life in the Big Ten.
This and that
— Scott Stallings survived a teethy Torrey Pines to win the Farmers Insurance PGA event. Stallings won a whisker less than $1.1 million. Tiger Woods did not make Sunday's final round after missing the second cut — PGA Tour fine print — and the lack of star power on the leaderboard was noticeable. Heck, we're pretty sure Sir Nick Faldo fell asleep and napped the 4 o'clock hour away.
— Tennessee hoops got pasted by Florida. Bad. Real bad. The holes were exposed, and while few teams are going to win in Gainesville, there are not many that will be completely pantsed like UT was. Here was our assessment in real time Saturday and in less than 140 characters at @jgreesontfp on The Twitter: "UT hoops — great offensive rebounding = more shots; bad point guard play/scheme = more bad shots."
— The ups and downs of the Miami Heat will make news because they are the Miami Heat and LeBron plays there. But for those wondering where the title must circle through, it's still South Beach. James and Co. spanked the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday in the first meeting between the teams since last year's NBA Finals. The Heat were crazy, Crazy, CRAZY efficient — shooting 58 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3 and 95 percent from the line.
Ton to discuss, and if you have Super Bowl-themed Rushmores, pass them along.
Also, last week's mailbag was outstanding, let's build on that and it starts with letters from you kind folks.
If you need some talking points, here you go:
The Mocs moving the student section under the basket was a grand idea. And we love the big faces on sticks as much as the next guy. But we need someone else with UTC or Chattanooga-connections other than Mr. Belding. Mr. Belding is a fine addition — and what could be more disconcerting that shooting free throws with Mr. Belding's mug — but we need more. In fact, if we come up with an idea the 5-at-10/Press Row will help inspire the photos for the rest of the year. Deal? Do we add a T.O.? Do we look to add some of the rest of the Saved by the Bell class? We need ideas.
We have actually heard some folks speak glowingly on the Pro Bowl this morning. Did you watch? More than 10 million watched last year — making it more viewed than all but one World Series game 2012 and several other big-deal sports events.
Speaking of popularity, the Harris Poll surveyed tens of thousands of Americans and found that the NFL is the most popular sport. Duh. It's the 30 consecutive year the NFL has won the polling, but the most interesting fact is in the first documented year of the poll, the NFL was the most popular with 24 percent, one point higher than MLB, which had 23 percent. Baseball is still second this year, but the divide is great with NFL getting 35 percent and baseball getting 14. Also of note, golf is half as popular today as it was before Tiger Woods' accident.
And did anyone else think Madonna looked an awful lot like Col. Sanders in here Grammy get-up? Extra crispy indeed.
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 ...