published Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

5-at-10: Free agency, bracket watch, public/private split and the year of Wooderson

From the "Talks too much" studios, if rapper Kurtis Blow had a son and named him Joseph, he'd be Joe Blow.

NFL free agency

Now that was a fast first day of free agency.

The roster machinations of the NFL are fascinating because of the balance between need and fiscal well-being.

Still, on the first day of free agency, teams spend like a pocket-loaded 16-year-old at the Cheetah. Do they pay any heed to the legitimate Pro Bowl players such as Demarcus Ware, Darrelle Revis and Julius Peppers who are being cast away because of unruly cap numbers? Of course not.

Look at the numbers thrown around on Tuesday to guys who are not exactly household names. Zane Beadles got a five-year, $30 million deal. Yes, Zane Beadles. Jared Veldheer got a five-year, $35 million deal. Egad.

Here's some winners and losers from the first day:

Cornerbacks — It's a passing league and Tuesday the guys that can defend the pass were winning.The money being tossed to cover corners Aquib Talib, Alterraun Varner, Vontae Davis, et al. is staggering.

Denver — The Broncos added Talib and safety T.J. Ward to strengthen their secondary and appear to be the front-runner to sign Ware. Denver realizes that Peyton Manning's window is shrinking, so charge.

Atlanta — The Falcons began the process of over-hauling their lines of scrimmage by adding guard Jon Asamoah, defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Paul Soliai. They also re-signed defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. Expect the Falcons to continue to address the lines of scrimmage early and often in the draft, too.

Jonathan Martin, who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers — an organization that can handle the turmoil around his situation — and play for the coach that recruited him to Stanford.

As for the losers, well, here you go:

Kansas City lost three of its five starting linemen on Tuesday. That's less than desirable.

Tennessee lost its best cornerback in Varner, who anchored the best part of its best unit last year. Plus, despite a plethora of needs, the Titans added only Dexter McCluster (who also left the Chiefs). We like McCluster, but a third-down specialist/kick returner seems like a piece for a team a game away from the Super Bowl rather than a game away from .500.

Running backs continue to feel the financial sting of their devaluation. Little to no movement in that regard, especially among the big names, and big-time talents like Darren McFadden are being forced to look at one-year deals.

———

College hoops update

Before we get rolling, let's review what was an awesome give-and-take on our Rushmore on Tuesday's Press Row. In honor of college basketball tournaments, we have a slew of special Rushmores planned, including a month-long special bracket that we'll toss out today. Tuesday was the all-time ACC hoops Rushmore. This was firmly based on college careers, and after a river of calls, we finished on David Thompson, Ralph Sampson, Christian Laettner and Tyler Hansbrough. Thoughts? (And yes, it was very difficult to leave off Jordan, Lenny Bias and a slew of others.)

Thanks to everyone who played along yesterday. Good times indeed.

1) Thanks to a link sent by watchdog reader Jomo, the Birmingham News has an interesting report on the sliding attendance at SEC basketball games here. Jon Solomon reports that the SEC averaged 10,380 per home game, which is the smallest since 1984-85 and still could drop more since potentially hosting NIT games could still have an affect on that number. Ouch-standing. According to Solomon, seven league schools went up in average attendance and seven went down, but the overall number also is a little inflated by Kentucky's almost 23K a night average. (And yes, these are announced crowds and to believe Auburn 'averaged' 5,823 per game is like believing in tracking Sasquatch on a unicorn.)

2) We feel certain that our very own master bracketer (bracketologist is overused) StuckinKent will chime in some time this morning. Until then, we'll use Joey Brackets list of the 16 teams battling for the final eight at-large NCAA tournament bids and when/who they play:

Last four byes — Pittsburgh (Notre Dame-Wake Forest winner on Thursday), Stanford (Washington State late tonight), Nebraska (Ohio State-Purdue winner on Friday), Xavier (Marquette on Thursday)

Last four in — Tennessee (one of three teams, including Arkansas, on Friday), St. Joe's (one of three teams, including Dayton, on Friday), Dayton (George Mason-Fordham winner on Thursday), Arkansas (Auburn-South Carolina winner on Thursday)

First four out — Cal (Colorado-USC winner on Thursday), Minnesota (Penn State on Thursday), St. John's (Providence on Thursday), Providence (St. John's on Thursday)

Next four out — Southern Miss (UTEP-East Carolina winner on Thursday), FSU (Maryland on Thursday), Missouri (Texas A&M on Thursday), Georgetown (DePaul tonight)

3) Here's a recap of the teams already in the NCAA tournament: Mercer (A-Sun), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Delaware (Colonial), Harvard (Ivy), Manhattan (MAAC), Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Wofford (Southern), Gonzaga (West Coast), North Dakota State (Summit), Mount St. Mary's (Northeast), UW-Milwaukee (Horizon). The only title game tonight is Boston University-American in the Patriot League as the big conference tournaments go full speed tonight.

———

Preps debate

There's a real chance that the TSSAA — the governing body of high school sports in Tennessee — will discuss a complete public-private school split today.

We do not expect any big news today. But that's only about timing, not the message.

There are vibes coming across the state — and in Georgia, too — that scream sooner rather than later, high school sports will be completely divided between public and private schools.

Man, the layers of this are mired and cloudy, too. You could slice the division of high school sports 100 different ways and someone is still going to be upset about unfairness because in the end people are emotional about their kids and about their sports. And when you start talking about their kids' sports, well, you can go from emotional to irrational to over the top in a big hurry.

Buckle up gang, because this is coming.

———

This and that

— Buzz Peterson was sacked by UNC Wilmington. Buzz, one of the nicest and most-respected guys around, was 9-23 this season and 42-82 in four years. Ouch-standing.

— From the "What's wrong with people" file: A New Jersey 2-year-old was sent to daycare with 48 packets of heroine in his jacket. The father of the toddler was charged with endangering a child. Man, there should be a Darwinism/common sense clause to capital punishment and some bozo that sends his child carrying heroine to daycare moves to the front of the line.

— Interesting collection of birthdays today. Mitt Romney is 67. His less-than-kindred spirit Ron Jeremy is 61. (In the euphemistic world of job titles, the birthday site that listed Jeremy as a "reality star" deserves bonus points.) Two of baseball's best outfielders of the 1980s also were born today, as Dale Murphy turns 58 and Darryl Strawberry turns 52.

— How bad do the Braves expect the Kris Medlen news to be? Well, they signed Ervin Santana this morning to a one-year, $14-million contract and will have to part with a first-round pick to make the deal happen. Ouch-standing.

Today's question(s)

We're spanning the full buffet here today. So feel free to chime in on any of the above.

But there is a slew of stuff to discuss:

  • photo
    Matthew McConaughey arrives at the Oscars on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Did you hear they are making another Fletch? We're cautiously optimistic about this, considering that we loved, Loved, LOVED the first Fletch and the sequel was a lot better than people remember. (For God's sake T-Boo put your pants back on.) Thoughts?

When did we arrive at the place that Matthew McConaughey is the world's best actor of the moment? After starting as Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused" McConaughey spent a decade taking roles that allowed him to act like McConaughey, and that's cool. Pacino has been doing that for a decade or more and Cruise certainly has embraced being Cruise (well other than Tropic Thunder, which could be Cruise's best work since All the Right Moves). But after winning an Oscar and being a front-runner for an Emmy for HBO's True Detective, McConaughey is poised to make history. Yes, Wooderson would be the first male actor to win an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year. CUH-razy.

With Darryl Strawberry celebrating his birthday, who is on your Rushmore of wasted potential? Strawberry — and former Mets teammate Dwight Gooden — could certainly be considered, no?

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.
ordinaryguy said...

JG...I am a tad perplexed...was that a subtle slam at mr alright alright alright???...Let us remember that Tom Hanks (two time oscar winner) came from far more humble beginnings, his cross dressing days on Bosom Buddies...Pacino who also has won two is far beyond being lumped with Mr Days of Thunder...Tom Cruise has a big ZERO, and his acting chops are very questionable...plus he is a midget lol...Wooderson is a cult icon, uttering one of the greatest lines in cinema history..."That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older and they stay the same age." NINE MORE DAYS!!!!!

March 12, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

You got my bubble updates from yesterday, correct? Here's an updated one (copied and pasted and then added the auto bids from last night). Did you get my bubble games for Wednesday? By Friday, I expect to be able to lock down several more teams. I

Bubble Watch:

Locks:

American Athletic: Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, SMU, Connecticut Atlantic 10: Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU, George Washington Atlantic Sun: Mercer ACC: Syracuse, Virginia, Duke, North Carolina Big 12: Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor Big East: Villanova, Creighton Big South: Coastal Carolina Big Ten: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State CAA: Delaware Horizon: Milwaukee Ivy: Harvard MAAC: Manhattan Missouri Valley: Wichita State Mountain West: San Diego State, New Mexico Northeast: Mount St. Mary's OVC: Eastern Kentucky Pac 12: Arizona, UCLA, Oregon SEC: Florida, Kentucky SoCon: Wofford Summit: North Dakota State WCC: Gonzaga

11 other automatic bids (from conferences not listed above).

54 spots locked up. 14 spots remaining

Bubble:

Atlantic Ten: St. Joseph's, Dayton ACC: Pittsburgh, Clemson, North Carolina State, Florida State Big 12: Oklahoma State, Kansas State Big East: Xavier, St. John's, Providence, Georgetown Big Ten: Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota Conference USA: Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss Horizon: Green Bay Pac 12: Arizona State, California, Colorado, Stanford SEC: Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas Southland: Stephen F. Austin WCC: BYU

That's 27 teams for 14 spots.

March 12, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.
chas9 said...

Lassie's Timmy turns 64 today. He has cruised since that near miss in the well.

Jayhawks are done without Embiid.

Would losing in the SEC tourney take some pressure off The Gators? Kentucky teams that were undefeated in conference play lost their conference tourney finals in 1996 and 2012 and proceeded to go on to win the national championship.

Coach Cal is trying to get the Cats to be more physical. He says you have to foul on every play to win. Thoughts?

The all-SEC teams look right to me. The fact that WC-S and Poythress didn't make the first two teams (18 players) is a measure of why the UK season has fallen short of expectations. And Andrew Harrison, too.

Florida's 11K+ means they played to almost full houses. Too bad they can't seat more. But The Vols' 15K+ means they had 6K+ empty each game. Did anybody have more unfilled seats? And that's after they shrunk Thompson-Boling from its original 25K capacity.

Wasted potential? Len Bias, Leaf, Marinovich, The Boz, Lawrence Phillips. Dishonorable mention for Tyler Bray, Heath Shuler & Tim Couch.

Best or not, McConaughey's dad played football at Kentucky. Fletch F. Fletch (aka Dr. Rosenpenis) II is worthy.

March 12, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Regarding McConaughey (or as local's call him Dallas' favorite son [to make fun of in the Observer]), I believe Tom Hanks was in that same boat when I was in high school. As in "how can the man who gave us 'Bussom Buddies', 'Bachelor Party', 'Dragnet', and 'Spash' can be taken as a 'respectable actor'?"

I'm just saying.

Next topic: any manilla envelopes in the 5&10 mailbox?

Also, my B-day is on Friday (I share mine with Billy Crystal & Albert Einstein).

Saw where Drago from Fargo made the Big Dance. Interesting to see how their B-Ball program is.

Speaking of free agency, I saw a trailer for what appears to be a smash-up of "Moneyball", "Bull Durham", and "Jerry McGuire" called "Draft Day". Looks promising. Definitely up your alley Jay. Suppose to come out in April.

March 12, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--Looks like you got Crystal's brains and Einstein's sense of humor.

March 12, 2014 at 11:23 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

OG beat me to the punch on Hanks :(

Though that might make a good Rushmore: Actors and Actresses who started in "B" films and went on to win Academy Awards/Evolve their acting careers.

March 12, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Chase- Not surprising. My grandfather Melvin Land Cook (actual name), worked for Union Carbine during WWII in Oak Ridge. I know he was working at one of the facilities (which one slips my mind) that was building components for the atomic bomb. Einstein was touring the facility and was trying to get out of the pomp and pagentry and learn "how this REALLY operates". He takes my grandfather (who was in charge of him) to the side and asked him to show some of the inner workings. He was very impressed with my grandfather's know-how of the facility that I find it rather "ironic" that instead of being born on February 22nd (doctor estimate), I was born on March 14th. By that time, both my grandfather and Einstein had passed on so who knows if there was something from the great beyond that both orchestrated. ^^()

March 12, 2014 at 11:42 a.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--Great story. Who knows? Around all that radiation your grandfather's genes and AE's genes may have gotten mixed up. Do you have any extra appendages?

Did you take the junior high school field trip to The Atomic City and get the irradiated dime sealed behind a thin piece of plastic? I still have mine and blame it for all ailments I have or may suffer, especially my fried brain.

March 12, 2014 at 12:57 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, yep, McFadden is stuck with a 1 year $4 million deal. It's worse than that, only $100,000 guarantied and $2.25 is incentives. Looks like McFadden could not find a deal or anchor a trade package. Truth is the position is not as highly valued as it once was ten or even five years ago.

I'd love to see what McFadden can do in an injury free season, but the odds against that are stacked.

JMC, sir, Splash was a fine romantic comedy I enjoyed with whoever I was dating at time with a pint of Colonel Kwicky Mart's Kentucky bourbon. Lot's of stars and some good gags. Also, Ron Howard's first movie.

As for Mr. Hanks, 'The Duke' made a ton of low budget thirty minute westerns before he won his ticket to the big time with "Stage Coach."

March 12, 2014 at 12:59 p.m.
Stewwie said...

When will the Mocs know for sure on a possible tourney? Will everything shake out on Sunday?

A full public/private split for high schools would be bad for all involved. For the kids, it would mean additional travel, loss of rivalries, and more watering down of end-of-season trophies. For the TSSAA, this could mean that the private schools could simply break off, take their money with them, and form their own league. I don't believe the TSSAA wants that to happen.

For many years now, the public schools have been whining that private schools have unfair advantages to achieve state championships. First of all, a lot of that is hogwash. Second of all, the problem isn't private schools. The problem is that public schools are unable to be run like the private schools, hence the need for private schools.

Part of the problem is cultural--more kids today are being born into single parent homes than ever before. (It is best for a kid to grow up in a home with a married mother and father.) The other part of the problem is bureaucratic--governmental overreach, bad legislation, wrong interpretations of law, and influence/bullying from the ACLU and Annie Laurie Gaylor's group have all contributed to the public schools' downfall. No wonder parents would rather pay double (private school costs plus property taxes) to skip a free public school education to instead send their kid to private school.

March 12, 2014 at 1:37 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Yep, Wooderson was named the best actor...Funny how things work out. Next thing you know, some guy who starred as "The Bachelor" on a reality television show will be named the lead announcer for the SEC Network. They will probably pair him with that old horndog Musberger. Television gold. I suspect any shot of the girlfriend of one of the starting quarterbacks will be followed by Jesse offering her a rose while Brent grabs his crotch and says "Hey honey, I gotta stem for ya right here!" Paul Finebaum will be to busy stirring up trouble between the Alabama and Auburn fans to notice any of it.

On the subject of television and reality stars...I did see birthday boy Ron Jeremy on some awful show on VH1. He was involved in a verbal altercation with Vanilla Ice. I paid homage to Elvis and shot my television.

March 12, 2014 at 2:11 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

GD, the show in reference is called "The Serreal Life". VH1 reality shows are basically the mutated daughter of the Jerry Springer show. Thankfully Mr. Van Winkle stepped up his game by showcasing his homebuilding skills on the DIY channel. ;)

March 12, 2014 at 2:35 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The public school folks in Georgia forced the Class A public-private split. There are a few AA private schools and a handful of AAA private schools and I think Marist might be the lone AAAA private school in Georgia's 6 As of classification. So I don't see the public-private split going much beyond Single A.

And was McConaughey's most noticeable before his Oscar-winning turn in Dallas Buyers Club (didn't see it. Or any of the other movies up for any Oscar nominations this year. Did I miss anything?) was, what, Magic Mike?

5, your ACC Rushmore needs a point guard. You could take one out of the mix of Phil Ford, Mark Price or Kenny Anderson. But Hansborough over Bias? Blasphemy.

March 12, 2014 at 2:48 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Spy, try Brad Davis at Maryland. Played tough for Lefty during Norm Sloan's hey days. I absolutely hated that guy.

When coach Sloan drove into your town to lock up a kid in has Red and White Eldorado with NC State hubcaps, the median income of the entire county shot up 5%.

March 12, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.
chas9 said...

Hurley deserves a mention. And yes, Bias over Hansborough.

The Bravos signed Ervin Santana, but Carlos was better.

March 12, 2014 at 5:36 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

FEC, I remember Brad Davis. Still go with the pride of Rocky Mount (along with Buck Williams, another Terp and ACC great) in Phil Ford.

Now, if you want to take vastly overrated ACC players, to me, that conversation begins and ends with two words. Ed. Cota. That is all.

March 12, 2014 at 6:55 p.m.
fechancellor said...

I was just a lad in Greenville south on Hwy. 43 during NC State's and the ACC as whole Golden Era in my opine. Billy Packer and Jim Thacker on Wednesdays and Saturday. Took me a while to cozy up to Joe Dean when we moved back, but I'm glad I did.

March 12, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.
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