published Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

5 at 10: Masters week, Atlanta Braves and the repercussions of an NCAA football playoff

Morning gang. The 5-at-10 will be heading South and East through a good chunk of today as we head to Augusta to set up a satellite office for the next few days. We'll check in later, but until then, you folks play nice.

Here we go...



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    Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair reacts after cutting the net after his team's 76-70 win over Notre Dame in the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

How much better is a playoff really — let the arguments proceed

The 5-at-10 is huge fan of the NCAA tournament (especially that first weekend, Holy Buzzer-Beating Buckets). You know this.

The 5-at-10 is a huge believer that college basketball's regular season has become borderline non-watchable. You know this, too.

Did the magic of the tournament make the previous five months worth it? That's debatable.

Would a college football playoff negatively alter the greatest regular season out there right now (college football is a three-month cliff-hanger, with every almost Saturday resembling that glorious first weekend of the hoops tournament)? More than likely, yes.

Certainly the BCS system needs work, but after what is supposed to be the prime example of college postseason greatness, let's review some items.

— To say the computers ruined college football is overlooking the fact that the major factor determining which teams get into the NCAA basketball tournament is the RPI.

— None of the four teams — Auburn and Oregon in football and UConn and Butler in hoops — were preseason top 10 teams, so the argument that you have to start the football season at the top is a non-starter.

— Now a college hoops coach has voted Ohio State No. 1 in his final basketball poll. That's right, according to USA Today, Northern Arizona coach Mike Adras cast his No. 1 vote for the Buckeyes. Say what? Granted, that title game set hoops back a good five years, but now we're going to have a playoff and still vote for a team that didn't win the title game? Really? You know who's going to love this? Dale Earnhardt Jr., that's who. Now after Harvick or Gordon or Johnson or whomever wins the race, we can put it to a vote, and we know Junior can fill up a ballot box. Fast.

— Maybe we should have expected the title game to be kind of a stinker. According to TFP college football super ace David Paschall, UConn was 22nd and Butler was 36th (the Bulldogs ranked 11th among the "getting votes" group) in the final college basketball poll before the NCAA tournament. By comparison, Paschall pointed out that if you take the football teams ranked 22nd and 36th before the bowl games to play for the title, you're going to have a knockdown, drag-out between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the N.C. State Wolfpack. ("Now I know for sure, I've just added two more guys to my wolfpack." Sorry, had to be done.)

What does this mean? We're not really sure, just thought it was some interesting stuff to kick around. (Not that it really matters; even if everyone else on the planet wanted a football playoff, the college presidents are not going to budge on sharing the big pie. It really would take government involvement, and the 5-at-10 doesn't know about you, but with all the other issues swirling around our great nation, the last thing we need Washington looking at is college football postseasons and steroids. Please get back to running the country.)



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    Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus speaks during a news conference before start of the Masters golf tournament Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Masters Week, Day III (part one)

We're going to have our top five guys who could win a green jacket this week in Thursday's TFP sports section. (That's what they call in the InterWeb buiz-NESS a "tease." Nice, huh? Now I feel like I've added a few more to our wolfpack.) Here are three guys that narrowly missed that list (and it may surprise you):

Tim Clark — Not a big hitter, which makes it tough at Augusta, which measures more than 7,400 yards. That said, his short game is shiny and his putting his steely. And if you've got shiny and steely in your bag, well, that generally bodes well at Augusta.

Sean O'Hair — Big hitter, the Lama, long. Seriously, O'Hair is long; he's a multiple-time winner on tour; and he's even had the big-stage implosion (remember his meltdown on No. 17 at the Players a few years ago) that helps calm nerves in major moments.

Hunter Mahan — Dude can really putt. Plus, he's finished in the top 10 each of the last two Masters. Hey, wait, maybe he should be on the top five list after all. Maybe, you'll have to wait for Thursday's paper. (It's another one of those "tease" things. War Wolfpack.)



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    Vijay Singh of Fiji watches his chip shot to the 12th green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Masters Week, Day III (part two)

We're still looking for players and a name for the "5-at-10 masterfully Masters mastered pick'em challenge." Here's the game for everyone: Submit your top five players (order is not important; points will be awarded as 5 for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth and 1 for fifth; perfect score is 15) and whoever has the most points will get a Masters trinket or something (we won't bring you back a pimento cheese sandwich, but don't expect the moon either — the 5-at-10's on a tight budget). Picks are due by tonight, and the results are after Sunday's final round (thanks Oso). As always, everyone's welcome to play, no purchase necessary. Here's the entries so far:

BIspy4 — Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood

Mcpell — Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar, Eldrick "Tiger" Woods

CelticVol — Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods

EC — Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Phil Mickelson

Bigbearzzz — Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson

WC777 — Tiger Woods, Jonny Vegas, Anthony Kim, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson (also known as Dill Pickelson)

ElJefe — Bubba Watson, Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Reitef Goosen, Bo Van Pelt

Kburgess — Bubba Watson, Anthony Kim, Aaron Baddeley, KJ Choi, and Rickie Bieber (Fowler)

OTWatcher — Phil Mickleson, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Fred Couples, Lee Westwood.

————————

Mrs. 5-at-10 — Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson

5-at-10 — Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood

TFP golf writer David Uchiyama — Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kim

Pretend Al Davis ("I'm coming for you EC.") — Ditka (What do you mean he's not in it? He's Ditka for the Love of Gene Sarazen's Sand Iron.) OK, Tiger ("Duh."), Jason Bohn ("He went to Alabama like Stabler and Namath."), Charley Hoffman ("If there was ever a golfer that looked like a "Raider Golfer," it's

this guy."), Bo Van Pelt ("Giants used to have a stud linebacker named Brad Van Pelt, maybe they're related."), Mark Wilson ("Former BYU QB right? Throws a good deep ball right? He was pretty good with us the first time in the 80s. No. That was Marc with a "C" you say? Take him anyway.)

Charlie Sheen — Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Jhonny Vegas, Ryan Moore (winning), Fred Couples

SportTalk 102.3's Dr. B (he is a doctor after all) — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson, Martin Laird

SportTalk 102.3's Quake — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kim

SportTalk 102.3's Cowboy Joe (he is a cowboy after all) — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar

Nick Bonsanto from ESPN 105.1 — Phil Mickleson, Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, KJ Choi, Bubba Watson

Side note: Still waiting some of the celeb entries, and will post some others from email later today.



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    Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward is introduced before the Braves took on the Milwaukee Brewers in a baseball game Monday, April 4, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Braves won 2-1. (AP Photo/West Bend Daily News, John Ehlke)

Braves' shoutout in a shutout

If you're a regular reader, you know the 5-at-10 likes this Atlanta Braves team.

If you're not a regular reader, well, welcome to the show and if you have not heard, the 5-at-10 likes this Braves team. There, we're all on the same page.

A 1-0 loss to the Brewers and Yovani Gallardo, who tossed a two-hitter that was awesome in its awesomeness, is hardly something to cause alarm. Those are going to happen, let's move on.

There is growing unrest in the Braves Nation about Nate McLouth hitting second in the order and star-in-the-making Jason Heyward hitting sixth. We're five games in the season, so batting averages, homers and all the other stats so far this year are not overly pertinent in this discussion.

The number that is pertinent is 18 — which according to most stat gurus is the average number of at-bats over the course of a MLB season a hitter would lose as you drop each place in the lineup. For example, if your leadoff hitter was going to get 700 ABs, then your No. 2 hitter would get roughly 682, the No. 3 hitter would be 664, etc.

So Johnny Braves Fan, looking at it that way, would you rather have Heyward or McLouth with those extra 72 ABs (the difference between hitting second and hitting sixth) this year? Thought so.



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    Texas A&M players celebrate with the trophy after their 76-70 win over Notre Dame in the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

This and that

— In case you hadn't noticed — and, as Harry Doyle would say, "And judging by the attendance, you haven't" — Texas A&M beat Notre Dame 76-70 for the women's title. Anyone else feel a little shortchanged by all the Final Four festivities — men and women — of the last five or six days? Yeah, us too.

— Sweet overstated stat projection, but at this pace, Mark Teixeira is going to finish the season with 324 RBIs. That would be a record. This is fun, SteelerFan, thanks for the suggestion.

— Former MTSU receiver Garrett Andrews is suing the NFL for the current lockout. Andrews had all of 34 catches last year for less than 400 yards and two scores, and he filed a class-action suit against the NFL because the labor issues are causing him harm. If a back-up MTSU receiver has a right to sue for a spot in the NFL, the 5-at-10 is contemplating a lawsuit against MLB because of their labor unrest in the 1980s may or may not have cost the 5-at-10 and our high-70s high school fastball our shot. Andrews is not welcomed in our wolfpack.

— Wow, how bad has the N.C. State job gotten if they were backed into the re-tread corner that is hiring former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried? Here's betting that Johnny Wolfpack Fan is less than thrilled to add Gottfried to their Wolfpack.

Until tomorrow.

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.
Eustice_Chase said...

I would like to add Gary Blair to my wolfpack, not for winning His First Women's NCAA Basketball title..no I wanna add Gary Blair for his sic-nasty version of the "dougie"...anytime a 60+ yr old man is doing the "dougie" or dunking on a 10ft goal ( Dr. J ) then I want them in my wolfpack... with that said, how about we take a page out of Tony LaRussa's playbook...lets move Nate McClouth to the 9 hole bumo the pitcher up to 8..not because he cant hit, but he has a better chance of getting on base than our Atlanta Braves pitches, except for for Hudson...anyways...i like this move...bat Heyward at 3 protected by Uggla Mccann or L-Dub...if McClouth can get on in the 9-hole...we are talking serious runs belted in...until then Im just gonna throw darts at my Fathead of John Olerud

April 6, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Sorry, 5 at 10, I was a little mesmerized by the video ad starring one Kathy Ireland. Maybe her best role since "Unnecessary Roughness." And she's still ... well, she's ... you know. Where was I? Oh, Mahan, yeah. Don't know. Can't get his Ryder Cup meltdown out of my gourd. Want a real darkhorse? Howsbout Alvaro Quiros? Good call on Clark. Not a big hitter but he did finish second one year recently at the corner of Washington and Berckmans.

April 6, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.
5_at_10 said...

Well played WC. Here we were thinking we were the only ones with an Olerud Fathead (complete with full time protective batting helmet).

April 6, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

is rickie fowler planning on wearing all Creamsicle Orange again...(sponosred by Scottie Mayfield and Puma ) ?? I'd like to see him dressed in all chrome reflective rave gear...and maybe some Elton John flashy glasses

April 6, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
5_at_10 said...

BIspy - Fair point about Mahan, something screams bi run from him. Another item of note - Ian Poulter will be near the lead come sundown Thursday. Sundown Sunday, not so much. (How about Poulter calling Eldrick? That may be Wolfpack-worthy.) WC - Did you see KBurgess Masters' picks, calling him Rickie Bieber? Well played. What to know what else was well played? The Galaga game that was at the Mexican restaurant in the ATL where had lunch.

April 6, 2011 at 1:07 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Galaga..nice...Mexican food...even nicer...Ricky Bieber...thats a blow to the midsection and those always make me giggle...just as long as he an Tiger arent dancing at Clubhouse during Post Master's Interviews...but if they are...talk about a story line!!!!!

April 6, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
Livn4life said...

There is absolutely no comparison of the NCAA basketball tournament to a possible NCAA Division 1A playoff. There would not be any 22nd or 36th teams involved. That playoff would not be as big and ridiculous as the soon to be 90something and eventually all college basketball teams with a logo and mascot. I ask in all the hoopla of this year to see how many times teams of that standing make the final 4 or win the title. Yeah you got the president thing right. But then saying the government will stay out of it and having that happen is a different matter altogether.

April 6, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I believe all College football need is a plus 1 ...you take the top 4 teams and have your Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl...then the winners would play for the BCS Championship... that to me makes the most sence...how great would it have been to have seen Auburn play once more against TCU? forget getting the Government involved..Just ask the Donald to figure it out....

April 6, 2011 at 3:06 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Arnie, Jack and Gary playing the par 3 together. And I watch it live via the Interweb. Has the nickel and dime delved into the 2012 Masters badges now being offered via online application. The waiting list has been closed since 5 at 10 was a gleam in 5 at 10's daddy's eyes. The economy has to be a factor. BIspy4's sources say that some folks have given them up after years of getting because they can't carry the expense.

April 6, 2011 at 3:15 p.m.
chas9 said...

You're right, 5-at-10, that The Ohio State can't be #1. Our younger readers won't remember way back when the losers of the tourney's semi-final games played a consolation game, so when the dust settled we could list the official No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 teams. I don't want to bring back that consolation game, but I do want to suggest that the top four teams in order should be Connecticut, Kentucky, Butler, and VCU. Logic being that KY gave CT a better game than Butler did. Looking ahead to next year, today rivals.com picked its top 25 for next year, and si.com picked its top 32. Belmont, Memphis, and Vandy made it, but not UT. Amazingly, the sincerely great Wiedmer's column today likes the Big Orange's chances. Even Homer and Shakespeare nodded off occasionally, and today Weeds has fallen asleep. Next year's Volunteers will not sniff the Final Four next year. I caught Mark's qualifier that such a boffo NCAA performance depends on keeping all four of Tobias Harris, Scotty Hopson, Chris Jones, and Kevin Ware. Don't bet your double-wide on that happening, dude. The over-under on how many Tennessee retains is two. Take any two of the four, add Tatum and two other scrubs from this year's team, and you have a team that will dwell near the cellar of the SEC East. Even a dream lineup of Harris, Hopson, Tatum, Jones and Ware won't see the Elite Eight under a first-year coach. Not much size, and nobody confuses Jones and Ware with Doron Lamb and Brandon Knight. I'd pick even the improbable dream UT lineup fourth after Kentucky, Florida, and Vandy. Even losing Terrence Jones and Knight to the NBA, Kentucky will have Lamb, Liggins, Miller, and four freshmen all ranked higher than either of Tennessee's two iffy recruits. Vandy and Florida are laded, too. It's gonna be ugly. Whatcha smoking, Weeds? Other than that, his column is great. Really.

April 6, 2011 at 3:17 p.m.
5_at_10 said...

L4L - We're on the same page about the government. If they expand the hoops tourney (which they will), hopefully they give regular season champs an auto berth - maybe that will help the regular season.

EC - What about a "plus 1 if necessary" plan. This year would have needed it - it's tough for a team to finish 14-0 and say hwy nice year. If the BCS works, great. If they need the plus 1 great. Therek like six weeks between conference championship games (which evertone needs to get to be fair) and the BCS title game.

April 6, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
kburgess1013 said...

I just wanted to say that I hope that there is no shortage of 'miner cheese sandwiches today at the Masters. I read that yesterday only one vendor had any due to power outages as a result of severe weather on Monday night. I sure would hate to think that our dutiful 5 at 10 writer was out braving the wilds of Augusta National without sustenance.

April 6, 2011 at 4:05 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Here at Prestige World Wide we are putting in the man hours..yesterday we put liquid paper on a bee..and it died..but yeah Nachos, Lemonheads and a Plus 1 if Necessary sounds pretty good...like you said, this year we could have used it but the year before there was no doubt the Crimsom Tide was #1 after embarrassing the long horns and beating the Florida Tebow's in the Sec game....

April 6, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang,

We have touched down in Augusta and have assumed our spot in seat E11 in the Masters press Shangri-La. We will post the final Masters game entries in tomorrow's 5-at-10. To catch up from some previous chatter:

You know were southern sports fans when on Masters eve and less than 48 hours after the college basketball season finished, half the discussion is BCS and plus-1 possibilities. Amen and pass the spring practice depth charts. (EC — Loved the Donald idea. "You're Hired.")

Chas9 — Thanks for swinging by and don't be a stranger. It's not too late to get your Masters' picks in either. UT has some serious rebuilding to do whether they keep all four of those guys (doubtful) or not. That said, Florida loses a lot, and you and I each know that Vandy and UK has some folks of their own that may explore pro options. Should be interesting either way.

BIspy — Hard to figure people sending these back, but you and the 5-at-10 know the powers that be at ANGC don't care about the coin, either. Maybe they're just trying to open things up for more people to see this shrine.

KBurgress — We loved, Loved, LOVED the Rickie Bieber line. It's in the books, and it's gained the official 5-at-10 Seal of Approval. Well played. As for the pimento cheese, rest easy, we'll find a way — even if there is only one stand, we will wait out the line if need be.

EC — Job well done bringing your 'A' Game while the 5-at-10 was in transit. Well played, sir. And Galaga was awesome — if they had had a Defender machine or a Punchout, well, we'd still be at La Fiesta in Smyrna, Ga.

— 5-at-10

April 6, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.
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