published Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

5 at 10: NFL QB power poll, Overall power poll and College Football Hodgepodge

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    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

Don't forget about Friday's mailbag and we're still fine-tuning our Bowl Bonanza (if you have any thoughts or suggestions, as always, feel free), so know we have that coming.

From the "Mama McNabb stage here at the Al Davis Studio," here we go...

NFL QB Power Poll

We talked a little about this Monday, but it deserves more attention. Did anyone see that Cam Newton and the Panthers were running the option and using spread sets in Carolina's 38-19 whipping of Tampa Bay? There were a lot of NFL coordinators who saw it, and the offensive guys went, "Hey, maybe we can do that," and the defensive guys asked, "Hey, how are we going to stop that?"

And yes, there's a lot of concern about injuries to running quarterbacks, but at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Cam Newton is not your average running quarterback.

As for Cam's rookie season, it's fair to say he's over-exceeded even the highest of expectations. He has completed better than 60 percent of his throws for 3,297 yards and 13 TDs with 14 picks. He has rushed for 518 yards and an NFL-record-for-a-quarterback 13 TDs. Which causes the 5-at-10 to ponder, if you are the Panthers, which quarterbacks would you trade Newton for straight-up.

Using Cam as the measuring stick to see where the league's QBs rank, let's examine this in TD circles (groups of seven):

There's the game-winning TD circle (or the power QB accounting firm) of Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Manning and Manning. This group laughs at the Panthers for making the suggestion.

There's the garbage time TD circle of whomever is QB du jour ("hmmmm, that sounds good, we'll have that") for the Seahawks, Cardinals, Vikings, Titans, Redskins, Jaguars and Dolphins. This group does not have enough assets to even call the Panthers about Fig Newtons, much less Cam Newton.

Then there's the easy TD group of Colt McCoy, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel, Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer. This group is filled with teams that would pause for just a second and say, "Well he's been our QB for a while and he's liked in the clubhouse, but OK, we'll trade him for Cam," and then hang up the phone and high-five everyone in sight, including the lady that cleans the bathroom who always seems to be in the men's room on your floor right when you need to go.

That leaves 10 starting QBs around the league to answer the following question, would you trade Cam Newton for (blank)?

Matt Schaub? No.

Matt Stafford? No.

Tony Romo? No, but it's closer than most would think.

Mike Vick? Absolutely, since Cam is a bigger, younger version of Vick.

Joe Flacco? Yes.

Andy Dalton? Yes.

Sam Bradford? Yes, but it's close.

Josh Freeman? Yes.

Tim Tebow? Who knows? Two more Tebow come-from-behind wins and Denver fans may elect him governor of Colorado.

Matt Ryan? Here's the big one. We say no, but there'd be a lot more debate than most would care to admit. (And that's as much about Cam being better than expected as Ryan being overrated, since both are true.)


NFL power poll

It's no surprise that the information above details greatly where teams rank. There are a few undeniable truths in sports, and the NFL being a QB-driven league is high among them.

With that in mind, here's our rankings:

Top 5

1) Green Bay: Duh.

2) New England: If a nasty defense is known as salty, can we call an awful defense "sweet" from now on? Great. The Pats defense is so, So, SO sweet. And cuddly. (The flippin' Colts scored 24 on them for crying out loud.)

3) New Orleans: The proof-reader on the corrections part of the NFL record book needs to make sure he knows that Drew Brees is spelled B-R-E-E-S. He's on pace to throw for more than 5,400 yards this year. Yep, Drew Brees is going to top 3 miles in passing this season. That just sounds cool, you know?

4) Pittsburgh: The Steelers have stealthily glided by the quarter poll at 9-3, and with the Browns twice, the Rams and the 49ers remaining on the schedule, it's hard to see Pittsburgh finishing any worse than 12-4.

5) San Francisco: Yes, Alex Smith is still their QB, but they keep winning, too. Go figure.

Bottom 5

28) Washington: There are a lot of bad 4-8 teams that are caught in the deadly NFL vortex of being good enough to win a few but not good enough to make a run. Washington is the poster child for this. Since the 2000, the Redskins are 80-107. That's not good.

29) Jacksonville: The Monday night whipping shows maybe it wasn't all fired coach Jack Del Rio's fault. Speaking of Rio, that new "Rio" song from the Disney movie is catchy. Thoughts? (and yes, with two kids under the age of 4, we are well-versed on the ways of the Mouse.)

30) St. Louis: Hey, didn't you used to be Sam Bradford?

31) Minnesota: If you're a Vikings season-ticket holder, and the starting backfield Sunday when Denver came to town was Christian Ponder and Toby Gerhart, aren't you thinking about asking for a refund?

32) Indianapolis: Gross.


We'll take college football hodgepodge for $200, Alex

— Hugh Freeze was hired to be the Ole Miss football coach. Freeze has an interesting tapestry in football. He was the high school coach of Michael Oher (the "Blindside" story) in high school — although he denied the scenes in which Sandra Bullock's character comes out of the stands to calls him on a cell phone with tips during a game. Freeze was the lowest paid FBS coach in the country last year, making a shade more than $200,000 while leading Arkansas State to a 10-win season. Freeze was a finalist for the UTC job when the Mocs hired Russ Huesman three years ago. He was super-excited at the introduction ceremony at Ole Miss on Monday. Getting an extra digit in your annual paycheck can do that — whether Sandra Bullock is calling or not.

— The Heisman finalists were announced. You know that Trent Richardson, RG III and Andrew Luck will duke it out for the honor. Tyrann Mathieu is making a late push with his end-of-the-season heroics on defense and special teams for top-ranked LSU. This got the 5-at-10 thinking (which, yes, CJ, can be a dangerous thing), if Charles Woodson was good enough to edge out Peyton Manning in 1997, Mathieu is certainly good enough to edge out Luck, the most-NFL-ready QB since Manning, and the rest of the field. Well, Mathieu, who had a better season this fall than Woodson did in '97, does not have the full support of ESPN, the way Woodson did 14 years ago.

— Some of the smaller jobs — UMass and Tulane — are starting to be filled. Ole Miss has landed Mr. Freeze. Now the bigger fish are starting to swim around the bigger ponds. Texas A&M appears to be down to two names — Houston's Kevin Sumlin and Southern Miss's Larry Fedora. One of those bigger ponds is not even a head coaching job. Urban Meyer, THE new coach at THE Ohio State University, is looking to add some big names to his staff with names such as Gus Malzahn, who is rumored to be leaving Auburn for every job this side of Jack Bauer's sidekick to Simon Cowell's straight guy, or Mike Stoops.

— As for our view on the coaching names out there, let's go Larry King-style: "Lexington, hello..." "We've said this from the get-go, but if we had an opening, our first call is to Charlie Strong."

— The AP All-SEC team was released Monday. Here's the breakdown of first-team picks: Alabama and LSU 5, Georgia 4, Arkansas 3, Tennessee and South Carolina 2, Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Florida 1 each, Ole Miss and Vandy 0. Who's surprised that 5-7 UT had the same number of All-SEC players as 10-2 South Carolina? And more than bowl-bound Auburn, Florida, Miss. State and Vandy?


This and that

— How about some breaking news in today's TFP. Ralph Potter returns home to Chattanooga to coach football at McCallie. Potter had some big-time success there during his previous run — including the 2001 state title — before heading to Brentwood Academy.

— Great job by Harris English, getting his PGA Tour card at Q-school, which finished Monday. English, the former Baylor School star, finished in the top 25, and another local golf star, Luke List finished in the top 50 and will be fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour next season.

— The Marlins are talking with Albert Pujols. Here's more Larry King, "West Palm Beach, hello...." "Yes, if we had a bag of money, we'd sign Albert Pujols AND Prince Fielder. Wow what a line-up..."


Today's question

Feel free to weigh in on any of the above topics, including the QB trade chart.

Also feel free to offer Bowl Bonanza ideas or more of your bowl complaints, those are good times.

But here's a side note question: When we were talking about Ralph Potter returning to McCallie in the office Monday, some one mentioned Harry Potter for no other reason than the last name connection. It got the 5-at-10 thinking (which, yes, CJ, can be a dangerous thing), what name would have been a normal person's name and everything was fine dandy until and you're Harry down the street and everything, then... BANG... now you're HARRY POTTER? Really? You're name is HARRY POTTER?

Any thoughts? (And yes, we had the "Office Space" exchange, too, so Michael Bolton counts, too.)

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.
BIspy4 said...

keep in mind the Pats D gave up points and yards the last two weeks when the game was already well in hand. Even Belichick's scowl had gone back to the locker room by the start of the fourth quarter.

Maybe if your name is really Sheldon Cooper, you start getting questions about the Big Bang Theory and Kaley Cuoco. And the two main characters in the show, if you put the first names together, are the name of the great sitcom mastermind and pioneer Sheldon Leonard. Nice touch, Chuck Lorre. Winning!

December 6, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
memphisexile said...

Excuse me, Flo? What's the soup du jour?

As much as I dislike Cam Newton, it looks like he is going to be a good one. Once he gets some experience and becomes more comfortable in the passing game they won't even have to run the option, just the threat of it will open up receivers. It is fun to see these NFL guys finally throw up their hands and let Tebow and Newton play to their strengths. Maybe all those college coaches and their "gimmick" spread offense were on to something after all. If you have a guy that is a legitimate running threat who is durable (my concern yesterday) like Newton and Tebow apparently are, it completely changes the game.

Hopefully we can now see a little inovation in the NFL offenses like in college.

December 6, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show McPell (and this is just inside the line of fair/foul for a family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column) —

On the whole I'd rather be called by Sandra Bullock, than coach Ole Miss - I'd have a better chance of scoring...



December 6, 2011 at 11:34 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

The Pats D is so cute when they try to tackle. They are downright snuggly. No sweat though because Tommy and Wes and Robbie and the rest of the Brady bunch can score with anyone — you, too, Green Bay.

Memphis —

Kick his tail Sea Bass.

Newton is nightmare to stop right now, and the Falcons will get their turn on Sunday. Atlanta better bring four TDs (at least with them) because Cam and Co. are starting to click.

McPell —

Even "The Net" was better than the Ole Miss offense this fall.

Sidenote for group: At least one Kansas newspaper columnist is saying that one Phillip Q. Fulmer is interested in the Kansas job. Wow, and the hits just keep on coming for Johnny Vols Fans everywhere. If Fulmer does get a job and has some success, that would not be good for the Derek Dooley regime.

— 5-at-10

December 6, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.
eljefe said...

I'll take your questions starting with the last. Personally knowing a Ronald McDonald I can tell you the young man was tormented. I just don't understand what his parents were thinking.

Also, I know it has been said but the best college football name ever is Barkevious Mingo. That is not a punter's name. He does not even need a nickname. Even if he did need one, I'm letting him pick his own.

I am not surprised Auburn only had one All SEC player but I would be evn more surprised to learn his name was something other than Michael Dyer. There is no way Tennessee has 2 all SEC players unless the rankings have some prosepective talent formula of which I am unaware.

Give the Heisman Trophy to Mathieu. Yeah, I said it and now it's on the internet where it will never die. I still would rather bang my head against the wall than watch LSU succeed but I still believe in certain fundamental principles. One of which is the Heisman trophy is given to the best player in college football that year. I am not so concerned about whether the winner will be an NFL success. Brief argument: The young man has always performed in every game and against the best in college football. I will concede that before the LSU/Arkansas game and the SEC Championship I would have given it to Richardson.

Also, Tyrann Mathieu has to win some award for the most sissy sounding name for a football player. Maybe his parents should talk to the Mingos the next time they have to name a child.

December 6, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jefe —

Ronald McDonald? Really? There should be some sort of criminal charge against parents for something like. With the Harry Potter scenario or the goof balls that Spy mentioned that no one knows of, there's a real chance that could have been your name and then something happened.

Like say how many dudes are out there that are 50 years old and named George Bush?

And yes, we've long been a supporter of and intimidated by Barkevious Mingo. Here's saying he'll play for the Steelers or Ravens or Raiders. This will happen.

As for the Honey Badger, great call that Tyrann is not the toughest name around. Heck when your nickname is the Honey Badger and that's tougher than your real name, well, that's not that tough.

— 5-at-10

December 6, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...

my grandad wanted to name me paul harvey. parents wouldnt have it.

December 6, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jharvey —

Now we know the rest of the story.

— 5-at-10

December 6, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
Cjoyner said...

Sadly there are legions of young children named Jacob and Isabella after the lead characters in the teen angst-vampire series "Twilight." For the rest of their lives they will be forced to explain, "Well, Mom and Dad were pretty young when I was born ..."

How about Vic Hitler, the narcoleptic comic from Hill Street Blues. That's a tough one.

December 6, 2011 at 1:23 p.m.
Cjoyner said...

As an aside, word is that Fedora will accept the head coaching job at North Carolina, which I guess means Sumlin goes to A&M. I'm not sure that Fedora couldn't do better than UNC. Perhaps if he stayed another year ... Hey, a guy can dream, right?

December 6, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
jgreeson said...

CJ —

The Jacob thing could be explained with biblical; got nothing for you on Isabella. (Although if you name your tots either of those names, do they have to be pale, sullen and pasty?)

Vic Hitler is going to be tough to beat. We'll see your Vic Hitler and raise you a 1980s Wayne Williams.

If Fedora lands UNC, that may be the plum job of this offseason, and saves a lot of headaches for Auburn folks since Malzahn was rumored to be the leader in the clubhouse there for a while now.

Still no takers on the prospects of Phillip Q. Fulmer being a potential candidate at Kansas?

— 5-at-10

December 6, 2011 at 1:42 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Phil Fulmer accepting the Kansas job: "We're going to "work like heck" as soon as I take a nap."

December 6, 2011 at 1:43 p.m.
Walden said...

I once knew a kid named Dennis Thamennas. He didn't have it nearly as bad as my old pal Harry Balzcak though.

December 6, 2011 at 1:59 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...

my mom used to have a friend named Tom Morrow. Also, I went to school with a guy named Will Blow. Never understood why he didnt go by Bill or Billy or Willy or whatever his middle name was. On the whole fulmer thing: not too many johnny vols fans are missing him too much, good luck in kansas.

December 6, 2011 at 2:22 p.m.
chas9 said...

And when you look at the second team all-SEC and honorable mentions, Nada there. Zippo. The Vols showing is even bleaker vs. other, customary bottom-tier teams.

December 6, 2011 at 2:22 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

They can only work like heck to fix things in Kansas after they review the film.

As for the nap, well, who couldn't use a nap.

Walden —

Hmmmmm. Something tells us you may or may not have made those up. Which then begs the question "Was your Harry Balzcak an imaginary friend?"

OK. That is all references to Harry and his pretend group of sidekicks.

Jharvey —

Will went to UTC and played football didn't he? (Seriously.) Tom Morrow is pretty good, unless of course you are Tom Morrow.

9er —

Fair point. About the second team. And if there was a third team, there would not be many Vols on it either.

Is this the least talented UT roster since early in the Majors administration? And when was the last time UT was this bad at running back. Even in previous down cycles there was a Hardesty or Foster or a couple of guys that had at least a shot at the NFL. Could Marlin Lane get there? Maybe. And he's the best RB on the roster by far right now.

— 5-at-10

December 6, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...

i didnt know will too well, but im pretty sure he wasnt an athlete; guess there could be two of them.

December 6, 2011 at 2:49 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...

is it that we are bad at running back or is it that we are bad at o line? I think if you put Poole or Lane behind a descent line they could produce.

December 6, 2011 at 2:52 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

Used to know someone named Sandy Shores...also a Mary Christmas...then there's Harry Carey....but I agree...WHY do parents DO this??!!

Personally, I like COLT McCOY...sounds like a really tough guy....or a cowboy movie star....or a wrassler...or a bronco rider...or a chain-smoking P.I...or 007's replacement...

Speaking of Phillip....well, GOOD LUCK with that one, Kansas...

If Dooley gets kicked...WHO should Tennessee go after?

December 6, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jharvey —

Seems like there was a DB/WR type named Wil Blow at Hixson a few years ago. Think he changed it to Wilford Blow. May be a different dude.

Excellent counter point about the OL's struggles this year. Don;t think Poole has an NFL gear, but Lane may — provided he starts holding on to the ball.

ER8 —

Mary Christmas? Really? Was it a married name or was that given? Why do parents do that?

Colt McCoy is a good one. So is Sterling Sharpe and Lynn Swann and Bronco Nagurski. and of course DITKA. (Moment of silence for our man Pretend Al Davis.)

Too late in the day to start down the Dooley path today. Let's cover that tomorrow.

— 5-at-10

December 6, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
BIspy4 said...


Nice call on narcoletpic funnyman Vic Hitler, as discovered by LaRue and Washington.

December 6, 2011 at 3:35 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I'd love to see Fedora on Les Miles' coaching staff.

December 6, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...

a quick google search turns up this TFP article on wilford:

LB Wilford Blowe, Hixson, UTC — Academic and injury issues prevented the former high school quarterback from fully breaking out as an outside linebacker at UTC, which frustrated those who saw him consistently perform solidly and occasionally spectacularly on the practice field. In 26 games from 2004 to ’06, the 6-foot, 195-pound Blowe had 60 tackles, 5.5 for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

this is definately not the guy i went to school with (we went to soddy daisy) and the guy i knew spelled his name blow not blowe. So looks like at least two people in the chatty area are unlucky enough to have that as their god-given (or should i say sadistic parent-give) names.

December 6, 2011 at 4:01 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Wil, Will or Wilford, however it was spelled, had FCS/1-A ability but seemed to be a bit of a buckethead.

December 6, 2011 at 4:08 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Are you saying you'd like to see Fedora on the Mad Hatter's staff? We see what you did there and we like it. What about Joe Kapp? Or Wilford Brimley? Maybe Beanie Wells could coach RBs? Fez Bryant could coach WRs? Garrison Hearst needs a spot on staff. We'll stop now.

Jharvey —

Thanks. Nice research.

LaughingBoy —

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to swing by any time.

Yes, that seems spot on. Made some big plays — for the Wildcats and the Mocs — and some really bad decisions.

— 5-at-10

December 6, 2011 at 4:48 p.m.
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