published Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

5 at 10: College bowl game ranks, Baseball Winter Meetings and Coaching Carousel

Don't forget about Friday's mailbag.

We're trying something new this morning. In honor of watching UNC play hoops — a poetry of outlet passes, alley-oops and a full-speed assault — we're going with a fast-break 5-at-10, where every entry is three paragraphs or less (or you're next one is free). Besides, there're a lot of folks who think we talk too much anyway (shut it Jefe).

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

  • photo
    Oregon head coach Chip Kelly getting doused after their 37-20 win over Oregon State in an NCAA college football game, in Corvallis, Ore. In sports, the University of Oregon Ducks ended one season by losing the Rose Bowl game to Ohio State, 26-17. But this season, coach Chip Kelly's hurry-up offense harried twelve opponents into defeat. They face No. 1 Auburn Jan. 10 for the national championship. Kelly was the AP's coach of the year.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File)

The man with no name ranks the college bowl games

The good — The BCS title game; all of the Jan. 2 games, especially the Fiesta Bowl; Mike Bianchi's one-liner about Urban Meyer's influence on the Ohio State-Florida matchup in the Gator Bowl, which he dubbed Urban Renewal vs. Urban Decay — well-played indeed; Champ Sports Bowl, which lucked into FSU-Notre Dame, a shiny matchup of power programs which is the dream for smaller bowls.

The bad — The treatment given to Boise State and TCU — think of it this way, if Boise State had made a field goal vs. TCU, the Broncos would be in the BCS title game, but since they missed the kick they landed in the Las Vegas Bowl against an Arizona State team that fired its coach (which really puts a whole new spin on the "every game matters" argument, since a few dozen feet is the difference between facing LSU for the whole ball of wax and facing the Devils in Sin City); the attendance at the Music City Bowl, where a less-than-enthused Mississippi State fan base will need to carry the smallish fan base of Wake Forest.

The ugly — The 'interim' coaches news conferences at the Kraft Fight Hunger (and every other worthy cause) Bowl since Illinois nor UCLA have a head coach; that Ball State and Western Kentucky — each finished 6-6 — were left out of the bowl process despite UCLA getting a spot at 6-7; the shaft that Southern Miss (being forced out of the regular spot reserved for the C-USA champ) got and the shaft that Missouri got (moved to the bottom of the Big 12 poll pecking order, something that probably had NOTHING to do with Missouri leaving the conference for the SEC, huh?); Hey, didn't you used to be top-ranked Oklahoma, and what are you doing here at the Insight.com Bowl?

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Baseball winter meetings

Albert Pujols has offers from the Cards and the Cubs and the Marlins that we know about. The numbers are staggering — nine or 10 years in the neighborhood of $200 million — and his influence and arrive for any of those teams makes them contenders in the National League. The Marlins have already added Jose Reyes and Heath Bell and are pursuing Mark Buerhle, so the Fish are looking to spend their limit.

Atlanta has been relatively quiet, but if the Marlins continue to make a charge — and the Nationals, too, who are considered to be the leaders for Buerhle — the Braves may be forced to make some noise.

The biggest trade so far is Boston sending manager Terry Francona to ESPN Sunday night baseball for former analyst Bobby Valentine. Considering Bobby V.'s off the charts on the irritability scale, this is a win for baseball fans everywhere and a possible lose-lose for Red Sox Nation.

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Coaching carousel, part III

— Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has a fun story on former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer being interested in the job at Kansas. Couple of quick points: 1) It's hard to fathom that a guy with a 152-52 record and a national title is having this hard of a time landing a J-O-B; 2) There is nothing outside of Derek Dooley's control that would be worse for him and his regime than a motivated Fulmer (and you know he's going to work like heck and recruit his tail off) landing a job then making a recruiting splash and winning 8-plus games next fall. It would re-energize the UT old guard that thought firing Fulmer was a huge mistake and recharge their efforts to try to bring Phil back to Knoxville.

— There seems to be a lot of heavy petting between soon-to-be-former Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora and UNC (sorry CJ). Of course Spy mentioned that Fedora would be a good fit on working for Les Miles (that'd put 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.

— There figure to be some moves in the next 24 hours. In addition to Fedora and UNC, there's talk that Alabama OC Jim McElwain and Memphis are passing notes in study hall and Texas A&M is closing in on Houston's Kevin Sumlin. (Side note: We've said from the beginning that we'd be a little cautious of Sumlin, since we don't know how much of Houston's near-BCS run was Sumlin or record-setting QB Case Keenum, but we also feel there may be no tougher big job this side of Penn State than Texas A&M, which limped to the finish this year and will have to replace a lot of pieces as it moves into the SEC West, which is the toughest division this side of the AFC North).

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This and that

— Completing their continent conquest by covering the corners of the country (how about that alliteration, gang?) the Big East has added Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, UCF and Houston. Boise State and SDSU will be members in football only. This is nuts.

— After starting his own rumors that he'd be interested in talking with some NFL teams, serial retiree Brett Favre has announced he has "no plans to play football." In other news, the 5-at-10 has "no plans to join the NBA," so all you interested GMs, just know that no means no. Seriously, Brett, it's time to ride off into the sunset. For good.

— Georgia landed a huge commitment Wednesday when running back Keith Marshall picked the Bulldogs over a slew of other interested suitors. As for the rumors and the ramblings that Isaiah Crowell is less than a great teammate, well, there's nothing that gets a kid's attention quicker than landing his replacement. We have said for a while now that when a program needs certain in-coming freshmen and young players (Crowell, Da'Rick Rogers, etc.) more than the player needs the program that's when big-time attitude problems can arise.

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Today's question

The Indianapolis Colts are 0-12 and have a two-game lead in the race for the No. 1 overall pick. Peyton Manning seems to be progressing to the point that he may be able to play again next year.

We all know that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will be the No. 1 overall pick — he's the best NFL QB prospect to come out since Manning in 1997. Plus, with the new salary scale for rookies and draft picks, Luck will not command the high eight figure signing bonus that means he has to get on the field right now (by comparison, Cam Newton got a four-year, $22 million deal as the No. 1 pick last April). Peyton's camp fired the first shot Tuesday when Archie Manning said that a Luck-Peyton duo would not be the best fit for anyone.

The question is simple, if the Colts land the No. 1 pick and Manning is slated to come back, what do you do: draft Luck and let Manning groom him for a year or two; deal Manning and start over and count your lucky stars that your franchise will have 30 consecutive years of good-to-great QB play; deal the No. 1 pick, which likely will be the most valuable draft pick in all of sports? The question may be simple the answer is not.

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...

Peyton definatley does NOT want Luck in Indy...Manning has had his eyes, for more than a couple of years, on another QB that is more like him on and off the field...The Colts can't afford the PR nightmare that would result should they attempt to trade Saint Peyton...He will remain a Colt, and they will draft per his wishes...

December 7, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
Cjoyner said...

The Braves have been relatively quiet. So has Vladimir Lenin. Let's hope the former shows a little life soon or their NL East dreams will be dead as the latter. Fedora going to Chapel Hill means more shuffling among the poor sisters. USM leakers looking for Larry The Hat's replacement have SEC dreams. Ole Miss DC Tyrone Nix is on the list, but so is South Carolina assistant Ellis Johnson, Auburn OC Gus Malzahn (yeah, right)and LSU RB coach Frank Wilson (a former Fedora staffer). Houston will be looking likewise, like Lilliputians jabbing with tiny spears at the ankles of the SEC giant. Sigh.

December 7, 2011 at 11:19 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Ah, but cjoyner, if they get him pulled down and tied down, the denizens of Lilliput have a fighting chance. Or perhaps Houston and the Golden Eagles of Hattiesburg are normal, just tossed into the land of the Brobdignagians.

5, I see that you got my subterfuge and I like it. On my way to work this morning, I noticed a person of the road trying to cross four lanes of Highway 17, with requisite camouflage jacket and duffel bag across his back.

And a Masters cap.

December 7, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.

Hey Jay, other than Knowshon Moreno what UGA RBs have met the high expectations under Coach Mark Richt? Right. It's about 1 for whatever it seems and I. Crowell was the lynchpin of his Dream Team. I still say that Richt's tenure is a mirror of Fulmer's. Broken Dreams.

December 7, 2011 at 11:46 a.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

The Manning-Luck soap opera would make Montana-Young look like Abbott and Costello and Favre-Rodgers look like Laurel and Hardy. It could get big time ugly.

The thing that we're curious about is, after watching the Colts be this bad without great QB play, how can you not make Luck happen knowing that Peyton has at most five years left (and that was pre-neck injury)?

CJ —

The silence from the A-T-L is deafening. Yes, we know that there is help in the bushes, especially at short, but this lineup does not have enough to win the East and the starting pitching is a collection of 2s and 3s, which again is not good enough in a division that is getting better by the week (seriously, every team that does not rhyme with "Stew Dork Nets" is good and getting better.

Ball's in your court Frank Wren.

As for the USM Eagles, Fedora was a great fit and worked his way up. All you have to do is go find the next one (easier said than done, we know). Hey, Fulmer's available. So is Terry Bowden. And former UTC coach Rodney Allison

Seriously, what about someone like Chad Morris, Clemson's OC who studied under Malzahn? Could you role the dice for someone with some baggage like a Butch Davis? Of the names you mentioned, Frank Wilson could be a home run there. (Don't think you have the amenities to land Gus, though.)

Spy —

Was it a camo Masters hat? Because if there's one of those out there, the 5-at-10 must have it. (Or at least the visor version.)

— 5-at-10

December 7, 2011 at 11:52 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Alas, 5, it was not. Just a plain khaki hat with the iconic Augusta National logo.

Atop the head of a hobo. How very ... odd.

December 7, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.
jgreeson said...

BTG —

Great question.

Our UGA ace David Paschall had a great stat earlier this year on the number of different backs that have lead the team in rushing.

Moreno and 3-star Carlton Thomas are the ones other than Crowell that come to mind. UGA is going to be pretty good next year in an SEC East that has no clear-cut favorite. The Bulldogs will have the top QB in the East and a front-seven defensively that returns a lot of shiny pieces (especially if Jarvis Jones comes back).

— 5-at-10

December 7, 2011 at 12:01 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JG - As I said previously Peyton has had one QB on his radar for the last couple of years...

December 7, 2011 at 12:26 p.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

The Colts could do way worse than having BJ holding a clipboard and learn from Manning. (Although, here's saying the Colts likely won't take Coleman No. 1 overall.)

Spy —

Hobo or no Hobo, if dude has Masters style, he's got to flaunt it. Period.

— 5-at-10

December 7, 2011 at 12:29 p.m.
memphisexile said...

The Colts will take Luck, because at the end of the day it is the best move for them. What Peyton wants shouldn't matter. He can play while Luck sits, or if he can't handle it they can trade him for some pieces to put around Luck. Either way the Colts win. The third scenario is that Luck gets drafted and Manning ignores him a la Favre/Rodgers. Colts still win because they get both guys and Luck gets to sit and absorb. Manning needs to grow up, realize his career is almost over and go out gracefully with some dignity, not kicking and screaming like Favre. Personally, I think he should retire now and avoid serious injury, he has nothing left to prove. Maybe then I can finally get relief from Vols fans pretending to be Colts fans (this has annoyed me for years).

December 7, 2011 at 1:28 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JG - I agree he is not overall #1, but stories flying all fall about how Peyton does want the Colts to draft BJ

December 7, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I'm not much above that gentleman's station in life and I proudly display my Masters hat in Hooters across the Southeast. (Did I just type that out loud?)

Don't diminish the contributions of one Musa Smith in the Georgia backfield during the David Greene era. Granted, there have been some less than stellar accomplishments from the amalgam of heralded running backs Tween the Hedges - King, Ealey, Michael Cooper, Kregg Lumpkin, Danny Ware, Thomas Brown (who might have had a decent career if not for injuries), Thomas Flowers, to name a few.

December 7, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.
fechancellor said...

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger's interveiw with Phil Fulmer...

Fulmer: "I believe I can take the program to new heights given your fine facilities and the fact that there are a few playmakers on your team."

Zenger: "What about at quarterback?"

Fulmer: "Don't worry. With my California contacts I've got access to 7th best QB in the state or some times better."

Zenger: "Oh yes, that would be exciting."

Fulmer: "Do you mind if I ask a few questions of my own?'

Zenga: "Shoot!"

Fulmer: "Is there a Tastee Freeze nearby? They make the best ice cream. As for private golf courses, how many are in the area?"

Zenga: "We have 5 public golf courses and one private with in a twenty mile radius."

Fulmer: "That God! at least one course is private. Can you also tell me if a Bojangles is office adjacent : they have the best breakfast biscuits. Same for the Krystals tiny bun."

Zenga: "No Bojangles or Krystal instead we have a White Castle and Hardees. I hope you can understand our limitations."

Fullmer: "What about accommodation? Does the University provide a house for coaches?"

Zenga: "We no longer have a coach’s house. I suggest you might rent or build your own. Be careful not to be seen too ostentatious, home values here will not support a sell if you have to get out fast."

Fulmer: "Is there an Olive Garden nearby? My wife loves the place, and I adore the all you can eat side salad and soup deal."

Zenga (with some relief): "We do have an Olive Garden! Anything else I can answer?"

Fulmer: "Does anyone in the area serve Pulled Pork BBQ along with a quality brisket, if they do this becomes two part question.... is Krispy Cream where I can wash all that down with a half-gallon of milk?"

Zenga: "You can see, coach, there's plenty see, do and eat in our community. Are you sastified you can live here?"

Fulmer: “Only if I can find a suitable lot with in two miles of the Golden Corral."

December 7, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.
chas9 said...

5er--Fast break is good, but KY runs it better than NC, or will by year's end.

Impressive literary allusions on the parts of Spy and CJ, but they'll never best Jay at pop culture.

If Missouri and WVA were already in the SEC, The Vols would have been 13th out out of 14. Ouchful.

FEC--Did Fillmore ask about the nearest Cheesecake Factory? I mean getting a job there.

December 7, 2011 at 3:50 p.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

We thought that was who you were referring to.

Spy —

There has been some talent through Athens, no doubt. Musa and Thomas Brown were underrated. Michael Cooper, not so much.

And dude, the Masters logo is good for all comers.

FE to the C —

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the comedy stylings for FEC. OUT-flippin-STANDING.

And there's no doubt the Olive Garden will seal it for Fulmer.

— 5-at-10

December 7, 2011 at 3:57 p.m.
shawpit said...

I like how you promised to keep everything to three paragraphs and lived up to your word, it is refreshing once in awhile, but most of the time I prefer to read lengthy and detailed reports for sure as long as there are reading aids! Shawn - http://www.pitching.com

April 23, 2012 at 12:40 a.m.
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