From the "Mama McNabb stage at the Al Davis studio," here we go:
Early bird tweets
Now that was a strange weekend for the UTC basketball team. Quick recap: Mocs leave for Lexington, Ky., on Friday for what's expected to be a whipping (and a $90,000 pay day); the program learns of senior starter Chris Early's mid-November Twitter attack on UTC coach John Shulman (and dude was throwing major-league Twitter bombs, stuff way worse than "Up your nose with a rubber hose"); Early is suspended indefinitely; Mocs lose by 25 to Kentucky, which is better than it sounds since UTC was down 18-2 inside the first few minutes of the game.
OK, everyone up to speed? Good, and here's our TFP UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama's story on the Early suspension (UTC’s Chris Early suspended for anti-coach tweets).
Social media and sports make cross companions at times. Early is certainly not the first athlete or coach or sports personnel to get egg on his face by putting his emotions and feelings into the written word, that almost always gets out. He won't be the last either.
Here are a couple things about this situation:
1) The 5-at-10 commends UTC for having a social media policy that allows players to participate in social media. And sure, it may sound Draconian and anti-American, but there are several college programs that forbid Twitter and the like. In our view, that's the easy way out. If part of college athletics, especially at the mid-major basketball level, is preparing kids for life after college, then this is part of that. Here's saying that Chris Early — and more than likely any of the other Mocs — will commit the ultimate social media faux pas. And later in life it could cost one of those guys a job or who knows what else.
2) That said, the comments about Early's online comments have been surprising. There has been more feedback that would be filed under the categories "He's right," and "Shulman is trouble," than "Stupid kid made a mistake" or "Early was not any good any way." There's obviously more than a touch of unrest among the fan base.
3) Here's saying this moment is the crossroad for this season. There's a real chance an event like this can galvanize a team — and at least the front-court tandem of the UTZ MocZ of Z. Mason and Drazen Zlovaric was obviously inspired against UK. There's also a chance that this makes things worse. And worse than 3-7 does not seem like a lot of fun.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is helped up by a teammate after he was sacked during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won the game 19-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Our TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer had a good column today (strong weekend by Weeds, by the way) on the NFL madness that was highlighted by the Packers first loss of the season and the Colts first win.
According to RJ Bell of pregame.com, if you had wagered $100 on a two-team parlay without point spreads for the Chiefs to beat Green Bay and the Colts to beat Tennessee, the pay out would have been $2,240. If you had added the Redskins, who thumped NFC East-leading New York, the pay out would have jumped to $7,850. Cha-Christmas.
The wildness of the scoreboard watching Sunday showed us three things:
1) In no other league is there more parity than the NFL. Period and end of discussion.
2) We're of the mind that losing to Kansas City helped the Packers in their effort to win a second consecutive Super Bowl. The Packers need just one more win or one more 49ers loss to secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. When that happens, the Pack can proceed to rest its starters and not worry about answering 16-0 questions or the surrounding drama.
3) Don't look now, but the Colts' seemingly insurmountable lead in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes is down to one game. After beating the Titans — and handing Tennessee's playoff chances a major blow — the Colts are 1-13; Minnesota and St. Louis are 2-12. The intrigue that could come with next April's NFL draft could be off the charts. (P.S. The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.)
Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) shoots over Austin Peay guard Jerome Clyburn (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Brimer)
College hoops power poll
Our man Chas9 does a weekly college hoops Top Tenn of teams from the Volunteer State. It's tougher than it may seem since the state of the state is not all that impressive in men's college hoops.
We're committing to making Monday our college hoops power poll day. We'll do a Top 8 (in reference to teams that look worthy of a No. 1 or No. 2 seed).
Here's the first edition:
1) Kentucky — Yes, they have a loss, but this team is deeper than any other and as talented as anyone.
2) UNC — The Heels, not unlike the Wildcats, have multiple lottery picks on their roster. Seems UK has a little more depth, though.
3) Syracuse — You may not know all of their players, but their match-up zone defense is arguably the biggest difference-maker in the game.
4) Louisville — Another team that will guard you from one end of the floor to the other.
5) Baylor — When did we wake up and Baylor has a Heisman winner and a top-five college hoops team? How did this happen?
6) UConn — The Huskies will get better as the year progresses. Plus, UConn has the best Mr. Drummond since Arnold and Willis moved in.
7) Ohio State — Would rank higher if Jared Sullinger could stay healthy, but Jared Sullinger can't stay healthy.
8) Florida — Biggest wildcard on the list — and yes we have them ahead of Duke because the Gators are more athletic. Plus, Florida has a wealth of backcourt options.
Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press Corey Gearrin, left, gives David Frailey his hat back after signing it Tuesday at Academy Sports. Gearrin and other Atlanta Braves players stopped by Chattanooga as a part of the Atlanta Braves Caravan.
This and that
— Schedule news: The TFP Sports Editor will be off the rest of this week, meaning there will be mini-holiday 5-at-10s after today and through Christmas.
— Schedule update, part II: The 5-at-10 will swing by SportTalk 102.3 today to visit with friends of the show Quake, Cowboy Joe and Dr. B (he's a doctor after all).
— Schedule update, part III: Remember to send in your bowl picks. We received a slew of them already, but they are due Wednesday. We'll try to get a host of the local media folks to play along, as well. The rules and the list of games is in last week's mail bag (Click here for rules).
— Schedule update, part IV: The Braves caravan will be in Chattanooga on Feb. 9 at a neighborhood Academy Sports + Outdoors location. That's all we know right now, but as we learn more (who's coming, etc.) we'll share.
— Wow, it's still roughly a month before we can discuss the NBA outright, but let's say this: If there were some highlights of NBA preseason on SportsCenter over the weekend, it's obvious that most of the NBA players did not spend the extra down time on fundamentals. Wow. If the league was making a commercial from the early preseason clips, the slogan could be, "The NBA... where turnovers happen." Gross. (That is of course if we were talking about the NBA.)
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.
But, let's say they have teams of evil in Hades. Or maybe not even teams but social circles or clubs.
The devil's the commissioner, of course, and there could be several captains that divide up the new arrivals.
In true draft mode, at the end of the 2011 year, who's the No. 1 pick in Hell — Kim Jong II, Moammar Gadhafi or Osama Bin Laden?
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 ...