published Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

5-at-10: Da'Rick is DaMan, weekend picks and the conference shuffle

Quick programming note, with all that's going on we're going to have an abbreviated 5-at-10 on Thursday (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way) and then the mailbag on Friday. With that in mind, we'll have a special Wednesday edition of the Fab 4 (plus-1) picks.

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

Fab 4 (plus 1)

  • photo
    Houston defensive back Kent Brooks (24) reacts after recovering a fumble by SMU quarterback J.J. McDermott during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game of Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

That's more like it. The Fab 4 (plus 1) went 4-1 last week and made it look pretty easy. We're 37-20-1 against the spread this year, and that's not too shabby. (If you had put, let's say 100 jelly beans on each game the 5-at-10 picked for you, you'd be 1,490 jelly beans to the good this season. That's a lot of jelly beans.)

So as we head to Thanksgiving,

Kent State at Temple over the 39: Kent State has won four straight and scored 24 or more in each; Temple has scored 24 or more in five of their last six. Numbers are our friends people.

Houston minus-3 over Tulsa: Could this be a sucker bet? Sure it could, but the Cougars (11-0 overall and 9-2 as a favorite) have a lot of skin in this game and a front row seat on the BCS express right now.

Vandy minus-1 at Wake Forest: Here's saying the Commodores are motivated after letting the Vols off the hook last week. Plus, if James Franklin's team loses, a huge chunk of the positive momentum will be halted without a bowl bid.

Clemson plus-4.5 at South Carolina: South Carolina has trouble scoring and would be completely happy to win this game 12-10. Clemson was embarrassed last week, and the last competent offense South Carolina faced, it allowed 44 points, and the Gamecocks' gaudy 9-2 record is as much about a bad schedule as it is a good football team.

Our plus one options included Alabama covering the three TDs in the Iron Bowl, LSU covering 12 against Arkansas, Virginia Tech thumping Virginia by way more than the 4.5 line and even FSU over Florida by more than 2.5. But in the end, we went with some very good betting advice from SportTalk's Dr. B (he is a doctor after all), and that's pick on the weak.

Florida International minus-7 at MTSU: If you are going to pick on the weak, MTSU is among the weakest of the weak. Especially this week. MTSU has allowed 27 or more points in nine of its 11 games — only Florida Atlantic and Tennessee failed to get at least 27 against the Blue Raiders. Somewhere Johnny Vols Fan just spit up in his mouth a little bit.

Da'Rick is DaMan

  • photo
    Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers (21) catches a pass for a touchdown while defended by Middle Tennessee cornerback Kenneth Gilstrap (18) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown has an excellent look at former Calhoun High School star and rising UT receiver Da'Rick Rogers. Rogers is right among the SEC leaders in almost every meaningful receiving category and he's approaching some rarified air in the UT single-season record books.

Rogers has 65 catches for 1,002 yards and nine TDs, and he needs 12 catches, 296 yards and five touchdowns to surpass the numbers Marcus Nash posted in 1997. And remember Nash was catching passes from some dude named Peyton; Rogers has shuffled between Tyler Bray, Matt Simms and Justin Worley, who if they formed an R&B trio would be called Tyler and the Blahs.

Plus, if the Vols win at Kentucky — and if they don't, well, there's a whole other kettle of fish to discuss — Rogers' one-handed, leaping TD catch on fourth down in the fourth quarter of last week's overtime win over Vandy will be the play of the season. In fact, you could argue that it's the best UT play — in regard to highlight quality, impact and overall meaning — in at least five years.

(Two more numbers that count: Of his SEC-leading 65 catches, 52 have gone for first downs or touchdowns. He has 17 more catches than all of UT's healthy wide receivers combined. Don't know if that's really good for Da'Rick or really bad for the mediocrity melt that is DeAnthony Arnett, Zach Rogers, Rajion Neal, Vincent Dallas and Matt Milton, but either way, it's something.)

Conference juggling

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    Missouri fans hold up signs in support of their college changing conferences from the Big 12 to the SEC during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BYU and the Big East have apparently broken off talks, which is a tragedy because when you think about what the Big East should be, it really should include an outpost in Utah.

Since Missouri announced it was joining the SEC earlier this month, the music is starting to slow for most of the conference shuffling that seemed to pop up every three weeks or so.

The Big East's attempt to stay relevant in the arms race that is football, though, seems to be dying a slow and uneasy death. (If BYU would rather stay an independent than join the Big East and its mediocre football and its automatic BCS invite, well, that's all you need to know.)

Regardless of how this shapes out, we need to have some discussion about changing the conference names. The Big East with potential conference stops in Utah or Boise or who knows where? The Big East of China maybe?

The SEC — Since the SEC has won the last five (and soon to be six) national titles it can call itself whatever it dang well feels like calling itself.

The Big Ten — Let's go with the Big Slow, just seems to fit, huh?

The Pac-12 — Let's go with Big West, since Colorado is about as Pacific as BYU is East.

The Big 12 — Let's go the Big 2 and the Gang (Texas and Oklahoma and then everyone else, and yes, Oklahoma State is making a nice run this year, but we all know it's a flash in the pan).

The Big East — Let's go with Big Hoops, and we all know the automatic BCS bid is in serious jeopardy. C'mon, there's a real chance that a 7-4 Louisville team with losses to Florida International and Marshall could go to the BCS. Gross.

ACC — With the additions of Pitt and Syracuse, here's your new big east. Let's go with ECC — East Coast Conference.


This and that

— Another big-boy effort by Cuonzo Martin's Tennessee Vols basketball team. Cuonzo, the 5-at-10 didn't know what to expect from this club, but these Vols may be exactly where we thought at 2-2, but they are much better than expected.

— THE Ohio State backed out of its scheduled home-and-home football date with Tennessee that was slated for 2018 and 2019. THE Ohio State said the Big Ten's plan to play nine conference games in the future left them in a tough spot. THE 5-at-10 said THE Ohio State doesn't want to extend it's winless streak against SEC teams (and don't you know the Tattoo-tainted Sugar Bowl in which Terrelle Pryor and Co. played, helped THE OSU beat Arkansas last January and forced THE OSU to vacate that bowl win would have been revisited about 12 dozen times leading up to that one.)

— Speaking of THE Ohio State, the website SportsByBrooks has been out front of the reports that Urban Meyer has already accepted the Buckeyes coaching job. If that's true — and if Meyer needed all of one year to spend time with family or get healthy or whatever reason he tossed out to leave Florida, then Meyer and the Buckeyes will be a perfect fit — since neither one wants to compete in the uber-tough, battle for Middle Earth that is the SEC.

— Ryan Braun won the NL MVP on Tuesday, and that's OK. He did not have the numbers Matt Kemp did — no one had the numbers Matt Kemp did — but the award is called the Most Valuable Player, and Braun was supremely important to Milwaukee's playoff charge. Plus, since the Dodgers likely would have finished third anyway with or without Kemp's near Triple Crown, it's fair to ask how valuable Kemp's stellar season truly was.

Today's question

Come Thursday and Friday, we'll offer up some of the great things we're thankful for and you'll be more than welcomed to play along.

Today though, we're going the opposite direction.

What is something you are UN-thankful for?

Here's our example:

The 5-at-10 is UN-thankful for Bo Jackson's hip injury because we would have loved to seen where his career would have ended up if he had stayed healthy?

Or, the 5-at-10 is UN-thankful for Mark Wohlers' hanging slider in 1996. Or that Chas9 is UN-thankful for Laettner's shot in 1992 or that Jefe is UN-thankful for what's going to happen to Auburn on Saturday.

Enjoy and bring your UN-thankfulness.

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.
chas9 said...

5er--Yesterday's 5@10 was a heckuva show. Congrats to dbub.

You were right yesterday saying I should show a little love for Christian. He did have a hell of a game. Similar to your Wohlers regret, I hate that the Braves had to play a World Series in that dadgum Minneapolis domed stadium where fly balls get lost in the rafters.

Also from yesterday, my prophecy about Cuonzo being Pitino's reincarnation was supported by the Memphis game. What a monster game by Maymon (32, 20).

November 23, 2011 at 10:11 a.m.
Bdub13 said...

I think Meyer didn't know what to do in Florida without Tebow. He recruited a pro-style QB(Brantley) into a spread offense, and then he actually seemed surprised his offense was somewhat inept that year.

The fact that UT did not give up after Memphis took control early and was able to force OT is all a credit to Martin. Too often I have watched a Pearl coached team just fall apart in the second half even with twice the talent.

I am un-thankful for Lonnie Smith's inability to run the bases properly in game 7 of the '91 World Series. I am also un-thankful for Steve Spurrier.

November 23, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Thanks for the kind words. Tuesday's show was a lot of fun — and you guys deserve a ton of credit for giving it a flow — and we paid tribute to Mama McNabb by naming the stage after her.

Maymon may be a man among boys with a few more 30-20 nights.

B-dub —

Concur about Urbie and the cupboard being empty. Quick question: What's his legacy at Florida: Great coach who won 2 national titles or The guy who landed Tebow and two great recruiting classes? Second question: What if Tebow had picked Alabama and Mike Shula coming out of high school? Want to talk about one decision affecting the shape of the SEC as a whole.

You're spot on about Martin's Vols playing harder than Pearl's teams of the last five years. Much harder.

Speaking of Lonnie Smith, we're UN-thankful for Kent Hrbek's cheating ways. (Although, we got to admit, we have a soft spot for Spurrier — the college game is better off with Spurrier than without him.

— 5-at-10

November 23, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

The Braves eventually got their World Series (shoulda been more, yes, but in this day and age, why be all greedy?). The Red Sox got theirs and then some (greatest handshake ever - me and the Old Man after Game 4 of the 04 Series). The Patriots became the best franchise in the NFL. I got to know Erk. I met Herb Brooks. I played East Lake, I've been to the Masters numerous times, I saw the Rolling Stones in concert, I've seen the President three times (previous POTUSes, not the current one. Nothing against him, it's just that the opportunity has never presented itself).

What's there to be unthankful for?

November 23, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

What about Magic's baby hook? Or the BVG era in States-Vegas?

But Herb Brooks? That's cool.

Here's another one from the 5-at-10: We're UN-thankful for the final lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500? NASCAR was way more fun with No. 3.

November 23, 2011 at 11:48 a.m.
Bdub13 said...

The college game is better off with Spurrier, but he just made it so hard for a UT fan like myself to like him.

I wouldn't give the Big East any ideas about China. The Big East could be thinking "Hey, there's over a billion people over there, we're sure they could field at least one really good team". Of course then China would need a rival team so they would then have to expand to Japan. Soon Russia would have a team and their home field advantage would be better than Lambeau Field. "In Soviet Russia, the ball kicks you". Of course I may have spent way too much time thinking about this.

November 23, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
jharvey1984 said...

I am most unthankful for lane kiffin...thats about it. oh yeah and the whole bcs system ...i think that covers it.

November 23, 2011 at 12:14 p.m.
chas9 said...

First the Gamecocks lose to Elon and TN State, then they beat Miss. Valley State by only 4. Clearly, The Vols won't finish 12th. And Friday's match with the Heels will be as ugly as the traditional Thanksgiving football games. And South Carolina Upstate and The Citadel are licking their chops. Instead of turkey this year, looks like a 'cock on the table.

November 23, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Bdub —

Fair point. Plus, if the Big East gets wind of Ivan Drago and his crew, they may make a hard push behind the Iron Curtain.

jharvey1984 —

You just drew a 12-second head nod from Johnny Vols Fans everywhere.

9er —

Careful with the diction there my man. And yes, South Carolina hoops is officially the worst SEC around. In any sport.

Heck, we're pegging UT and our favorite Martin for 16-plus wins and a tournament bid (NIT, but at the beginning of the season, any tournament bid for these Vols seemed like fool's gold).

— 5-at-10

November 23, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Forgot to add a new UN-thankful.

We're UN-thankful for the four-hour college football game because of 3 minutes of commericals every dead ball/change of possession/etc. We are UN-thankful for the TD then commercial, Kickoff then commercial, turnover then commercial exchange where there are three official plays and 8 minutes of commercials. Not acceptable.

— 5-at-10

November 23, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I am UNthankful for the moronic officiating crew that threw the celebration falg against AJ Green in the LSU game several years ago that cost us the game....morons. And can you say "Hell of a" and Christian in back to back sentences? Is there going to be a conference in the near future that is going to catch up with the SEC?! I dont think so either! We dominate the football arena like the West dominates the softball arena, like the East dominates the hoops, Like the North dominates..ok im outta comparisons...

November 23, 2011 at 12:38 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

The North has hockey. (Allegedly, since we can't say with any certainty whether hockey actually exists or if folks just use it as another way to complain about the TFP Sports section.)

Here's a UGA question and a UGA UN-thankful for Oso:

First, how pleasing has the last nine weeks of football bliss been?

Second, we're UN-thankful for Mark Richt trying to get to second base with Mrs. Richt after big wins. Stop with the PDA please.

November 23, 2011 at 12:47 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Oh my...totally unforseen. I didnt see us doing this good at all t the beginning of this year. How crazy is it that we went from discussing Richt's hot seat to Dooley's hot seat?! Who would have thunked it?! Nuttin wrong with a lil PDA between hubby and wife's....come on now....let them have their own groping moment on nationally televised events.

November 23, 2011 at 1 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Boy, 5, you just had to go there, didn't you? Trying to repress those memories, like getting dumped in the parking lot at work repressed memory.

For one, it all worked out in the end (Monken>>>VanKnucklehead). The other ... at least you didn't go all Reggie Lewis on me, either. Oh, wait, I just did. Thankfully, I care not about the NBA anymore. So there.

And I recall who informed you of what happened on that final lap after you arose from a Sunday afternoon slumber. The NASCAR nap and the golf nap are almost as good as the vacuum cleaner nap.

November 23, 2011 at 1:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

Concur. UGA's surge has been a total shock for us. Good for Coach Richt (just keep your tongue twisters behind closed doors por favor).

Spy —

We're about to really step on a toe, but this one affected all of us of a certain age that were hoops fans...

We're UN-thankful we did not get to see how great Len Bias was going to be as a Celtic.

(Somebody get Spy a Kleenex, stat.)

— 5-at-10

November 23, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
memphisexile said...

I am UNthankful for the Mocs sucking me in and then being mediocre again.

November 23, 2011 at 1:21 p.m.
jgreeson said...


We feel that, but there is reason to be sucked in by Coach Huesman's program. The Mocs are going to be salty next fall, especially since Robinson got some snaps at QB this year.

Push your chips in, the Mocs making the playoffs is one of our bold picks for 2012.

We are UN-thankful for all the bowl games moving off New Year's Day, which used to be a Man's Man Holiday with all the games overlapping and flipping back and forth and black-eyed peas and greens and Bloody Marys. Now it's kind of blah with all the games in order and if one game becomes a blowout, you feel like you need to go clean out the garage. Stupid TV programmers.

— 5-at-10

November 23, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Bias ... I can't even bring myself to discuss it. He was the best college player I ever saw. Jordan, Laettner, Walton, Bernard King, none of them could hold a candle to Bias. None of them. Some, maybe even most, of you out there will disagree. You'll never dissuade me from my line of thinking.

November 23, 2011 at 1:41 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Jay, you didn't mention yards per catch by Ricky Rogers. Is this an omission or do you believe this stat not a true indicator of production? The below was the best list I could track down on All-Time SEC Yards Per Catch. Some surprises here, at least for me.

4th) Denarious Moore 17.89 (This explains much why Mr. Davis took Moore)

8th) Robert Meacham 17.2

15th) A. J. Green 15.78

Ricky Rogers falls in at 19 with 15.41

Oh, how I do so share the loss of Bo Jackson for the Raiders, the league but mostly for football fans. Select appropriate youtube video of Bo smashing Brian Bosworth for a quick balm.

For what most I'm UNthankful: Pat Summitt's deteriorating health.

November 23, 2011 at 3:38 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Laettner had the best career, but we'd listen to an argument of Len Bias as the best college player of our lifetime. (Although, we'd throw Wayman Tisdale and Danny Manning in that discussion, too.)

FE to the C —

The yards-per-catch stat did offer some surprises. (Mike Wallace No.1 and Fred Gibson No. 3?)

YPC can show guys that can make plays — Josh Reed at No. 2 for example — but it also can be guys who just run deep routes and catch two passes for 48 yards.

And if David Ricky Rogers sets UT receiving records — and remember some of the WRs that came through Knoxville — spending almost half the year catching fluttering warblers from Simms and Worley, well, that's impressive.

Summitt's health is an excellent UN-thankful.

— 5-at-10

November 23, 2011 at 4:04 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...

funny how nobody is un-thankful for no NBA season....further proof that nobody gives a hoot (except for the business owners near the venues)

November 23, 2011 at 4:14 p.m.
jomo11 said...

DaRick is the Man alright. . . . You knew he was fast when the Knoxville news TV station showed film of Rogers being released from jail and sprinting to the car !

November 23, 2011 at 5:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

jharvey —

Great point about no NBA regrets. Well-played indeed.

Jomo —

Be nice. It's the holiday season after all.

We're UN-thankful that the 5-at-10 was not in Chatt-town in the 1980s and 90s when Mocs basketball was an event.

— 5-at-10

November 23, 2011 at 8:25 p.m.
jeffy01 said...

Chas9.....I think the folks in SC will letting have all the cock on the table you want in basketball. Considering what they have done to the Vols in football and baseball lately, they will give you one game Im sure.

November 25, 2011 at 7:59 a.m.
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