published Monday, September 26th, 2011

5 at 10: Texas A&M, Atlanta Braves and the SEC's dominant duo

Georgia defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (94) rushes Mississippi quarterback Zack Stoudt (8). (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Georgia defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (94) rushes Mississippi quarterback Zack Stoudt (8). (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

From the "Drunken Moose Studios," here we go...

College Football Monday Morning Quarterback

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    Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower (30) celebrates with coach Kirby Smart, left, defensive back Vinnie Sunseri (3), and linebacker Nico Johnson (35) after stopping Arkansas on a fourth and one during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Here are the five things we learned Saturday:

1) There should be an AP top 2 — Alabama and LSU — and then everyone else can receive votes. LSU has beaten three top-15 opponents away from home Baton Rouge in the first month of the season, and all three wins have been by double digits after Saturday night's 47-21 beat down of West Virginia in Morgantown. Plus, there could be a serious case made for LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu as the Heisman leader four games into the season. As for Alabama, wow. Just plain wow. Arkansas' high-powered offense looked like a college of high school kids.

2) Georgia Tech can move the ball and score some flippin' points. The Yellow Jackets posted 35 on a North Carolina defense that has two NFL first-rounders (we love the draft, you know this) among its thrall. If Tevin Washington continues to throw the ball serviceably — and right now he's throwing it well — this offense (which is already so tough to defend because teams only get one week to prepare for it in a season filled with spreads and pro-style looks) will be among the nation's leaders all season.

Here are the other surprises with September in the books: War Vandy; Clemson's athletic youth movement; FSU's title hopes dashed; Boise State doing what it does — win games; awful uniforms; The NCAA two step(brothers) Miami and THE Ohio State University stumble amid controversy.

3) As we speed into conference play, the SEC is pretty unsettled after the Big 2. We know the league is far better than the rest of the leagues, but we knew that in July, too. Right now let's say the SEC is a lot like the acting Baldwin family — you have the two (Alec and Stephen) everyone knows and then you have the rest of the bunch. Now the rest of the bunch is still famous and still a Baldwin, but they're just not as well-known or as good or with as much potential to be big time. (And BIspy, before you go heckling on Stephen, he was awesome in "Usual Suspects" and while that was 17 years ago, we needed him for the analogy so just role with it.) So in an effort to introduce the rest of the SEC Baldwins, here we go (and of course we'll do it in 5-in-10 by 5-at-10 style):

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    Florida Atlantic's Alfred Morrison, right, scores a touchdown in the second half against Auburn during their NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Auburn, Ala.(AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)

Arkansas: Miss RB Knile Davis more than we expected

Auburn: Apparently 'tackling' is frowned upon by defending national champs

Florida: Better than expected, with huge defensive upside; Bama's next though

Georgia: Rocky start but looked good against Ole Miss; complete unknown

Kentucky: Gross. Seriously

Mississippi State: Escaped La. Tech to get to 2-2; puzzling bunch

Ole Miss: Top three names on search list: Leach, Malzahn, Kirby Smart

South Carolina: That's Mr. Lattimore, if you please

Tennessee: Complete unknown, especially without Hunter; Bray in search of "moment"

Vandy: Franklin's 3-0 start feel-good story of September

4) Welcome aboard Texas A&M. We all knew the Aggies were coming to the SEC, now it's official. Here's TFP ace David Paschall's story (Texas A&M added to SEC). Now that the pleasantries are behind us, know that melting down against non-SEC foes like that choke job you pulled against Oklahoma State will not be tolerate. This is the SEC, and with the possible exception of Kentucky and Ole Miss, those type of implosions are not allowed in football. This is the SEC — get it together.

5) First month MVPs (and of course, we'll do a winner and four runners-up, which is 5, as in 5-at-10; did you see what we did there?):

QB: Kellen Moore, Boise State

Runners-up: Russell Wilson (Wisconsin), Denard Robinson (Michigan), Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Andrew Luck (Stanford)

RB: Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

Runners-up: Trent Richardson (Alabama), LaMichael James (Oregon), Chris Rainey (Florida), Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State)

WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma

Runners-up: Sammie Watkins (Clemson), Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), Robert Woods (USC), Justin Hunter (Tennessee)

Defense: Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)

Runners-up: Vontaze Burflict (Arizona State), Casey Hayward (Vandy), the entire Alabama defense, the rest of the LSU defense after Mathieu

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    Florida's Chris Rainey, left, runs around Kentucky's Winston Guy Jr. for a touchdown during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Fab 4 (plus 1) still FAB

The Fab 4 (plus 1) may be outlawed. Or put behind a pay wall. Or, if you don't hear from the 5-at-10 for a while, somebody needs to check with Luca, Sonny, Tom or Mo Green, because there's been some foul play.

OK, maybe that last one was a bit much, but the Fab 4 (plus 1) is that hot right now. Here were last week's picks:

—Houston minus-32 against Georgia State — Check, Houston won 56-0

—Notre Dame minus-5 at Pittsburgh — Miss, Notre Dame won 15-12

—Florida minus-19 at Kentucky — Check, Florida won 48-10

—LSU minus-5 at West Virginia — Check, LSU won 47-21

The add-on game if you feel lucky (punk) is Georgia minus-9 at Ole Miss — Check, Georgia won 27-13

That's another 4-1 week (that could have been perfect except Notre Dame couldn't get out of its own way, but we're not bitter or anything, Stupid Notre Dame). The totals are pretty impressive — we're 14-3-1 on the selected picks so far this year. Yeah, we know. If you were in a place where gambling was legal and had bet $100 on each of the Fab 4 (plus 1) games, you'd be $1,060 to the good this morning. Yeah, we know.

We'll be back Thursday with this week's Fab 4 (plus 1), that is unless someone makes us an offer we couldn't refuse. (Or puts a horse head in our bed — although that would not make Mrs. 5-at-10 best pleased. Just a head's up there guys.)

Last week's Fab 4 (plus one): 4-1

This season's Fab 4: 14-3-1

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    Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones, left, runs to first as he is about to be out against Washington Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in Washington. The Nationals won 3-0. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Braves new worry

Sweet mother of mothers worrying of prom night, the Braves' September meltdown has been painful. On the 5-at-10 sports' pain scale of 1-to-10, 1 losing an exhibition game or not winning a scramble golf tournament where there are free beverages for everyone (i.e. not painful at all) and 10 being falling off a bicycle going down Signal Mountain getting one perpetual scrape that covers every inch of your body save one ear lob and then having to take a bath in rubbing alcohol, the Braves are a solid 8.5.

Plus, to make matters worse, they know it. You can see it in their body languages after every unproductive at-bat and every baserunner stranded and every opponents' run that makes a 2-0 lead seem like being down 21-0 against LSU's defense. Sweet swing sets, there are basement-dwelling-80s groups dusting off synthesizers and parachutes pants that have more hits than the front end of the Braves lineup Sunday. In a 3-0 loss to Washington, Atlanta hitters 1 through 4 went bagel-for-16, getting as many hits as you and the 5-at-10 did Sunday. The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the third but the top three hitters — Michael Bourn, Martin Prado and Chipper Jones — were retired with generating a run. Ouch

And as bad as the top of the order was, Atlanta finished with an even bigger whimper. The last 15 Braves to bat went bagel-for-15 with seven strikeouts. Ouch-er?

Now, with a one-game lead over St. Louis, there are two huge obstacles before this team. The schedule is lopsided — the Braves closing with the Phillies; the Cardinals closing with the Astros — and Derek Lowe is more than likely going to be a key fixture in this. Ouch and ouch-est.

Well, if there's one good thing to say, at least the Braves made the finish exciting, huh? (And painful.)

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    NASCAR driver Tony Stewart (14) wins the NASCAR Sylvania 300 auto race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

This and that

— OK, NASCAR, we're in. We've been a longtime Tony Stewart fan. (Side story: We sat next to him at a media lunch one time about 11 years ago. He was a super classy guy, even to the point where he did not mention it when another media guy sitting on the other side of Stewart started eating off of Tony's plate. Seriously.) Back to the track, Stewart has two wins in the two NASCAR Chase races. Stewart now leads the new-fangled points race with eight races to go. Although at any point NASCAR could call a news conference and announce that all cars that have double numbers (like a No. 88) or all cars that have energy drinks as sponsors get an extra bazillion bonus points. Don't think it can't happen.

— If you think you had a tough weekend, at least you weren't Mike Locksley. Locksley's New Mexico football team lost to Sam Houston State, an FCS school, to fall to 2-26 in Locksley's two-plus seasons. Then word leaked that a possible recruit got a DWI in an SUV registered to Locksley. He was fired Sunday. So how was your weekend?

— Danger, danger Dunta Robinson, but the Falcons are 1-2 and in the NFL more than any other league, you are what your record says your are. So while the Falcons have a lot of talented pieces in a lot of places, they are 1-2 and in serious need of some Ws. Like now.

— In was a tough day for some of the NFL's preseason favorites. The Falcons stumbled at Tampa Bay (because Roddy White dropped a couple of passes in the red zone). The Eagles lost at home to New York (because Eli Manning looked more like Peyton than Eli). The Jets were pushed around by the Raiders (and the Raiders look strong). (Side note here: If you can run the football and tackle people you will always be in the game, be it pee-wees, TSSAA, the SEC or the AFC East. It's science.) The Bears are now 1-2 after a tough loss to Green Bay (and the Packers look every bit the part of the favorites right now).

— And how about those Titans? Know what to call the ugly win Sunday over a bad Denver team that may have set offenses back a decade? Call it 2-1 and be proud of it. Also, how about those Bills and Lions, huh? Surprising inded.

— The Red Sox have matched the Braves meltdown and have a one-game lead in the AL wildcard lead over Tampa. It's been so bad that the greater New England-area has had to turn in their shoe laces and belts just as a precaution.

— In other baseball news, Matt Kemp has a legit shot at winning the NL triple crown. He's third in hitting (.324, nine points back of Ryan Braun), he's tied for the lead in homers at 37, and leads the league in RBIs with 120. He's also tied for second in the league with 40 stolen bases and leads the league with 112 runs scored. Wow. Pretty good time to be entering free agency, huh? He'll look great in pinstripes next season. An outfield of Kemp, Granderson and Swisher would look pretty good in the Bronx.

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    Marion Anthony of UTC (3) has a pass reception deflected by Appalachian State's Demetrius McCray during Saturday's game in Boone, N.C.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Today's question

We mentioned the 5-at-10's sports' pain scale earlier and here are some more readings:

The Mocs' loss to App State was a solid 9 on this scale, and the Boston Red Sox coming unglued is a 9.3. Historically, South Bend Central's fan base suffered through a 9.45, Kentucky got a full-blown 9.6 in 1992 against Duke on Laettner's shot, the ball rolling through Buckner's legs and the Yanks' meltdown in the 2004 ALCS were each 9.9.

The highest reading was the US Olympic basketball team's "controversially" loss to Russia in 1972 at 9.99. There has never been a 10.

Today's question for you, what's the worst loss in sports history? What's the worst loss for your team — you know the one, when the phrase, "worst loss" comes up you instantly think, "Oh yeah, that one stunk" — that you can recall?


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...

72 Olympic gold medal hoops game. Just plain stolen. Thievery on an international level.

01 Furman at GSU. Semifinals. PJ's last game at Southern and Adrian Peterson's too. Gakked on 17-7 halftime lead.

96, The King meets Wohlers hanging split-finger. Am cussing to self now.

Mr. 5, does Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill merit mention on the top receiver list. Yeah,he dropped one right in his hands but leaping one-handed grab ... Wes Durham is probably still going "Oh my goodness!"

September 26, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.
Blueoval said...

5/10, ok these are not worst in sports history they are all personal......

2009 TN/AL game, not one but TWO blocked field goals. That hurt! There are too many UT games that fall into that category.

One an individual basis..the 1997 Heisman Trophy. I'm sure you don't even have to look that up.I'm not saying Woodson wasn't a great player but the Heisman just isn't the same anymore.

1990 (I think it was) Red Bank at Tyner...Becksvoort tries a game winning field goal that everyone thought was good Except for the officals. Looked good from where I was standing on the sideline.

September 26, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Wohlers' loss was bad. Real bad.

Should have had Hill up there, if for no other reason than he was so good on "Law & Order."

Oval —

Kick story. My cousin — who is one of my best friends in the world — is a huge, Huge, HUGE UT fan and has been to my house exactly twice to watch college football. Those two Saturdays were the 2009 UT-Bama game and the 2010 UT-LSU. Needless to say, he has vowed never to return to the 5-at-10 Compound.

Concur on the Heisman. Completely. Especially since the voters did not give it to Ndamkoung Suh a few years ago.

— 5-at-10

September 26, 2011 at 12:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show JCook all the way from Dallas —

"Today's question for you, what's the worst loss in sports history? What's the worst loss for your team — you know the one, when the phrase, "worst loss" comes up you instantly think, "Oh yeah, that one stunk" — that you can recall?"

Mocs-Appy State game from last year.
Mocs vs. UAB. It would have been the first time in 20 years the Mocs would have upset a I-A (FBS) school since beating La Tech. It was Richard Flowers final year and he played a (heck) of a game. We were ahead by 5 points with three minutes left in the game and UAB comes back with a 65 yard megadrive. I was there personally AND still working for WDEF at the time (morning audio). I took the Mocs bus trip down to Birmingham and the bus didn't come back until 1 AM. I actually jumped in my truck and drove straight to the station and took a three hour nap on the back door couch until Tyson Paul came in and woke me up to start show prepping the stage.

September 26, 2011 at 12:14 p.m.
Blueoval said...

Yes, please be sure your cousin doesn't go over to your house on any Saturday during the fall......

Very good point on Suh by the way!

September 26, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show CelticVol

5@10, One of the worst losses in sports history has to be the Cubs losing to the Marlins in the NLCS when Steve Bartman caught the foul ball. The worst loss for my Tennessee Vols has to be the 2001 SEC Championship game to LSU. That loss hurts to even type about it. CelticVol

September 26, 2011 at 12:57 p.m.
chas9 said...

Yes, I saw what you did there. Oh, and THERE. too. Woot!

Good riff on the Braves situation. The matchups are terrible. In each of their three remaining games, St. L's pitcher is significantly stronger than Houston's. Phillie has the stronger starter tonight and tomorrow. IMHO, Hudson and Hamels are even on Wednesday. So I'd say the Bravo's chances of October baseball are about 40% or less. What odds would you make, 5er?

September 26, 2011 at 1:22 p.m.
chas9 said...

Absolutely right that Bama and LS&U are #1 and #1a. As for the SEC, Florida is right behind, because of their blazing speed. Whatever the line, take FL plus the points against Bama.

The SEC East is clear. FLA easily first. You know this. GA and SC battle for 2/3. Vandy and TN battle for 4/5. KY beats the black bears, but nobody else.

September 26, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

JCook —

Feel free to stop by the show anytime. And the loses that you can remcall what you did immediately after to help you cope with the loss are a surefire 8.5-or-higher on the pain scale.

CVol —

Here's saying that Johnny Cubs Fans every where are shaking their heads slowly and mumbling, "Bartman" not unlike how Seinfeld said "Newman."

We feel that Phillip Fulmer agrees 100-percent with your worst UT loss.

9er —

Thanks for noticing what we did there. We did it — there. Mean man punted Baxter.

As for the Braves, we put it at about 40 overall, but about 65 percent that we'll see a playoff game Wednesday, and the Braves' staff will be juiced by then. But wait, maybe the offense will carry them home (Do we have a sarcasm font or color that we can use here?).

— 5-at-10

September 26, 2011 at 1:36 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Just for the record I as well was in attendance of the 90/91(?) Redbank / Tyner game as i was a Tyner grad and just for the record....John chocked....let it go Blue....let it go. The Braves are not making it to the playoffs (I know...thats not like the far reaching prediciton of the year or anything) cause they are not going to get by the Phillies. And cmon..who doesnt beat the Astros?! Worst Game lost in history...hummmm.....where to begin as a UGA fan? I have to go with last years LSU game where we went ahead with like a minute left but some moron of a ref decided to throw a celebration penalty against AJ cause he jumped into another players arms to celebrate...then LSU gets the ball on the 50 and drives down to win. That same officitaing crew also called another controversial celebration penalty that year and was busted up....that hurts.

September 26, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

5at10er: As a Phillies fan, Joe Carter's walkoff has to be near the top. Then the Mocs missing out on the Elite 8 and the Titans coming up a foot short. Allow me to pose a question to you. Who will be the SECs 14th team? I do not see them being at 13 for long. I like Mizzou (KC & St Louis TV markets). Longshots: Rutgers (lost of TVs in NJ) and Notre Dame. What does your gut tell you and how soon?

September 26, 2011 at 2:41 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

Fair point about the Astros. Heck, they'd finish fourth in the Southern League.

That celebration call against A.J. was total garbage.

BillyRScott —

Wow, a Phillies Fan in the group. In the words of Lewis Grizzard, "Don't believe I'd a told that brother." All three of those are strong — especially for what was at stake for your teams: A World Series, a trip to the Elite Eight and a Super Bowl.

As for the next SEC team, the question is more when than if. Missouri seems to be the leader, but we'll stick by our hopes for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas and go to 16.

Although the Notre Dame option is an intriguing possiblity.

— 5-at-10

September 26, 2011 at 2:49 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

With all the "free" and equally awesome football that was on this past weekend did anyone happen to donate 50-Bones to watch the UFC and the UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Jon "Bones" Jones dismantle and dominate Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (aka Mr. T Jr)???? Well it happened and Bones took care of the Veteran Jackson, who by the way came in to the fight in "best shape of his life", with relative ease! BY the way..I am as sick of hearing the phrase "best shape of his life" about as much as I hate hearing about fuel mileage in NASCAR... so it goes...

Jon "Bones" Jones is only 24 yrs old, the youngest UFC Champ ever and is making the job of Light Heavyweight Champ (considered to be the more stacked of all stacked division in the UFC) Easy! With this win over Clubber Lang II, Bones will now have the pleasure of facing former training partner, stable mate and mentor... "Sugar" Rashad Evans, who is fresh off of Dismantling Tito Ortiz. If nothing else this fight will be amazing simply on Nicknames alone... Sugar vs Bones ... let the jokes begin!

September 27, 2011 at 6:04 a.m.
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