published Monday, August 13th, 2012

5-at-10: Olympics, Majors and minors

Gang, hope you enjoyed the weekend. For the 5-at-10, it was about some much needed chores that needed much attention. (We're at the turn on our football preview sections — the high school one is in the books, and college is this week — and we have spent some long hours at our desk.)

That said, in between the garage and yard and the rest, we managed to keep an eye on the sports world.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

Extinguishing the torch

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    The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, waves the Olympic flag during the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The London Olympics are behind us. We laughed — thank you diver guy, thank you. We cried — if you did not get a little choked up watching some of the highlights, especially Blade Runner, well we got nothing for you. We even tried our hand at rhythmic gmynastics (love this photoshop job by the Web team. Well played TFP Web team. Well played indeed.)

As we wave so long to these Games, let's turn the mic to longtime friend of the show Jeff Spicoli. Jeff.

"What Jefferson was saying was, 'Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves -- pronto -- we'll just be bogus too!'

Well said, Jeff.

Here are the five rules we know this morning, and we hope they're not bogus.

1) The US won the medal count. But it was closer than most of us thought for most of these games. America landed 104 total medals, China had 87 and Russia had 82. And if it had been the old U.S.S.R., we would have gotten our red-white-and-blue fannies spanked. That said, it's hard to fear the Iron Curtain when they are dominating the rhythm gmynastics world like nobody's BID-ness. Seriously. (And that is the sports version of that old dude who would start putting colors on a canvas and talking in soft tones and the next thing you know you've wasted 40 minutes and dude has painted a forest in Montana. You can't turn away from either and you pray no one walks in while you're watching them.) The U.S. "won" these games because of the strength of our female athletes. Women won 29 of the 46 gold medals won by the U.S. And this in the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

2) LeBron is a bona fide alpha dog. You know it, we know it and most importantly he and the rest of the basketball world knows it.

3) These Games closed the book on the greatest swimming career we've ever seen. Thank you Michael Phelps. And the Games introduced us to the next one. Glad to meet you Missy Franklin.

4) The great stories that sports allows us to share are the face of these Olympics. Be them Oscar Pistorius or Guor Marial, we are always floored by the level of commitment and sacrifice and desire used and needed too reach this level of competition. And while Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter who ran on blades in the 400 meter relay, was a great storyline, no one inspires the Olympic spirit like Marial, the marathon runner who qualified for the games and ran under the IOC banner. Marial was born in war-savaged Sudan, was imprisoned as a child and watched 28 family members get murdered, including eight of his 10 siblings. He ran — literally — to freedom and moved to the U.S. He is not yet a U.S. citizen and after qualifying for these Games refused to run for Sudan and ran simply as a citizen of the world.

5) Usain Bolt is really fast. Like really, really fast.

Plus, with the pomp and circumstance of the opening and closing ceremonies in reserved and conservative London, there is no telling what will happen in Rio in 2016. Here's saying they may need to ID the ticket holders.

Major victory

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    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses for photographers with the championship trophy after he final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, S.C., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We were less than kind to the PGA Championship and the Aussie Open tennis tournaments last week, but we really underranked Major Harris, former West Virginia quarterback, too. That said, what the PGA Championship lacked in drama Sunday, it made up for in star power

And with a brilliant Sunday stroll through the demanding Ocean Course at Kiawah, Rory McIlroy showed us golf's next face.

There are a river of guys who have been good pros who have never won a major. There's also a slew of chaps — Rich Beem, Y.E. Yang, Darren Clarke — who have one major title and for that deserve the extra applause they get at the first tee box on Thursday each week.

But multiple major champions are rare. Multiple major champions under the age of 24 are extremely rare. And multiple major champions with record-setting whippings of the rest of the game's best on the biggest stages is unheard of.

And yet, McIlroy has done it. Twice. As TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer wrote here, Rory is out-Tigering Tiger Woods. Woods, who has won three times and contended at each of the majors but has shot a cumulative 15-over par on the weekends of the four majors, has played well this year. And we stand by our view that Tiger will never be the wrecking machine that was Tiger Woods in the mid-2000s, you can make a fair argument that Rory has done a pretty good impression.

If you factor in that McIlroy dominated the 2011 Masters for 63 holes before hooking his tee shot on No. 10 into North Richmond county, McIlroy is on a career defining run.

Sure he'll have to win won at the wire at some point as opposed to destroying everyone and turning the back nine on Sunday into a smile-fest wave-a-thon. And yes, whether this is the start of golf's next major force or a guy that catches lightning in a bottle for 16 months — we're looking at you Paddy Harrington — is still to be decided.

That said, we're leaning to the former. McIlroy is that good. His swing is that perfect — dude was hitting driver-pitching wedge into a 488-yard par-4. His demeanor that composed.

Forget world rankings, here's the ultimate defining question about the best player in the game of golf: If you got a free spot in a golf pool for next year's Masters and the prize was $1 million bucks to pick the winner. And you got the first pick, who would you take? Right now it's Rory, and it could be for the foreseeable future.

In other golf news, congrats to FEChancellor for winning the final major contest with a near perfect entry of McIlroy and Keegan Bradley, who finished third. His total score of 4 was light years ahead of the field, including the 5-at-10 (who was quashed by Matt Kuchar missing the cut) and TFP golf ace David Uchiyama (who did not have a player see the weekend).

FE to the C, we know we have Braves, NASCAR in Atlanta and UTC football home opener tickets available. Which would you prefer?

Turn the page

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    In this July 13, 2012 file photo, Penn State University President Rodney Erickson speaks at a news conference after a meeting at the school's Worthington Scranton campus, in Dunmore, Pa.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Despite the rantings of a couple of rogue Penn State big wigs and the entire Paterno clan, the Penn State board of trustees conferred Sunday and voiced strong support of school president Rodney Erickson and the decision for the school to accept the unprecedented NCAA penalties in the fall out of the Jerry Sandusky nightmare.

"I absolutely support President Erickson and his decision to accept the (NCAA) Consent Decree as the only real option in the extraordinarily difficult circumstances and the choices we were presented," Board chairwoman Karen Peetz said in a statement. "It is my sense that every member of this Board also fully supports President Erickson, even though we may not agree with the process used by the NCAA or with the harshness of the sanctions imposed."

Yes, the penalties were harsh. Yes, it will hurt Penn State for years, maybe even a decade. But at some point the page must be turned and the process must shift to healing.

That time is now, and the PSU board rightly decided to start that process. Because the longer the fighting in court and appeals, the longer the shadows become and the longer the process will be.

And, whether intended or incidentally, this appears to be the first act in which the school nor its football program are acting like the victims. Remember, the victims here are the children who were brutalized. The rest of this is background noise.

And it's time for that to die down too.

This and that

— Went to Friday night's Best of Preps Jamboree — pressed the flesh like Pappy O'Daniel — and watched as Reese Phillips looked the part of the praise we offered last week. Signal Mountain looks like an offense that will be hard to handle, be it this week or the 4A semifinals.

— Hey, we can all agree that receivers are big-time prima donnas. Heck, they're almost as bad as Olympic sprinters. That said, there's nothing prima or funny about the next — and hopefully the last — chapter of Chad Johnson-Ochocinco-Johnson. Johnson was arrested on domestic battery for headbutting his wife.

— And Friday, the Honey Badger was dismissed from the LSU football team. Cornerback/punt returner and nickname Hall of Famer Tyrann Mathieu was booted from the Bayou Bengals for alleged drug trouble. Remember Mathieu missed a game last year after failing a drug test. And for those of us that follow the SEC, for All-Americans like Mathieu or Mike Dyer at Auburn earlier this year to get asked to leave they have exhausted every option.

— Hey, Ben Sheets was not going to win them all right?

— Someone needs to get Chris Johnson some reality pills, stat. OK, after saying his was as fast as Usain Bolt last week, Johnson, the hiccup quick Titans running back, also told reporters: "I put myself in the same category as LeBron. LeBron had so much success, and then not winning a championship and having a little bit of a down year, he came back and quieted the critics. This is my year to come back and quiet the critics."

Today's question

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    Who in the sports world would be the best presidential/vice presidential candidates?

There was a lot of debate about Republican nominee Mitt Romeny's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.

And if you want to bellyache about it/praise it, there are several other venues on our site to do exactly that.

Here's the question for the rest of you: Who in the sports world would be the best presidential/vice presidential candidates?


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.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, Signal did well down at Ridgeland Saturday winning the starter's half by three. Boy howdy, Ridgeland has more than a clutch of big people on both sides of the ball.

Ridgeland's 5 Star Safety did not seem to impede the Eagles much, although he made a couple of plays on offense. #1 blocked well and caught a 30 yarder on a busted play hugging the sideline as only seconds remaining to set up for the field goal that won the first half.

Wow, I thought I had something with Rory. He mentioned up at Akron on Sunday after firing a 66 that he had found something. I took him at his word.

Do you have some a time and date for the Braves tickets?

August 13, 2012 at 10:29 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Chris Johnson also said he'd have a chance against Usain Bolt in the 100 meters if he had time to train. He also thinks he could beat Bolt in the 40 yard dash. The 40 would be his best bet, but beating Bolt in the 100 ain't ever gonna happen.

For sports Pres./VP:

Players: Peyton Manning/Derek Fisher

Coaches: Nick Saban/Mark Richt

August 13, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
Todd962 said...

We also ventured to the Jamboree Friday night and had a blast. Lady Todd, nor myself, had been to a high school football game in nearly a decade and with no ties to any of the local teams, it was just fun to watch some football at that level. It was a very nostalgic time as she sat there and graded the cheerleaders performances and I ate the hotdogs and nachos Jay had promised would be there. We will likely be frequenting some games this fall after we decide what team we should cheer for.

And nothing against some of the other players out there but Reese Phillips looked like a man amongst boys in the QB category. That kid was slinging strikes in the rain while alot of the others were tossing ducks. A 80 yard touchdown pass on the first play helps the confidence too.

I also couldnt help but wonder as I sat in the pouring rain Friday night how the anniversary evening went. Was it a candle lit press box affair as I imagined or were you dealing with the rain soaked hotdogs we were?

August 13, 2012 at 11:05 a.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Congrats. And it was a record-setting score. With more than a week or so lead time, we can accommodate about any Braves request. What did you have in mind.

As far as Signal goes, we've heard from more than one opposing coach that has said the Eagles are going to be a tough out this postseason.

In fact, we have a few teams — Signal, SPitt, Boyd, Baylor, Ridgeland and Calhoun for starters and few others that could surprise — that if they can stay healthy are going to make lengthy playoff trips.

Capt. Stew —

Spot on about CJ having the slimmest of chances in the 40 — but nothing for Bolt in the 100. Granted that makes CJ like every other air-breathing human, but the rest of us aren't saying we could take the Bolt.

Like your candidates, although we thinK Saban would have be Sect. of Defense. He's definitely a war-time consigliere.

Here's another one. Derek Jeter. Dude has spent two decades being a star in the biggest media market in the world and has never come across controversy. That's politics at its core right there.

962 —

Good for you getting back out there. Of all the events we've covered, high school football is our favorite, and we still cover a game almost every Friday night. (Makes for a long 18-hour day, and the Mrs. 5-at-10 is a trooper, but we enjoy it more than all others.)

As for the season, don;t necessarily pick a team as much as pick the games and the atmospheres.

Plan on going to Baylor-McCallie at Finley. You need to go see a game at South Pittsburg because it's a great experience. Same with Dalton and Calhoun. All small towns that shut down for Friday home games.

We will have a complete week-by-week schedule in our preview section this Friday, with some suggested key games to circle on the calendar.

As for the anniversary, stopped off at the Terminal on the way. Got to Finley just as the rain let up, walked down around the field and up to chat with friends of the Show Quake and Chris Goforth. Saw Reese and Signal look good and headed to dinner at Sugar's.

Good time was had by all.

— 5-at-10

August 13, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
chas9 said...

Believe me, I CAN turn away from ribbon twirling. That's barely an Ed Sullivan act.

Was the German weightlifter who caught it on the neck as awkward-ugly as his countryman who backflopped into the pool?

WOW for King James, Bolt and Rory.

President Charles Barkley, Veep Dennis Rodman.

OK, sprinter Manteo Mitchell broke a leg and finished the race. But it's not like it was a compound fracture with stuff sticking out of his flesh.

Good for the U.S. men's and women's 4x100 relay teams for clean hand offs and gold medals. But somebody on the coaching end needs to be fired for all the other baton drops that plagued team red, white and blue. As a common tater said passing the baton is a high school skill.

I wasn't fast, but I (and the rest of our h.s. track team) mastered handling the baton. (Insert joke here.) I watched every conceivable handoff mistake made by our Olympians. The passer not holding the baton at its lower end. The receiver not timing his/her takeoff right to stay in the handoff zone. And mostly the receiver flailing around his/her receiving hand. It's supposed to be a still target.

Thinking your blazing speed is enough, so forget teamwork and technique is inexcusable. Seems to me it may be a failing paralleled in basketball and football.

August 13, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We are going to start using common tater way more frequently. Well-played indeed.

And rest assured we had more than a couple of jokes about your ability to handle the baton, but in the nature of F-O-I-B sports column we refrained.

And nice call on Manteo. What a warrior.

— 5-at-10

August 13, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

It makes me feel better to know that if I had gone with McIlroy and Woods, or Scott and Woods that I would not have won. Those were my other two that I considered.

As for McIlroy-Harrington comparisons- those are a little unfair. Harringtonw was older than McIlroy when he won, and no one (that I heard) really expected him to start winning majors at a record clip. McIlroy is slightly different. People are talking about him breaking Jack's/Tiger's records. McIlroy is an enigma. Can't figure him out. He's been pretty awful at every other major this year until this one. He's actually not played that well since last year's US Open. Yes, he has had a couple of decent performances (including a few wins) but I had kind of written him off as a young guy who has talent, but has other interests (such as certain female tennis players) that have distracted him and he's not practicing as much as he should. I still think that isn't a completely wrong idea. The thing that made Tiger unique was that he was only focused on winning golf tournaments. Strike that. The thing that made Tiger unique was that he didn't let his off the course antics keep him from practicing and his ability to focus intensely on what he was doing on the course. Focus. Intensely. Getting the ball into the hole. Yep. That's it. That's what set him apart. Does McIlroy have that kind of focus? I'm not sure. He's an enigma.

August 13, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Just a note to fechancellor...being more than familiar with Ridgeland...the field goal was scored on the Ridgeland second team defense...bottom line 14-14 for the first teams...these are the two best teams in the area

August 13, 2012 at 12:41 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

If I recall, 5, someone said to you at Augusta four years ago who the next big thing in golf would be, some mop-haired, freckled teenager from Northern Ireland.

Can you believe that if he had gone to college, Rory would have gone to ... (gulp) ... East Tennessee State? How could Guhne have missed that one?

August 13, 2012 at 1:04 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Your web-team's skills are growing daily. First Swayze, now ribbon dancer. Top notch work being done over there. I like their Saban over Paul Ryan on the last photo, but am curious if there was any photoshop action being done with the girl behind Romney. She is doing her best impression of "The Scream" or she is just stoked to be there.

I like a Mike Krzyzewski for President with a Jay Bilas as his Vice. They automatically eliminate the entire Tarheel Nation's vote but probably would be a pretty sharp pair. Barkley would need to get his run as Alabama governor under his belt before he makes a run for the White House.

August 13, 2012 at 2:21 p.m.
Todd962 said...

And do you think Carl Pettersson and John Daly had the same mother or father? Cause on more than one occasion I turned it to golf and thought "Daly's in contention? They must not sell beer in South Carolina on Saturdays." Ends up there is more than one portly blonde headed person who can play golf these days. Who knew?

August 13, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

We're not comparing Rory to Paddy. And fair call about Tiger's singular focus. It was overwhelming — for him and for the rest of the field.

OG —

We believe Signal and Ridgeland are two of the four best in the area — Baylor and Calhoun aren't chopped liver.

That said, the Panthers and the Eagles are not going to be happy simply making the playoffs this year.

Spy —

It was either PGA or IRA for young Rory. He choose wisely.

962 —

If there was a regular guy PGA Tour — golf and beers and have to have some of each — Daly is a combination Woods and Nicklaus. If the PGA had one tournament a year — the Michelob Open maybe? — where the players had to finish a beer every third hole on the front and every other hole on the back, Daly would MJ wrapped in Larry Bird with LeBron's athleticism mixed in.

That said, we're not as big a fan of George Pettersson's — Sloan's father — or Carl's for that matter. If for no other reason than dude is wearing those virtual reality glasses that are reserved for 86-year-old woman after eye surgery or folks who put a $3 in a video game and pretend they are driving the Indy 500.

Bilas is an excellent call.

— 5-at-10

August 13, 2012 at 3:24 p.m.
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