published Monday, January 23rd, 2012

5 at 10: Paterno's legacy, Vols hoops and the NFL Super Bowl is set

Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff (7) and ball holder Sam Koch watch after Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of their AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 to win the AFC Championship. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff (7) and ball holder Sam Koch watch after Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of their AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 to win the AFC Championship. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

We had planned to post the ballot for our new studio name today, but there was too much to cover from this past weekend. (Plus that gives everyone a final chance to submit nominations.) We'll get to the studio name Tuesday. Deal? Deal.

From the soon to be named studios, let's go.



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    Baltimore Ravens ball holder Sam Koch (4) sits on the ground after a missed 32 yard field goal in the closing seconds of AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 to win the AFC Championship. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

NFL playoffs — Ray Finkle edition

The 5-at-10 was excited for Sunday's NFL conference title games. The teams appeared to be well-matched. There was a ton on the line for everyone involved. And without a true dog in any of the hunt, we could sit back and hope for competitive games filled with drama.

We got that and then some as each game was decided by a field goal and were decided by big plays. Sadly though, those big plays lost the games rather than won them.

It started with Baltimore's Billy Cundiff shanking his final kick in a Ravens uniform. Cundiff's duck hook from 32 yards away could have forced overtime, but the miss allowed the Patriots to sigh after a 23-20 win. On an uncomfortable scale from 1-to-10, with 10 being a loud toot in church, how awkward was Cundiff in the Ravens' locker room? We'll say 15, and that's only if Ray Lewis was kept on the other side.

Sunday's football drama ended when San Francisco's Kyle Williams fumbled a punt in overtime that put the Giants in position for the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 win. The Giants and Pats will play in Indy in 13 days in a Super Bowl rematch of four years ago. (What's the over-under on David Tyree stories? 100? More?)

As for Williams, he was subbing for regular punt returner Ted Ginn, who was injured. Before his overtime fumble, Williams muffed a punt during the fourth quarter that set up a Giants' TD. Wow, tough day at the office, huh?

(Here's saying we'll have plenty more on the Super Bowl match-up in the next two weeks. Wow, a New York-Boston rematch on sports' biggest stage? The NBC folks are swapping high-5s right now.)



College Hoops rewind

Before we get into our Elite 8 teams that could win the whole thing, quick shoutout to Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin and the rest of the UT hoops program. Strong win over No. 11 UConn on Saturday, which was The Conz' second over a ranked team this year. (Side note: Jarnell Stokes is a S-T-U-D. Seriously. He's the best UT basketball player since Allan Houston. Period.)

It's highly unlikely UT will make the NCAA tournament this year, but every Johnny Vols Fan has to feel better about The Conz and the future today than six weeks ago.

Here's the top 8 — and Chas9 will have his regular Monday Top Tenn rankings of the team in Tennessee later today:

1) UK — We have said from the start this is the best team in the country. And we have not seen anything to change our mind yet.

2) Syracuse — The Orange's first loss was without starting center Fab Melo, on the road against a hot-shooting Notre Dame team. The Orange are legit. (Side note: Fab Melo is an excellent name.)

3) Ohio State — The Buckeyes are balanced and can still get better.

4) Kansas — We're believers, and Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor may be the best combo in the country.

5) UNC — There's no questioning the Heels' talent; there are questions about their mental toughness, however.

6) Missouri — Undermanned and undersized, the Tigers can flat-out score. An offense this tough could beat any one — and lose to almost any one — come tournament time.

7) Baylor — The Bears are top-notch despite losing twice last week.

8) Michigan State — The Spartans are physical and aggressive and are very well-coached. The only knock is whether they are athletic enough to play with the big boys.



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    Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno waves as he gets a victory ride in the Louisiana Superdome after winning the national championship with a 27-23 win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)

Joe Paterno, 1926-2012

Joe Paterno died Sunday, and if you didn't know that, well, welcome back from the coma. Paterno was 85 and was the biggest icon of college football for a long, long time.

His legacy will forever be about winning games and influencing people and raising money and giving. It also will forever be marred by silence and scandal. (Our TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer hit a flippin' home run with his column on the difficult measure that is Paterno's legacy here (Wiedmer: Likely long limbo for Paterno legacy).

Death always brings perspective. And retrospection. It's a time to gauge and assess and even reassess. For Paterno, the question becomes more about the story than the score, about the balance as much as the bowl games. It's a difficult question, no doubt, but how will we remember Joe Pa? Paterno did so much good for so many — football players, students, alumni, everyone — and was a beacon in an uneasy sea of college sports uncertainty that grew rougher by the year. But Paterno did so much bad for a few by not stepping forward and living by the simple principle he demanded from those around him — "Do the right thing."

The chapters of Paterno are voluminous and filled with stories of faith and sacrifice and honor and dignity. But that view is not complete without the scars from the Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse scandal that Paterno decided to ignore. And, as we reflect on Paterno, to ignore that and worse bemoan Penn State for rightly firing Paterno last November is unjust and simply wrong (and for Mike Ditka to say he'll never forgive Penn State for the way Paterno was treated is at best ignorant and at worst the most callous and ludicrous thing said at ESPN in some time, and that's saying something). But it could be tempting to overstate Paterno's role in Sandusky evilness, especially in today's "It's the best, it's the worst," must gauge it right now culture.

We are judged by our actions, and Paterno delivered an 18-wheeler of good-will to all corners of his life. We are also judged by our inactions, though, and there's no way to ignore Paterno's.

Ever.



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    Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (15) talks with quarterback coach Scott Loeffler, right, during the annual Orange and Blue football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, April, 18, 2009, (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

This and that

— Auburn hired former Temple offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler to be the Tigers' OC. Lot of folks say Loeffler's an offensive whiz, and that may be the case, but here's our question: Why did this take two months? We don't know if Loeffler is the next Gus Malzahn or the next Gus the field goal kicking mule, but we do know that while Auburn was without offensive coordination, the Tigers lost their top RB commit (T.J. Yeldon) and WR receiver commit (Ricardo Louis). If AU was waiting for an NFL guy to finish his season — like it did with new DC Brian VanGorder — that makes sense. Waiting to take Temple's best assistant, however, seems either like this hire was mishandled or Loeffler was not Auburn's first choice.

— The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this. And any one pulling for B.J. Coleman certainly loved the way the former McCallie and UTC star looked Saturday in the East-West Shrine game. Coleman started for the East team, completed his first six throws, earned big props from commentator Mike Mayock, who has quickly and quietly become the NFL's best all-around analyst. Here's our UTC football ace John Frierson's report from the weekend here (Coleman shines in Shrine loss). Coleman secured his spot in the NFL draft with that performance, and as we told friend of the show Quake from SportTalk over the weekend, the over/under on Coleman's draft round is now set at the fifth round.

— Wow, word has circulated this morning that Oregon coach Chip Kelly will stay with the Ducks. There were a lot of media folks saying Sunday that Kelly was taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job. Well, this morning we know this: "His heart is with college football and Oregon and he's no longer being considered,'' Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik told the Tampa Bay Times.

— Hard to figure your UTC Mocs basketball team, huh? They go on a nice run after the holidays before falling apart on the road in the last eight days. The Mocs are bagel-and-10 on the road this year.



  • photo
    France's Jean Van de Velde smiles as he stands in the water of the Barry Burn that crosses the 18th fairway to see if his ball, bottom center, was playable during the final round of the 128th British Open Golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland, in this Sunday July 18, 1999 file photo. (AP Photo)

Today's question

What's the biggest individual meltdown in sports history? Does Billy Cundiff crack your top 5? What about Kyle Williams? (We say no — Cundiff's kick would have forced OT, so who knows if they would have won, and Williams was stripped of the ball, so that's another dude making a play.)

Here's our top 5, and feel free to use this as a starting point:

1) Jean Van De Velde. Dude blew a three-shot cushion on the 72nd hole of the 1999 British Open. Case closed.

2) Gary Anderson in the 1998 NFC title game missed a chip shot field goal that would have beat the Falcons. Atlanta went on to beat Minnesota in overtime and earn the Falcons' lone Super Bowl trip.

3) Nick Anderson. In Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals, Anderson misses four consecutive free throws in the final minute of regulation as the Rockets rally for a win in overtime.

4) Bill Buckner. You thought he'd be higher, right?

5) Kyle Brotzman. The Boise State kicker missed a 26-yard field-goal try at the end of regulation and missed a 29-yard try in overtime in the Broncos' loss to Nevada in 2010. It was Boise State's only loss.

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.
BIspy4 said...

Gary Anderson had not missed a kick all year, not one, until ... gaakkk!!!

It wasn't Buckner's fault, either. McNamara shoulda had Dave Stapleton in. That Stanley didn't get his fat butt behind off the mound, either.

Underclassmen who have declared for the draft include ... get ready Vols fans ... Bryce Brown and Janzen Jackson. See you guys in AFL4 on the Ocho.

January 23, 2012 at 11:02 a.m.

Why Buckner? His error was a moment not a meltdown. Plus, it lead to a Yankees win which lead to yet another game.

Too easy to pick-on Buckner.

Rick Ankiel. Cardinals 2000 MLB post-season.

January 23, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.
JJester said...

Before you let Kyle Williams completely off the hook you need to look at the whole game just not OT. In the 4th quarter he let the ball hit his knee on a kickoff. Then, instead of trying to fall on ball and maintain possesion he acted like did not know he had been hit. Result of his miscue/error was Giants retained ball and scored a field goal which resulted in OT. Then add the fumble in OT and he gave the game to the NY Giants.

January 23, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
Livn4life said...

I don't know a Joe Peterno. Does someone need a spelling lesson Jaybo5at10? Your word "marred" is a sad testimonial to staying too long in a profession you helped to design at a university. My heart is saddened at Joe's passing but even more so that he could not see the wall writing so to speak and get out a few years back before this thing came unglued and uglified a glorious career. PSU has a long road back.(that all from a nonPSU fan) The Gary Anderson Field No is biggest in my opine. Many of us thought the Vikes would finally break out and go win the big gig. But no, GA missed. No doubt, it still wreaks pain in Purple lovin' people's heart. Don't bring up the Buckner thing, too painful!

January 23, 2012 at 11:25 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Maybe Weeds or Paschall can remember the women's tennis player who came apart at the seams in a Grand Slam final.

January 23, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
wyldmon said...

Go Spartans!

January 23, 2012 at 11:47 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

The Anderson kick was brutal, and we have it ranked worse than Scott Norwood in the Super Bowl because Norwood's kick was from 47 yards. Norwood should have made it, but a 47-yarder is hardly a chip-shot.

And yes, Stapleton should have been in the game, but the 5-at-10 should have been left-handed so our 84-mph heater would have looked positively unhittable. So it goes.

PS — Jana Novotna

Here's hoping Ed Orgeron is doing color commentary on the AFL4 games on the Ocho.

"Harsggdjhaj hargsjds], Brent Schaeffer kasdfjasd, hasdfasfd. Cotton needs new shorts."

BTG —

Almost all of these were moments and meltdowns. And sure, the Mets still had to win another game, but still. (And yes, it's too easy to pick onb Buckner, not unlike Greg Norman and/or Rory McIlroy at the Masters, but while Norman and McIlroy were imploding, Faldo and CSchwartzel were making huge charges, too.)

Your point about Ankiel is well made, though.

JJester —

Welcome to the show and feel free to swing by any time. No we're not letting Kyle Williams off the hook, and we mentioned the muffed punt in the fourth quarter that led to a NYG TD. (Side note: How do you "pretend" it didn't hit you? Crazy.)

Livin(Large) —

We do not know a Joe Peterno either (change has been made, thanks for the head's up).

It's a sad time and a sad end, no doubt. So it goes, but to pretend his legacy is all good is not acceptable either.

Wyldmon —

Where's the "MSU, MSU, MSU" chant? That was our favorite.

Seriously, we're starting to think that Tom Izzo may be the most underrated coach in college hoops. Dude does work year after year.

— 5-at-10

January 23, 2012 at noon
una61 said...

Joe Pa - Dead from a broken heart - R.I.P.

January 23, 2012 at 12:10 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Will Ed Orgeron's broadcast booth be sponsored by Red Bull?

How bout the Fat Boy's Studio? (Not that the 5 is fat, and nice pick up on the Jana Novotna, but the late, lamented Fat Boy's was a fine establishment for all the food that leads to an early demise).

January 23, 2012 at 12:21 p.m.
jgreeson said...

una61 —

We concur that Joe Pa died from a broken heart — but did he break his own heart?

Spy —

Red Bull and/or Rosetta Stone's "You too can learn English" tapes.

Ahh, Fat Boy's. Now we may have to have chili dogs for lunch.

———

And from friend of the show Paschall, here's his vote for the biggest meltdown

January 23, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Yeah, I remember the '86 series. My girlfriend at that time bet was a baseball nut (not much downside there) bet me the Mets would defeat Boston for a bottle of champagne of the winner's choosing and other considerations to be named later.

10 Ring, I was feeling damn good about it as Game 6 unfolded. Then, we all know what happened.

Two more boners in NCAA Finals. In 1985, Georgetown's Freddy Brown with 10 seconds inexplicably passes the ball to a Michael Jordan hovering around in Brown's peripheral vision.

In 1993, Chris Webber, trapped on the sideline, calls a time out Michigan did not have. With two technicals and the ball, the Tarheels never looked back.

January 23, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.
chas9 said...

Top Tenn Rankings, week 11:

In a matchup of possibly the second and third best SEC teams, Vandy lost in overtime to Mississippi State and stays #1 in the Top Tenn rankings. If Missouri were already in the conference mix, of course, they'd be #2. Look out next year, you second-tier teams.

For the second straight week, The Vols rise one spot. Since losing to Memphis by 18 on January 4, they've run off an impressive string. Well, relatively impressive. Georgia was ugly, and Connecticut isn't as good as you think. Still, this team could win the NIT. Yes, Jay, Stokes is a stud hoss. Let's hope The Cuonz develops him better than some of Tennessee's recent talent was used.

Lipscomb rises three spots, mostly by default. Means nothing.

1) Vandy

2) MTSU

3) The Vols

4) Memphis

5) Lipscomb

6) ETSU

7) Belmont

8) Peay

9) TN State

10) TN Tech

January 23, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
chas9 said...

5er--Strong elite eight. I'm a Kansas believer, too. I believe they're an early out in March. I do expect Duke to make its way back to the elite group. And yeah, you have to put KY at #1. The scrappy, surprisingly close Alabama game doesn't bother me, mainly because Teague continues to improve, and the bigs will learn to better handle the physical game in the paint. Not many other SEC teams are as strong as Bama's bigs, but there's no doubt the rest now have their template for how to play the Cats.

January 23, 2012 at 12:58 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We were talking with Weeds this morning about how UT could make a run to NYC in the NIT, and how that would be better than making the Big Dance for a game or two. Young team gets a load of extra practice, get a few extra home games and some added buzz and exposure.

Are you surprised at how Belmont's kind of struggled?

FE to the C —

We almost included each of those NCAA tournament moments, but in the end determined those were more brain cramps than anything else. Especially Freddy Brown in 1982 in New Orleans, just a brain freeze — although James Worthy was wide open at the time.

There was a lot of blame to go around for the Sox collapse that year. (And if you're really interested, Spy can give you a dissertation on it.)

— 5-at-10

January 23, 2012 at 1:19 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

SO, enough about meltdowns...lets talk about how there will be a Brady vs Manning..of the Eli persuasion...Super Bowl Match Up...in the House that Manning..aka Tom Hagen..Built.. Eli and T(h)om will put on a show and I cant wait! So back to Meltdowns... I would have to say the Biggest Meltdown I ever witnessed was...hmm.. Lebron in last years NBA Finals??

How about that NFL commercial with the players going around singing...that was BOSS! You are the Wind beneath my wings? Can someone get SNL on the line...lets open up a show with a duet...Bett Midler and Jared Allen singing that one! a classic it would instantly!

Can someone tell me where the pass protection was for the Giants last night? were they at the Buffet already? Eli spent more time on his back then...well...it is a family show...so use your imagination.. the Giants Oline couldnt have blocked a checkout line from my grandmother...I was pulling for the Giants...but folks wait till next year..those 49ers will be better, tougher and more than likely Champions when it is all said and done...Alex Smith finally looked like a #1 over all pick...and alot like the guy from the Notebook...dont act like you havent seen it...you know you have and you know there wasnt enough aloe conditioned kleenex in the house!

January 23, 2012 at 1:39 p.m.
patriot1 said...

Too bad the little weasel from PSU couldn't stay alive long enough to tell us under oath all about his part in the cover up and what he knew about the rape of little boys in HIS football program.

January 23, 2012 at 3:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

LeBron is a fair inclusion (although we debated whether to type that in case JordanRules has read today's entry yet).

That commercial was awesome. Bette Midler and Jared Allen... good times.

We should have had more on the actual games from Sunday, but there was so much stuff. Alex Smith looked good, and Joe Flacco looked very good. If we had said the better defense from Sunday would trump the better QB performance, you would have thought Ravens win 36-7. But Flacco outplayed Brady and the Pats' D outplayed the Ravens' D. Who knew?

And what's this "Notebook" of which you speak?

No. 1 Patriot —

Tell us how you really feel. In truth, since he passed, Paterno's role in the PSU cover-ups of Sandusky are either going to be washed away or magnified. At least that's how we see it.

— 5-at-10

January 23, 2012 at 3:41 p.m.
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January 23, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.
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