published Thursday, January 26th, 2012

5 at 10: Peyton Manning, PGA changes and the Wide world of sports

From the "Talk too much studios," let's go.

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    This Jan. 4, 2011, file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning talking to reporters in Indianapolis. The Colts resigned Manning to a long-term deal that could keep him in Indianapolis for the rest of his career. The team did not release terms of the deal Saturday, July 30, 2011, but it is believed to be for five years.
    Photo by AP File Photo by Darron Cummings

Manning on a move?

OK, here's what we know:

The Colts finished 2-14. They fired their longtime VP and his son the GM. They fired their coach, and a chunk of the offensive staff. They have the No. 1 overall pick in a draft — we love the draft, but you know this — that includes the top-ranked quarterback in a generation. They also have on roster one Peyton Manning, arguably the top quarterback of the current generation. We also know that Peyton was not consulted during the search for the next coach, and that in a very-telling interview Peyton told the Indy Star that the Colts football offices are not a fun place to be. (OK, technically when most folks say their work place is not a fun place to be, we all nod our heads and say, "Yeah the TFP sports editor there is block head." But Holy Jeff Saturday morning cartoons, this Peyton Manning. The same guy that probably watches film over his Cheerios and frequently falls asleep at night reading the playbook.)

We also know that the Colts hired Chuck Pagano as their head coach, a move that signifies the changes are going to be rampant in Indy, and likely far-reaching beyond whatever happens with Manning. Pagano was the DC in Baltimore and is a hard-core 3-4 defense guy that craves size and strength. The Colts are an aging 4-3 team that used speed and quickness. These pieces are not compatible. Pagano is going to need a slew of new and bigger defensive linemen and some bigger middle linebackers.

Now, lots of folks believe that Manning is on the way out of Indy (and we certainly can see that view), the more tradable piece is Luck.We can all agree change is coming. And since the Colts will owe Manning a $28 million roster bonus in early March if he's still with club, that change is coming right soon. Plus, with that price tag hanging out there on Manning, the rest of the league could have pause trading for any player coming off three neck surgeries in 19 months with a huge contract and who could very well be a free agent by the start of the NCAA tournament.

But for a team that is about need a slew of new defensive parts, is the extra coin of cutting Manning more valuable or is dealing Luck for a King's ransom the play?

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    Switzerland's Roger Federer leaves the court after being defeated by France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in their match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The wide, Wide, WIDE World of Sports

We all loved that show growing up right. The Wide World of Sports was ESPN before ESPN. It was a Saturday morning staple if for no other reason than the intro view with the skiier busting and Jim McKay's classic "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" in the background.

Today, the wide world of sports is truly world-wide. Rafael Nadal rallied for a four-set win over Roger Federer early Thursday morning (here)/late Thursday night (there) to reach the finals of the Australian Open. The Aussie Open final will be this weekend, some 9,035 miles from Chattanooga. And if you have the means and the meant to, you better leave now. It's almost a 19 hour flight.

Golf also hit full stride in a far-reaching corner of the globe.

In the United Emirates, Tiger Woods opened his 2012 season with a bogey-free 70 that included a green-scratching 34 putts. Woods hit 17 of 18 greens but could do no better than 2 under because of his balky putter.

It's crazy to think about the major sports events that happen half a world away, but that's today's global sports community. The United Emirates is roughly 7,555 miles from Chattanooga. Think of it this way, if Tiger Woods hit 333-yard drives from the tee box at Brainerd straight toward the course he'll play this weekend, he'd have to hit roughly 39,890 of those drives to reach the United Emirates. Without a hook or a slice, mind you.

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    This photo made June 5, 2010, shows Dustin Johnson watching his putt on the 12th hole during the third round of the Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Youth is all the rage on the PGA Tour this year, but heading into the U.S. Open, the 25-year-old Johnson often gets left out of the conversation. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Golf sneaky change

Amid the hubbub of the start of the golf season, PGA commissioner Tim Finchem announced a change to one of golf's longstanding events. Finchem has taken the "win the lottery" aspect out of Q-school. For those unaware, Q-school was short for qualifying school, and it was the pressure-cooker process that allowed any golfer with a minuscule handicap and a ton of game to earn a PGA Tour card if he could survive the toughest golf obstacle course this side of holding a one-shot Sunday lead on the back nine at Augusta.

Finchem pulled the teeth — and in a lot of ways the joy — out of Q-school.

The new plan according to the AP, "is for the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour and the top 75 players who failed to keep their PGA Tour cards to play a three-tournament series. Players would be ranked based on how they fared on their respective money lists, and the top 50 after that series would earn cards."

Everyone else could give Q-school a try from there, but the graduates of Q-school would only earn Nationwide cards.

Consider the 5-at-10 against this with every club in our bag. Q-school was the great equalizer for the guys with big-time game but not a big-time name. As Dustin Johnson said on Twitter, "Just left the player meeting here in San Diego!!!! I don't like any of the ideas about changing the tour!!! There is NO reason to!!!!!!!!!"

Johnson is a perfect example. He was a talented college player, and got his PGA card after advancing through Q-school on his first try. He has won each year since making his debut. Without big-time backing, though, would Johnson have the funds to start out on the Nationwide Tour and work his way through an extra layer of the system?

That's hard to know. But it seems silly that we want to find out?

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    Crews work to remove toilet paper from the two poisoned oak trees before spraying the leaves with a coating at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Ala., on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr. has been charged for poisoning the landmark live oak trees on the Auburn University campus. (AP Photo/ The Birmingham News, Michelle Campbell)

This and that

— The Lakers-Clippers may be the NBA's best current rivalry. Last night tempers flared and big guys started posturing during the final moments of the Lakers' 96-91 win over the their cross-town rivals. Pau Gasol got a little testy — which every NBA fan knows is saying something; think what it would take to get Mr. Rogers fired up and then add a shot of Wild Turkey. So did Chris Paul. Heck, Metta World Peace (the Artest formerly know as Ron) was starting to get the crazy eye.

— Auburn officials announced they will replace the poisoned trees at Toomer's Corner if they die. This was expected. Has there been another story like this one? Where there's a salty blend of crazy, crime and cruelty? Sure college football is filled with some hair-curlers, but this one seems more and more surreal with each new chapter.

— AC Milan standout midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng is on the shelf for four weeks because of a muscle lesion. Yes, it's fair to ask, "Hey, 5-at-10, is this really a soccer update?" And, yes, it's fair to ask, "Hey 5-at-10, what's a muscle lesion?" But the most important question here is, "Hey, 5-at-10, how did dude get said muscle lesion?" According to he model/actress girlfriend Melissa Satta, the injury is a result of too much whoopee. Read that again. (And yes, we went old-school "Newlywed Game" on everyone with a "whoopee" reference.)

— Your UTC Mocs welcome SoCon heavyweight Davidson into the Roundhouse tonight. Whatcha' got Johnny Mocs Fans: Are the Mocs ready? Could this be a springboard-type of win? What's the over/under for fannies in the seats? Say, 2,000? C'mon Jomo, show your gold.

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    Staff Photo by Patrick Smith Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer waits with the team before taking the field for their game against Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday. Tennessee won 20-10.

Today's question

Our SEC ace David Paschall got an interesting interview with longtime UT football coach Phillip Fulmer on Wednesday afternoon. You can read it here (Former Vols coach Phillip Fulmer adjusting to life away from UT). Fulmer, who won 100 more games than he lost with the Vols, was shown the door late in the 2008 season as the Vols were on their way to a 5-7 finish. In the three years since the Vols have rolled through more than a dozen assistant coaches and are on their second head coach, and Tennessee is 18-20 in that time frame.

The most interesting quote from Fulmer in our view was this one, "my feeling at this particular point is that we had an unbelievably great run at Tennessee, and I truly believe we would have been right back on track if it had just been left alone."

So we ask you, whether you're a Johnny Vols Fan or not, do you agree with Fulmer's statement? Would he and his staff been able to get the program "right back on track" three-plus years ago?


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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chas9 said...

5/10--Will the replacement trees at Toomer's Corner be as big as the old ones?

Did Kentucky need a boost for their game with The Vols Tuesday? They'll be wearing special one-time Nike unis for the game. The marketing gurus call them "platinum," but they're grey. Could be the Wildcats kryptonite color. Takes away the superpowers they get from Blue.

The Unibrow has more blocks than some entire teams, including Duke, Vandy, Indiana and Ohio State. Reckon the mustachioed wonderboy will rainbow his jumpers a little higher against Davis?

January 26, 2012 at 10:18 a.m.
Livn4life said...

..."be right back on track," stated Coach Fulmer. I personally believe the Vols would have been back on the track we had been on which was just not able to climb up to the top nationally and in the SEC anymore. I loved Coach Phil Fulmer and hated the way he was sent packing. But I have to admit it was time for a change. The big problem was an AD who had no idea who he would get to replace Coach Phil and an eroding overall situation which got worse when he hired someone with no SEC ties. Heck, that guy had no ties except with the guy you formerly named your studios after. And the studio named guy didn't even like the AD's choice of a head coach. Are you following me? So many do not appreciate all Coach Fulmer did and others completely idolize him. I thank him for a job well done. Yet I must also admit, Johnny Volland(and I live there)has a long long way to go to even come close to being where fans and others associated with the program desire. That means the ensuing climb will truly involve the quest for a ROCKY TOP!

January 26, 2012 at 10:34 a.m.
govolswb said...

I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on T.V. I also didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. That being said I am just wondering if, due to the sugeries, PM would be at greater risk of injuries to his neck if he took a major hit? I honestly believe he won't be with the Colts next season.

As for Coach Fulmer's statement, I disagree unless he drastically changed some things like his ultra conservative play calling. Though it doesn't sound like it I have the utmost respect for Phillip Fulmer. He ran the program in such a way that there were no big NCAA violations or anything and I think any school is better off when the head coach is an alum who loves their school as much as Fulmer does UT and not in it just for the money. I do believe he would have made a great AD. I know this is a moot point now that that position has been filled but I only mention it to affirm my respect and admiration for Coach Fulmer.

January 26, 2012 at 10:54 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

For all that time Roger Federer was poised to become the greatest tennis player ever, he may not even be the best player of his generation.

And watching golf in Dubai is like watching grass grow, even if it is in the desert. Though Woods was paired with Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, which would make for compelling golf watching at any other time and maybe any other venue because there would be, you know, fans there, this morning ... not so much.

January 26, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Can't say about the trees at Toomer's. Hope so. Do know that we took the little 5-at-10er by the corner after Auburn won the BCS title last year and he threw some TP in the trees.

We're curious how these "platinum" unis. Could be cool — think Alabama's with the subtle changes — could be brutal — think UGA in the Dome this year.

We love UK's blue, so they better be careful.


Very well said — and we love the line "Johnny Volland (and I live there)."

Hard to say how it would have played out if Fulmer had returned. Could it be better? More than likely. But 8-5 is better than 5-7, and in truth, a river of 8-5s would only get you an extra year or two than a river of 5-7s and 6-6s.

Not sure if Hamilton deserves the complete mass of blame either. We thought Kiffin was a strong hire — and his run at USC proves he knew what he was doing — and no one could have foreseen the circumstances that unfolded. In fact, Hamilton's biggest mistake may have been not putting an obscene buy-out in Kiffin's contract. (That said, the Kiffin express was headed to NCAA purgatory, so who knows where that would have ended.)

Govolswb —

Great point. The health risk should be part of every Manning discussion until we know for sure he's coming back to anyone.

Strong view on Fulmer. He earned respect from Johnny Vols Fans everywhere, but the jury is split if he could haver turned it back around.

Spy —

Was it like five years ago that we were debating who was more dominating Roger or Eldrick? Now the debate could be who faded faster, Roger or Eldrick?

— 5-at-10

January 26, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
fechancellor said...

I'm no fan of Auburn, 10 Ring, and you know this, however, my ire does not extend to killing majestic oaks that are part of whatever pagan rituals Auburn fans celebrate under these trees after their Saturday contests. Mr. Updike was offered a PLEA BARGAIN of 13 years. This pathetic man might do better going to trial.

Peyton Manning cast loose by the Colts? Strong possibility with that big bonus looming. Manning has been paid to much for too long, and I agree his pay checks have limited personnel options on the defensive side of the ball. The Colts might gain some value from a sign and trade or nothing from ending the relationship. If Manning is looking for money, Snyder's Redskins is a place to land.

Phil Fulmer, I'm more interested in your detailed explanation of the hows and whys your program broke down before I'm interested in hearing how you could fix it.

January 26, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
memphisexile said...

Given that the Vols couldn't be any worse off than they are now, I agree with the Great Pumpkin. He probably would have at least had them going to a bowl game, and the Pumpkin NEVER lost to Kentucky.

January 26, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.
jomo11 said...

jay, i know you enjoy talking about attendence being low at UTC games, college basketball attendence is down NATIONWIDE ........even DUKE is having problems

January 26, 2012 at 2:26 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

There's no doubt Mr. Updyke is in hot water. If this were an old-school "Law & Order" Lenny would have already made some bad joke — think "Wait till they get him in the judicial branch" or "When some of those AU fans in the joint get an eye on you, they're not going to leave you alone."

Was just on the radio with Chris Goforth, and the the possible headline, "Manning dealt to Redskins for third-round pick," was a serious talking point.

Exile —

Wow, great point about Fulmer never losing to UK. We had not thought of that.

Jomo —

There's no doubt that attendance is down across the college hoops landscape.

But c'mon now. Why are the numbers SO low at McKenzie right now? There have been a bunch of high school games this year that have had bigger crowds this year.

Are you taking the over on 2,400 tonight?

— 5-at-10

January 26, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

I, too, wonder if Peyton could withstand a hit. I'm not convinced he could. He has children to worry about now and he should not take any chances. His kids and wife need him MORE than he needs the money. I'm SURE he has invested well....I'm also sure Archie and Olivia have talked to him about what any injury could do.

As for Fulmer...I'm sorry for the way his firing was handled. It was unworthy of the University of Tennessee...I also blame the AD....totally. He got "stars" in his eyes when he saw Kiffin, Ed O. and Kiffin's dad, Monty. If Ed and Monty were not in picture then I don't think Lane gets hired....IMO.

I do think Fulmer deserved another year to work on problems...after that then maybe we did need to move on.

I wish Coach Fulmer much happiness and success in his new ventures.

January 26, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
jomo11 said...

well there was over that many for the Appy and Western Carolina game, and school was not insession then, so no students, so i will go with the over. "If you win, they will come". . . but if you are suggesting a coaching change, then have the guts to say it. . .

January 26, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.
jomo11 said...

jay, another interesting stat The CAA, which is clearly a better mid-major basketball conference than the SoCon has 12 basketball playing members. Only one of those schools has less than 13,000 in enrollment (3 of the schools have more than 20,000 students and 3 more schools have over 30,000). And even with all those students and alums, only 1 school has an arena the size of the Roundhouse. There are only 3 arenas over 7,500. Last season, the CAA only had 3 teams that averaged over 3,600 for the season)

(there were 6 teams in the CAA last year, that's half the conference, that averaged about the same, or less, than UTC is averaging right now

January 26, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

ER8 —

Well said. Not sure how much better the Vols would be if Fulmer had remained, but the way it went down was bad for everyone.

And certainly there was more sizzle than steak in the Kiffin era in Knoxville.

Jomo —

We're talking attendance, not Shulman or even winning and losing. You're the one that trotted out the "If you win, they will come," so are you suggesting a coaching change?

So UTC basketball — and we've had a ton of folks try to convince us of what a true mid-major pwoer program UTC is — should be content averaging what the bottom half of the CAA does in attendance?

Hey, we've only been in town 10 years, so maybe this is the new reality. Maybe 2,300 in the stands is what UTC should expect and be content with.

— 5-at-10

January 26, 2012 at 3:20 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay, i never said "content". would love to see attendence at UTC back to previous averages. my point is that what you said is correct, attendence at college games is way down nationwide. And with that, it shouldnt be a surprised that UTC is also taking a hit. When DUKE is having problems with attendence then you know that TV saturation and being able to view any game, anywhere online is the reality. ......Maybe CHATTANOOGA is not as much of a sports town as you and I would like to think it is......?

January 26, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
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