published Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

5-at-10: 100 days until UT kicks off, conference rumors and short-answer Wednesday

Remember Friday's mailbag and if you have a question shoot it to us at or leave it in the comments. From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...


There are a few things that sports writers love. We love early start times and compelling stories. We love good quotes and games that don't go into overtime or extra innings.

We also love round numbers.

It's 100 days until your Tennessee Vols open the 2012 football season. One hundred. It seems like too many and it seems like it's tomorrow. And in some ways that swinging dichotomy is appropriate since this UT team could win 10 games or it could win five or six.

And it all starts with N.C. State, which is going to contend in the ACC with a senior quarterback, an experienced offensive line and arguably the best defensive back in college football.

The season opener is the biggest game for the Vols since the 2001 SEC championship, and it could be a spring board for the Vols or signify them walking the plank. That's especially true considering the somewhat fragile emotional state of a team that has had three losing seasons in the last four.

It's impossible to overstate the significance of the N.C. State game for the Vols and coach Derek Dooley.

And to think, it's only 100 days away. (Here's hoping it doesn't go to overtime.)

Music has stopped but there's still dance moves

  • photo
    Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) evades Texas defenders to score a 49-yard touchdown during the second quarter of the BCS Championship NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

College football's next wave of news will be decided at the conference meetings. The SEC, the lead pony among the show horses, will convene next week.

They will hand large, Large, LARGE checks to each school. They will talk about how great the year was — Alabama winning football, Kentucky winning basketball and on and on.

And they could very well shape the future of college football since the discussions of the BCS and the four-team playoffs will take center stage.

While that's on tap for next week, there still appears to be swirling rumors of programs looking to change conferences.

Chip Brown of is reporting that FSU, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech have each made informal contact with the Big 12 to see if the conference has interest in expanding. And while anyone with a keyboard can report about anything on the Interweb, Brown has been dialed in on the happenings of the University of Texas in general and was spot on about the Big 12 realignment news over the last two years.

Apparently the aftershocks of the SEC-Big 12 agreement to play in the "Champions" Bowl were felt even more quickly than we guessed. And if any two of those schools bolt, the ACC would be so marginalized in football that it would be almost an afterthought.

So it goes, we guess.

Funny thing about killing a conference... you take all it has and all it ever will have. And while we're getting deep, for all this time we thought the sports world was the last meritocracy of our society. It turns out to be quite Darwinistic, too.

We're going to stop now. We're getting a headache.

There's safety and safety and never the twain shall meet

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    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts after passing to Danny Woodhead for a touchdown during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

On the cover of today's USA Today is a huge story about safety in football. The hammer quote of the story is Tom Brady's father told Yahoo Sports he's not sure he'd let his son play football if Tommy Jr. was starting out today.

When contacted by USA Today on Tuesday, Tom Brady Sr. said, "I subscribe to kids playing football, but I don't really subscribe to them playing until they are developed. When (Tom Jr.) made the decision he wanted to play football, he was 14 and his mother and I were on board with it. We still would be on board with it. I don't know that we would have been on board with it when he was 7."

The quest for a safer environment has become the biggest overriding theme in the NFL.

The awareness and efforts to make the game safer are good things of course, and the recent discussions made the penalties and the reactions to the Saints' Bounty-gate greater by a factor of five.

There are groups studying different ways to make the game safer — steps from putting youth players on "hit counts" where the number of hits they take are limited to reducing the amount of contact in practice.

If equipment is step one, here's saying technique needs to be step two. Heads up people. Seriously. So many of the head injuries occur when players lower their heads — be them tackling or blocking or whatever. And learning to block and tackle with the shoulder rather than the head will go a long way in slowing the immediate injuries and the long-term injuries.

But to improve technique, limiting contact in practice is counter productive.

There's only so many steps that can be made about the safety of a violent game, but all of them need to be explored if for no other reason than the lifeblood of the future of the sport. Because if parents are not letting their kids play football, then who will be the next Tom Brady?

This and that

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    Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) is fouled by Indiana Pacers' David West, right, during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, in Miami on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The Heat defeated the Pacers 115-83. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— The Heatles were outstanding Tuesday night and destroyed the Pacers in a physical Game 5 that portends an even more physical Game 6. And after Pacers executive Larry Bird said he was disappointed in his team being "soft. S-O-F-T." Side note: If our boss called us soft (especially if that boss was Larry Legend), the next time we were on the floor some one would be going down and they would be going down hard.

— After Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Reds, the Atlanta Braves are 7-5 in the last 12 days and are halfway through a 23-day stretch with a game every day. If they can stay a game or two above .500 in this grueling stretch, that would be nice.

— Sweet buckets of Tommy Lasorda magic, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won six in a row and have the best record in baseball. And all this with Matt Kemp on the shelf for the last few weeks with a bad hamstring. How surprising is this? Other than Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, can you name three other Dodgers? And no Spy Cassius Clay doesn't count.

— Congrats to the teams and athletes that started the crazy trip that is Spring Fling on Tuesday. It's going to be a fun (and hectic) week.

— And major shoutouts to Ringgold's baseball team after handing Gainesville it's only two losses of the season and advancing to the Class AAA state finals. Well-played indeed.

— Tough year for the other UT, too. The Longhorns football team was a debacle and the basketball team underperformed. Then this weekend, the school was forced to apologize for handing out the graduation program that contained a typo citing the Lyndon B. Johnson School of 'Pubic' Affairs.

Today's question

Let's try something new.

It's short-answer Wednesday. You get five question and must answer each with a sentence. Here we go:

Who is the first player ejected in Game 6 of the Pacers-Heat series?

Which has fallen the farthest: boxing, the Indy 500 or the Kentucky Derby?

If your shooting a movie about today's SEC football, who are you casting as Saban, Slive, Miles, Dooley, Richt and Bobby Petrino?

With all the hand-wringing about safety coupled with the domination of Dancing with the Stars by NFL players, how do you think Deacon Jones or Jim Brown view today's NFL players?

Do we need a contest for the Belmont since there's a Triple Crown on the line?


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.
Blueoval said...

Not sure who should play who except maybe Bill Clinton could act and play the part of Petrino. He's an Arkansas guy and we know he would have no problem "acting" along side a woman......

I would say boxing as fallen the farthest. I would venture to say more viewers watch the 500 and Derby then a championship fight but I could be wrong. We need to google that......

May 23, 2012 at 10:54 a.m.
jgreeson said...


Clinton is a good start, and yes he has the proper experience and the accent to be Petrino.

We have waffled back and forth on the trio of fallen, but we have to agree that boxings way off the grid.

And we need a moment of silence for Eugene Polley, arguably the greatest American inventor since Edison. Polley, who died today of natural causes at the tender age of 96, invented arguably the most used invention in the country — the TV remote control — among other things.

Stop what you're doing and pay your respect.

That'll do.

— 5-at-10

May 23, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From StuckinKent —

Just three other Dodgers? Got it.

Andre Ethier, Kenley Jansen, Chad Billingsley

Could go on with a few more. (This is a situation where playing fantasy baseball really helps.....all these guys, including Kershaw and Kemp, have been on my team in the last two years. Couldn't name one guy who hasn't been on my fantasy team.)

May 23, 2012 at 11:42 a.m.
Todd962 said...

You may have salvaged the remainder of what has been a stupid Wednesday, Fiveski. Draft dodger slams, Texas body hair references, and the use of meritocracy...nice.

I am curious as to why football thinks that it is the only thing vulnerable to these injuries. Every physical sport deals with these sort of injuries. I played the round futbol with a guy that was told as a senior in high school that his next concussion could result in permanent damage or death. Do you know what he did? He didnt sue TSSAA or our high school, he hung up the cleats. So many of these guys are pushing the limits after receiving advice that they need to hang it up due to injuries and putting themselves in a much higher risk group. And nearly every parent puts their child in greater harms way every year when they slap those car keys in their hands at 16. I dont have much sympathy for the millionaires who knew the risk entering the league.

Does first player ejected include league sanctioned suspensions handed down between now and game 6? Cause if so Dexter Pittman, and if not it better be two or three simultaneous Pacer players getting suspended in a brawl. Larry the Legend just called you soft, S-O-F-T. I am with you Jay, in that the Pacers dont need to promote unnecessary violence, but if I were them I would be coming out strong.

As long as big boxing matches remain a PPV exclusive, it is dead.

Clinton as Petrino is pretty spot on and awesome. Dooley by Keanu, I know hes a pretty sharp guy but judging by his output he is more of a Keanu guy. Richt looks like a Kevin Costner kind of fellow with more displays of public affection. Miles can be played by Dana Carvey, cause he seems like he is out of his mind half the time anyway. Saban looks like a younger Pacino, smooth but filled with rage.

Deacon Jones and Jim Brown think the league is soft, S-O-F-T.

And for the Belmont, I think the 5@10 should take $100 of his own "monies" and go put it on I'll Have Another. If he wins, he splits it three ways between myself, Jefe, and the 5.(Because we saw his brilliance from the beginning at the Derby) And if he loses then you will then know why we had to stop betting on sports. We give out horrible advice.

May 23, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
jgreeson said...

StuckinKent —

You bring up an undervalued point about fantasy sports. After we quit our fantasy league(s) we don;t know the rosters as well as we used.

That's not a completely bad thing, though.

Mr. 962 —

Great point about athletes ignoring the advice of folks with M.D. on their BID-ness cards. Those guys know the risks and the rewards — and if the equipment is as safe as we can make it, then so be it.

And football is tough, but it's also getting some of what is kind of a snowball effect of negativity. In the USA Today story, football had sent the second-most kids to the hospital. The most dangerous activity was riding a bike, and there's not this huge uproar about parents not letting kids ride bikes.

So it goes.

Pittman's got to be done. And more than likely Haslem too. Here's saying LeBron's first drive to the basket he sees the working end of Tyler Hansbrough.

Great cast. Spot on and Costner as Richt is perfect (but there's no way we're writing in the script all that PDA he does with Mrs. Coach Richt.... Guh-Ross). Dooley and Keanu is great. Saban and Pacino is excellent. Plus we were thinking Max von Sydow for Slive. Or maybe Betty White.

DJ and Jim Brown not only think it's soft, they think they could still play (and they may be right on each account.)

— 5-at-10

May 23, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
Todd962 said...

For all the repeating pattern people out there like myself, who else is stoked that Cameron Clear got arrested with another student's laptop? This means UT is going to win the national championship this year, and another SEC school is going to win it in three years when Clear gets back from JUCO. Two national championships for the SEC all thanks to this idiot not knowing where the computer lab is.

May 23, 2012 at 1:55 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

You know, I was gonna say Andre Ethier, James Loney and ... Artful? No?

The first player ejected from Game 6 will be Udonis Haslem. Either him or Rik Smits. Detlef Schrempf is not available.

Nothing has fallen further than boxing. Lindsey Lohan, John Edwards and Mel Gibson feel sorry for boxing. Yes, folks who could contend year in, year out at Indy (Tony Stewart, Juan Carlos Pablo Montoya, et al) have opted for the bright lights and big checks of NASCAR (I know F1 isn't that big here. But go to Europe or Asia and find out just how big Formula 1 is overseas. Second only to soccer, and on occasion a close second.) But the sweet science is a shadow of former self.

Casting call - Tommy Lee Jones as Saban (OK, OK, he played football at Harvard. Big stinkin deal. But he would come across great as a bodily exit ramp. It wouldn't be a stretch for him.) Kevin Spacey or James Spader as Mike Slive. A little too young, but I need someone with that malicious look to him. Matthew McConaughey as Les Miles. He can do dumb as a fox. Christian Bale as Dooley. Because I really have no clue. I'll get back to you on the other two. Running out of capable male actors because, well, nobody can really act anymore. Maybe Brad Pitt as Richt? Or Matt Damon? Will Patton as Petrino? There.

This being a family interwebtubethingy, what Deacon Jones or Jim Brown's thoughts are on NFLers being on Dancing With The Stars is NSFFIWTT (not safe for family interwebtubethingy).

And yes, we need a Belmont contest. You want a Belmont contest.

May 23, 2012 at 1:55 p.m.
Livn4life said...

100 Days to Football time in Tennessee, er Atlanta? I love my FB Vols but have no idea how they respond in this first game. It could be great it could be late. I hope for the best but really live in a cloud of uncertainty until the first few games. But I'm stickin with Rocky Top win or lose. NFL Safer? Yeah I get the equipment concerns and technique but what about safety from all the lawsuits? DANGER, DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Things must have been Hairy down in Austin with that letter deletion. I'm betting someone got a real good cussin' over that if not worse. Finally, Boxing is gone. It has been ever since we could not figure out who was champion of what with all the letters WBF, WBA, etc. I don't think it is coming back soon. Oh one more, Michael Richards(or vise-versa)Cramer on Seinfeld coudl play a mean Derek Dooley!

May 23, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.

"It's impossible to overstate the significance..."

Tell a baby not to cry... that's impossible. No Jay, you and a few others (thankfully not Patrick Brown) will spend the next 100 days overstating the significance of one game. Um, like the Game of the Century between Alabama and LSU that lead to the Game of the Century a few weeks later.

May 23, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. 962 —

Someone needs to remind Cam Clear's pops not to be so sloppy in his future re-recruitment after JuCo, though.

Spy —

The Belmont is booked. In fact, we'll have a racing trifecta. Pick an Indy driver, a Coca-Cola 600 driver and a horse for the Belmont and the lowest total of the finishes wins. Who's in?

Tommy Lee Jones is like 5-foot-10 or even 6-even which means he is WAY too tall to play Saban. We can so see MM chewin' grass and talking about "the want to be a great football player" as Miles.

And Costner is playing Richt and this can't be debated. And the lady who played Granny Clampett can play Lou Holtz in the cameo.

Livn(Large) —

Boxing is the runaway winner. And it's impossible to know how the Vols will respond.


We'll just have to agree to disagree. When in Rome...

— 5-at-10

May 23, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.
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