A ton to get to, so from the "Talks too much" studios, giddy-up...
Dooley's musical tastes, musical chairs
OK, you've probably heard by now that our UT football coach Derek Dooley went old-school 1980s pop with a Bruce Hornsby and the Range reference to the atrocious Tennessee defense.
"Like Bruce Hornsby and the Range, that's just the way it is," Dooley said in describing the criticism heaped on first-year defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri in his weekly news conference Monday.
Coach? Bruce Hornsby? Really? OK. We can't help but get the feeling that if Dooley wasn't coaching the Vols to their worst stretch in, oh, ever, he'd be a really good guy to hang out with. Seriously.
In fact, since Dooley started it, what's the best throwback song to describe this UT defense? And since today's election day, for today and today only, our traditional Mount Rushmore answers will be a ballot from which you can pick one (or have a write in answer):
— "Shout" by Tears for Fears with the possible tweak of the lyrics, "Shout, Shout, let it all out, tackling is a thing we can do without."
— "Hello, Goodbye," by the Beatles since that appears to be the reaction by the UT defenders to an opposing ball carrier. Hello... Goodbye.
— "Smokey Mountain Rain" of points by Ronnie Milsap
— Or maybe simply "Turn the Page" by Bob Seger, and it's time to simply turn the page on Sunseri's time as a big-time defensive coordinator.
Seinfeld and Newman
More UT stuff
It seems like the "hot seat" talk and the Jon Gruden wants to coach at Tennessee because his wife was a cheerleader there rumor mills and whisper factories have come to a halt for the time being.
James T. Kirk says "Khaaaaannnn!!"
That's likely a good thing for the Tennessee football program in the here and now.
That said, let's play a little game of "It's your move" a fun follow-the-leader game we just made up because the coffee is not ready yet. Ma, MEATLOAF!
Homer and Bart Simpson
OK, it's your move, Derek Dooley — After a historically bad UT defense has stripped an explosive offense with no fewer than six NFL players the chance of big things, you have said you are attending every defensive meeting this week, and that you should have done it long ago. Are you going to fire Sal Sunseri?
The answer: Of course, right?
OK, it's your move, potential new UT defensive coordinator candidate — Intrigued by the chance to coach a defense that will return every meaningful starter other than Herman Lathers and the ability to use the power, finances and brand of UT and the SEC, your only drawback is the future. So you ask Dooley during the interview process, "What's your status?"
The answer: "Unknown," and "It depends on you and your ability to fix this Sunseri." (Side note: Do you think pulling a Sunseri is a) a missed tackle; b) a missed assignment; c) a bad angle in pursuit or d) any of the above, and kind of defensive miscue version of "Smurf" in that it covers all forms.)
OK, it's your move Dave Hart: Knowing that the status quo on this football staff is not going to be acceptable to even the most staunch Dooley supporter — heck, even Barbara Dooley knows some changes have to be made — and knowing that if 2013 is going to be anything more than counting down the clock, do you not have to contemplate an extension for Dooley so he can go hire a defensive staff?
The answer: Who flippin' knows. And if no one knows, that means we have just somehow come up with a somewhat believable scenario in which Derek Dooley needs an extension and CelticVol, Dr. B — he's a doctor after all — and Brad Shepard just fainted.
Election question: In the heart of Johnny Vols Fans everywhere, the word "Sunseri" is going to be like...
— How Jerry Seinfeld says Newman.
— How James T. Kirk says "Khaaaaannnn."
— How Homer J. Simpson says, "BART!"
— How Johnny Carson used to say "(Sunseri) did not KNOW that."
NFL Power Poll
We head into the back half of the NFL season riding the entertainment of last weekend. In fact, most everyone who makes picks — for entertainment value only of course — greatly enjoyed the NFL machinations this weekend. With the Monday Night whipping the Saints put on Mike Vick and the Eagles, the 10 teams that were favored by 4-points-or-more went a sterling 10-0. OUCH-Standing for those guys that make books. (What are they call again? Librarians? Publishers? Book Makers?)
At least three Vegas insiders have said it was the worst weekend for the house in NFL history, in large part because most regular players like the favorites and more and more players are picking parlay sheets — bets that pay higher odds for getting all of the entries correct.
And one of the weekend's few upsets was Pittsburgh over the New York Giants, but Pittsburgh is a popular pick week-in, week-out for regular players. So it goes. Some times you're the windshield, some times you're the Sunseri.
On to the Power Poll...
1) Atlanta: Somewhere Al Davis is putting on his heavenly sweatsuit and smiling at these Falcons. "Just win, Baby," was Davis' mantra that made his Oakland Raiders a popular lightning rod. Well, through their history, the Falcons have been more light weight than lightning and more plod than rod. Now, though, this bunch is 8-0 and has a four-game lead in the NFC South.
2) Chicago: Even when the Bears defense was not that good, doesn't it seem like their defense was pretty good? Maybe it's the uniforms. Maybe it's the memories. Either way, this bunch is as good as any in the league and as opportunistic as any in history. The Bears have scored seven defensive touchdowns, including an interception return for a score in the 51-20 drubbing Sunday at Tennessee.
3) Houston: The Texans have the league's second-best point differential at plus-100. And they have the best scoring defense in the AFC.
4) San Francisco: Quarterback Alex Smith still holds the key to this bunch considering the 49ers' have the NFL's best scoring defense, allowing just 12.9 points per game. How important is scoring defense? The top four teams on this power poll are in the top five in scoring defense. Atlanta is No. 5 at 17.9 points per game, Houston is fourth at 17.1 and Chicago is second at 15.0.
5) Green Bay: Winners of four straight, the Packers get the edge over a number of teams muddled in the upper echelon of the league because they have the league's best player in Aaron Rodgers. Discount Double Check indeed.
This and that, election edition
— The odds are out on today's big race: Obama is going off at -400 and Romney is at +350. Unlike point spreads for football, these numbers are the odds and they are generated off $100 bets. For Obama, -400 means you'd have to bet $400 to clear $100; for Romney, if you bet $100 you'd clear $350.
— More presidential betting eye-poppers: As of this morning, Obama's over/under on the popular vote is 50.5 percent. Which means there's a real likelihood that Obama — a 4-to-1 favorite to win the election — won't get a majority of the votes. Side note: The over/under on electoral college votes for Obama is 302.5 (270 is needed to win).
— If you had to name a Rushmore of slam-dunk Hall of Famers across the three major sports of active players as of this morning, we'd nominate Kobe, Duncan, Jeter, Manning. What delegates do you suggest?
— How good is Alabama? Well, Nick Saban is having to tell his team to move on after wins. Wow. Just wow. That leads us to...
We hope you vote today — or did earlier. In fact, while we do not have any interest in debating politics here, we believe this fundamental truth across all political colors, platforms and policies — if you do not vote, you can not complain about the results or the actions of those elected because you had a say and kept quiet.
So go vote.
That said, what current sports figure would make the best President?
Is it Saban? What about Jeter? Mark Cuban? We're open for all suggestions and reasons why.
And go vote (unless you're voting for the other guy that is... kidding... mostly... Ma, MEATLOAF).
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 ...