published Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

5-at-10: Election recap, college football, and the Tennessee Titans nickname

Remember Friday's mailbag — we still have a couple of openings — and thanks for a great Tuesday. It was a lot of fun.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's get rolling.

Election recap

  • photo
    President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at Springfield High School during a campaign event Friday in Springfield, Ohio.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Barack Obama won four more years Tuesday. The other races were (fill in the blank with, close, contested, clearly one-sided, or whatever adjective you like).

Here's what you need to know: Obama went over the 302.5 electoral vote and is teetering right at the 50.5 percent over/under on the popular vote.

As for the questions about which sports figures would make the best candidate, we overwhelmingly endorse Peyton Manning, who received no fewer than two dozen emails from you guys. (And in truth, some of you folks were a little too keen on the idea to be truthful about it.) We decided to pair Peyton with sportsfan's idea of Chuck Norris, and the Manning-Norris ticket would be tough to topple

That said, we can see some support for our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's idea about Saban and Calipari teaming up for a 2016 run. (And as Weeds pointed out, there would be a lot of clinched-teeth support across the SEC just to get those guys away from their regular gigs.)

As for the under-the-radar politic issue from Tuesday's polls, the NCAA is about to have a real issue on its hands. (Yes, they always have a real issue on their hands, but listen along.)

The states of Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana. Dozens of college athletes every year are suspended because of using banned substances. Well, how is the NCAA — a governing body of college sports — going to be able to ban a substance that is legal in that state? And don't make the PED/steroid argument. Those are competitive edges.

This is a free choice made legally in those states.

And if the NCAA follows the state law, the recruiting edge for the schools in those states just became real. (Although no player anywhere is going to admit it to his parents.)

Heck, we can see the crooked smile of eye-patched Washington State pirate coach Mike Leach... "Arrgghhh, shiver them embers boys, and take stock and quarter bags."


Halfway home

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    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) plays during an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 in San Diego.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We're halfway into the NFL season, and at the midpoint, let's assess:

MVP: Matt Ryan, Atlanta. This means little if Ryan, coach Mike Smith and the 8-0 Falcons do not find a way to win a playoff game. Still, the Falcons QB is performing at an elite level and Smith is on the short list of the best NFL coaches. Did you know that duo is 30-4 at the Georgia Dome in the regular season and that of the 14 teams to start 8-0, nine reached the Super Bowl?

Comeback player of the year: Peyton Manning, Denver. This one was determined long ago, but Manning is performing at level worthy of this award — and consideration for the one above it. That said, Adrian Peterson deserves a mention here too.

Coach of the year: Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis: Likely the most-underrated story in sports right now — and that's saying something in the 24/7 sports news world — the Colts are an inspiration. Really. More than two dozen players have shaved their heads to support Pagano, who has stepped down from his job leading the Colts to treat his Leukemia. Arians has stepped in, and if the season ended today, the Colts would make the playoffs. Yes, the Colts that were the worst team in football last year are in the playoff hunt.

Rookie of the year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis. Sure, RGIII has had more highlights and Doug Martin may be a fantasy superstar, but Luck is true and pure and will be the face of the league sooner rather than later. (And we can remember someone asking us to re-draft the quarterbacks in the NFL, and we took some heat for taking Luck No. 2 overall behind Aaron Rodgers. Any questions now? To be fair, we may have overvalued Cam Newton in that process, but not Luck. We love the draft.)

Playoff projections: We got the Falcons, the 49ers, the Giants and the Packers winning their divisions and the Bears and the Seahawks as the wildcard teams in the NFC. In the AFC we'll take, in order of seeding, Houston, New England, Denver and Pittsburgh winning their divisions with Baltimore and Indy as the wildcards. Playing out the rounds goes like this: Giants over Seahawks, Packers over Bears, Denver over Indy (think this game would get hyped much) and Pittsburgh over Baltimore. Then, Falcons over Packers, 49ers over Giants, New England over Denver (think this one would get hyped much), Steelers over Texans. After a crazy conference finals round, we'll take New England over 49ers in the Super Bowl.


Around college football

  • photo
    Contributed Photo Georgia coach Mark Richt and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville

— Pondering coaching possiblities, Part I: How much is Tommy Tuberville laughing right now. Tuberville is on the short list for the Arkansas job and his former locale at Auburn is in turmoil.

— Pondering coaching possiblities, Part II: Replace Tommy Tuberville's name with Tony Franklin, who was hired as the offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2007 and fired midway through the 2008 season. Franklin is part of the La. Tech staff that has become arguably the hottest group on the coaching rumor mill.

— Pondering coaching possiblities, Part III: We talked some Wednesday about how Johnny Vols Fans say Sal Sunersi's name — we think it's like James T. Kirk says "Khhannnnnn" — but UT nation is not alone. After the dumpster fire that is Sunseri's — SUNNSERRIIIII! — defense and the "don't hire John Grisham's typist and expect "The Firm" one-liners about defensive assistants working on Nick Saban's defense, here's saying that current Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has a similar view of Sunseri. SUNSERI!

— OK, if you had an SEC coach a draft — we love the draft, you know this — of "coach that will need hip surgery before next year" there's no way Derek Dooley or Mark Richt are the lottery picks. Well, we know Dooley's ailment — and we have sorely undervalued the images of Dooley roaming the sideline with a Stool Czar (and if you were the Stool Czar do you now request a staff of two more and call your group the Three Stoolies or maybe the Stool Pigeons?) — and now Richt has announced his in line for hip surgery. Somewhere Steve Spurrier better be putting down padding around the South Carolina football offices.


This and that

— College hoops starts this weekend with a bunch of sacrifices and thumpings. We're underprepared. We'll correct this.

— Wow, not only did the Tennessee Titans get humiliated by the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the city of Nashville was pounded in the pregame and postgame festivities. According to NBC, the overflow number of Bears fans made the trip to Nashville for Sunday's game drank several bars dry. Pick it up, Nashville. Da Bears.

— Wow, New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl won the right to host the bowl pitting the SEC and Big 12 champs. That's stunning. In other news, Alabama's football team is good and LeBron James can play basketball. More at 11.


Today's question

Because of the election, we skipped a day on chas9's excellent question about changing the Tennessee Titans' nickname?

What are your suggestions?

We went with Tennessee Turnstiles. And know this: In the NFL, you are either operating in the window to a win championship or rebuilding to get back to the window.

There are a handful of teams that are dog-paddling in the sink-or-sink-quicker waters of struggling to mediocre. The Titans are chiefly among them. Name what this Titans team is built on or the player they are built around?

So, whatcha' got, and put these NFL franchises in order of which will win a Super Bowl first: Tennessee, Arizona, Atlanta, San Diego, Houston and Seattle. And how is the Houston expansion team that far ahead of the Tennessee team that left Houston to come to Tennessee?

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.
chas9 said...

5er--Loved how you photoshopped your head onto Homer Simpson yesterday.

Totally concur with your NFL awards.

Wonder what those who claimed the polls were biased against The Mitten (in this space yesterday and elsewhere) think about polling now? Seems to me they have it down to a science. Whoever's losing always blames the polls.

Maybe The GOP can turn to Gruden next time around.

What's the line on Kentucky-Maryland?

November 7, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Hey Jay,

Made it safely back to the Big D yesterday just in time to hit the lunch hour traffic on I-35E (Boy that is a lot of fun to navigate T_T). That said, I am back in the fold having enjoyed my nine-day vacation in the 'Noog.

-Loved seeing the Mocs live not once but twice. Especially the first half of the Western Carolina game. That was the BEST Dallas Cowboys impersonation I ever saw. And I hope they never do that again.

-Speaking of "Da Boys", enjoyed the game with the Falcons even though Romo pretty much leads the league in interceptions for October.

I won't get into politics (I got to be on the phones at work shortly but..) I wouldn't vote for Saben or anyone else sports-wise simply because the issues we are facing is beyond anything trival (I'll keep the reflected stereotypes out) in regards to our actual votes and what they really are suppose to be significantly.

Have fun everyone.

November 7, 2012 at 10:50 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay-

do you think there will be alot of UTK fans at the Lady Vols game Friday night wearing their "We Beat Troy" t-shirts or their 2007 Outback Bowl Champions sweatshirts ?

November 7, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

All of your sink or swim comments make the nickname change obvious. The Tennessee Titanics.

As for why Houston is ahead of the former Houston- that's not really fair. The Texans are in their eleventh season in the league- more than enough time to build a franchise. The Tennessee Oilers/Titans moved to Tennessee in 1997. They were in the Super Bowl just three years later. The Texans have never even advanced to the AFC Championship Game, much less the Super Bowl. So while Houston is ahead of the Team Formerly Known As Houston right now, it is not really completely fair because so much time has passed. Why have the former Baltimore Colts as many Super Bowls as the current Baltimore team? I don't know. Does it matter anymore? Too much time has passed to compare the two in that way.

November 7, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Stooley Dooley, his defense looks like a stool ... sample ... ha, this guy ... Stupid Sunseri and his no tackle defense.

And the Titans would have a Super Bowl if stupid Kevin Dyson hadnt drank all that coffee growing up causing him to stunt his growth. Stupid Kevin Dyson and his lack of a go-go-gadget arm.

There are not many bars that I havent seen the inside of in Downtown Nashville, and I find it hard to believe that the Bears fans were having trouble finding libations any where near the stadium. Maybe they just needed to drink something other than Stroh's or Labatt Blue Light. Stupid Bears fans and their criticism of our watering holes.

November 7, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
chas9 said...

How about The Tennessee titmice? Can you say tat in a FOIB forum?

November 7, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Here's saying the GOP chat rooms and interwebs are blowing up with... "Gruden's wife used to be a Republican cheerleader... We know campaigning is tough but his heart is in the G-O-P, by golly."

Run JMC —

It was good to talk to you and glad you had safe travels. We're expecting good things from your Mocs on Saturday.

Jomo —

Doubt it. Although maybe we could print a few T-Shirts in orange that say...

"Our head coach went to Tuscaloosa and all he brought back was this stupid Sunseri."

Stuck —

Titanics is good.

We see your point about time, but we're talking about moving in a direction over the last decade-plus. And you can make a hard argument that other than McNair, who is the grand scheme of things was underrated, the Titans have been among the bottom five franchises of the league for the last 15 years.

And the Baltimore analogy is too skewed the other way. What about the Baltimore Ravens/Cleveland Browns as proof to the Titans/Texans gripes.

962 —

Rough night at the polls?

Stupid polls.

There are few hangovers like a Stroh's hangover. And any good, self-respecting Bears fan kicks back Old Style.

Side question: Other than flying which is a no-brainer and speed like the flash, go-go gadget arms would a pretty awesome sports super hero trait. Hoops? Dunk you very much. Football? First down machine? Not even Jeff Francouer in his prime would have a better arm than a go-go gadget arm.

— 5-at-10

November 7, 2012 at 12:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Yes, you can say tat in the F-O-I-B sports column. As in Tyler Bray has an awesome back tat.

Titmice is walking the razor's edge however.

November 7, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.
memphisexile said...

JG,

I would think that the NCAA will probably say that while marijuana is legal in those two states, it is still illegal everywhere under federal law. Therefore, no weed. In terms of a recruiting advantage, I would say that Colorado football needs all the help they can get. Maybe the NCAA will give them an exemption....

November 7, 2012 at 12:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Exile —

No doubt the Buffalos need all the extra help they can get.

But how's this for the new slogan for CU:

Where there's smoke, there's fire. Buffalo football 2013.

The Tokes on You.

Thoughts?

November 7, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.
chas9 said...

Going Bowling. Jerry Palm projects The Vols in the Liberty Bowl. Yipppeee!

November 7, 2012 at 1:51 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Stupid polls indeed. I was forced to squelch my disappointment in 40 oz increments at Champys as the results were being displayed.

Stroh's is a mean hangover, anything that is bought in 12 packs for $4 shouldnt be trusted. However, nothing touches a wine hangover, no matter what orifice you chose to consume it in. Wine hangovers combined with a sudden head jerk will make you consider if your life is worth living. Not drinking it in mass quantity would help, but moderation has never been our strong suit. Stupid wine... Do you think when they developed the "box wine" they were aware the sack of wine inside makes the perfect travel companion for drinkers everywhere? Sporting events, concerts, movies, class.... I miss college.

November 7, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

I thought of Cleveland/Baltimore, but that didn't prove my points. (See? I can be a politician....I should run for office....)

Regardless, over the last 10 full seasons and half of this one, the Titans are a combined 89-80 and 2-4 in the playoffs with four playoff appearances. I don't follow the NFL as closely as some, but I would be shocked if that put them in the bottom five franchises in the NFL during that time. During the same time, the Texans are 62-96, and 1-1 in the playoffs. Over the last five full seasons plus this year, the Titans are 49-40, and 0-2 in the playoffs. The Texans are 48-40 and 1-1 in the playoffs. Sounds about equal there. Last year, the Texans finished just one game ahead of the Titans. In 2010, they finished with the same record. In 2009, the Texans were one game better. In 2008, the Titans were five games better. In 2007, they were two games better. So, outside of this year and 2008, and 2007, over the last five plus years, they have had remarkably similar records. In 2008 and 2007, the Titans were actually better. This is the first year in their history that the Texans will likely finish more than one game better than the Titans.

I am not a Titans fan. Not at all. Just think that the rush to judgement on how terrible the Titans are could be a little over the top. The Titans have one losing season in the last six seasons prior to this year and three winning seasons, to go along with two 8-8 seasons. Is there any direction forward? I certainly agree that there does not seem to be a clear plan for these Titans, and there does seem to be for the Texans. But that feeling only started creeping in about two or three years ago. The Titans had generally been considered one of the best run franchises in the sport prior to that (partly due to Jeff Fisher)....at least that was I felt like I heard from people. I don't cheer for the Titans. I cheer for the Dolphins. So I know bad football. A team that has had exactly four winning records since 2002. Three of those came in 2005 or before. One winning record since 2006. No clear path for the future, until maybe this year with Tannehill. The worst draft pick ever in Ted Ginn Jr (or at least on the Mt Rushmore, because the pick was bad at the time- not like some of the guys that were busts, this was just a bad pick.)

That raises a good mailbag question. Rushmore or the Grand Canyon of the worst draft picks ever. Not busts. Worst picks because they were bad at the time. One for the NFL. One for the NBA. Ted Ginn Jr. belongs on there. A good special teams player. One maybe OK year. Darius Heyward-Bey to the Raiders belongs on there. Had one good year so far. Who else?

November 7, 2012 at 2:25 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Does Jerry have which remaining game he thinks the UT Dooleys drop?

And while we have embraced the James T Kirk version of SUNNSSSSERIIIII! like Kirk says Khhaaaannn!, our UT ace Patrick Brown rightly pointed out that we should likely use "SAAAALLLLLLL" for the Khan gag since Sal is one syllable like Khan.

962 —

Wine hangovers can be crippling.

Worst hangover we can recall was Labor Day '95. Softball tournament on finishing up on Sunday morning, NFL opening weekend, opening day of a co-ed flag football season, all-day festivities... Barely made it up the next day for a 7 p.m. movie.

But you bring up a good point: Where does the box/bag o' wine fit into the Rushmore of drinking inventions? Flask is there. Going to pop-tops from pull tabs. The Gentleman that is Jack Daniels...

Stuck —

The last 3-4 years for the Titans can be broken down into five years of contending/fringe on the window, the Vince Young rebuilding situation that imploded the franchise to the last two years of manilla-folder-level of blandness.

Now the future seems bleak and the timeline for improvement is a complete mystery. And we're now in year 2 of Jake Locker and have ZERO idea whether he's the long-term solution. And that fact is doubly painful because the Titans will get another high draft pick and not know whether they need to address QB or add pieces around a QB they know is going to be a keeper.

— 5-at-10

Stuck

November 7, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay,

Rushmore of drinking inventions: quarters (I'm older than I look), the Bob Newhart drinking game, jello shots, rum drinks on the beach. Not that I have any personal experience, just what I've heard from others...

November 7, 2012 at 4:06 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Sportsfan, that sounds like my first 4 years of college...in order. Good rushmore, although I might substitute jaeger to the list for Bob Newhart

November 7, 2012 at 4:42 p.m.
jgreeson said...

fan —

Need some education on the Newhart drinking game. And raise your hand if at one time in your life you believed that if quarters was an Olympic event, that you were destined for Gold.

McPell —

If you got done with college in four years, well, you missed a quality two years on the back end.

Jager has no place here. Curse you, Jager, curse you.

Ma, MEATLOAF!

— 5-at-10

November 7, 2012 at 4:57 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Rushmore of drinking Inventions: The funnel(or a key, both sufficient methods to increase consumption), beer pong(Too many hours logged), quarters(Anybody played moose?), and the kegerator(You mean to tell me I can have ice cold beer on tap at home. Take my money, where do I sign.)

One of the worst is the beer helmet. Yeah it looks cool, goes with most fashion styles, and drives the ladies wild, but they make the beer foamy. The disappointment I faced the first time I bought one of these was almost unbearable.

November 7, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

I was simply contending with the fact that you said that for 15 years it has been one of the bottom five franchises in the NFL. Maybe for the last 3-4 years, as you seem to imply in your second response. And the future is bleak, because it is so hard to tell about Locker. Hard to find direction in that mess. I'm not arguing that things aren't bad right now for them- just that it is awfully hard to say that the Titans have been one of the worst franchises in the NFL over the last 15 years....or even five years really. Last two plus years- sure I guess, I might be able to agree with that. Although they did have a winning season in there (something the Dolphins and a handful of other teams don't have). The Locker Confusion is the real problem, it appears.

November 7, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

That's great intel about the beer hardhat. Excellent stuff.

See, gang, it's not just lively banter, it's consumer product info too.

We're like the Home Depot folks — We're here to help.

Stuck —

Fair point about the last 15 years point ˜ that may have been a touch over the top. We've been accused of that before.

And yes, drafting a ???? first-round QB is the Russian Roulette of the modern NFL.

— 5-at-10

November 7, 2012 at 5:10 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - while watching a syndicated rerun of the old show (where he's a psychologist) chug a beer every time a character says "hi Bob". You'll be surprised how many cans of beer you consume in a single 30 min episode or so I've heard.

November 7, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Jay, I did say "first 4 years". Don't ask about the last year. I vaguely remember trying to cram several years into one

November 7, 2012 at 6:18 p.m.
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