Buckle up gang, we're doing work today. In fact there was such an avalanche of questions this week we've decided to do 10 questions rather than the normal five. And still at the same low, Low, LOW price.
We're going to try to move as quickly as possible, but that can be tough when you operate in the "Talks too much" studios. Here we go...
Another week, another loss. I’m so sick of losing. I’m so sick of people telling me that if Tennessee will just give Dooley time that he will succeed. Well 5@10, it’s been almost 3 years and I’ve seen no success yet. I, along with a majority of Tennessee fans, saw Saturday night as the straw that broke the camels back. Dave Hart has his work cut out for him. I like Dooley. I like the kids he has recruited. I like the coaching staff. But we’re staring down the barrel at an 0-5 SEC start. That is not Tennessee. Tennessee is one of the winningest programs in the country. As talk show host Tony Basilio said earlier this week, “We, as Tennessee fans, deserve better.” Everybody begs the question, “If you fire Dooley, who are you going to get?” My response to that is, “It can’t get any worse.”
C-Vol has been money in the mailbag for as long as the 5-at-10 can remember. His questions are topical and pertinent and well-thought out. In fact, we kind of have reserved the leadoff spot for him. So it goes.
In fact, we wanted to share this entry for a few reasons even though it's not a question. C-Vol — like almost every Johnny Vols Fan everywhere — needed to vent. He needed to release the frustration of UT's annual fall from hope in the last four-plus Falls of discontent.
This is an interesting starting point for conversation:
The SEC needs Tennessee to be better than this, truthfully. Think of it this way, which game is better Alabama-Tennessee or Texas A&M-LSU? The latter of course since it pits two ranked teams with a total of two losses. But which game did ESPN pick for prime time? (Now there's some talk about ESPN/ABC not wanting to split Texas considering the ABC primetime game of Texas-Baylor, and that may be true.) Still the Vols are one of the league's true national brands. They still are but national brands don't fight like heck to get to the Music City Bowl every year.
Tennessee fans do deserve better, and more importantly, expect way, Way, WAY better. And those expectations are valuable. You asked if you could get worse, and yes, it can if the program as a whole starts settling for less and lowers the measuring stick for what we all know Tennessee football should be. Because if you lose the expectation of success, not only is success impossible, but that's a monster step toward apathy. And forget the future of any coach or single team in a year, when apathy sets in, it can kill a program for the better part of a decade.
We've got high hopes for a tight fight with Alabama this weekend. We'll see.
And C-Vol, hang in there. It's the tough times that make the good times that much sweeter.
From Billy Scott —
How many season tickets did UT sell for football this year? 50,000? [60,000 for the 2011 season?] Here’s sayin’ there will be 50,000 Crimson-clad fans in Neyland Stadium this Saturday. Therefore, no home field advantage for UT. Your thoughts?
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK WITH THE 5 at 10 AND THE T-FP SPORTS SECTION…
Thanks for the kind words and the pumped up energy. We needed that and our morning cup of Joe to get going on this most excellent football Friday. Giddy-up.
Best guestimation — UT sold mid-50K season tickets after selling a few more than 62K in 2011. They have roughly 72K season tickets available. And before we start on Dooley's affect on ticket sales — and UT's diminished returns play a part on that — let's remember that late starts, the economy, a less-than-stout nonconference schedule and a slew of other factors also play into that. Tennessee is averaging right at 91,000 for its three home games this year, and that number figures to go up this week.
And Billy Scott is right, there will be a slew of Bama backers in Neyland. We think 50K Alabama fans is not likely, but there will be a bunch.
In fact, that's one of the reasons we believe the dye of Saturday's game will be cast within the first quarter. Tennessee must start fast. It's an absolute must.
Let's tweak Billy's analogy, and put the divide at 70-30 between Vols fans and Bama fans. The Bama fans are uber-confident, as they should be. They are expecting a good time and fun evening. The Vols fans are uber-concerned, as they should be. They are praying for a competitive game and looking for a reason to believe.
A fast start flips the script and maximizes the force that Neyland can be. A fast start makes wishers stronger and believers worried. A fast start sends that energy through Neyland that has been absent for far too long.
And as critical as a fast start can be, the reverse — a quick haymaker from Saban and the Tide — would be just as powerful in the other direction.
Jay- some interesting numbers. Is the SEC REALLY as good as we all think it is ? Here are numbers since the start of the BSC:
SEC vs. PAC-12 regular season: 10-12
SEC vs. PAC-12 bowl games: 1-0
SEC vs. Big 12 regular season: 6-10
SEC vs. Big 12 bowl games: 21-8
SEC vs. ACC regular season: 42-36
SEC vs. ACC bowl games: 16-9
SEC vs. Big 10 regular season: 7-4
SEC vs. Big 10 bowl games: 19-19
SEC vs. Big East regular season: 16-15
SEC vs. Big East bowl game: 3-8
Or maybe what IS the best is the SEC and SEC media propaganda machine . . . .
I'm not sure where you got those numbers or how accurate they are.
But we know numbers can be turned and twisted and even omitted to tell almost any story. Plus, the matchups in the bowl games — Chick-fil-A is the No. 2 or 3 ACC team against the No. 5 SEC team — and rivalries — Louisville is the cream of the Big East; UK is not the cream of the SEC — are not always created equally as W-Ls
Plus, here are a few numbers you forgot:
— 6. As in the number of BCS titles the league has won in a row.
— 18. As in the number of SEC players listed among Todd McShay's top draft 32 prospects.
— 42. As in the number of SEC players drafted last year, the most by any conference. It was the sixth year in a row and the 13th time in the last 15 years the SEC had more draft picks than any other conference.
But those are just numbers and we all know they can be spun.
Want your opinion to settle a debate between me and an Alabama fan. Which is worse: The Alabama teabagger or the UT butt-chuggers?
It's the Third Saturday in october and since there's next to no way the Vols are going to win I've been heckling him pretty good saying that the teabagger is way worse.
What do you think? Thanks.
Another first-timer. Great and feel to swing by anytime — don't cost nothing.
Wow, OK, it's the mailbag and certainly not the male bag. Wait, strike that. Let's keep this on track.
Neither is good. And if you have not watched the press conference where the buttchuggers and their attorneys denying the butt-chugging charge, well you have our permission to watch it now http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2012/10/03/lawyer-of-alleged-butt-chugger-assails-media-in-best-press-conference-ever.
Welcome back. And a bow-tied attorney saying "butt-chugging" that many times is awesome in its awesomeness.
The teabagging incident is way worse. That was an awful drunken decision that is going to cost the teabagger real jail time — and if you don't think the inmates are going to know what he did, well, you're wrong — and the teabaggee some serious mental anguish.
From (Name Withheld)
OK, I know you normally post names, but please keep mine off.
I just wanted to thank you for doing the Fab 4 picks again this year. My Christmas account is most appreciative. (Go Oregon.)
How do you pick that many games right?
Thanks and enjoy the 5@10.
Well, thanks, whoever you are (wink, wink). Before we discuss our picks and the process, please remember that past success doesn't guarantee future gains, and we advise that this be for entertainment purposes only.
That said, if they work out, we're glad to offer any help that may allow some extra entertainment in anyone's pocket each week.
We have hit a nice flow — and that could very well mean we're going to crash and burn this weekend.
But the flow has been fun. After last night's relatively easy Oregon cover, we're 9-2-1 against the spread in the last 15 days. That's almost 80 percent. We're 25-11-1 on the year. Yay entertainment.
(Quick recap of the rest of our picks for Quake when we swing by SportTalk around 6:20 today — La Tech minus-30 against Idaho; Florida minus 2.5 against South Carolina; Nebraska minus 5.5 ay Northwestern; Southern Miss minus-2.5 against Marshall)
Here are a few items on our checklist for picking games:
Remember, you're picking the best bets, not the best games. If you want to wager entertainment on a game because it's on TV, that's cool. But treat that like a movie ticket not an investment. Find the games, numbers and angles that make sense to you. Case in point, we like the numbers on La. Tech-Idaho this week. Are we going to watch it? Nope. We like the way the investment opportunity sets up.
Ride a hot horse. We try to do this, but we have failed miserably in one monster case. Western Kentucky has covered 15 consecutive times. Yes, 15 straight covers. As RJ Bell shares with us, if you started with a $100 on the Hilltoppers and let it ride, you'd have more than $1.63 million.
Know these two basic two rules: "Lines that look too good to be true generally are," and "If everyone you know is betting on one side, that train usually crashes." Gamblers buy nice dinners with their modest winnings; bookies buy nice cars with their winnings. The house wins more. Period.
From New Reader
Love the 5 at 10 and read everyday. You had me laughing at my desk out loud last week with the Les Miles and Beano Cook stuff. Well-played.
It got me thinking as to who would you pay money to listen to Les Miles do a podcast with?
For some reason, I can't help but picture Les and W going round and round. Who would you pick?
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Thanks for the question and swing by any time — don't cost nothing.
This question is excellent, and here are the our finalists:
Les Miles and W would be great
Les Miles and Bill Murray would be great
Les Miles and Mike Myers as Linda Richman from Coffee Talk would be great
Les Miles and Simon Cowell would be great
But we're going with Les Miles and Mahatma Gandhi. Let's follow along
Pretend Les Miles: How are you good sir. I'm a huge fan. Love the robe. Do they have that in purple and gold? That would make me happy.
Mahatma Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Pretend Les Miles: Hold on there little fellow, I'm the guy that has the want and the where to deliver those kinds of quotes. In fact it's expcted and I deliver. And I feel very grateful that I have a job that in our society people would allow me to go over there and represent what is a very common thought here, and that is 'Thanks.'.
Mahatma Gandhi: Certainly sir. Certainly. But let's remember that honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.
Pretend Les Mils: Dang, skinny, there you go again. Stop saying things that make me think, "Wow, that sounds so good that I wish I had said that and he had heard it rather than the other way around.
Mahatma Gandhi: What is it you do sir? Are you a speaker, a leader, a talker or a follower?
Pretend Les Mils: We have the want to be some of all of each of those things at LSU. We know what's at stake and we have the want to be the best LSU this LSU can be. I understand the opponents go by Mike (the Tiger). I understand it is called Death Valley and why. I look forward to it.
Mahatma Gandhi: I personally sir object to violence because the good it does is only temporary. The evil it does is permanent.
Pretend Les Mils: So you know Nick Saban?
Mahatma Gandhi: Who?
Pretend Les Mils: Nevermind.
Mahatma Gandhi: I do not know this man. I know that he may or may not be a wise man but it is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
Either way, I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photograpers.
Pretend Les Mils: Amen skinny, and pass me some of that tea.
Thanks for the contest. Did you get my Alabama-UT pick?
You know I'm the Lakers of these pick contests?
Enjoy the F-O-I-B column.
Yes, we got your picks. Don't count your chickens and all.
Here's what we got, and remember anyone can still enter between now and noon tomorrow:
scole023 — Alabama 31, UT 12
TennFlyer — Bama 35-10
OrdinaryGuy — Bama 42-3
Stewwie — Bama 38-21
JohnathanMCook —Bama 46-10
FEchancellor — Bama 35-17
BlueOval — Bama 42-17
Spy — Bama 37-10
Musicman375 — Bama 38-17
McPell — Bama 41-16
Livn4life — Bama 42-6
Sportsfan — Vols 27-24
StuckinKent — Bama 31-23
Dawg747 — Bama 42-7
wannabe33 — Bama 56-3
Jefe — Bama 35-24
Tiger — Bama 38-24
ThatIDoKNow — Vols 31-27
Harold — Bama 42-14
Mrs. 5-at-10 — UT 30-20
OrangeGuy — Bama 34-17
Todd962 — UT 21-20
Weena — Bama 38-3
We're going to get Paschall and Downtown Patrick Brown and Weeds and some of the talk radio folks in town to pick too.
From StuckinKent —
Here's a question for you that's a little different- what's wrong with Auburn? Specifically. I keep on hearing "misses in recruiting" and "the changes in the staff" and stuff like that. That's not very specific. More details. As someone who follows Auburn as closely as you do, I'd really be interested, because the recent recruiting classes have supposedly been good, so what went so wrong here?
A closing thought for the day- I love March/April with the NCAA Tournament, baseball starting, spring practice, the NBA finishing up the regular season, and the Masters. But October/November is almost as good. College football, NFL, NBA starts, baseball playoffs, and college basketball gets going. Is this time of year underrated or what?
How much time to you have? There are a slew of things broken in the 334 and there's no easy fixes.
That said, there is talent down there, and if they can keep the 2013 recruiting class together, more on the way. The talent gap is the glaring and impossible fact that Auburn would gladly take either of UTC's quarterbacks right now and it would be an improvement. A big improvement. And in Kiehl Frazier's case, we blame that on the coaching staff primarily. Dude was the USA Today offensive player of the year as a senior in high school. He didn't go from the best in his age group to the quarterback equivalent of a root canal overnight by himself. The kid is a spread QB and making him fit in the round hole of a pro-style attack has not worked.
The "recruiting misses" were about kids not working out or leaving earlier or in some cases bad luck.
Mike Dyer got kicked off the team, and he'd look pretty good back there. Two of their most promising wide outs — Shawn Kitchens and Antonio Goodwin — were part of that robbery a few years ago. Their best offensive line recruit from three years ago — Shon Coleman, a five-star tackle — got leukemia and has not played until this year.
There's also the powerful force of confidence, and the Tigers have none. They have less than none, in fact. And when the game comes to that point when one team takes and the other hopes to hold on to it, we all know which camp Auburn falls in. In truth, the Tigers are waiting for something bad to happen, and they have not had to wait too long in the fourth quarter for those things to happen.
How much does confidence matter? Maybe we're an Auburn apologist, but even as bad as this has been — and it's been flat-out stinkified — Auburn has either led or been within a score in the fourth quarter of every game. Then this young bunch gets smoked — Auburn has been outscored 62-3 in the fourth quarter this year.
We could go on and on about this, but we don't have the time — or enough coffee — this morning.
A possible question for the bag:
I noticed this week that the Mocs aren't ranked in the top 25. What will it take for UTC to a) get ranked? b) to make the playoffs?
We think the Mocs will sneak into the poll if they land a win Saturday over Samford.
This is a game UTC should win, and that's the next step for this program. Russ Huesman has done work getting the Mocs to this point, and now UTC must handle the teams and moments they are supposed to handle. We believe they will.
To make the playoffs, the Mocs must handle their BID-ness and pull one upset. UTC likely is the favorite in every game the rest of the way save Georgia Southern and maybe Wofford. If the Mocs split with those two and finish 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the league, that will be enough.
Two games in, I brashly declared Driskel a better QB than Bray. I'd still choose the Gator to build a team around, but I'm less clear on the difference. As of now, the Vol has a higher QB rating, 145.2 to 140.0.
We've seen enough football now to begin ranking SEC signal callers. Who's the best? Where does the golf ball chucker rank in the SEC?
As Mark Twain observed, statistics can be worse than damn lies, so just use the eye test. As you see it, what's the order of SEC quarterbacks at midseason?
This question is tough, so we decided to break it into two lists.
First, because we love the draft and you know this, we're going to list the QBs from top to bottom as NFL prospects. We're only going to do the top 10 here, because truthfully, why do we need to discuss the NFL prospects of Clint Mosely or whoever is taking snaps in Lexington?
1) Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
2) Tyler Bray, Tennessee
3) AJ McCarron, Alabama
4) Aaron Murray, Georgia
5) Tyler Russell, Mississippi State
6) Dylan Thompson, South Carolina
7) Jeff Driskel, Florida
8) Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
9) Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
10) Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Now let's rank them in their performance so far this year. These lists will not be that close other than Mettenberger, Kentucky and Auburn.
1) Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
2) Connor Shaw, South Carolina
3) Jeff Driskel, Florida
4) Tyler Russell, Mississippi State
5) AJ McCarron, Alabama
6) Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
7) Tyler Bray, Tennessee
8) Aaron Murray, Georgia
9) Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
10) Zach Mettenberger, LSU
11) The injuries and inconsistencies with James Franklin that have been the Missouri QB struggles
12) The struggles that have been the Vandy QB mess
13) The injury riddled mess that has been UK's debacle, in fact the injury to Max Smith does not get enough mention as part of Kentucky's downfall.
14) The poo-poo platter that's been Auburn's quarterback debacle
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 ...