published Monday, October 29th, 2012

5-at-10: Coaching hot seats, potential BCS woes and baseball blahs

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    Tennessee coach Derek Dooley closing watches the minutes of the Vols 38-35 loss to South Carolina.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

College football review, part I

Loved our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's take on the current unrest in Dooleyville here.

Dooley's claim that UT "could still have a really good season," is laughable. Even if the Vols win out, 8-5 with a win over Duke in the Music City Bowl is not a "really good season." Not by UT standards, any way, and if you're content to lower the program's expectations, then you should be content for Dave Hart and Co. to do the same thing.

That said, in the first part of our college football rewind, let's review the five famous cats with the hottest coaching seats in the country (these do not include Kentucky's Joker Phillips, Arkansas interim coach John L. Smith and Frank Whoshisvisor at Boston College; those cats are so gone their seats are not hot anymore, more like cooled pieces of burnt toast — they aren't enjoyable but they aren't hot anymore either):

1) Gene Chizik, Auburn: As late as 72 hours ago, we thought Chizik could survive the worst Auburn season in more than 60 years. Then Saturday happened — Texas A&M coming to the 334 and leaving a Gen. (not Mike) Sherman-level of destruction in their wake — and it's clear that Chizik has lost the program. We've said this multiple times, but if a coach is in the crosshairs and his team does not at least play inspired, that should speak volumes about his worth and stature in the locker room. How inspired was Auburn on Saturday? Well, it was 42-7 at halftime. At home. And if this move is inevitable — which is crazy to think considering Chizik and Co. lifted the BCS crystal ball 21 months, 18 days and roughly 10 hours ago — do it sooner rather than later. First, there's going to be a slew of high-profile jobs open. Second, if you run him now, it gives you a chance for the new coach to keep together a stellar recruiting class. Third, running him before the Alabama game robs the Tide the joy of executing another AU coach. And make no mistake, what Alabama is going to do to Auburn late next month is going to make the Spanish Inquisition appear humane.

2) Derek Dooley, Tennessee: You know this. Derek knows this. Stevie Wonder can see this is a sweep-or-go-home stretch. Even then, should it be enough? We ask that knowing that the Vols were in position to tie or take the lead on the road against South Carolina and Georgia. We ask that knowing that UK has a better SEC record since the start of 2011. Pick a side and there is plenty of ammunition for the opposing view.

3) Mack Brown, Texas: And if you think this won't draw some eye-popping resumes, well, you're wrong. Brown's run is coming to a painful conclusion, and Saturday's come-fron-behind win over a disastrous Kansas team did little to quash it. Texas still has dates with TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech down the road, and you know Johnny Longhorn Fans everywhere are not enjoying the attention and success SEC rookie Texas A&M is getting right now. And the Aggies are doing it without a TV network. Wow.

4) Lane Kiffin, USC: This was supposed to be the high-water mark for Kiffin, and Saturday's mismanaged and miscue-marred loss to Arizona was brutal. First, Kiffin was out-coached by RichRod. Second, if Arizona is going to put 39 on the board what does Oregon have in store for the Trojans this weekend. Third, the NCAA sanctions will hurt the Trojans for the next few years, so this year's preseason No. 1 will unlikely return to that lofty spot for a while. Finally, never forget that USC AD Pat Haden inherited Kiffin rather than hired him.

5) Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: We think PJ gets another year — and in truth, we think he's a great coach and a good dude — but the natives are getting restless. Tech is 3-5 and those wins are against Presbyterian (2-7), BC (2-6) and Virginia (2-6). Not unlike Chizik and Auburn, Johnson and the Jackets face two measuring sticks each year — how are you doing and how is the other team in the state doing. This year, Chizik and Johnson are failing in both regards.

Coming Tuesday: Names you need to know in the coaching carousel.

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    Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray celebrates with Bulldogs fans following Saturday’s 17-9 upset of previously undefeated Florida.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

College football rewind, part II

Let's cover this in a quick-hitting top-five list. Deal? Deal.

1) 5-at-10's Pop proved right again. The lasting sports quote from our Pop is, "That's why they play the game." Georgia, Notre Dame and Ole Miss among others proved that is as true today as it was then. Ole Miss continued Hugh Freeze's resume building with a win at Arkansas. As for Georgia and Notre Dame, well, no one thought either had much of a shot. No one thought either was as good as their records showed. Phooey. Georgia punched Florida in the face (welcome back Jarvis Jones) and Notre Dame went to Norman and put the Sooners in a Figure Four.

2) UTC stumbles in triple overtime. The Mocs were close — a muffed punt was the game-changer — to a program-changing win. It's yet another reminder about the difference between being better and being one of the best, and until the Mocs can deliver a win in one of these types of games, Russ Huesman and Co. can know they have made the program better. But there still is work to do.

3) Alabama. Any questions? Side note: The Tide opened as a 10-point favorite at LSU this Saturday, and we're trying like the dickens to get someone to answer the phone at Carlo's Entertainment Brokerage House ASAP. Oregon opened as a 7-point favorite at USC, and if Carlo picks up the horn, we may discuss that one too. For entertainment purposes only of course.

4) BCS debacle on the horizon. OK, there's no sense in getting too worked up about this, because something along these lines sets up every November. But the BCS has a potential disaster on its hands. The top four in the BCS are, in order, Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon. Each is undefeated, and each agrees that Alabama is the best in the country. That means that if unless two of those three lose, there's going to be chaos. (Well, if two of the top four stay unbeaten, the BCS will work its magic once again, and we don't see anyone beating Alabama.) And the only thing that could be worse for the BCS folks than having three or four of the top four unbeaten is this: Picture Alabama staying perfect, including pounding Georgia in the SEC title game; KSU, Notre Dame and Oregon stub their toes in November; Florida handles FSU... Yep, that likely would mean an Alabama-Florida BCS title game, and the anti-SEC backlash would make the American Revolution look like peace talks.

5) The Fab Four keeps rolling. We made a late switch Friday — taking Western Kentucky minus-7 rather than the total because of the weather in Miami — and cruised to a 4-1 showing. That said, we're pretty busted up about the loss. La. Tech was a 30-point road favorite and missed three first-half field goals and blew a slew of scoring chances in a 28-14 win over New Mexico State, which scored its two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game. In fact the NWSt coach DeWayne Whoshiswhistle said after the game that they were happy they didn't join "the 70-point club," meaning the the multiple teams La. Tech has scored 70 or more against. Oh well. In the reversal of fortune category, we're 4-0 picking Clemson this year after going 1-8-1 last year with the Tigers. With Clemson, Ohio State, North Illinois and WKU wins, we're 31-14-2 this year. Some how, our entertainment revenue does not match those numbers, though. Stupid NFL.

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    San Francisco Giants' Ryan Theriot reacts after scoring from second on a hit by Marco Scutaro during the 10th inning of Game 4 of baseball's World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Giants win the pennant, errr, the whole thing

Congrats to the San Francisco Giants on winning the World Series. They put the pieces together and played better than everyone else since Sept. 1.

Does anyone else feel unfulfilled this baseball postseason? Granted four-game sweeps like the broom job the Giants put on the Tigers can suck the life out of a championship series. And yes, the drama was usurped when Kung Fu Panda round-house kicked Justin Verlander in Game 1.

Still, what was the moment of this postseason? A-Rod sitting out the decisive game of the ALCS and getting some chick's digits from the bench? The botched call at Turner Field?

Not sure if there's any way to prevent a season from coming to a silent conclusion like this one — and granted for Johnny Giants Fans, this was probably a great month — but for a lion's share of the country, it was a forgettable October.

And with NFL heating up, college football going nuts, NASCAR hitting the homestretch and the NBA starting, baseball can't afford to be forgettable in October.

————

This and that

— We'll have more on the NFL in Tuesday's Power Poll, but we must apologize to Mike Smith and the Atlanta Falcons. We thought you were headed to a blood bath in Philadelphia on Sunday. You stood tall and delivered the goods in a hostile environment. As a lifelong Falcons follower — growing up in Smyrna right outside the A-T-L, our Pop had season tickets from '78-to-'82 — we have cautioned ourselves into believing in Falcons greatness. There's been too many disappointments — curse you, Eugene Robinson — but this team looks different than any Falcons club we can remember.

— Hey, that's right. Now we remember. Jimmie Johnson is the best NASCAR driver with four wheels and a clutch. Oh yeah. Thanks for reminding us. And if you think Alabama or Jimmie are not going to be in it until the end, well, you're wrong.

— We're hoping to have more on this on Tuesday, too, but we need to get this out there: We're truly stoked to see how LeBron James handles this season. James and the Heatles are the favorites to win it all again. After getting the "He can't win a championship" monkey off his back, how will King James respond. Will he step into the role of global killer like MJ and or the "Outbreak" virus that was engineered by Donald Sutherland (side note: Donald Sutherland plays a good creepy guy) or will he be the modern version of Dr. J and smile and glad-hand and make an occasional highlight play that takes our breath away? We're really hoping for the former. James in destruction mode against an NBA dotted with fun and elite teams could be excellent.

— And we could not agree more with our prep ace Stephen Hargis in his distain http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/oct/29/Stephen-Hargis-tssaas-board-hurts-athletics/ of the TSSAA and picking playoff teams. Sweet buckets, doing high school postseason this way feels as antiquated and poorly planned as using leaches to keep a fever down. Seriously, this is the best we can come up with for filling out the high school football bracket?

———

Today's question

It's a free-for-all Monday.

Bring whatever you'd like to the table.

If you need a topic, how's this... Who had a worse weekend:

— Gene Chizik

— Scott DesJarlais

— Jim Leyland

— A sports fan in Oklahoma, where the Sooners got slapped around by Notre Dame and the basketball team dealt James Harden, a valuable piece in the Thunder's title hopes. (That said, we think the Thunder gave up a shot at the title this year but will be better for the long haul by dealing Harden for Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin and two future No. 1s).

Discuss.

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sportsfan said...

Jay - I had a busy weekend, but managed to watch the second half of the GA-FL game and the Bama-MSU game. On Sunday I went to see Argo (rather than watching the Titans-Colts game)and it kept me on the edge of my seat (despite knowing the outcome - I'm older than I look). Got some questions for you (Friday mailbag or whenever). 1. What's your Rushmore of football team juggernauts (pre 1978 and post 1978 - when scholarship limits were instituted)? Bama would have to be at the top of my post 78 teams.
2. What's your Rushmore of movies based on real life events? Argo made my top 4 over the weekend.

As an aside, it appeared that CBS was really promoting the GA Bulldogs during the second half of the game. I'm not a fan of either team (I just enjoy SEC football), but it appears that television broadcast commentators pick their favorites. Is that because the network tells them to?

October 29, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
chas9 said...

Reckon The Vols could get Kiffin back?

The Giants-Cowboys game was odd, with an exciting finish. Does anybody doubt that The Boys are headed for a whupping by Our Falcons? And has any NFL team ever had a four-game lead seven games into the season?

There were some fun QB matchups, Brees v. Peyton and Ryan v. Vick. It's clearer than ever that in The NFL you win with passing QB's, not running QB's. Look at Vick, Cam, Tebow.

It was a good day for good guys, with Cutler and Peyton breezing. And I like me some Broncos, with Peyton helped by Kentuckians Woodyard and Tamme. Yes, UK does have a football team.

Is the National League now better than the American? And has there ever been an MLB postseason with so many sweeps?

Which oh-fer team is most embarrassed today, The Tigers, The Yankees, or The Plainsmen?

October 29, 2012 at 10:36 a.m.
chas9 said...

sportsfan--Good question, but can you narrow it a bit? There are too many to sort through: China Syndrome, Titanic, Band of Brothers, Schindler's List, Amistad, Chariots of Fire, Hoosiers, Gandhi, Amadeus, China Syndrome, Blackhawk Down, Apollo 13, Glory, Braveheart, The King's Speech...

October 29, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
sportsfan said...

Niner - let's narrow it down to the same date as the scholarship limits...1978 (pre and post). For the record, BoB was more of a miniseries rather than a film. However, it is compelling and one of my favorites as well.

October 29, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.
Blueoval said...

I've truly been on Dooley's side up until he made the comment that we can still have a good year. 8-5 is not a good year! I know he has to say something but that was the wrong thing to say at this point. Orange pants must go...

There are so many good movies based off true story but chase mentioned the first two that came to my mind, Blackhawk Down and Apollo 13.

October 29, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Word on the street is that you are on the short list of coaches being considered for the Auburn job. Thay are looking for someone with an Auburn background since Bobby Petrino is off limits for now. As for Tennessee winning 8 games they are only assured of possibly winning against UK since they may start a wide receiver against them again. Troy was caught looking ahead to the Vols this past weekend when Florida Atlantic. By the way Fla. Atlantic has a two game win streak. As for the Dawgs the defense looked pretty stout and forgot how soft they play against Florida. I like you want to welcome Jarvis Jones back.

October 29, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, do you know any Giants (baseball, San Francisco variety) fans other than Uch? I can't think of any.

what a weekend. The coach I can't stand of a team I love goes on the road and hammers Boomer Sooner. The coach I think the world of of a team I love puts the absolute worst all-around showing I've seen in the 15 years I've known him. Yes, I went to Tech-BYU and regret doing it. Even the postgame at ... well, never mind where ... didn't make up for it.

Big props to my boys for gutting out a win over UTC. Sets up a great showdown this week in Los Boros with the Apps and a chance to win the SoCon championship.

October 29, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, belated congratulations on 5-at-10's anniversary. To celebrate this achievement, three of Mr. Burns' Huzzahs are perfectly complimentary: "Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah!"

On to the weekend's action...

The Silver and Black have now won two in a row, and with continued improvement at (3-4), are still in the hunt to win the division.

Signal Mountain's Mighty Eagles pounded Sequatchie Indians Friday night to earn the right to host a home playoff game. Ten Ring, do you have any information on Signal's playoff opponent, Page High?

Finally we come to the Vols. Hark was that the sound of a Sunday night massacre? No, Dooley's going to stay if the Vols win out.

October 29, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

If it weren't for our special teams "shooting themselves in the foot". It would have been a grand upset. That being said Spy give credit where credit is due. The Mocs did not give up and unfortunately just got wore out. It was a nice environment with the exception of a couple of drunk fans from both camps being jackholes but that was minor and not worth the time for my escalation. That being said, it was a fun environment to come home to and I look forward to traveling this Saturday to Western Carolina with folks in tow.

October 29, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Sportsfan —

We'll take one of those as a Rushmore for the mailbag. The other will appear as the question one day this week. Deal? Deal.

We'll be back shortly.

— 5-at-10

October 29, 2012 at 1:36 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Hate to pin the Mocs' loss on one play, but the muffed punt in the 4th was indeed the game-changer. Of course, if Pollard had hit his FG in the 2nd overtime, it would have been over when GSU fumbled on their next possession. Kudos to the Mocs though for fighting back after a rough start and 14-0 hole.

I'm having a hard time trying to figure out why attendance was as low as it was on Saturday at the Mocs game (< 9,000). About a third of the fans were for GSU too. Two promotions for the fans, a #2 ranked opponent, and even the Vols game was over. It was a bit chilly though...maybe that was it. But still...

Jay, what is your top 10 in college football? There's a consensus #1, of course, but after that, there are several different ways it could go. Here's mine: Alabama, Oregon, Notre Dame, Kansas St., LSU, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Florida St.

Anxious to hear your thoughts (and predictions?) for the NBA season. Can't believe that it already starts tomorrow. Chas' Uniblocker did quite well in the game against the Heat on Friday.

October 29, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stew —

The attendance was puzzling, but that's Chattanooga.

Here's our top 10:

1) Bama

2) Oregon

3) K-State

4) Notre Dame

5) Georgia

6) Florida

7) LSU

8) FSU

9) Louisville

10) South Carolina

Run JMC —

Well-played. Let the fools act like fools. In fact, another pearl from the 5-at-10's Pop: Who's the bigger fool, the fool or the fool that argues with a fool?

FE to the C —

Digging on Page. Loved the Silver and Black on Sunday — but that was as much because the Chiefs are junk.

Spy —

Welcome to the drain — the swirling hole where the college football season spins down the toilet. Plus, we meant what we said about Tech and Auburn being graded rightly or wrongly by the success/failure of the state schools.

747 —

We can neither confirm or deny contact with Auburn University.

Oval —

You sir are not alone. We have heard that multiple times in the last 48 hours.

— 5-at-10

October 29, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Baseball was thrilling this postseason. First, you had the Wild Card games- two win or go home games. Then all four of the division series went the full five games. Four more win or go home games. Then there was a sweep in the ALCS but the NLCS went a full seven games- one more win or go home game. Then the World Series was a sweep. That's two sweeps, but every other series went as long as it could. A total of seven win or go home games (artificially inflated by the two Wild Card games, but still). It was an amazing postseason, capped by a totally unremarkable World Series. That was really the unfortunate thing. I'm sure baseball big wigs would have preferred San Francisco and St. Louis to settle theirs in four and have the World Series go seven, rather than the other way around. Just leaves a better taste in your mouth about the postseason, It was some exciting baseball, though. I enjoyed it.

I think the memorable moments of the postseason are the Giants coming back twice to win three straight and win their series (most elimination games ever won in a postseason- tied with the 1985 Royals), all four LDS going the distance, and the Cardinals coming back from way back in the 8th and 9th to beat the Nationals in Game 5, along with the infield fly call and ARod and Pablo's three homeruns in Game 1 of the World Series.

October 29, 2012 at 3 p.m.
chas9 said...

Kentucky has played four of Jay's top ten and that's the toughest schedule in the country, according to cbssports.com. Bad break for Lattimore. Hope they can fix him.

Jay the Greek--what are the odds The Vols win out?

October 29, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

Maybe. But take away the wildcard round and even with a better than expected divisonal round, this was forgettable.

UK has played a tough schedule. They also got waxed bY Mizzou.

Definitely a bad break for Lattimore.

As for the Vols: Odds are pretty good they win out unles... (wait for it and know this is for you).... Kentucky plays a WR at quarterback.

— 5-at-10

October 29, 2012 at 3:22 p.m.
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