We're a fan of Halloween. We're a fan of getting dressed up, playing tricks and eating tricks. We're a fan of kids getting excited and running through the neighborhood. So in honor of All Hallow's Eve, we're going to have a two-day Halloween shoutout here at the 5-at-10.
Coaching names to know
It's the day before Halloween, and we're locked and loaded costume-wise. The tots are going to be an owl and a fireman. We're going to be a bunch of grapes, the Mrs. 5-at-10 is going to be a flower — we're calling it Fruit of the Bloom — and we decided to skip the Bobby Petrino costume (you know the red face, the neck brace, the red shirt). In fact, you know BP is going to be a hot name during this crazy offseason of coaching searches. He knows. Everyone knows it. That doesn't make it better or right or a good thing.
It just makes it clear that winning covers a lot of warts. And that's true and undeniable and predictable. That said, Petrino likely will win games quickly at his next spot but the early success will be replaced by a dumpster fire when he leaves in five months to five years. (And that's a dumpster fire usually filled with tires and diapers filled with Indian food.)
Here are the top 10 (plus 1) coaching buzz-worthy names out there this offseason, and with some big-boy jobs potentially in play, this list could get a lot of stars added down the road. (Side note: We only used guys with head-coaching experience because no big-boy job should go get someone without head coaching experience, and weleft off the NFL pipe dream guys with the exception of...)
0) Jon Gruden (this is for UT folks only): Gruden is to the UT fan base what that Christie Brinkley poster was to pre-teen boys in the early 1980s. Wowzer. The rumors about Gruden's interest and availability have quieted some, and that's a good thing. We have said this before, if Gruden is willing to come on board at any school, there are only a handful of coaches who would be safe.
On to the real list. Part I — current coaches who will get raises this offseason:
1) Charlie Strong, Louisville: The Louisville AD told cbssports.com that he's willing to make Strong the highest-paid coach in the country. He may be forced to fulfill that pledge to keep Strong in the Big East. Chuckie Strong makes $1.8 million — about 100K less than Derek Dooley.
2) Gary Patterson, TCU: He's 51 and already makes $3.25 million, so it's going to have to be a big boy job. (But if Texas forces Mack Brown out, isn't this the move to make?) And if Patterson is doing work with TCU players, what could he get done with the Longhorns' resources and talent.
3) James Franklin, Vandy: The Commodores better be prepared to double — and maybe even triple — Franklin's $1 million annual salary. Dude appears to be on the verge of Vandy history.
4) Chris Petersen, Boise State: He makes $2 million and is right there with Saban as the best value in college football. The question is not whether Petersen could win at a bigger job, it's whether he'll ever take a bigger job.
5) Jimbo Fisher, FSU: Did you know that Jimbo only makes $2.25 million? Did you know that Auburn's Gene Chizik is making $3.65 million and has roughly a $7.5 million buyout? Here's saying that all the other coaches may laugh at Chizik's coaching ability, but when the talk turns to contract negotiations, the Chiz is the man.
Part II — Yes, please check your baggage at the gate
--03/30/2012-- University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino watches his team run drills during practice Friday afternoon at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MICHAEL WOODS
1) Bobby Petrino: The morally bankrupt coach had his coaching image magnified by being replaced by a really bankrupt coach and the ensuing implosion at Arkansas. It's not if he'll get a job, it's where.
2) Butch Davis: The former Miami and UNC coach has left a wake of NCAA infractions. But dude lands talent. And how many guys on the market are gettable that had a prominent role in building a national champion?
Part III — The rookies, guys that will be in line for big dollars in the coming years, but have only been at their current stop a season:
1) Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss: If the Rebels keep on this pace, Freeze could be the SEC coach of the year. Plus, there's a real argument to be made that Freeze's team played Alabama as tough as anyone so far.
2) Guz Malzahn, Arkansas State: Wow, Malzahn's decision to leave Auburn for a pay cut seems a little more rational now, huh?
There are other guys out there — and there are strong rumors that UK has a good-sized crush on Western Kentucky's Willie Taggart — but here's who we got. Whatcha got?
NFL Power Poll
Let's give the Power Poll teams a scary movie counterpart. Deal? Deal.
1) Atlanta (The Exorcist): These Falcons are 7-0 — and amazingly have four-game lead in the division — and are built for the modern NFL with the ability to pass and defend the pass. That said, there are going to be some demons removed if this team is going to make a run. Quarterback Matt Ryan may be the league's MVP frontrunner, but he and coach Mike Smith are still bagel-for-the playoffs in the A-T-L.
2) San Francisco (Dawn of the Dead): Wow, that defense comes in waves. Every level is impressive — from the front four with Aldon and Justin Smith to the linebackers with Navarro Brown and Patrick Willis to the secondary with Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers.
3) Chicago (Halloweed): Jay Cutler is the Bears' Mike Myers. He's the key. If he brings it — Halloween I, II and IV were excellent; Halloween III was junk because Myers was a non-factor — the Bears can play with anyone. If he doesn't, well, it's a wasted few hours.
4) Houston (Texas Chainsaw Massacre): We're one more bad week from the Texans falling off the board. The injury to defensive leader Brian Cushing may be too much to overcome. Anyone else think the Texans may get home-field advantage and then lose to Peyton Manning and the visiting Broncos in the AFC semis?
5) New York Giants (Nightmare on Elm Street): How do we keep underrating the defending Super Bowl champs? Same can be asked about Freddy Krueger, who was wicked scary in his debut. Eli Manning and the Giants just handle their BID-ness and go to work.
We've discussed recently our growing excitement for the looming NBA season. It starts tonight.
Here's what we wrote in Friday's mailbag about why we're stoked:
1) LeBron is going to go from “Boy, I’d like to win a title,” to “I’m a stud and come get some” mode. That’s exciting.
2) The Lakers are legit. And when the Lakers are good, the entire NBA is better.
3) The flopping rule has become a side story in and of itself.
4) The OKC Thunder are an electric bunch that feature the best young scorer since a young MJ. They are super-fun to watch.
5) Chuck Barkley. The TNT bunch is fun, but Chuck is a full-length feature on his own.
Here are five predictions for this season, which has been jumpstarted by David Stern announcing his looming retirement (and if you think he's not going to pull as many strings as possible to make sure this year is memorable, well, sorry):
1) Kevin Durant will lead the NBA in scoring. This is hardly a super-reach prediction since he's done it the last three years. But try this: Durant will do it with an offensive season that will rank among the all-timers, especially in this age of super-stats. Durant will be the most efficient scoring champ ever.
2) LeBron will be the MVP. Yes, we just said Durant will have an offensive season for the ages. But with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis knocking down open shots for the Heatles, there's a real chance James could average 27 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists per game.
3) The Lakers and the Heat will meet in the NBA Finals, and the rating will be through the roof.
4) The post-game Urkel glasses fad will fade. Not sure what the next NBA player trend will be, but if we had out pick, it'd be welcoming back the Kid-n-Play high-top fade. Good times.
5) The enforcement of the flop rule will have plenty of speed bumps and bellyaching early, but will help the game — and the flow of the game — a great deal.
Brought to you from Sportsfan's excellent question in the comments of Monday's 5-at-10: What's your Rushmore of movies based on real life events? Argo made my top 4 over the weekend.
Well, we have not seen Argo, but the Mrs. and the 5-at-10 were discussing attending a showing this weekend (and since the Auburn football season is completed — what? — as long as we're back by the 8 p.m. kick of the Alabama-LSU game, we're solid).
So our Rushmore of movies on real life events:
We'll have to divide this into sports movies and non-sports movies, so we'll take two Rushmores: Miracle, Hoosiers, Munich and Remember the Titans; The King's Speech, Schnidler's List, Goodfellas and Animal House (if you were in a fraternity, you're nodding your head and saying, "Yes, that was a true story").
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 ...