published Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

5-at-10: Green Mile to go before week 2 kickoff

From the "Talks too much studio" here we go...

  • photo
    This undated image provided by Warner Bros. shows Tom Hanks, left, Michael Clarke Duncan, center, and David Morse in "The Green Mile." Duncan has died at the age of 54 on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 in a Los Angeles hospital after nearly two months of treatment following a July 13, 2012 heart attack, his fiancee, the Rev. Omarosa Manigault, said. (AP Photo/Warner Bros., Ralph Nelson)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Rest easy big guy

We'd be remiss if we did not mention the huge talent we lost in Michael Clarke Duncan, who died Monday night.

Dude had more range than you realized, considering he shared — and even stole — the screen from Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell in completely different genres. That'd be like a musical artist sharing the stage with George Strait and Weird Al at the heights of their game and stealing the spotlight.

Not too bad for a guy who broke into the showbiz game by being a bodyguard of the Notorious B.I.G. (Moment of silence please — that'll do.)

So let's take a moment to review the weekend with the five most memorable M-C-D movies. (Hey, you know we love a good list show. And considering we've coming off a holiday weekend, the 5-at-10 having a themed, list show was not even on the board as a betting option in Vegas. So it goes.)

1) Green Mile: M-C-D's tour de force goes to the weekend's biggest headline stealer, your Alabama Crimson Tide. If you're a quarterback, and you line up opposite the stable of athletes that Nick Saban has assembled and they are aligned where Nick Saban has aligned them, the goal line appears to be a green mile away. OK, maybe that was a stretch, but not by much. As our SEC ace David Paschall noted in today's Alabama story http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/sep/04/tide-will-try-to-avoid-letdown-vs-wku/, the Tide went on a 70-0 run from the third quarter of the Auburn game last November through the BCS title game demolition of LSU to just before halftime after building a 31-0 lead on Michigan.

2) Talladega Nights: NASCAR heads to the final weekend of its regular season with several teams still in position to make the Chase. In truth, of all the changes NASCAR has enacted — and we can only remember about a third of them since they can decide things on Tuesday, race that way on Sunday and then change again Wednesday — the fact that an early September race in Richmond has this much at stake is a good thing.

3) Armageddon: First off, don't bad mouth Armageddon. Is it cheesy and goofy and sappy and fill-in-the-blank with any number of corny synonyms? Of course it is. But it's also a Rushmore member of the movies so bad they're good: Armageddon (Buscemi is great), Road House, Toy Soliders and Raw Deal. It also is the perfect description of what is on the horizon for the NFL. Replacement refs is up there with Leprechaun: In the Hood, the 75th Friday 13th and Ninja III as ideas that were born completely out of the need to save a buck. It may not happen Wednesday night in the opener or even Sunday, but know that at some point very soon, the replacement refs will be the story everyone is talking about.

4) Friday: Our man M-C-D had a small role in the awesome Ice Cube, Chris Tucker original. And with that we'll take one more look back to the monumental Vols' win last Friday night. There's no way to put a value on UT's 35-21 win over N.C. State. Not in the locker room, not on the Interwebs not among the fan base. It was simply huge, and that it was impressive is simply a bonus. With Florida looking vulnerable, it's a very real possibility that these Vols will be 4-0 heading into a showdown with Georgia.

5) Sin City: Vegas was better than anticipated in the opening weekend. The lines were tight and the numbers tighter. That said, there were three gambling highlights of the weekend (beyond the 5-at-10's picks going 3-2 against the number, of course): First, the books took a bath on Alabama's overpowering win over Michigan. More than half the bets were on the Wolverines, but almost 70 percent of the money was on the Tide. That means the smart gamblers (i.e. the pros) were on the Tide heavy. Second, Houston was a 34.5-point favorite and lost to Texas State. It's only the seventh time since 1980 that a 34-point (or more) underdog won outright. Third, Oklahoma State was a 67.5-point favorite over Savannah State. It was the biggest spread ever, and it still was not big enough since the Cowboys won 84-0. (Which yet again proves that if a line looks too good to be true, it normally is.)

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    Atlanta Brvaes starter Kris Medlen works in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Atlanta Saturday, May 29, 2010. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Braves' secret weapon

The Braves won 6-1 Monday and still hold the NL wildcard lead. And a big reason why is Krafty Kris Medlen.

Ah, that krafty, kudley Kris Medlen is a sweet blend of Greg Maddux, Jerry Mathers and David Silver (Brian Austin Green's character from 90210). That would be a right-handed pitching wizard with a baby face and a funky, new hat twist.

Bring it.

OK, here's what we know. Medlen has been untouchable since moving back into the rotation. Heck, he's been untouchable as a starting pitcher in a Braves uniform. Atlanta has won 18 consecutive games in which Medlen started on the mound. Yes, 18. That's the longest streak in the majors since the human formerly known as Roger Clemens won 20 games — and allegedly suffered through 400 back zits, ate three bats, bench-pressed two VW Passats and a killed a small village of kittens for sport — with the Yankees in 2001.

And, if asked in early June, if there was an impossible Rushmore of people Kris Medlen would be compared to, we'll take our chances with Maddux, the Beav, B-A-G and Clemens. Wow. Where were we?

OK, Medlen's 6-0 with a 0.54 ERA in seven starts since July 31. He has not allowed an earned run since Aug. 11 — heck, back then we still thought Michigan could compete with Alabama. (Well, y'all thought that; the 5-at-10 has said from the start the Tide is the team to beat.)

To make the Medlen magic more meaningful, his dominance comes at a time when NL East-leading Washington is about to either a) sit ace Stephen Strasburg or b) say, "We're just kidding," and let Strasburg pitch beyond his 170-innings limit. (The latter would make sense if you're a Nationals fan but be a tough pill for the entire sport to swallow since every level of baseball has some sort of pitch limit and/or innings limit and for the big boys to send the message of, "Hey this is important unless it's not important because we're winning," is less than good.)

In fact, the Braves said the decision to start Medlen in the bullpen this year was a way to save his innings — he had arm surgery last year like Strasburg did — for later in the year.

Either way, Medlen has been a legit ace for a team that has starved for one, considering the injuries to Hanson and Beachy, the ups and downs of Hudson and the stinkyness of Jurrjens and Minor.

Thank you Kris Medlen. All of Smyrna loves you.

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NFL predictions

Yes, we know we've spent about 2,000 words already — hey, they don't call it the "Talks too much studio" by accident — so let's move quickly. The NFL starts Wednesday with the Cowboys and the Giants kicking it off.

Let's break down the NFC today. Deal? Deal.

Division winners: Packers, Falcons, 49ers, Eagles

Wildcards: Bears, Giants

NFC player of the year: Aaron Rodgers, Packers

NFC defensive player of the year: Navarro Brown, 49ers

NFC offensive rookie of the year: David Wilson, Giants

NFC defensive rookie of the year: Luke Kuechly, Panthers

First round of playoffs: 49ers over Giants; Eagles over Bears

Second round: Falcons over 49ers; Packers over Eagles

NFC title game: Packers over Falcons

Feel free to discuss.

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This and that

— The Ryder Cup selections will be made about the time this is posted. We think U.S. captain Davis Love will pick Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker. Call it a hunch.

— And it may not matter with the way Rory McIlroy is playing of late.

— Yep, the prize money in golf is nuts considering on average Tiger Woods needed two starts to make more money playing golf than Sam Snead. This weekend Woods became the first golfer to top $100 million in career earnings. Snead, who has a PGA Tour record 82 career wins, won all of $620,000 and change. Woods has won tournaments that paid more than $1 million 38 times, and he has averaged collecting $362,276.89 for each of his 277 career starts.

— OK, Bobby Valentine may be the single biggest baseball mistake since the White Sox wore shorts in the 1970s and certainly the biggest Red Sox miscue since dealing Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen 22 years ago last Friday. Sweet buckets of sour chowder, it has become terrible in Beantown.

— Tough loss for the Ga. Tech Yellow Jackets last night. What do we make of those uniforms? Thoughts Spy?

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Today's question

We'll normally do this on Mondays, but since most of you good folks took Monday to be with family, we rolled it a day this week.

Who had the better weekend:

— Rory McIlroy, who likely wrapped up player of the year honors?

— Nick Saban, who had his spot atop his profession sealed in liquid cement?

— Derek Dooley, who despite his "Weekend at Bernie's" attire had his team ready to play and unleashed Cordarrelle Patterson on the masses?

— Dr. B, who is a doctor after all and has been singing Cordarrelle's praises like he was the second coming of Randy Moss, which now looks clairvoyant rather than homerish?

And, with that said, who had the worse weekend:

— Bill O'Brien, who took the emotionally tattered Penn State family back to the field only to be handed a 24-14 loss by Ohio?

— Lance Armstrong, who has had a former teammate and a former significant other questioned about his PED past?

— Joker Phillips, who needs to polish the resume after Louisville hammered his Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday?

— The Old Navy dude that approved the hundreds of thousands T-shirts that had to be recalled that had "Houston Texans 1961 AFC champions" on them?

— Donovan McNabb, who has spent this preseason waiting by the silent phone as his once Hall-of-Fame, now above-average career came to an end at someone else's choice?

Discuss.

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.
BIspy4 said...

5, my rambling list of thoughts ....

  1. At least Rory won this weekend. Great kid. Unbelievable talent. And seems to enjoy being out there (too many golfers make it look like a joyless endeavor, keep calling it a "grind." I dug ditches one summer for a group of bikers out of Jacksonville. That, my friend, was a "grind.")

  2. I don't know what to think after last night's Tech-Tech game. Va Tech is really, really good on defense and Ga Tech should be better than it showed on offense. Let em off the hook. They are who we thought they were. And we let em off the hook. Tech's D was stalwart from the second quarter through about midway through the fourth. I still think the Jackets are a 9-10 win team. I really do. PJ is taking some heat on the blogs and messageboards, but I still believe in my boy.

  3. I do not believe in Bobby V. This team couldn't beat Calhoun or Dalton right now. Ben Cherington was right. They are tough to watch. Because they are godawful. If that team quit on Francona last year, what have they done on Bobby V? Maybe he quit on them. Just get out of the way so I can watch the Patriots (and that is perhaps the ultimate insult to the Red Sox.)

  4. Tessio was always smarter.

  5. She still hasn't said thanks for bringing her sunglasses back to her and I went out of my - again - to congratulate her (and her fiance) on their upcoming wedding. Her number is no longer in my phone anyway. So there.

September 4, 2012 at 11:47 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, your winners for best weekend are Saban and Macllroy.

Rory is as aggressive than a crowd of his country men teaming to the taps on nickle beer night yet retains the good sense to utilize every shot in his bag considerable bag. Player of the Year should be a shoe in.

Nick Saban's perch at the top of the profession held together by "liquid cement?" More like etched in Tennessee marble. However, marble is softer than granite--granite like the Bear.

By comparision, it's yet to be determined that Tennessee's season will become any more than quick silver.

I'm not going to take the low road by saying I haven't seen the Ryder Cup selections where Dustin Johnson was chosen over Ricky Fowler. Ten Ring, congrats you got three out of four.

I do believe I'm seeing what Love might have evaluated in Fowler, a young many who has thrown up some huge numbers at the US Open, Bridgestone, PGA and this weekend in Boston. Fowler needs to spend time with his guru or find one as he's completely out of equilibrium.

Finally, strangest/worst attire on tour...Payne Stewart, John Daly or Ricky Fowler? The seventies don't count as everyone on tour and elsewhere where slathered in polyester of various sickening colors, sadistic cuts, and disgusting patterns. Thank God the Preppy Handbook came to the rescue.

September 4, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

I don't think Bill O'Brien's weekend was all that bad. True, they lost to Ohio. But I think his situation is better than people realize. He's able to start from scratch. There are no burdens of expectations because he's not following a legend anymore. He's following Joe Paterno, yes, but not the JoePa as he was in the 70s, 80s and 90s but rather the image that JoePa left in the wake of that scandal.

September 4, 2012 at 11:56 a.m.
Todd962 said...

An audible gasp came out of me when the story about Michael Clarke Duncan popped up on the news yesterday. Definitely caught me off guard. I was watching Friday this weekend and thought to myself, "Yep, Deebo did knock that guy the bleep out, and was that MCD throwing dice with him?" Too soon, he was a good one.

How stern of a talking to do you think Georgia Tech's quarterback received after getting back to the sideline in overtime? I know my dad, the GT alum, was punching a hole in a tv somewhere. Bonehead toss. And not a big fan of the uni's. They were not as bad as some of the color vomits teams wear these days but they werent great. It wont be long before football teams are fashioning the Derelicte line of uniforms.

And I dont think my inner child will allow me to root for Rory. Much like I will always be a Jordan fan over Kobe, I cant allow myself to cheer for Rory over Tiger. Its the 12 year old in me cheering for the guy I grew up with. That or I am a big fan of seeing people succeed despite rampant adultery. But I think its mostly the nostalgia

September 4, 2012 at noon
chas9 said...

What team wouldn't like to start its offensive line with MCD? If he played for Tulane you'd have a Green Wave that stretches a Green Mile. A bit ironic that you'd link the jolly giant with Sabo, since ol' Nick stands about 5'5" and maybe weighs 150.

With the surprise production the Bravos have gotten Medlen and Sheets, they have as solid a cobbled together staff as I can remember. With Glavine, Smoltz, Maddox you expected greatness, but this one's all gravy.

Dr. B had the best weekend for sure.

Billy Gillispie had the worst. And the NFL fan has a bad one coming up, because of the amateur officiating that's gonna be ugly.

The Honey Badger's back at LS&U and Jorts tries out with the Heat.

Joker needs to polish the resume, but I think we'll find that Louisville is for real, so The Cats may surprise a team or two.

September 4, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
chas9 said...

And The Vols had a heckuva good weekend. They no longer have to say or hear that in their last game they were beat by a Kentucky team playing a wide receiver at quarterback

And that's the last time I'll use those words. Probably.

September 4, 2012 at 1:18 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

"Michael says if you can't take of this Fredo, I have to."

We believe in PJ too. Not sure about a 10-win season, and he has raised expectations; dude has won more games (33) in his first four years than any GT coach ever.

These Sox make the playoffs if they Lou Brown from Major League in the dugout.

Fair point about Paterno.

FE to the C —

It's Daly and it's not that close. Fowler is doing it for coin (sure that may make him a fashion prostitute, but if someone offered you seven figures to wear sherbet to work, you would.

We concur, Saban is Da' Man, and there's no real close runner-up right now.

Think who he's pants-ed in the last couple years — Urban Meyer, Chizik, Spurrier, Petrino, Brady Hoke, Les Miles... Dude is it.

And we can see Johnson over Fowler.

Mr. 962 —

We can't be friends with folks that do not at least appreciate Friday. Well played all around.

We can see rooting for the Old Guard — but answer this: Did you like Clinton, even if you may be a Republican?

9er —

We'll take "Yes" on whether you utter, "were beat by a Kentucky team playing a wide receiver at quarterback," again. Heck those teams play again in November.

— 5-at-10

September 4, 2012 at 1:35 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Yep, has to be the nostalgia over promiscuity then. What an interesting test you ran there. I definitely enjoy Rory outside of any tournament that he is beating Tiger though. Good to see some fresh faces being cycled into a sport that was dominated by the same handful of people for a decade.

I enjoy Fowler's orange Puma weather gear. Its difficult to distinguish that outfit with people that direct air traffic on the tarmac or a night time asphalt road crew. Its loud. Daly however is diminishing the years of hardwork that lumberjacks put in for types of plaid. Plaid should never involve pink and pastels. He's making a mockery of Canadian formal wear.

September 4, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.
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