Gang, great week. Well-played all around, and who knew when we started on Monday that we'd be well-informed about butt-chugging come the end of BID-ness on Friday. You live, you learn.
From the "Talks too much" studios, to the bag of mail.
Hey Coach 5@10,
We all know this Saturday’s game between Tennessee and Georgia is very important. Let’s say you’re the head coach of the Vols. What kind of pregame speech would you give the team?
Excellent question. Excellent.
And for all the question marks about Derek Dooley — and the glaring stat that he's 0-11 against ranked foes as UT's coach — we bet Dooley gives an awesome pregame speech. We bet Nick Saban does too, but Saban's is likely a sentence or two and filled with intimidation and the threat of dark days. Something along the lines of, "You boys better win. Or you know what happens Monday." With a shot of the Gimp from "Pulp Fiction" standing in the corner of the locker room.
We can see Dooley's pregame speech being thoughtful and well-rehearsed and motivating.
Here's what we'd try:
Why do you play this game? Why? For moments like this and the chance to be better than one of the best in the country with the nation watching.
Why do you work so hard, A.J.? Why? To be ready to shut Todd Gurley down and shut everyone up.
Why did you throw 500 balls a day through the summer, Tyler? Why? So when the CBS cameras come on and they talk about Heisman candidate Aaron Murray they have to say he's the second-best passer on the field today.
Why did you nearly kill yourself rehabbing Justin? Why? Because you know it's a heck of lot easier to be on the field in tough spots than standing on the sideline knowing you could help your brother if your body would let you. You worked to get back to have a stage like this.
Why do you lift every morning, Tiny? Why, no matter whether you're tired or hurt or indifferent do you come in and move weight? Why? Because when you get the chance, you can stand toe-to-toe with lil' Johnnie Jenkins and not budge. That when that moment comes and you're tired, you're still strong.
I want each of you to ask yourself why? Why are we here, right now, in this moment, with these 100 Tennessee men waiting on a chance to be great or be gutted. Why?
I know why I'm here. I Volunteered for this because these are the moments you work for, the moments you prepare for on those early mornings or 100-degree afternoons. I Volunteered for this because I want to leave this stadium in silence and come back in three hours and know why we do what we do.
I know why we're here. We're here to kick their butt.
And if we know why, I now ask you.... why not? Why not us? Why not this moment? Why not take this chance and turn it into our biggest moment?
Men, we live for moments like this. Those moments that you know you'll never forget. You only get a few of them. Today's going to be one. I know it. You know it. And you know what, they know it. They know what we can do. You know what we can do.
Let's go show everyone else what we can do.
I know it is football season and where we are makes it clear that college football is king.
But there is a great baseball season wrapping up. What do you think the story of this season is and who would be your MVPs, Cy Youngs, etc.?
Thanks and I enjoy your column.
Thanks for the kind words and for reading. And feel free to drop in anytime.
Completely fair point about baseball wrapping it up in the next few days. Here's a quick top-five list in 10 words or less (yes, the famed 5-in-10 from the 5-at-10) on the storylines from this season:
1) So long Larry: Chipper Jones leaves as sure-fire Hall of Famer.
2) L.A. salary story: Despite huge investments, Dodgers, Angels likely to miss playoffs.
3) Washington revival: Nationals one of baseball's best.
4) Our bloody Valentine: Booby V turns Red Sox into a dumpster fire.
5) AL confusion: With six games left, no AL team has clinched.
As for the first one, and we'll write more on Chipper Jones next week, if you have a few minutes, here's an excellent story from our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer on Chipper.
As for the award race:
NL manager of the year: Davey Johnson, Washington. He led the Nats to the best record in the NL without his highest-paid player (Jayson Werth) for most of the year and his best pitcher (Stephen Strasburg).
NL MVP: Buster Posey, San Francisco. Dude has rallied the Giants after NL batting leader Melky Cabrera was suspended for steroid use.
NL Cy Young: It likely will be R.A. Dickey or Gio Gonzalez, but if we had a vote, we'd vote for Craig Kimbrel. The Braves closer is money.
AL manager of the year: Joe Giradi, Yankees. No team has had more injuries than the Yankees, who remember lost the best closer ever in April. (Of course Buck Showalter of Baltimore likely will win.)
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit. Mike Trout is a stud duck, no doubt, but Cabrera is close to winning the triple crown for crying out loud. Cabrera is hitting .326 (first by three points) with 42 homers (second, one homer back of Josh Hamilton) and 133 RBIs (first by eight).
AL Cy Young: David Price, Rays. Dude is a modern day Steve Carlton. His stuff is that good.
From Off the Cuff
The Ryder Cup is this week -- just wanted to remind you. It is one of my favorite sporting events. What are your predictions?
Welcome to the show and feel free to swing by anytime.
As with all golf events, we predict there will be some bad outfits (wow, those U.S. suits earlier this week were straight from the Fredo Corleone collection of style and sour taste). We'll predict that the Jim Furyk aging process is in full effect. (You know someone has the Jim Furyk when they suddenly age 15 years by taking their hat off. Wow, Furyk looks 30 years old for 18 holes and then he removes his lid to shake hands and he looks 50.)
As we discussed briefly, we believe the U.S. of A. will grab the Cup, but it won't be easy. The Americans are so deep, captain Davis Love III left major champions Mr. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson on the sideline for this morning's session. (Schedule below;)
Match 1: 8:20 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy/Graeme McDowell (Europe) vs. Jim Furyk/Brandt Snedeker (USA)
Match 2: 8:35 a.m. -- Luke Donald/Sergio Garcia (Europe) vs. Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley (USA)
Match 3: 8:50 a.m. -- Lee Westwood/Francesco Molinari (Europe) vs. Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson (USA)
Match 4: 9:05 a.m. -- Ian Poulter/Justin Rose (Europe) vs. Steve Stricker/Tiger Woods (USA)
O-t-C, we really enjoy the Ryder Cup, too if for no other reason than you're talking about the best in the game playing for nothing but pride and circumstance. And that pressure can be every bit as great as the coin at stake during their day jobs.
So, we're excited to see if Rory will be the intimidator we believe he can be. We're excited to see if Phil brings his magic wand — we say yes, and of those morning matches the Donald/Sergio vs. Phil/Bradley match is mighty appealing — and how our boy Jason Dufner does in his first Ryder Cup experience.
And of course we're eager to see how Eldrick plays. Will he be a Tiger? If he struggles, will Davis sit him?
And most of all, we're stoked to see golf with a college football backdrop. The crowds and the energy at a Ryder Cup are unlike anything else in golf. And we're stoked for it.
Auburn defensive back Joshua Holsey (15) breaks up a pass intended for LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard (10) in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. LSU beat Auburn 12-10.
No doubt the two point loss to LSU was a win in Auburn eyes, but was it a loss in LSU eyes?
We say no way. In fact, we think it's on the short list of the best things that could have happened to LSU. They get their mulligan and still get a win in what will be their second toughest road test of the year. This is still the same team that beat Washington by almost 40, yes, the same Washington team that beat No. 8 Stanford last night.
Think of it this way: Les Miles now has a bona-fide attention getter. In fact, let's call in pretend Les Miles for his thoughts:
Pretend Les Miles: You guys think we have the want to of a supernatural team? We go to a hostile venue that has hostility and we come away with a win. That's want to. Or is it want two?
5-at-10: Coach, but Auburn only beat Louisiana Monroe by a field goal in the same hostile venue... with hostility? Does that mean you're only five points better than La-Monroe?
Pretend Les: I think have the want to and the need to prepare to be five points better than any opponent is where this team starts to separate itself from previous teams here and future opponents that we may or may not play.
5-at-10: Wow. OK. What did you tell quarterback Zach Mettenberger after his first road start that included two costly fumbles.
Pretend Les: We just told him to remember how it felt and forget what happened.
Pretend Les: That's right. Oh yeah, and we told him that whatever Jordan Jefferson did last year, do something different.
5-at-10: What? Les, you're a mad scientist aren't you? Are you way smarter than everyone thinks or way dumber than we can believe?
Pretend Les: That's a good question that I think has the makings of a fine answer. Somewhere in between is the solution that we all are looking for, and I think the excitement of big games and big moments that we're irrespective of the outward view and those people are watching. Think about that.
By the way, CBS used to not be able to miss with their 3:30 game. Every week it was classic it seemed like. So far this year? The favorite has won by a total of 83-10 through two games. And the one touchdown by the underdog was with 18 seconds left. Ouch. It wouldn't take much for this to be the best game of the year on CBS to date. I guess that's what I'm hoping for. Is that too much to ask?
No that's not too much to ask, and we're hoping that Saturday is one of those big-time moments. Maybe the pregame speech above was self-reflective a little bit in hopes of having a big-time football game.
In fact, this rivalry in the last 11 years has produced some of the most watchable, intriguing games for an outside college football fan to watch. There was the amazing Verron Haynes game in 2001. The Erik Ainge upset game in 2004 that you referenced in your email. The big plays that turned close games into runaways.
Plus, with Auburn off this weekend, the 5-at-10 compound gets an angst-free weekend.
As much as college football fans enjoy the football season, how great is it when your team has a bye week? The pressure's off and you can look around and take a deep breath. Heck, you even have a chance to introduce yourself to the wife and kids without triple planning what time you have to be in your lucky spot for kickoff. War Family Time.
That said, looking at the weekend's viewing schedule, some of the most interesting games have our attention because we want to see how the dumpster fire plays out. Call it the Brent Musberger version of the college football scheduling — not unlike listening to Brent to see what stupid, sap-ified diatribe he's got coming next, we're watching some of these games to see how the players and the coaches respond to rough situations. And remember gang, a bad day of pressure-free college football is a better than a great Saturday in July.
So, yes, we need the UT-UGA game to deliver the goods.
C'mon Verne, we need at least five "Oh myyyyy gooooooddddneesssss" moments for UT for the Vols to make this a game.
Why not indeed.
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 ...