published Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

5-at-10: Florida gags, Best MLB ever retires and guess who was arrested

  • photo
    Louisville safety Calvin Pryor (25) causes Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) to fumble the ball during the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. Louisville recovered and scored on the next play. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Remember Friday's mailbag and to do randomly nice things for others.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's make the magic happen.

Bowl pickings

OK, we have our front-runner for the heavy favorite that showed up unmotivated and undisciplined. Congrats Florida, you just made USC and Lane Kiffin say, "Yeah, we didn't show up but we were in the Sun Bowl for crying out loud. They stunk up the Sugar Bowl for crying out loud."

We had convinced ourselves that Florida was going to be preseason top five next year, and that could still be the case, but coach Will "Boom" Muschamp and his totem pole look of indifference in the first half did not instill confidence. We backed the Gators by 14 and the over 47 to fall to 31-14 in bowl picks against the spread, and we know someone who backed our picks and turned the game off pretty early after Louisville built a 14-0 lead as the Gators made a series of dumb plays on third down.

Plus, to further confound the Gators' future, defensive studs Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd entered the NFL draft. And yes, if we had an all-name defensive line team, Sharrif Floyd is anchoring the middle along with Barkevious Mingo, Jadeveon Clowney and Auburn recruit Dee Liner (who does in fact play D-Line and does it very well).

On a side note, it's fair to see why several Johnny Vols Fans we know were so disappointment when Louisville coach Charlie Strong said thanks but no thanks to coaching the Vols. The Cardinals finished the season 11-2 — and with one more SEC win than UT — with the win over a Florida team that was more talented at every position but quarterback and one wide receiver.

Tonight, in a Fiesta Bowl that a lot of folks think will be played in the 40s, we'll take Kansas State and the 9.5 and go under the 74.

As for the contest, we have four games left — the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the bowl that Ole Miss is in and the national title game. Congrats to Deboman, Spy, Onetimer and OTWatcher for picking the Louisville upset. Here are the standings:

Third-quarter scores

Tiger (3/4/3/16/10) 36

Deboman (1/8/-3/16/10) 32

Onetimer (1/0/-3/24/10) 32

*Mrs. 5-at-10 (5/0/9/8/10) 32

ThatIDoKnow (3/0/3/16/10) 32

TennFlyer (-3/4/3/16/10) 30

OTWatcher (1/4/-3/16/10) 28

Roadrunner (1/4/3/8/10) 26

JVFan (-1/-2/3/16/10) 24

Joe S. (3/0/3/8/10) 24

SportTalk's Quake (3/0/3/8/10) 24

McPell (1/-4/-3/16/10) 20

Player (3/-4/3/8/10) 20

5-at-10 (3/0/-3/8/10) 18

StuckinKent (3/0/-3/8/10) 18

Weena (-1/0/3/16/10) 18

DL560429 (-3/-4/-3/16/10) 16

Junkman (1/0/-3/8/10) 16

Sir Drinks Alot (1/0/-3/8/10) 16 — great board name by the way

Jordan Rules (-1/0/-3/8/10) 14

Addicted to Chalupa (1/4/-3/0/10) 12

*Dawg747 (-1/0/3/0/10) 12

WarEagle (-1/0/3/0/10) 12

Spy (1/-4/-3/8/10) 12

Bluto (-1/0/3/8/0) 10

Hookshot (-1/0/3/8/0) 10

Skunk (-1/0/3/12/0) 14

FE to the C (-1/-2/3/8/0) 8

Jay K (1/0/-3/0/10) 8

June Jones (-1/0/-9/8/10) 8

Orangeguy (3/4/-9/0/10) 8

RollTide (1/0/-3/0/10) 8

TommyT (3/0/-3/8/0) 8

BlueOval (-3/-4/3/0/10) 6

Hustler (1/0/-3/8/0) 6

Sportsfan (1/4/-3/-8/10) 4

Harold (-1/0/3/0/0) 2

Jim T. (-1/0/3/0/0) 2

StrongWilly (1/-4/-3/8/0) 2

Green Acres (1/0/-3/-8/10) 0

Dools (-1/0/-3/0/0) -4

Believer (-3/0/-9/0/0) -12

————

  • photo
    This Sept. 10, 2012 file photo shows Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Ray Lewis, best ever?

Ray Lewis announced that this season will be his last.

His decision was forced by the torn triceps muscle he suffered back in October and means that with every playoff game, the Ravens great and future Hall of Famer is staring the end in the eye.

Thinking about Lewis' legacy is multi-layered. He is among the most accomplished defensive players of all-time with 12 Pro Bowl selections — only Bruce Mathews (14), Jerry Rice (13), Reggie White (13) and Tony Gonzalez (13) have more — was a Super Bowl MVP and a two-time NFL defensive player of the year. He is among the most passionate and inspirational players in the league and maybe ever, playing the game with a verve and vigor that has sadly become the exception rather than the expectation. He is a T-Rex of loyalty in modern sports, spending his entire 17-year career with one franchise, something that few of the all-time greats in this era of free agency ever accomplish.

He also was indicted on two murder chargers from a January 2000 stabbing incident in which he plead to lesser charges after lying about being on the scene and ultimately testifying against two others who were later acquitted. He was disciplined by the league — the $250,000 fine at the time was record-setting — for that mistake and was put under a bright spotlight by the league. He never gave the NFL another reason to look at him off the field.

He also rightly gets a lot of praise from a lot of other players — Ravens and non-Ravens — for teaching them the ways of professionalism and maturity that are far-too-often ignored when it comes to the supremely gifted athletes.

————

Shocker for Sprewell — not so much

OK, Latrell Sprewell was arrested for disorderly conduct on New Year's Eve. Stunner, right?

Not so much for Sprewell, a supremely talented basketball player that will be remembered for a) choking his coach; b) his seven-figure yacht he dubbed "Milwaukee's Best" and c) blowing close to $100 million. While he certainly earned those distinctions, it completely masks what was a very good NBA career for Sprewell, who averaged more than 18 points per game in his 13-year career. Did you know that he was a four-time All-Star and was on the 1994 All-NBA first team with Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. (That's some pretty nice Hall of Fame company, by the way.)

Sprewell was arrested at 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon for playing his stereo too loud, which begs the question how loud would you have to play a stereo to go to jail for it and how dumb do you have to be not to turn the stereo down when the cops asked you to?

But this is hardly a shocker, right? If you were to have a draft of former pro athletes you thought would be arrested, Sprewell would be a lottery pick, right?

In fact, if we were going to set a Mel Kiper Jr.-style draft board — and we love the draft, you know this — with the No. 1 overall pick ranked as the most likely to get arrested next and so on, here's our top five: Lawrence Taylor, Mike Tyson, Allen Iverson, Terrell Owens and Pete Rose.

————

This and that

— Sounds like your UTC Mocs played respectably well in a loss at Georgia Tech as our UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama tells us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jan/03/tech-tops-utc-mocs-show-poise-in-loss-to-acc/. UTC (5-9) was hammered on the glass, which is somewhat expected against a bigger foe, in the 74-58 loss. UTC has represented itself well in road losses against big-boy foes Kansas, LSU and Georgia Tech this year. While that surely offers positives, does it not make the struggles against even-level and at times lesser competition even more confounding? We do know this — Farad Cobb can play.

— Shoutout to the Southern Scuffle, which was won by Penn State on Wednesday night http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jan/03/psu-takes-scuffle-UTC-hosted-event/. After speaking to our wrestling guru Ward Gossett in between sessions Wednesday, it dawned on us that the Scuffle is the most prestigious sporting event we have left in the Scenic City in terms of national competition at the highest levels. Well, the Scuffle and the Globetrotters, who come to town later this month.

— Speaking of the Globetrotters, are they not the sporting equivalent of "walking to school uphill both ways in 5 feet of snow" now? Do we not all fondly remember the Harlem Globetrotters and the wonderful show they put on, with the bucket of confetti/water routine, Meadowlark Lemon and Curley Neal, and all the antics? Now, we couldn't name a single Trotter other than former AUB quarterback Barrett. Do they still play the Washington Generals, and if so does any team a coaching change more than the Generals? (Don't answer that StuckinKent or Run JMC — well you can answer that, but be nice.)

————

Today's question(s)

If you have to build an all-time team, and it comes to taking a middle linebacker and you have the first pick, who you got?

We take Ray Lewis. Period.

Part II — Since Lewis is still an active part of the NFL for at least the next four days, which active players in the three major sports are all-timers? If you had an NBA starting five (by position of course), an MLB starting nine (and a closer) and an offense and defense on an all-time NFL team, how many starters are currently active and playing?

We think Lewis is one of those guys. And Tony Gonzalez and possibly Champ Bailey and Randy Moss. In basketball, LeBron at small forward and Tim Duncan at power forward. In baseball, Jeter at short and Mariano Rivera as your closer.

There are a slew of folks right on the cusp: We can see a future in which Calvin Johnson is in the discussion opposite Jerry Rice and even Adrian Peterson in the mix at running back. Plus, Tom Brady is one more ring away from being hard to keep off the field at quarterback, and what J.J. Watt did as an hybrid lineman was historic. Plus Albert Pujols at his current pace will be the all-time first baseman. As for hoops, well, it's going to take something special to crack Magic, MJ, LeBron, Duncan and Russell or Jabbar.

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.
Salsa said...

Not at all surprised that Florida lost. Their offense has been marginal all season.

January 3, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Salsa —

Not only that, we should have really looked closer at this one. Sure hindsight is 20-20, but we frequently talk about teams losing coaches or the distraction of coaches interviewing for other jobs.

Well Louisville got huge motivation from Charlie Strong sticking with them and saying no to UT. Those kids were pumped to play and it showed. Florida... not so much.

— 5-at-10

January 3, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- do you think that Dave Hart watching Louisville, was thinking "what could have been" ?

and how do you explain LSU and Florida from the greatest conference, that has all the money, the fastest players, best confernece in the history of mankind, the SEC can lose in bowl games to the ACC and The Big East ? ?

January 3, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

We think Dave Hart may have been watching Louisville last night and swaying back and forth like Rainman doing his own "Hot water burns baby" routine. Or even looking to the heavens and instead of bellowing "Stella" he throws out "Charlieeeeee."

The explanation of those losses are easy: LSU got Mad Hattered and Florida was as motivated as tree sloth. Plus, there's starting to be a real, "Let's show the SEC we can play too" type of feel from all the other leagues. How many of those Louisville kids did Florida offer? Maybe a handful. You don;t think Charlie Strong was fanning that flame?

— 5-at-10

January 3, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
orangeguy said...

Okay, okay. Enough with the Charlie regret from Vols fans. You had a group of guys who love their coach playing in the biggest game of their lives vs. what amounts to NFL minded players playing in an SEC 3rd place consolation prize. L'Ville win was great for them and the school but it was the exception. Losses to UCONN & Syracuse with most talented team Strong has had more likely the rule.

Sure, he did in one try what Vols haven't done in last 8, but circumstances are hardly similar.

Anyone hear about Nebraska players still talking trash about Uga? Pelini's nuttiness is contagious apparently,

Speaking of Nebraska... Former Rams Top 10 draft pick, Lawrence Phillips is an all- timer in the arrested athletes draft.

January 3, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
jomo11 said...

i think that these bowl games, really the only time that conferences face each other at nuetral sites are the real way to judge. But, I think the other conferences are starting to "catch up" a little with the SEC, I know us the South hate to admit it, but it is happening. The SEC is still the best, but the gap is closer

January 3, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

If I'm building a defense starting with the middle linebacker, I might go all Patrick Willis.

This could shape up to be a less than stellar bowl season for the SEC, if (and these are sizable ifs) Oklahoma beats A&M (not out of the realm of possibilities) and the Hostile Gaels beat the Tide (which also could happen).

January 3, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Globetrotters: I don't get why I was dragged into the bit. I think I only saw them twice live (both on television). The rest of the time it was Scooby Doo like everyone else because there was no Chris Rock back then (based on a Frank "Rich Little 2.0" Castilleo comedy routine that occasionally airs on both Rawdog and Laugh USA [Serius-XM])

Moving on..

Bowls: again, don't watch them but after last night's Suger Bowl, can we get Clay to do a reenactment of the famous Cam Newton Hello Kitty cartoon from the Charlotte Observer? Only replace Cam with a random Florida player?

Da Mocs: Was unable to tune in the Trey until they were eight minutes into regulation. The first half was literally neck and neck. Then they ran out of gas at the start of the second half. Interesting "comments" from the ESPN announcers. Referred to Chattanooga as "a nice to visit" (as suppose to living there) and the Z Mason maybe NBA material (T_T not hardly).

Then on 'GOW this morning JR (whose voice sounds horrible) talked about his brief visit with the play by play announcer for GT and the Falcons (longtime friend of his) and said announcer was talking about himself and another announcer having the same agent. JR was like T_T because his agent is himself (as is the difference between Chattanooga and Atlanta).

January 3, 2013 at 11:52 a.m.
chas9 said...

Don't want the list to be too heavy with Chattaboogie boys, but Roscoe Tanner could be arrested at any time.

After UL beat UK to begin the season, I asked how the state of Florida let the Terrific Teddy leave the state and noted that the Cards had a complete team.

Of course, I also praised Driskell and the Flor-Ida defense, so what do I know?

It was a fun game (unless you had entertainment riding on it). Where does it rank in big upsets in major bowl games?

I don't know the individual players, but it looked to me like UL might have a better receiver corps than UF, too.

In the aftermath of a failed on-sides kick, Gator Chris Johnson was ejected for punching a UL player. If I were Coach Will, I could forgive his excess zeal, but I couldn't stomach his grinning ear-to-ear on the sidelines afterward. No recognition of what he'd cost his team. Deserves to sit out a game or two. Or at least run a lot of steps.

Not much consolation for UF fans, but DuBose's 101-yard kickoff return was explosive. UL dominated overall, but their kicking/special teams act is weak.

I'll not be surprised if Strong becomes the dominant coach of the generation that replaces Saban.

January 3, 2013 at 11:52 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I could be mistaken, but didn't Sprewell also kicked a sports photographer in the "ammo pack" or was that a different player?

Also, I don't picture TO getting arrested* soon. Maybe getting ink for some off-the-wall publicity stunt.

*not for anything hardcore criminal but possibly for back child support.

January 3, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.
rustyvol said...

5- Are you going to rename the "Talk too much" studios for 2013? National signing day is right around the corner. Which new football coach makes the biggest impact on February 6th? When the ink is dry on Thursday morning February 7th, which AD(s) will be reassured that they found the right man for the job?

January 3, 2013 at 12:52 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - your description of Muschamp as a "totem pole" was spot on. I kept waiting for his head to explode last night, but it was apparent that he had no interest in being there, which must have contributed to his team's performance. And, as a resident of the ATL in 2000, I find it troubling that Ray Lewis isn't remembered more for his criminal past than his play on the field...maybe that's an indictment on us...

January 3, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, give me Bobby Bell or Ray Nitschke over Lewis. Mercury Morris did some hard time, but looks to have recovered. What vexs me these is Rolando Mclain.

January 3, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[and how do you explain LSU and Florida from the greatest conference, that has all the money, the fastest players, best confernece in the history of mankind, the SEC can lose in bowl games to the ACC and The Big East ? ?]

Jomo, those games were upsets for sure. But let's also remember that those games pitted the ACC's #2 against the SEC's #4, and the Big East's #1 vs. the SEC's #3. Also, it had been a while since Les Miles suffered a loss due to boneheaded play-calling and/or clock mismanagement at the end...he was due one. And indeed those Gators were clearly not ready last night. The offense did as expected, but the D was a major letdown.

JMC, I also heard that comment about Mason and the NBA. I was wondering what those guys were smoking. Mason is a good player for the Mocs, but he is nowhere near the caliber of being able to compete in the NBA.

Jay, I have decided on an all-time QB Rushmore and it's got Peyton, Brady, Elway, and Montana. I like Peyton at QB of active players who are the GOAT at their position. Even Tom Brady agrees that Peyton is the greatest ever...

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/756819-tom-brady-says-peyton-manning-is-the-greatest-of-all-time-on-the-nfls-top-100

Ok ok, so maybe Brady is just saying that in public to be nice. But Brady seems more like a system QB than Peyton is. He has benefited greatly from having the same coach/system all these years. Even Matt Cassel succeeded in the Pats' system...and that's saying something. The Colts were totally out of it without Peyton on the field last year.

January 3, 2013 at 1:51 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Brady a system QB? Yeah ... and it's his system.

Look at the receivers he's had to throw to over the years - Jabar Gaffney. David Patten. David Givens. Donte Stallworth again and again. And I'm leaving out the Tiquan Underwoods and Chad Jacksons, and Reche Caldwell and Doug Gabriel (what were the Pats thinking with that? And why all the Pats love for former Gators?). He's had one super marquee receiver, Randy Moss for a short while, Wes Welker and he's finally got a tight end who can catch the ball in Gronkowski. Everybody slobbers on Peyton for his adjustments and checks at the line to get his team into the right play. Believe me, Brady does all that and more, too.

Brady's gone through three offensive coordinators - Charlie Weis, Josh McDaniels (back for round 2) and Bill O'Brien. System, you say? No. I say Brady and his greatness.

January 3, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Working backward today...

Captain Stew-being,

You could even argue that LSU was the SEC No. 6 behind Alabama, Texas A&M, USC, UGa and Fla. But to be fair that argument would likely work against the SEC in matchups against the Big Ten, which had two of its top three teams sitting home.

And as much as we love Peyton and what he does, he's not better than Brady. And while the system has remained the same, so has Peyton's system — his own. Plus, other than one year with Randy Moss and the recent addition of Gronk, Manning had three better receivers — Harrison, Wayne and Dallas Clark — than any of the hodgepodge Brady has used.

And while the Colts were totally out of it without Peyton, they are totally back in it with Andrew Luck.

FE to the C —

Rolando McClain is a puzzling one no doubt.

Sportsfan —

Fair question about what we remember.

Good talk RustyVol —

Feel free to swing by anytime, don't cost nothing.

As for the early impressions, seems like Butch is trying to get UT back in the game on some of these cats and we believe Gus Malzahn (and Rodney Garner) may have a surprise or three up their sleeve.

JMC —

Arrested is arrested. And the mention was in reference to the possibility that you or StuckinKent may have some ideas for a team that needs a coaching overhaul more than the Washington Generals, or may be not.

9er —

Roscoe is a better pick that Rose. Point to you good sir.

Spy —

Willis could be in the discussion.

— 5-at-10

January 3, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay-

Noted.

Speaking of overhauls, as much as I want Romo El Gone-o (and BJ in his place), Rick Gosselin over at the DMN did a front page column explaining WHY that will not happen and why he may end up being our QB for five more years. -.- (His arguement is more geared towards tweaking the O-line in general versus sacking the field general). ::Coming Soon if you will:: ;)

January 3, 2013 at 2:42 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

After Sports Illustrated had a fawning interview with Ray Lewis and had Lewis strike a thoughtful, placid pose for its cover photo some years back, I immediately did away with the expense of my SI subscription. And haven't read one since. There are still too many questions from that night he has never answered.

Kinda like the Madden spots he does with whatshisname the actor. They're almost as good as the Sonic ads with the two doofuses (doofi? doofusi? Can Ron Bush give us a ruling on the plural of doofus?) in the car.

January 3, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Spy/Jay,

Fair points on Brady. No question he's one of the greats. That's why he's on my Rushmore. But Matt Cassel succeeded throwing to that "hodgepodge" of receivers too. I think it says almost as much about the Pats' system as it does their QB.

And Luck is the real deal. I don't think any other team's fans have ever been as excited about a 2-14 record as Indy fans were last year.

January 3, 2013 at 3:19 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Do you think if George Constanza had been born taller he may have aspired to become a Washington General player? You never have to worry about winning, spend most of the game standing around, that seems like the kind of gig he could get into.

I am not the biggest fan of Lewis or players like Stallworth who directly or indirectly have the blood of another on their hands and are still capable of fulfilling their own dreams. However, its hard not to chuckle over the ad where Tom Brady is outlining player safety for the NFL network and at the end of the ad he says to the mother "I'd love to meet the little fella" only for it to reveal her baby boy is Ray Lewis.

January 3, 2013 at 3:26 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I miss the Sonic ads with the ghost (implict racial and creed profiling).

I understand Spy's feelings given my own laundry list of athletics/actors/co-workers in the media from my WAWL days, Sometimes you just have to say "I acknowledge you no more" followed by the Klingon cross-arm about-face first shown in "Sins of our Fathers" when Worf excepted discomendation.

January 3, 2013 at 3:27 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Spy,

Ditto with Woody Allen and Newsweek. Used to take the girlies to his flicks in the '80s with good results.

January 3, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
mkelly54 said...

Nobody associated with the Florida program was motivated about the Sugar Bowl. Hell, their fans were so disappointed that half of the school's allotment of tickets were returned.

How many times do players have to be reminded of major upsets before they discount their own invincibility?

As for LSU, those three pass plays at the end of the game looked like a middle school coach was making the calls (no disrespect for middle school coaches intended). I mean really, the Tigers have a smash-mouth running offense. So why go against your strength when the game is on the line?

And who the hell does Ole Miss play in their bowl game?

January 4, 2013 at 3:04 p.m.
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