published Thursday, January 31st, 2013

5-at-10: Vols picking up recruiting speed, Super Bowl picks and a crazy January

Gang, remember the mailbag Friday, and if you have any specific recruiting questions, fire away.

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

Recruiting news

Maybe it's the influx of new coaching staffs across the SEC. Maybe it's the changing nature of the entire recruiting game. Maybe it's an outlier, an anomaly in the ebbs and flows of seven-figure adults and programs with eight- and nine-figure budgets having a large part of their futures decided by teenagers.

Whatever the reason, it feels like this college football recruiting cycle is as tumultuous and fluid as any in recent memory.

The trajectory of the recruiting cycles had moved toward earlier commitments and relative peace down the homestretch. This year, there's a sprint to the finish and a few SEC schools of area interest are poised to make some noise.

As UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown tells us here, Tennessee's coaching change was a big part of the changing names and faces in the Vols class. Nine players who were formerly committed to UT will not be part of the class next week. That's OK, and Butch Jones and Co. have done work replacing those guys and in a lot of ways upgrading from those guys.

Also of note, UT landed a commitment from MarQuez North on Wednesday night. North, a four-star receiver from North Carolina, is a big talent at a big position of need for the Vols. And if you are going to replace an all-world talent and an all-world name like Cordarrelle Patterson, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound receiver with multiple capital letters in his first name is an excellent starting point.

The work and effort Jones and Co. have put in landed North. It also got them back in the game with Vonn Bell, the five-star defensive back from Ridgeland.

If Jones can land Bell to go with the 11th hour addition of North, this class has to be considered a success considering the circumstances. If the Vols add any of the hodgepodge of big names the new coaches have made headway with — names like defensive end Carl Lawson or linebacker E.J. Levenberry or offensive tackle Christian Morris — this class has to be consider a smash.

—————

Fab 4 Super pick

We had a spectacular season picking football games against the spread. As we've said a multitude of times, we make these picks for entertainment purposes only, so we hope you have been handsomely entertained.

We were 10-6 in the NFL playoffs, and we were 86-38-3 against the spread during the college football season. So, heading into the Super Bowl, we're 96-44-3 going. That's entertainment you could take to the bank. So, we're going to make four picks (plus one) on the big game Sunday.

• We'll take the Ravens plus-3.5. We not supremely confident with either team, mainly because we do not have a read on either team. Of our six missed playoff picks, we're 0-3 picking against the Ravens and 1-1 picking against the 49ers. Hey, does this qualify as research. We need a break.

• We'll say over the 47.5. This is simply because almost every game is zooming through scoring ceilings.

• We'll take the over 154.5 for the 49ers rushing total.

• We'll take under 2:15 for Alicia Keys' national anthem.

• We'll take under 7 seconds for the postgame embrace between the coaches Harbaugh.

We need some aspirin.

—————

How did we get here?

As we put January in the books, and stare at the puzzling ballet that is February sports and weather and wonder, "how is the next month going to be more crazy than this one?"

Seriously, the array of strangeness and the bar full of bizarre that has permeated the sports world seems to be at an all-time apex. Let's review:

• The nation's best college football defensive player also was part of an online imaginary love triangle, trapezoid, hexagon, who knows what, that somehow got Katie Couric and Dr. Phil involved in sports and ultimately proved said linebacker, at best, is arguably the most naive celebrity in recent memory. That said, somewhere Mario Lopez's people better be working on his pitch as the star of the Lifetime movie of Manti Te'o.

• At one point this morning, there were five stories in the ESPN.com ticker that had the word "gay" in the headline. Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially since Rudy Gay was traded.

• We now all know that deer antler spray is apparently the next big thing in PEDs.

• Lance Armstrong, cycling's singular and signature star, has been completely pantsed. And somehow that's somewhat forgettable, no? (Of course it is cycling after all. Side note: We're not believers in adults wearing jerseys unless said jersey is handed to you by someone named coach, but cycling unis for cycling fans are plain silly. In fact, the top three sports that would be the absolutely worst to be a fan and show up in the jersey/uniform to support your team would be 1) Wrestling, 2) competitive swimming/diving — nice Speedo there Pops — and 3) Cycling.)

• A-Rod is mired in another PED mess. Seriously, wasn't there a time not that long ago, that we'd been willing to wager about anything that Alex Rodriguez was going to rewrite history. Now he's just another steroid footnote.

• Brent Musberger ogled a college kid's girlfriend on national TV, got railroaded for it and somehow the girl is now covering the Super Bowl and appearing in reality TV shows. Katherine Webb quickly moved to No. 3 in the hot girl in the crowd rankings to be discovered and go big-time. No. 1 is Courtney Cox, who was got her break when Bruce Springsteen pulled her on stage for "Dancing in the Dark" and No. 2 is Pam Anderson, who was shown on the Jumbotron at a CFL game multiple times with a Molson beer T-shirt on and a Molson executive was at the game and tracked her down, put her in commercials and, bang next thing you know it's Baywatch and Kid Rock.

Strange indeed.

————

This and that

— OK, did you see the story about Vandy coach James Franklin calling a certain Alabama football coach Nicky Satan? Here's saying that Nick Saban was more irked about the Nicky part than the Satan part. Here's also saying that the next time the Tide and Commodores face off, there will be no round left unfired. C'mon James, you can pick on ol' Orange Britches, but know your role and your realm. That's either big-time stones or big-time stupid.

— Chas9er has been saying that the SEC hoops hierarchy is Florida-space-space-space-and then everyone else. Well, proof-positive was the Gators' 75-36 destruction of South Carolina. Florida is the best team in the country right now.

— Consider us surprised at how little Harbaugh talk there has been this week. Granted the pregame shows with multiple, multiple hours of time to kill will make up for it, but still.

————

Today's question

Remember the mail bag, of course, and let's go.

If you need a talking point, make a recruiting prediction. Or a Super Bowl guess.

If you want a question, try this: For years, the worst sports grizzly to poke with a verbal stick was Tiger Woods. Remember when Stephen Ames said Tiger was beatable and Woods put a 9-and-8 match-play thumping on Ames?

Before that it was Jordan. Before that was Tyson and so on. Well, now that Woods has faded some, who's the last athlete you want to talk smack about? We ask this after the thumping LeBron and the Heatles dumped on Brooklyn after some guy ran some lip service about James and Miami.

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.
chas9 said...

Lance pantsed. One of your best. Wordsmith Ferrol Sams would be proud.

Kentucky-bred Anthony Hickey (who bears watching) helped LS&U put down Mizzou.

Thanks for crediting me with the Flor-Ida space-space-space SEC thing. Still true, but KY has moved up to #3 and The Vols are #7 with a bullet. Yesterday either Doc or Quake observed that The Cats would be a tough draw for somebody as a 12 seed. I expect them to be at least an 8.

And the best face in the crowd (forget Old Brent) is always Ashley Judd, hockey team pin-up.

January 31, 2013 at 10:28 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, "You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ol'Long Ranger..." and you don't mess around with Nick Saban.

There might be an actual kernel here...this must be Franklin's way of announcing Vandy has moved to the next level. Sorry, no where near the chops of Steve Spurrier. Anchor Down! On the Vols and Kentucky at least.

Yep, Lightning does strike. Without saying too much, Courtney Cox's former agent is from the Chattanooga metro.

MarQuez North, wow if he has the quicks. Hard to find fault with Coach Jones at this point. He's bringing some badly needed sizzle sans the Lane Kiffin crap. The Vols seem to be making some local headway too.

Congratulations, 10 Ring, on your pickin' and grinin' this year. Is this the summit or about average?

January 31, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

Wow that was a smackdown by the U of F. Not sure where SC stands in the SEC roundball hierarchy...

A Courtney Cox mention...attended AU with her, wish I could brag about being acquainted.

Speaking of AU, saw where the coaching staff is chasing Corn Elder. Au is going to be low on RB's since Blakey didn't sign up for the 2nd semester.

January 31, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Teo saga = "Finkle is Einhorn, Einhorn is Finkle, Einhorn is a man!" (Enter vomit scene)

I think that the swimming speedo and the wrestling singlet is a toss-up in your worst jersey ranking. In the past years I have been slowly becoming afflicted by Dunlop disease. The speedo would expose the gut that dunlops over my belt and wouldnt be a pretty sight for anyone. The singlet offers me the tummy support that I look for when going to sporting events, but the topographic map of my nether regions may not be something everyone would want to see either. There could be possible shrinkage depending on the weather, which is something no one needs when wearing lycra or spandex. My stride may go from a strut to a scurry if the temperature drops. I guess I'll just have to continue rocking my greenman suit to events so my identity remains anonymous.

January 31, 2013 at 11:07 a.m.
chas9 said...

MCP3--Au is gold. AU is...what? Tin, maybe... Tinfoil?

And I'll take Ashley over Courtney. But if you like 'em young, Jennifer Lawrence is also a KY girl.

January 31, 2013 at 11:12 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

Chas - no arguments from me over Ashley v Courtney, especially nowadays. Ashely has held up much better.

And yes our defense was tinfoil last year.

January 31, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

There's been more buzz about the commercials than there has been about the Super Bowl. Good thing I have work to do Sunday.

January 31, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- so you are saying that the Vols recruiting class going from Rivals.com #41 to #31 is a great success ?

January 31, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

UK will be at least an 8 seed, you're correct. The Cats will get better and better in the next six weeks. We've been a long-time Ashley Judd fan, and Ms. Lawrence for that matter too. Is J-Law from the state or did she study at UK?

And while McPell is right that the AU defense was less than tinfoil... easy on the AU coeds. Let's not forget that Katherine Webb was an AU grad and the current Miss America went to AU.

FE to the C —

We hit about 70 percent this year. We hit about 68 percent last year. We could hit 38 percent next year, who knows?

And yes, Butch Jones appears to be doing work.

McPell —

We were unaware that Ms. Cox went to AU. We however hung out a great deal at Auburn with Josh Hopkins, who plays Ms. Cox's husband on Cougar Town ironically enough.

962 —

Well-played. Or poorly played. Finkle is Einhorn, Einhorn is Finkle.

So you're saying there's a chance.

Spy —

What's with everyone saying the commercials are racist? The only color commercials care about is green.

Jomo —

We wrote that if they land North (which they did and that moved them to No. 31) and Vonn it would be a success, because adding Vonn and his five stars would move them another 10 spots.

And considering the poo-poo platter Dooley left, cracking the top 20 would be a smashing success.

— 5-at-10

January 31, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.
chas9 said...

Jennifer was born and raised in Louisville, moved to NYC at 14 to pursue actin'. And foxy Diane Sawyer is also from the state.

McThree--That was gracious of you to accept the tinfoil taunt. Of course UK's football defense was tissue paper. The cagers can play some D though.

And what's this about a gay Bulldog?

January 31, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Sooooo that freestyle snowmobile fella that I watched his rig land on his head passed away today from bleeding around the heart and other unlisted head injuries. With the NFL worried about guys getting headaches, what are lawyers saying when incidents like this happen in these extreme sports? While attempting to remain sensitive to the loss of life, what the deuce do you think is going to happen when you try to flip a machine that big off a snow drift? Darwinism by fire.

January 31, 2013 at 1:59 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

The Cats can defend the tin, that's the tooth.

And we're not sure what you're referring to in regard to the preferences of said Bulldog (not that there's anything wrong with that), but as Cousin Eddie famously said, "He's cute ain't he? Only problem is, he's got a little bit a Mississippi leg hound in 'im. If the mood catches him right, he'll grab your leg and just go to town. You don't want him around if you're wearing short pants, if you know what I mean. Word of warning though, if he does lay into ya, it's best to just let 'im finish."

962 —

Wonder if Pres. Obama had a son if he would or would not let him flip super huge snowmobiles?

Sad day. Also wonder if the family of the snowmobile fella will sue the X-Games, ESPN, et al.

— 5-at-10

January 31, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.
bigguy said...

JG - just wondering - who makes more money, you or James Franklin?

January 31, 2013 at 2:41 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Bigguy —

James Franklin — by a wide margin.

What does that have to do with anything? Because you make a seven-figure salary you don't make mistakes?

Lindsey Lohan makes more money than we do too, and here's saying she makes the occasional misstep in judgement.

— 5-at-10

January 31, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.
chas9 said...

Cousin Eddie's a treasure. Thanks for sharing. I bring it up to jerk the chain of Gawga and Starkville bulldogs, but the occasion of the taunt is a hot newsflash the TFP has just reported. See www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jan/...>

And that's the tooth.

January 31, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5,

I may spend less time watching the commercials than I will even the halftime show with Beyonce' (hi, I'm Spy ... I'm a Sagittarius ... you know, you could do better than Jay-Z. Let me take you away from all of this ... where I was again?). I likely won't watch any of the halftime show. Or the pregame show, which started a few minutes ago. Or the postgame show.

5, I gotta admit, the absolutely single most beautiful woman I have ever met is an Auburn grad, and she likes football, guns and Jack Daniel's straight. War (heynow) Eagle. Alas, she is already married to the luckiest guy in the world.

January 31, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

5/10 - If my memory serves me right Ms Cox was up for Miss Auburn at one time, and shortly thereafter was seen on MTV dancing in the dark with Bruce. Don't think she spent much time on the plains after that video. Chas - took the taunt and was trying to think of something worse than tinfoil but had UK supporter Ashley on the brain...

January 31, 2013 at 3:57 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

anybody who says they don't learn anything from reading the 5 at 10 just isn't paying attention.

January 31, 2013 at 4:52 p.m.
bigguy said...

I'm sorry JG. I thought you said "stupid" instead of "mistake." Or did you? Anyway, if you meant to say that a guy with a really good salary made a mistake, that's fine. When a person infers that a guy so far ahead of the average Joe is stupid, it makes me think they may be lacking themselves in some way.

January 31, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BG —

We did write that it was stupid. And we're pretty sure people make stupid acts all the time and are not stupid people.

As for lacking, well, we're sure we lack a whole bunch in a whole bunch of areas — and the folks that know us well will certainly concur with that (especially in regards to some humility).

Bigguy, you're completely entitled to your opinion and welcome to share that opinion here. That's what we hope this forum is and will always be. But if you don't agree with something we said — you think that Franklin doesn't know his comment was a stupid mistake? — then let's debate the statement rather than attack the statement maker.

That's one of the main reasons our society no longer can carry on a discussion: Someone says something that the next person disagrees with and rather than discuss or agreeing to disagree, it becomes, "How is that person biased" or "That person is jealous" or "Fill in the blank."

We think Franklin deserved to be National coach of the year in 2012, and that he's one of the legit rising stars in his field. In fact, of all the SEC coaches, we say Franklin has the best M.O. to have NFL success. That doesn't change the fact that we think throwing stones at Saban is either calculated and brave or a stupid mistake.

As for people that are so far ahead of the Average Joe, well, Charlie Sheen's light years ahead of the rest of us in terms of accomplishments, fame and wealth and we're pretty sure Sheen is over-the-top stupid. So it goes.

— 5-at-10

January 31, 2013 at 8:15 p.m.
bigguy said...

JG, it's all good. He brilliantly uses some extreme statements and actions to achieve his goals, but it seems to work for him. I don't think that's stupid.

January 31, 2013 at 9:24 p.m.
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