published Friday, May 24th, 2013

5-at-10: Friday mailbag with SoCon future, summer plans and a Rushmore of underrated

Thanks for another great week.

From the "Talks too much" studios, did you ever see a Cajun when he really got mad, then he really got trouble like a daughter gone bad.

From a slew of you,

What happens to the Southern Conference/UTC now that Elon has left?

Gang —

OK, this question, in various forms has been bounced back and forth in the last 36 or so hours since news started to swirl about Elon leaving the SoCon.

Let's look at all of the pieces in the most recent decision that dealt another major body blow to the Southern Conference:

First, let's cover Elon. Really, Elon? They say they are leaving for academic reasons. We say hogwash. And get over yourself. You're Elon for crying out loud, and unless you are moving to the Ivy League, then suck it up. We're sure you're a fine school with good academics, but who in a million years connects academic priorities and athletic conference affliation? And if your reasons are truly academic, then drop down to D-III (non-athletic scholarships) and focus on your studies.

The point for UTC, Furman and Wofford is that if a middle-of-the-road SoCon athletic program like Elon is on the move, then everyone has to be looking. It's conference musical chairs, and if you don't have a seat when the music stops, then you're in for a fall. That said, the Mocs were not in a position to move in this cycle with no AD and no chancellor. That may actually be a good thing. We'll get to that in a moment.

As for the Southern Conference, well, it's not good. In fact, the league that not that long ago looked like the SEC of the FCS has the feel of the Big East right now, and that's not a compliment. Is this a death blow? Most likely, because regardless of what life-preserver invitations it slings into the sea of mediocrity that is ETSU, VMI or Mercer, the dominos have started. You have to believe Furman is looking. And possibly Wofford too. The toothpaste is out of the tube.

Which leaves us with SoCon commissioner John Iamarino. Wow, somewhere former Big East commissioner John Marinatto is fist pumping because now he's not alone in the team picture of guys who stood atop the crumbling mountain of a conference as it imploded from within. Hey, Nero, do you know "Devil went down to Georgia" or any other CDB tunes?

As for UTC's future, well, we're pretty optimistic about AD David Blackburn's skills and think that he knows the future will be filled with change. That is not for just UTC, of course. In fact, the new football playoff will be a game-changer for all of college sports, and getting in position to share — directly or indirectly — from that geyser-sized spigot of cash is going to be paramount for the financial stability of athletic programs for the next generation. In that measure, why rush a move to the CAA or the OVC, when in truth, their five-to-10 year future is in almost as much uncertainty as the SoCon's because of the unknown entity that is the college football playoff. Why rush into a different conference just to be in a different conference?

So another two or three high-quality years in the shell that is known as the SoCon — and if the Mocs can capitalize on the football improvements and the basketball energy with the recent hires and win a few rings in the coming seasons — and generate some momentum, maybe UTC would be more attractive to a league better than a CAA. Of course, if they have Elon already, then hoi polloi, pass the Grey Poupon. (Where did you come from a Scotch ad?)


From DC

When are you going to be back on the radio?


Thanks for the interest, and we are pretty certain we'll be back on the radio sometime this summer with David Paschall from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM.

We have been asked a bunch about this — and we greatly appreciate all the support — and enjoyed our time doing it last month. It was a lot of fun and we got a lot of good feedback.

We'll let you know when it becomes official.


From sportsfan


I don't have any rejected water park names to add to your list, but Mrs Sportsfan just told me that there are weight restrictions at the new Soakya water park and they won't let me wear my jeans shorts with metal rivets. What am I gonna do til football season starts? That can be for the mailbag.


Can't help you with the weight restrictions, but we can relay a side, weight-restrictions story.

Back in college a few us went bungee jumping. Did it in Heflin, Ala., and from a crane. In retrospect, not the brightest plan, but hey, we were young. And dumb.

Anyhoo, the dreadlocked-and-unshowered dude with the bloodshot eyes looked at us and asked, "How much do you weigh?"

We answered, "about 225, why?"

He said, "Because we have one bungee for dudes under 230 and one for dudes over 230."

I said, "Well give me the fat-guy bungee please." Way we see it, why risk being a smudge on the rocks of east-central Alabama because of an extra sausage biscuits, you know?

As for your summer as we get ready for college football — we're 97 days from that opening Thursday night, but who's counting — well here's a top five for you.

1) Spend time with the Mrs./significant other/kids et al. Trust us on this one. This is the football fanatic's chance to pay it forward.

2) Get outside. Seriously. We live in the South and there is glorious surroundings everywhere, and with those benefits we must take advantage of the outdoors. We may be consistently in the bottom five in education, health and a few other select categories, but we're No. 1 in outdoor stuff, pretty women and college football. We think we got the better end of that stick.

3) Get away. Be it the beach, the lake or a stay-cation. (We did one of these a few years ago, and it was AWE-some. The stay-cation may be on the Rushmore of all-time underrated. Hey that would be an excellent Rushmore... all-time underrated. Off the cuff, we'll go stay-cations, Stan Musial, Family Ties and Phil Hartman. Thoughts?)

4) Knock back a few Co-Colas. You can not expect your body to be in prime college football drinking shape without some summer preparations. Hey, we expect the players and coaches to put in the time in June and July, we have to be committed too. As Nick Saban says, it's all about the process... Open, lift, swill, repeat.

5) Attack your bucket list. Hey the sands are falling. Be it float a creek or go to Wrigley or try out for community theater (Spy) or what have you, take a swing at it.


From David Paschall

OK, this was not submitted directly to the mailbag, but this was a topic that we were kicking around the office and he brought it up and we wanted to share. In truth, this is one of the reasons doing the talk radio show was so much fun. Anyhoo...

"What is the top five brand-name products that you can't ever imagine using a replacement for?"

DP —

This generated some interesting discussion, and we're interested in what some of you have to say. Here's our top five list of brand's that really can't be replaced:

1) Heinz Ketchup — we'll skip the ketchup rather than use Hunt's

2) Coke — we don't know many people who drink Pepsi, and that's fine by us

3) Copenhagen — this was back in the day before we quit dipping, but there is nothing close

4) Titleist — we're kind of a golf equipment snob, and our clubs are better than our swing. Hey, if you dress well and keep your head down, they'll think you're having a bad day.

5) Kraft cheese — Seems like we're forgetting one, here, huh?

Of course we prefer Bud Light given the preference, but we never turn down a piece offering.


From JR

What's the man crush you have LeBron? Seriously, the guy is good, but you make it out like he's the best ever.

JR —

Not sure man crush is the right phrase (especially when that Dwyane Wade is pretty dreamy), but we have a huge respect for James' gifts and talents and the way he plays the game.

The NBA has searched for "the next Jordan" for a generation. Well, forget the next Jordan, we're enjoying the current James. Dude shares the basketball and tries to inspire teammates.

No one in basketball — maybe in all of sports — had the competitive fire and will to win Jordan had. James is not the next Jordan (if you had to make comparisons, he's more of a super-souped up version of Magic, actually).

Plus, we also appreciate true greatness, and like him or loathe him (or man-crush him), James is great. We feel that way about athletes of all genres. Tiger, James, Tyson, Jordan... these were guys that were all-timers in our time, and we appreciated them for their gifts and sharing them with us.

As for James, he appears to have handled that greatness way better than the rest of those names, too, which is a credit to him.

Man crush? Not so much. Much respect? Absolutely.


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 ...

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.
MocTastic said...

The SoCon has been around since 1921 and has endured the departure of teams like Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Virginia and many more. I think they can survive the departure of Elon. Just what is an Elon anyway and where is it? I guess we are just too dumb for those smart people at Elon.

SoCon is now at 10 teams, assuming VMI, ETSU and Mercer which should all be announced any day now. Now, go get a few basketball schools to round it out and we will be fine. Hey Belmont and UNC-Asheville, whatca up to?

May 24, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.
TNBuck said...

Q-Tips cannot be replaced by any other brand. I don't recommend skimping on TP either, but there are a few brands that will do.

May 24, 2013 at 10:27 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...


Elon is simply a private school in North Carolina. In fact, outside of the SoCon it is the king of "who?" schools. The only time I ever heard Elon referenced in a third party was this stand-up comedianne referencing a neighbor who was a teacher at Elon. That was it.

While I was unable to listen when I got home, I see a posting from Fry himself that he was on with Dr. B going back and fourth regarding this reallignment. Losing Elon for the most part is not that big a deal. It's more or less the fact that the domino effect is taking shape with the departure of GSU and ASU.

As for Wofford and Furman "looking around", good luck with that! Seriously, I cannot imagine any other conference wanting them. They might as well go independent. That's not taking away from their programs, its just if we're talking about the "geyser-sized spigot of cash" that is "media rights", UTC is like the undeveloped lot in a high-end market that you can get for a song (if that makes sense). Sadly, both Wofford and Furman are located in parts unknown and don't have a well-developed college town (like Tuscaloosa or Ann-Arbor) that would warrant so much as an offer.

Overall, good analysis.

May 24, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

To compare the SoCon now to what it use to be I can't fathom when UT, Bama, and Ga left it was to form the SEC, then Virginia, Maryland, etc left to for the ACC big difference between then and now just sayin...huge huge difference...JG great response yesterday and today...Let Blackburn raise the money then get the heck out...what used to be the FCS equivalent of the SEC has been buried...hang out in the conference formerly known as the SoCon three to five years, then BOLT...the one thing we have to remember, is with the BCS instituting a "playoff" then entire landscape of college football WILL change...those currently in FBS will be filling more of the lesser bowl slots (Sun Belt currently has two guaranteed spots) the lower level FCS teams will end up dropping to non scholarship football and the capable ones will move up to have a shot at bowl games...also we must remember the Big 10 has already instituted the non FCS game policy, it will not be long before the SEC does also...those $450K games will be gone, so step up and get the $MILLION guarantee instead from Bama, FSU, etc...will take 3-5 years but I am ok with that

May 24, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

That is true, the SoCon has survived several defections.

But the divide that is about to be created will change the spectrum more than the current realignments.

And losing Elon does not hurt, but it's the appearances of weakness that are cause for concern.

Belmont would be a nice get.

Buck —

Q-tips is a much better call than Kraft cheese. much better in fact.

We thought about TP, too, but there is no specific brand per se. But TP is high on the list of products we will not go generic on.


Thanks. UTC does have some advantages as far as town, media-market size and travel (in and out) options, but Furman and Wofford are better healed and have strong alum bases.

And if with the change in conference, we think Elon should change their mascots.

Go with the Elon Gators... they're smart, they can figure out the double meanings and everything.

Was that a stretch?

Wow, we're rolling.

May 24, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...


May 24, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Angry Elon things! Loud Noises!

Toilet paper is a good call but it falls into the arguments of things you "pay for what you get." You want a premium product at a premium price or you get stuck with John Wayne Toilet Paper, its rough, its tough, and it dont take sh*t off nobody. Since we are on the subject of toilet paper, is there any other place on your body that you could get feces on and would be okay with just wiping it with tissue until you dont see it anymore? Ponder that.

I like the 5@10 Top Five Summer List. Todd's top five doesnt have to incorporate offspring yet, but it would stick with number 1 because there is the time tested adage, "If momma aint happy, nobody's happy." So its always critical to assure she is getting her due in your summer plans. Maybe we could practice starting a family. After that there are only two more steps. Your step 4 becomes my step 2 and my step 3 is to repeat step 2 until destiny runs its course. My findings have been that if you repeat number 2 enough and don't push it to the point where number 1 leaves your sorry butt, you will inevitably find yourself accomplishing some of the things on the 5's list, laying outside, floating down a river, driving a Hoverround at the grand canyon, etc, without having to make plans to do such. CoCola's have an amazing ability to get you into some of life's more interesting experiences without proper preparation.

May 24, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Furman and Wofford may have better alum bases in the well-heeled section, but so does Vanderbilt. Doesn't always generate into jauggernauts (I'm just saying).

In the meantime, I do hope Blackburn takes a little time to discuss this either with you, Frierson, Weeds, or the 4-7 folks. While I do not expect an immediate plan, you gotta know he's thinking something OR having "well-heeled" alumni here bending his ear on it.

May 24, 2013 at noon
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —


As for the SoCon- there are rumors of Belmont being interested, possibly. If that's true and Belmont joins, I would maintain that Belmont, ETSU, and Mercer are a win over Davidson, College of Charleston, and Elon, especially in the Mocs world, because all three of those are closer than any of the former three. Is that just a pipe dream? Maybe. If you had asked me to make that trade back last March, I would have said, "What about if we take out Davidson and substitute The Citadel?" When I got laughed at, I would have said, "Fine. I'll take it." The SoCon is not as bad in basketball as it is getting made out to be. ETSU and Mercer are good basketball institutions. And the Mocs are on their way back up. So, let's stop writing bye-bye to the SoCon and realize that the SoCon could be OK.

May 24, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Lake Winnie's weigh policy reminds me of an old James Gregory routine-story goes he was flying in the Caribbean and while the small plane was fueling, James was asked, "how much do you weigh?" He answered, "Why do you want to know?" And the attendant answered, "So we'll know how much fuel to put in the plane." James shot back, "FILL IT UP! I WEIGH 500 POUNDS, FILL IT UP!" He added, "Wouldn't you hate to be in a plane crash because a big woman lied about her weight?"

The Southern Conference needs to focus on Georgia and Florida and stop with the Carolinas/Virginia, if it wants to bounce back.

May 24, 2013 at 12:23 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


ETSU and Mercer maybe good programs B-Ball wise but not something that would generate heated rivalies and butts in the seats. ETSU is not the ETSU of old that people have fond memories of hating in the same sentence as Alabama or Florida and when I think of Mercer, I usually think of Macon: home of Little Richard, the We Bare All, and that's pretty much it.


Agreed with the geography concept. However, I imagine because the SoCon's HQ is in the Carolinas they tend to be more bias to that location.

May 24, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.
orangeguy said...

Total agreement on Heinz Ketchup. At the risk of my orange guy cred, Bama jelly can't be beat either. Hellman's Mayo beats that nasty Kraft dressing. Pringles over Lays imitation pringle-knockoff. Dr. Pepper over Mr. Pibb.

Have a good holiday, all. Don't forget to thank a veteran or three.

May 24, 2013 at 1:38 p.m.
chas9 said...

It's Elon, not elan. Or Elian.

Band-Aids, Coke, Jack Daniels, Angel Soft TP, Ford pickup trucks.

JMC--Which one of the We bare all joints south of Macon is #1 on the list of don't settle for second best?

ESPN has named Kentucky's current recruiting classes as one of the top in the country, in football. Yep, you read that right. Football. Granted, it's #23, but that's way better than before. Stoops may be the best new SEC football hire.

Didja see that Steven Pearl did a radio broadcast in Knoxville making fun of dad's recruiting BBQ? It's OK by me. We need more humor in sports.

May 24, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.
Stewwie said...

So long, Elon. We never liked you that much anyway.

I am willing to go ahead and say that LeBron is the best playmaker in NBA history. The combination of his scoring ability, accurate passes, and overall decision making on the court is unmatched.

I am not a very picky person when it comes to brand-name products so I was unable to come up with a top 5. I like Coke over Pepsi, but if Coke products went away, I wouldn't mind drinking only Pepsi stuff. All ketchup tastes the same to me. Kraft cheese is good, but Mrs. Stewwie buys other cheese anyway and it works just as good. Mrs. Stewwie is more picky than I am (aren't women in general more picky than men?). Anyway, I asked for some help with the top 5 and she gave me a list that was very womanly. For that reason, I will refrain from listing any top 5 in this category.

For the Rushmore of underrated, I like the staycation pick. When we were dating, Mrs. Stewwie and I talked one day about how we hadn't done any of the Chattavegas tourist-y things in a long time (Aquarium, Rock City, etc.) So I took a week off from work that summer and we hit up all of the tourist hot spots. Here are my other underrated picks:

Electric Light Orchestra--They have the most U.S. top 40 hits without a number one.

The month of May--The days are just as long as in July/August, but the heat isn't sweltering yet. It's not cold at all, and the mid-80s days are nice with the slight breeze and low humidity. Plus it's a good time of year for a getaway before the summer crowds pack out any and all fun places you want to go. And there's good deals still to be had before the summer season unofficially starts after Memorial Day.

Stone Mountain Park--When you think of entertainment in the ATL, you either think of the theme parks, the sports teams, or the downtown stuff. But Stone Mountain is a hidden jewel off of 285 that the whole family can enjoy. There's lots to do there instead of just sitting and staring at a big rock all day (though the carving is pretty cool). Or you can round up the dudes and play 18 holes of golf on one of their two courses.

May 24, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


I've only been in one which is the one right outside of I-75 at the exit to Warner-Robbins AFB.

Their stats are as followed. Number of women with 2-3 layer stretch marks: 4. Number of women for doctors-in-training to study what five years of habitual meth use does to a female body: 2. Number of women who actually look like the ones pictured on the billboards: 0.

May 24, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.
chas9 said...

UK's 2014 pointy ball class is up to ESPN's #22 now. That's only ninth best in the SEC. Yes, UT's is #6, but because KY was so far down, the upswing seems greater.

GDawg--TBuck is correct about the options. I went with a major outfitter on a forty-foot raft that's like an aircraft carrier, with a big 750 Merc powering it. Plenty of room in the boat for all the co-colas you can drink. Good food. The power gets you through the rapids, but there's lots of silent time drifting. My ocean kayak skills are decent, but I'm not confident that I could safely handle the massive whitewater the Colorado River offers.

May 24, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, I've been on TV enough the last year and a half. Besides, right now, I'm in the middle of the theatre of the absurd.

Staycations are good. I'll also venture that "Cheers" remains vastly underrated.

May 24, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
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