published Friday, November 1st, 2013

5-at-10: Friday Mailbag with predictions on UTC, Josh Dobbs and college hoops

It's been a full week. Baseball champions to Halloween to a Thursday night football extra-ganza that showed the nature of picking winners and winning pickers. So it goes.

From the "Talks too much" studios, 60 percent of the time, it works every time. There are bits of real panther in there.

From Billy-in-Brainerd

Jay-G,

I do not know Mr BI Spy, but here is guessing that he is still celebrating [as he should be].

For the mailbag: How many championships [MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA] have Boston teams won since + including the year 2000?

Billy-In-Brainerd —

We have the stats from Spy here — "But that's three MLB, three NFL, one NBA and one NHL in 12 years. Not bad." — and he's 100 percent right that's not bad.

Quite good in fact, and possibly to the point that it may be the single best professional decade across multiple sports in the modern era.

Yes the Yankees and Giants each won titles spanning the late 1990s into the 2000s, but there's no hoops and limited hockey success.

The 1980s were kind to L.A. — the Lakers were awesome and the Dodgers won it all in '81 and '88 — but it did not have the feel Boston has right now because the Dodgers' success did not feel sweeping like this run by the Red Sox.

Ask yourself this, what is the closest thing to a dynasty we have in all of professional sports? The Heat appear to be emerging as a legitimate one. Beyond that, the runs of the Patriots and the Red Sox qualify as dynasties in today's free-agency-driven sports world. 

And to have two dynasties at the same time in the same area. 

Pour us a Sam Adams Co-Cola and Clam Chowder for everyone.

————

From Paul

Jay,

I grew up in the South and while I enjoy football college basketball is my favorite sport by far. It is starting and after how bad the SEC was last year, the league has to be better this year, right?

Anyway, as the season gets closer I was reading the 5-at-10 earlier this week and wonder who would be on your all-time SEC hoops team? 

Thanks for your column — it's very entertaining.

Paul —

Thanks for the kind words and for reading the 5-at-10. We aim to please and we're pleased we can still aim. Or something like that.

We'll offer our all-time SEC team, and we'd encourage everyone to submit one as well. We're going to adhere to general positions — you could have a three-guard set if you'd like — and we'll start here:

Point — Pete Maravich, LSU. Duh

2-guard — Allan Houston, Tennessee

3 — Johnny Nuemann, Ole Miss

4 — Dan Issel, Kentucky

Center — Shaq, LSU

Jazz flute — Ron Burgandy, Channel 3 news team. Whammy

Send us yours and we may ask longtime TFP SEC hoops ace Mark Wiemder to submit one, too.

————

From several of you in various forms

Jay,

Knower of all things... (OK, we may have added that one.)

What's your prediction for UTC Saturday?

Gang —

Great question. And yes we believe we know most things. Well, we believe we know most things that the Mrs. tells us. 

Anyhoo, where were we? Oh yes, the Mocs' big swing Saturday.

We know this is a moment for UTC football. And as simplistic as that sounds, they do not come around that often. 

Can you name the last singular UTC football moment that we knew was a moment before hand? Sure the Mocs have had some nice wins in the last few years, but those were not in certain and clear situations that depending on the outcome are obvious splits in the path.

A win Saturday makes most anything possible. A win makes the playoffs seem well within reach and a potential conference title and even a postseason home game. A win would force even the most pessimistic Mocs detractor to notice the ascent, because a win means 7-2 and that's not a fluke or a product of schedule or whatever. Heck, the last time the Mocs were 7-2 we were wondering who shot J.R.  for crying out loud and Dave Winfield just signed the biggest baseball contract ever at 10 years for $1.5 million per season. 

A loss though could be as damaging as a win could be productive in some ways. Sure, a loss to App State on Saturday and wins against Wofford and Samford still likely would be enough to get the Mocs into the postseason and could be enough to win the league. 

Still, a stumbling performance Saturday and the Mocs leave open the question of have they improved and if so how? It drags a draining word to the lips of those that are wondering about the status of this team and the program as a whole — typical. It's a paralyzing word for the Mocs right now and a loss would make it reappear in mass quantities. A loss also would leave open the wonderment of whether UTC ever will be able to take the next step, the step from competitive to lead dog. It's not an easy step to be sure, and the walk is paved with strides that are made and forged in road games such as Saturday. 

It's a question that is open for the entire conference since the two heavyweights are leaving the cozy confines of the Southern Conference for the open spaces — hey a trip to Idaho — of the Sun Belt.

As for predictions, well, here's saying the defense comes to play. This group is fast and athletic and talented at each level. We think 24 points likely should be enough for either side, and that's high praise for UTC considering the run App State has been on the last three weeks.

  • photo
    UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman runs for a fourth quarter touchdown.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

So the question remains how many can the Mocs score, and that questions gets bigger and louder and more confusing since Keon Williams injured ankle is unlikely to be 100 percent. This is a big moment for UTC in general, for quarterback and team leader Jacob Huesman in particular and for offensive coordinator Josh Durden as much as anyone.

No stops should be left unpulled, no rocks left unturned or no pages left unearmarked. This is a must-have for UTC facing a perennial power that may be more power in name than talent but a power nonetheless. 

It is a springboard. Or it could be a sinkhole.

Mocs 24-20.

————

From VolsNut

If Josh Dobbs kills it is he the new starter? Please say yes. 

Love the 5-at-10, and do you have a twitter account?

Thanks and keep up the good work. Go Vols.

VolsNut

Thanks for reading and for the question.

The rest of the month appears to belong to Josh Dobbs if for no other reason than he is the healthiest of the Vols' QB options.

If he struggles Saturday at Mizzou, which is possible, he'll likely be back out there next week, too.

If he's just OK, and he was better than that in the second half last week at Alabama, then there will be a surging movement among the fan base to make him the guy. The fan base has wanted someone other than Justin Worley for most of the season. Yes, Worley was the QB1 when the Vols landed a monster win over South Carolina, but that will be remembered as the Marquez North moment more than Worley throwing into double coverage.

If Dobbs is good — or better — or even if he's above average and the Vols win, you have to figure that Dobbs will hold the keys for the rest of the season.

If Dobbs kills it, the job likely could be his for the foreseable future and you likely are looking at the guy who then steps forward to be the face of the brick-by-brick movement.

As big a moment as this is for Josh Dobbs, it's a pretty big moment too for Riley Ferguson, the other UT true freshman QB who was reportedly ahead of Dobbs in the pecking order before injuring his leg.

Careers are made from making the most of moments like this. Made and altered — for those in the moment and those on the periphery.

And yes, we do have a Twitter account. We're at @jgreesontfp. We're more of a binge Twitterer though. So there you go.

————

From Blue

Been wanting to ask you a question for a while -- if you weren't a sports editor what do you think your job would be?

Also, since I know you saw that UK was preseason No. 1 who is in your final four?

Blue —

You're our boy Blue.

We majored in Public Administration at Auburn and at one point thought about going to law school. We also thought about getting into politics.

When we were presented the chance to write sports in 1997, we were toying with the idea of going back to school and becoming a high school coach. So it goes.

As for our Final Four, we'll take UK, because 1) as we said earlier this week, the new rules are going to magnify the Cats' depth; and 2) chas9 would send us nasty notes if we didn't. We'll also take Kansas, Florida and Oklahoma State.

————

From Joe

What's the best Halloween candy? And you didn't answer your Halloween quiz from yesterday. Like you say, discuss.

Thanks for the 5-at-10 and when are you going to be on the radio again?

Joe —

Thanks for reading and not sure when the radio silence will end. So it goes.

Our personal favorite Halloween candy is the individual Reese's Cups. They are money. The worst candies are Circus Peanuts. If you give out Circus Peanuts raise your hand and Spy's going to come around and hit you in the knee with a tack hammer.

As for our Halloween questions, OK. We'll play:

— What was your best Halloween costume as a tot? Or as a crazy college kid? Our Halloween costumes as a kid were mostly the plastic, out of the box ones. Or Dracula. Or maybe a pirate. In college we took pride in our get-ups. Went as Egghead, the TV Batman villian played by Vincent Price, one year. It was egggg-cellent. We also created a table around us with shampoo bottles nailed to it and did our hair up to look like the Denorex shampoo guy. "This side tinkles. This side nothing."

— What's the best scary movie? This one is tough, and we have not seen a scary movie in a long time. The Mrs. is not a fan and with two small tots, it's actually been a while since we've been to a movie. As for one that scared us pretty good, well, The Exorcist III was pretty chilling. So was Pet Semetary. Having a hard time remembering some of the good ones.

— What's the scariest character in scary movie history? The first Freddie Krueger was pretty intense and came along at the perfect time to haunt us. Pinhead was pretty nasty as well.

— What's the best "campy" scary movie? After the first couple, the Friday the 13th series actually was more comedy than scary. A scaredy maybe. Which is the exact opposite of Andrew "Dice" Clay's act now, which is more scary than comedy.

Enjoy the weekend and feel free to share your views on any of the above.

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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JonathanMCook said...

Jay,

Great prediction on the Mocs this Saturday. I'm not going to tip fate and predict a better score. Personally, they should have beaten Southern and quite possibly could have if not for the officiating (my sole opinion mind you) but the seniors definately want this win more then anything. What really impresses me about this team as Weeds pointed out was the fact these cats learn from their mistakes and do their best to improve on it. Keon an't going to play this Saturday but will dress for the game.

I like the fact JumpTV (the company that does MocsVision) is also contracted with the Appy State website so for those of you like me with subscriptions, you can watch the game on gomocs.com. I'll save everyone my grief with SideArm Sports out of NYC who are contracted with Elon's and GSU's website but let's just say it was not a pleasent exchange in customer service resolution.

The last time the Mocs won against Appy State in Boone, The "Pac-Man" Saturday Morning Cartoon was in it's second season on ABC, Reagan was in the White-House and providing us with leadership that would inspire such wonderful knuckleheads as Scott Dejarnis and Ted Cruz as well as their voting block (Bubble Boy's Parents), "Who Shot JR" was three years earlier BTW, and the men's basketball Mocs were playing in the brand new "Roundhouse" that just turned...one.

So yeah, this has been a long time comm'n.

Also, the game starts at 3:30 which means you can watch it in it's entirety before switching on ESPN for the Vols and Mizzou.

November 1, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

New York may be The Big Apple, and LA has Hollywood + beaches, but Boston is The Big Winner [and I am a fan of the teams in Philly]. "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide..." but call Spy + his Massachusetts brethern Boston Strong.

Billy-In-Brainerd

November 1, 2013 at 10:57 a.m.
jomo11 said...

As you know I really hope the Mocs can win Saturday. However, I disagree that the Mocs have an edge here. Appy is playing 70 players on Off, Def and special teams. With the injuries the Mocs are only playing 50 guys. The injuries to Keon, Hudson ( the most consistent WR and the punt returner ) and the injury a few weeks ago to Derrick Lott are almost too much to overcome against a team with the team speed that Appy has. You need to remember that the last 3 years have been very good recruiting years for Appy. Their change in coaches and their new QB and true fresham RB, are just now hitting their stride. I know jay, you are going to say this is Appy who lost 6 games alreadyy . . .blah,blah . . but the last 2 weeks Appy has put up 475 and 515 yards on offense. The reason they are 1-1 in those games is 5 turnovers lost in the game they lost. . . .bottom line, with this game being in Appy, the Mocs are the underdog. . . Its really not fair to say that the Mocs have better talent and should win this game and if they dont it is a sign they "cant get over the hump" . . . i just dont see the Mocs winning this game without Keon and Hudson . . . .I hope Im wrong, but you really have to look behind and ignore Appy's record.

November 1, 2013 at 11:29 a.m.
chas9 said...

Jay--Thanks for most of the time always giving 110%. That's all you can give.

I'll ponder the all-time SEC five, but I'd like to find room for King and Rondo. And if you ever pick a Rushmore of floppers, Johnny Wall will lead the squad.

Your home boys at FM 105.1 claim A&M hasn't lost to a non-conference foe from Texas since The Bear's 1954 team lost to Texas Tech.

Yes, Sam Adams was/is a great American.

Prolly you don't need me to nudge you into picking The Cats to win it all. As for your top four, I'd replace Okie State with The Sparties and Florida with Duke.

If not for the Gators, the AP poll would've had only one SEC pick, though UT was close to being chosen. Guess this isn't the year our league climb back into respectability. I expect LSU to be the next team to rise up. Just not sold on The Vols' point guard.

I'd bet plenty o' pizzas that Kentucky's second five would finish not worse than third in the conference this year.

College basketball guru Jeff Borzello writes today that Kentucky's Harrison twins and Young are talent wise the best guard trio in the country. He only rates them sixth best backcourt because we haven't seen how well they play together yet, but no other SEC guards make his top ten.

And the Wildcats' scary frontcourt is better than its guards.

If you've read the new rule about calling charges, you gotta think that's bad for Tennessee. Stokes has specialized in taking charges, but now he'll have to be in "legal guarding position" before the ballhandler begins his upward motion. That's such a tough standard that we'll see a lot of matador defense.

BiB--They call Alabama the red team.

November 1, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
chas9 said...

Sprewell had a longer NBA career and a higher scoring average than Houston. But Allan is more likeable.

And Bob Pettit was a machine. Don't hate him because he was a Hawk.

November 1, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

BiB, I have cousins who are Bruins and Patriots season ticket holders. The last time I went to Fenway, bleacher seats were 2 bucks. I heard they were a tad pricier Wednesday night. To have grown up a Red Sox fan is to have known unrelenting heartbreak. Yeah, Cubs fans can spiel about heartbreak all they want, but other than 69 and the ball through Durham's legs, they really weren't that close - and they didn't have to deal with the Yankees - up to 03.

But 46, 48, 50, 67, 72, 75, 78, 86 (one pitch away from winning it. One stinking pitch) ... Well, lets focus on the good times.

JMC, I agree, a ref's dubious call granted the Eagles a win over the Mocs. And that would have made GSU 1-4 in the league. So much for those "SoLong" shirts that were made up just before the season.

November 1, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
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