5-at-10: Friday mailbag on UTC's chances, Saban's greatness, the Vols' bowl hopes
Great week gang, and as expected college football was the main topic du jour. (Hmmmm, sounds good. Think we'll have some of that.)
There is a ton going on today and this weekend, so enjoy and have a Co-Cola or three.
Granted the celebration suds are not exactly common in Oregon this morning. Wow, who saw that one coming? Actually the Mrs. 5-at-10 did and she was spot on. Stanford quashed the quackers quite quickly and quietly. And FSU fans everywhere celebrated. The law of the BCS — there's always a chance some one will lose.
From the "Talks too much" studios, toe meets leather and it's a high kick. Or get the picture. Or give him 6, or Touchdown Auburn or whatever gets your gameday blood flowing.
From a ton of you
What will happen with the Mocs on Saturday?
We believe they will win, and we believed they were going to lose last week.
And we believe the Mocs will win Saturday because they didn't lose last week.
Experience is a booger. You need it but you can't get until you get it and then once you have it, it's something you feel like you don't really need as much even though when you first needed it, you needed it desperately.
Now, the Mocs have a taste. They tasted the flavor and experienced the step. Like your kids growing up and moving from mashed peas and a walker to Cheerios and baby steps, the experience has to become practice and the practice then becomes routine.
No one has to worry whether Alabama or LSU are going to handle the moment Saturday night because they have been in that moment so often that handling it has become expected. Performing in the moment will always be the question, but handling the moment is handled.
The Mocs took that first step in the maturation process, handling the moment on the road against an Appalachian State program that has been forged as much on handling the moment as it has talent in the last decade.
The crazy thing about handling the moment is after each successful venture, the moment continues to magnify. Last week, the Mocs won a big game for the first time in forever and won at Boone for the first time since before the roster was born.
So the reward is a bigger stage and a bigger moment, on that carries real playoff weight and championship meaning. Wofford comes to Finley.
We believe the Mocs are ready. They are built for this moment, centered on a defense that, while beat up, is talented and aggressive. They have a playmaker at quarterbak and on the perimeter. The special teams are no longer a liability. All of that is good and it matters, but it matters in this moment because they delivered in the previous one.
UTC has injures, sure, but that's a football problem; before today, the Mocs battled insecurity in moments like this, and that's a program problem. A problem that fades with each handled moment.
A group of us have this debate going, and I wanted your opinion on it.
Which superhero super power would serve you best in sports?
Superman would be Jordan on steroids of course, but if you had one power, which would you choose?
Thanks and thanks for the column.
Thanks for the question, and since we e-mailed you back with a clarification, we'll wait on our your answer.
Whistle, whistle... (Still waiting.)
OK, there we go. We asked Josh if flying was part of the mix, because in truth, flying is a game changer. If you can fly, you are going to have a pretty large advantage in every sport this side of golf.
Josh said they included flying, so flying is the easy answer.
But let's take flying out, and then the debate really comes to super speed or super strength. We'll take super strength and all that comes with it. X-ray vision would be cool and all — and how many 14-year-old boys have longed for that power over all others — but other than stealing signs and maybe reading Gus Malzahn's play sheet, that's not much of a game-changer.
But we were so intrigued by Josh's question we decided to look across the major super heroes and see which sports their powers would best be suited.
Superman — Dude gets to pick, but c'mon, like there's not one he'd be the best at. Because you can make the most money for the longest period of time, we'd say Superman picks baseball.
Batman — In his current state, he'd likely have to go MMA. Now in the heyday of Pro 'Rasslin, those tights and the utility belt would have been money.
Spiderman — Let's put Peter Parker at free safety and let some one try to throw over the top against his web defense.
Aquaman — Duh.
Ironman is all about the suit, so that's no help.
Any others? (And yes, comic hound JMC just fell out of his chair. JMC, keep it among the ones most of us know, por favor. Discuss.)
From Red Team supporter
I have read your columns regularly in the paper but until I started reading the 5@10 I didn't know you went to Auburn. You are pretty fair for a Tiger/War Eagle.
I wanted to ask you in your professional opinion why has Nick Saban been able to dominate like this at this level for this long. I knew he was going to do well but no one expected this, right?
Thanks for the column every morning -- 10 a.m. like clockwork with my second cup of Joe -- and hopefully you and Paschall will be back on the radio soon.
Saban is the best. In fact, he is the best executive in team sports — regardless of level or sport — primarily because he has the biggest impact.
He preaches the process and the process preaches results. He succeeds like a mad scientific version of Bill Gates meets Scrooge McDuck meets Bill Belichick meets George Clooney meets Oliver North.
Like Gates, Saban has developed a college football plan that is better than the competition's and everyone wants to be part of it.
Like Scrooge McDuck, Saban is greedy and gorges himself in that plan and the tidal wave ripples of the success that follows.
Like Belichick, Saban works and prepares endlessly. There is no beginning or end, there is only the chase for perfection. They have reached the mid-90s Tiger Woods putting zone, where anything short of success is surprising. Also like Belichick, Saban seldom misses in his talent evaluation.
Like Clooney, Saban is at the top of his game and when he needs to he can flip the charm like few others. The recruiting lore around Saban is like the Loch Ness Monster meets Rivals.comhttp://Rivals.com.
And like North, Saban stock piles weapons like fiend, keeping them on the shelf knowing that at some point he may need them, and even if he doesn't, if he has more weapons, then you have fewer weapons.
We have coined the term "Perfection's guardian" in regard to Nick Saban, and what we mean by that is Saban stands for and accepts nothing less than perfection or close to it. Sure, we would all like to do that in any facet of our lives, and it does not happen in every regard to the Saban's program.
But, Saban has assembled so many four- and five-star players that he has the ability to replace a star with a star and lose very little. This enforces discipline and demands focus.
Look at it this way, when was the last time an Alabama player jumped offside or committed a procedure penalty on third-and-3? Like never under Saban because the Tide players know regardless of the stars behind their name there are stars behind them on the depth chart and to stay on the field you have to stay in Saban's favor. Silly mistakes do not keep anyone this side of Little Debbie in Saban's favor.
Every coach would love to have the ability to demand focus with his team knowing that failure to comply would mean taking a seat on gameday. But very few have acquired the pieces to deliver consistently on that pledge. If anyone this side of AJ McCarron does not deliver, they take a seat.
In some ways, Saban has instilled a fundamental NFL refrain — next man up — to his program in regard to attention to detail. Saban struggled in the NFL because he could not fill his roster with enough stars at every position to register that type of top-down dictatorship. (That and he could not convince Miami doctors that Drew Brees still had plenty in the tank.)
Thanks for the kind words, and we'll let everyone know more when we know more about the radio.
And your pretty fair for a Tide/Elephant.
Jay - for the mailbag...if the 5 at 10 got pulled over for bumping up against the century mark on the speedometer on the backside of midnight, would the outcome in court be the same as an unnamed former Lookout? If Saban wins another championship, why wouldn't he go to Texas for the massive payday?
Jay - one more for the mailbag. What's your prediction for the last local team standing in the high school football playoffs? You could almost make a contest out of that...
We believe the Puig thing was handled pretty fairly considering he did his community service on the front end. In fact, that they made him come back for the trial was really because of who he is.
For example, let's say the 5-at-10 was going to cover a golf tournament, say, last April that was located in a burg a couple hours East of the A-T-L. And let's say we steam-rolled into a speed trap doing a few dozen over the speed limit. We feel very comfortable that the sheriffs of that county would let us handle that ticket without coming back to town.
As for Saban, we do not believe the money is the factor, because whatever Texas offers Alabama will match. Heck, if it was about the money, we believe Jimmy Sexton could get the other 11 SEC schools — yes there are 13 other SEC schools, but as long as Saban does not coach hoops, UK doesn't really care and Vandy doesn't care either way — that are devoted to football to pony up $1 million bucks for Saban to go away.
No the only thing that Texas really could offer Saban is the chance to set a mark that will never be touched. If Saban went to Texas, the Longhorns would win the national title in three years. Then Saban would have titles at three different schools. He's currently the only one with national titles at two schools, but Urban Meyer could match that.
Do not see anyone getting to three, though.
As for the last prep team standing, we'll take South Pitt just a smidge over Calhoun. We have a ton of games tonight, and we should have a pretty good number advance. Next week could be accompanied by a herd of locust though.
From 9er (and a few others -- in different variations)
What odds would you give on The Vols winning two more to go bowling?
9er, et al. —
We believe six wins should have been the goal for the UT fans from the start. We believe that goal is still within reach. In fact, as lofty as six wins and a bowl invite may have seemed in August considering the Vols' schedule, the fact that Missouri and Auburn are both top-10 teams right now would make that accomplishment even more impressive.
Before the season, we wrote that Tennessee would be about here — 4-5 with three games left and the bowl possibilities looming. Before the season, we expected a win over Missouri rather than South Carolina, so that's kind of wash, and we expected Tennessee to be a slight favorite over Auburn, which has exceeded everyone's expectations with the possible exception of Gus Malzahn's momma.
A win Saturday for the Vols would be more surprising to us that the win over South Carolina. Still, the Vols are a completely different bunch at home, where they feed off the crowd and have played well-above their heads so far. The closer this game gets the more we think the Vols are going to give Auburn everything it wants.
As for the bowl date, since Vandy is riding the type of emotional roller coaster that only off-the-field troubles can truly fuel and Kentucky is Kentucky, you have to figure the Vols will be favored in its final two regardless of what happens against Auburn.
We think Butch finds a way to that sixth brick. And a win Saturday would guarantee it.
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 ...