published Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

5-at-10: Paying players, Alabama-A&M and 'Where were you' sports moments

From the "Talks too much" studios, here's a big HOW-Dee to the new folks around these parts. Feel free to pull up a chair, and remember to keep your hands and feet away from Spy when he eats. Dude's a monster. (Also, remember Friday's mailbag — there's a spot or two open.)

Oklahoma State, come on down

Sports Illustrated is dropping the hammer on Oklahoma State in a five-part series to be released at each day this week. Tuesday was the story detailing the cash delivered in a variety of ways to players as early as 2001 and as late as 2011.

SI talked to more than 60 former Cowboys players, and the series will go into drug use and academic allegations and even the activities of the recruiting hostesses. (Side note: Every time one of these stories pops up about the recruiting hostesses, and we know that like most things, it's the small number doing the infamous acts that generate the attention, but if your daughter called home and said, "Hey, Daddy, I'm going to be a recruiting hostess," what would be your reaction? You know another group that's up to no good — skateboarders.)

Anyhoo, normally the backlash from these stories is almost predictable. The difference here — and this is a scary difference if you root for the OSU T. Boones — is that the Oklahoma State folks are already apologizing and circling the wagons.

As for those outside the Stillwater-proper area, it likely will restart the debate about whether players should be paid.

Stop it. Seriously. Here are a couple of things to consider:

1) Players are paid. They get the opportunity at a six-figure education and all the bells and whistles that go with it.

2) If you want to debate whether players deserve some sort of payment, we're OK with that. But to do it when alleged NCAA violations occur on the grounds that, "If we paid players then this wouldn't be against the rules," is silly and naive. If colleges changed the rules to allow stipends, rogue boosters and dirty programs would still pay more. This is less about the money and more about the recruiting advantage/motivation factors within a program.

3) If you think they should start paying player, you likely think this based on the rationale and sentiment that paying players would be the fair thing in regard to revenue. Without getting into the Title IX considerations or the fact that only roughly 20 athletic departments nationally turn a profit, if fairness is the fundamental basis of your claim to pay players, answer this: Which is more fair, paying them nothing in the hollow name of amateurism or paying them slave wages and call it a $2,000 stipend?


Alabama-Texas A and M

  • photo
    Texas A&M's Mike Evans, left, catches a 75-yard touchdown pass against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

For a guy that went to Auburn and grew up liking Tennessee as much as any other school, this Saturday's Alabama-Texas A&M game puts us in an awkward spot.

Johnny Merchandise is such a punk, we truly want Alabama to thump the Aggies. We also believe it will happen.

Talking with Paschall about this on Press Row — and the topic will certainly come up again today — it's hard to see where the Aggies have much of an advantage other than on the perimeter with wide receivers Mike Evans and Ricky Seals-Jones (no relation to Ricky Bobby or Seal or Tom Jones or Crosby, Stills or Nash — well that we know of anyway).

Plus, Texas A&M had to score the final three TDs to put Sam Houston State away last week. If Alabama played Sam Houston State in Tuscaloosa, do you think the starting offense would still be on the field with six minutes left in the game? It was for Texas A&M.

Plus-plus, Alabama has been listening to two weeks full of how they looked like junk against Virginia Tech offensively — nevermind that they beat a perennial BCS-conference contender by 25 points.

Not sure if this one will be part of the Fab-4-plus-1 picks or not, but sweet biscuits and jam, this feels like a 48-13 beatdown.



Great but not good

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Miami.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Your Atlanta Braves are killing folks, steamrolling a division of mediocrity to the point that they may clinch with two weeks or more left in the regular season. The Braves' magic number — a combination of Braves wins and Nationals losses — is now 7.

But the question marks remain: They were 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. The offense is suspect with a capital SUS. Ask yourself this: Other than Freddie Freeman (What's our overall Rushmore of Freddies: Freddie Couples, Freddie Freeman, Freddy Krueger, Freddy Fender — "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"), which Braves hitter would you feel comfortable with at the plate with two outs and a guy on second down a run in the postseason?

That said, the Braves only have to win the first eight innings.

Craig Kimbrel has gone 28.2 innings without allowing a run. In that time he has faced 103 batters and struck out 42 of them. (And he doesn't get to pitch to Danny Struggla.) We know that StuckinKent believes closers are overrated — and his position has merits — but there is nothing overrated about Mr. K's dominance.

Side Braves question: Which is a safer bet: Kimbrel or Uggla will have a strikeout in the game? Discuss.


This and that

— Ndamukong Suh is officially the dirtiest football player of his era. Dude was fined $100K for a cheap shot on Sunday, and his act is getting so tired that the director of the NFL players' union sounded as if he was going to say something. Not appeal fine mind you, but say something to this boy named Suh. When the union takes the league's side — that's when you have gone so far past too far that you need to re-evaluate.

— Chip Kelly said the Eagles' fast-paced debut was too slow. Cripes, these speed guys can't go too fast. Kelly and Malzahn and Freeze and a lot of these hyper-drive tempo coaches are moving so quickly they likely watch game tapes on fast forward and say, "That's more like it."

— LeBron is shrugging his shoulders and not saying much about his potential free agency in 2014. Buckle up buttercups. This is the first time of about 1 million times you will hear this discussion. In fact, here's saying the program folks at ESPN have already filmed 12 different "Decision '14: LeBron Watch" segments for slow news days.


  • photo
    The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn after hijacked planes crashed into them in New York on September 11, 2001.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Today's question

Today is Sept. 11. We pray for the families still dealing with the losses — directly and indirectly — of this day 12 years ago. It was clearly the "Where were you" moment of our generation.

That got us thinking — yes, 9er, that's a dangerous thing — about what is the Rushmore of "I remember exactly where I was" sports moments?


We know Laettner's shot and Gibson's homer are contenders. As are Buckner's error and possibly Tyson-Buster Douglas, Tiger's chip-in on 16 at Augusta and even Dale Sr. crashing into the wall.

Any other nominations?

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.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Freddy from Scooby Doo. Freddie Prinze Jr. (Personally Freddy from Scooby Doo obviously belongs on a Rushmore. Also Fredo from The Godfather is sometimes referred to as Freddy. If he counts, then he belongs on a Rushmore too.)

The safer bet is that Uggla will have as strikeout, because he's guaranteed to play. Kimbrel only plays when the Braves are winning a semi-close game in the 9th. Kimbrel is lights out right now. After blowing all those saves early in the year, he's been light out. He and Jansen are the two best closers in baseball....

US in the World Cup after beating Mexico 2-0. Awesome.

September 11, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Stuck —

It was more Fred on Scooby Doo. And Freddie Prinze Jr. was dreadful in that baseball movie.

DREAD-ful. (And didn't Freddie Prinze Jr. play Fred in the Scooby Doo movie? And who puts the word Doo in a dog's name. Shaggy was high.)

And Fredo took sides outside the family. He's on the Rushmore of Stupid.

What's this World Cup of which you speak?

September 11, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.
chas9 said...

Freddy's dead.

I mentioned yesterday that there were more empty seats Saturday in Neyland than in Commonwealth. That's true, but the Knoxville temple has a bigger hole to fill. Of the 11 SEC teams playing at home Saturday, Mizzou sold 80% of its tickets, Kentucky 81%, Vandy 82%, Tennessee 85% and Arkansas 88%. Maybe it's time to stop scheduling the mushiest cupcakes.

They're filming the Dumb and Dumber sequel in Georgia, Jay. Word is they've cast the first lead, but the Dumber slot is still available.

September 11, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

So you're saying there's a chance, huh?

The power schools are going to have to stop expanding too. This is about the threat of TV more than anything else. Sure Mizzou is up in the air with a coach on the hot seat, but the vibe at UT and UK and even Arky is running positive and Vandy is riding it's best run in almost a century.

TV is college football Frankenstein. It helped it become a monster and now it could choke the on campus experience.

September 11, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jaymeister- Lots to cover.

OSU: I keep forgetting I need to check out those articles. Regarding the recruitment hostesses, I would say only less then 1-5 percent actually have them (all Division 4). The rest of the programs have to relay on the program's health as the selling point. But as Coach Huesmen said regarding this topic, if that's a key interest, he's not the kind of player he wants on his team.

Also, OSU probably wouldn't care if not for the fact that T-Boone himself stated in one word "disappointing", THEN we got us a situation (since 90% of OSU's booster money is his and the other 10% come from the boosters doing wrong)

Ditto on what game to watch before UTC plays Austin Peay online.

Where was I? (personal Rushmore)

Music City Miracle: taking down the last of the Christmas tree lights on what was the final year of a live Christmas tree in the Cook Household. Brown needles galore.

Mocs win over Indiana to advance to the Sweet 16: Watching it in my living room and my knees hitting the ground at the final buzzer.

Lady Mocs win over Tennessee: Watching on my computer at home.

Game 3 of the World Series at Candlestick Park in 1989: Eating dinner in the kitchen when ABC News interrupted whatever I was watching that night to report the earthquake that interrupted the game and the ensuing aftermatch the quake damage left.

September 11, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - my response to the text message from Little Ms Sportsfan regarding her being a recruiting hostess at any BCS school would be to immediately withdraw her from school. As for OSU, we are all kidding ourselves if we say it doesn't happen at most BCS schools. Maybe not to the level of OSU, but it happens. For the mailbag...with a couple more SI stories to go, is it enough for the NCAA to implement the death penalty again, or do they waffle even more than the Johnny Autograph debacle?

September 11, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.
chas9 said...

Agree that the power conferences should stop expanding.

Yesterday's biz--Black Spy's observation about UT going three and out a lot is perceptive.

Catchphrases I like but forgot: "Wellllll, doggies," "I know notheeng. I know notheeng," and "De plane! De plane!" Absolutely Jay's correct that no Friends quotes are worthy.

September 11, 2013 at 12:20 p.m.
Walden said...


1)When Sid Slid, and 2) USA Hockey beating the Russkies for Gold

September 11, 2013 at 12:59 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Stuck in Kent,

Have you seen what Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has done? No one has reached based in 28 1/3 innings. No one. That's a perfect game and then some, from the guy who wasn't even their first or second choice as closer this year.

September 11, 2013 at 1:24 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, in regards to Alabama's season-opening opponent, they didn't exactly make a fine acquitting of themselves against Western Carolina, the worst team in the SoCon and one of the worst in FCS, last week.

I was at 16 for Tiger's chip-in, so there's that. I also recall where I was when Jack made birdie on 17 in 86, punctuated by Verne Lindquist's "Yes sir!"

I recall where I was Fisk's homer in 75 and Bucky F. Dent's homer in 78. Where I was when Viniateri's kick sailed through the uprights in the Super Bowl, and when Gary Anderson's didn't in the Falcons-Vikings NFC Championship game. I know where I was when Edgar Renteria grounded out to Keith Foulke in 2004. It's the same spot I was in the year before when Aaron Boone homered off Tim Wakefield.

I also remember the phone ringing 12 years ago, not even saying hello and the voice on the other end going "Spy?" and me going "I'm on my way."

September 11, 2013 at 1:38 p.m.
MocTastic said...

I remember hearing when JFK was shot, was in first grade. I remember when we walked on the moon first. I remember when we heard Reagan had been shot. I remember hearing Elvis had died, and John Lennon had died. I remember 9/11. Never forget.

Oops, you said sports. Sorry.

September 11, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
MocTastic said...

On a different note, what is everybody's take on this story that is out: Men With Smaller Testicles Are Better Fathers? If you haven't read it, google. Are you a good father?

September 11, 2013 at 1:42 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Any other Brave I'd like to see at the plate in a clutch situation? I'll go McCann. Has a good eye and a flair for coming through.

other Freddie? Downtown Freddie Brown from the Seattle Super Sonics. Freddie Solomon of the 49ers.

September 11, 2013 at 2:14 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Another Freddy, for you oldtimers, Freddie the Freeloader

September 11, 2013 at 2:22 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

You know, 5, I was thinking about this last night. I really don't miss Booby Valentine as manager of the Red Sox.

September 11, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —


Let me rephrase about Kimbrel and Jansen then. Yes, I've seen Koji (he's on my fantasy team). I don't particularly trust him because he doesn't have dominant stuff. It's up to 32 straight after last night. Finally, I'll say that Kimbrel and Jansen are the two best closers heading into next year. Koji is among the best this year. Again, he was their third option heading into the year and has only been used sparingly as a closer in the past. And now he's dominating. Proving that closers are just middle relievers assigned to the 9th innning.


The Mocs beat Illinois to get the Sweet Sixteen in 1997. Not sure if there is some other Indiana game you are referring to.....

September 11, 2013 at 3:12 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

I meant Illinois. Brain fart this morning.

September 11, 2013 at 6:57 p.m.
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