published Friday, September 20th, 2013

5-at-10: Friday mailbag

Gang, another excellent week. You guys rock and we continue to hear from more folks who are reading. Feel free to comment with the regulars — they won't bite. Well Spy might, but he's so old his dentures are slippin' most of the time.

Before we get to the mailbag, we need a ruling. First off, we forgot our No. 1 rule of picking games that was established when we hit 68 percent in 2011 when we were 0-8-1 in games involving Clemson. Stupid Clemson. We had the Tigers -13.5 and they won 26-14 after allowing N.C. State to drive the length of the field in 23 plays — YES, 23 PLAYS — that included four fourth-down conversions. OUCH-Standing. Stupid Clemson.

As for the ruling, we picked Nebraska -20 over South Dakota State before Taylor Martinez was ruled doubtful this morning. Can we recant or are we stuck? We need a ruling.

From the "Talks too much" studios, as Tupac told us, even the genius asks questions.

From LionMan

There are 10 college football teams (fbs) in the country who are 0-3 against the spread. Of these teams, which 3 teams will finish the season with the worst record ATS?


Central Michigan

Florida Intl

Louisiana Tech

Middle Tennessee St.

New Mexico State

Notre Dame

Texas Christian


Wake Forest

Enjoy spending too much time on this question, the column and radio show are sounding great. Big fan here.


Thanks for the question and for the kind words.

Interesting stat, and one we should all pay attention to. Here is our top five — or is it a bottom five — of the teams above.

These are listed in best guess as to covering ability:

1) Notre Dame — The Irish are likely the best team on the list, but they also are nationally the most popular team, which inflates lines in their direction because people like to bet on the Irish. So it goes.

2) Cal — Cal is clearly not the worst team but they clearly play the toughest schedule dotted with high-powered opponents. Sonny Dykes and his staff likely will have success out there; it will just take a while as they change to the spread.

3) Florida International — This team is bad. When you are a home underdog to Bethune Cookman — and still do not cover — well, it's going to be a long year.

4) New Mexico State — Hard to image a line too big against these Aggies since they are allowing 47.3 per game. If UCLA comes to play Saturday, they'll hang 60 on NMSU.

5) Wake Forest — Again, this is as much about overmatched competition.

You bring up an interesting point that we're going to follow this year.

Great question.


From Larry

I have read your FOIB for a while but this is the first time I have a question worthy of the bag.

Here's what I want to know:

Why are sports sequels always awful and what sports movie would have the best chance to have a sequel that could work?

Thanks and thanks for the morning entertainment.


Don't be a stranger and excellent questions.

As for the sequel stinkiness factor, well there are a few.

One, the sports movies good enough to have a second part are general beloved, so we have lofty expectations. Two, all-too-often, folks are looking for the quick cash in and use very similar themes and jokes so it feels tired. Third, since a baseline of great sports movies generally include an underdog winning big, the next season is tough to live up to. One of the reasons that Rocky II is the best sports sequel is that he lost the title fight in Rocky I, so there was still someplace left to go. While this final one is not universal — the Major League and Bad News Bears sequels come to mind — it does have some relevance.

As for the one we could see being pretty good, well try this: Bull Durham. Crash is managing in the show. Nuke is on his last chapter of a Hall of Fame career. Ron Shelton writes it and never the 'twain shall meet. It would either be awesome. Or terrible. Not Caddyshack 2 or Slapshot 2 wretched, but bad none the less.

  • photo
    Former Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin looks on during a 2009 game against Western Kentucky in Knoxville, Tenn.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From Chas9

Hey, J--Could you please channel a conversation in which Bo Pelini explains how to have smooth relations with the press to Lane Kiffin? (Or Nick Saban or Mike Tyson, your choice.)

Lets' give this a shot.

Bo Pelini: Hey, Lane. Pat Haden asked me swing by and give you a couple of pointers about being a little more engaging.

Lane Kiffin: What can you help me with? Dude, look at you. If Kazoo from the Flintstones and Velma from Scooby Doo had a baby it'd be you dude. Man, I'm outta here.

Pat Haden (from the back of the room): Sit down junior and pay attention or I'm calling Jeff Fisher this afternoon and he'll have your office by Monday morning.

Lane Kiffin: Flith flarn flubber...

Pat Haden: What was that?

Lane Kiffin: Nothing sir.

Pat Haden: Bo, please continue.

Bo Pelini: Thanks Pat. And by the way, your hair looks especially nice today. Have to notice that Dr. Tom Osborne has really nice hair too. Must be something about being distinguished, right Lane.

Lane Kiffin: Brown-noser. Dude, not even Orgeron kisses this much tail.

Bo Pelini: Exactly. Here are the rules of engagement. 1) Make sure people believe you have passion. Passion can explain away a lot of mistakes.

Lane Kiffin: Dude. I got passion. I got a Porsche already, and Ed calls it a passion wagon. We are flush with passion alright. Dude this is so bogus.

Pat Haden: Sit down.

Bo Pelini: Second, make sure no one has a tape recorder in their pocket. I'd write that one down.

Lane Kiffin: Video cameras are a no-no too.

Bo Pelini: Now you're getting it. Finally, embrace the media. Those sons of ^%&%( and mother(^%^$(s can shape the opinions of the masses, even as unwashed and uneducated #$%^$% as they may be. It sucks, #$%$&ing right it sucks, but that's why we get the big bucks.

Lane Kiffin: And the chicks are great.

Haden: Hopeless. Utterly hopeless. Get me Fisher's number.



Dude, You and Paschall are excellent on the radio. What's the number again?

Quick question: Any chance Saban would go to Texas?


Thanks for the kind words. Call us at 423-648-1051 on Press Row from 1-3 p.m. on 105.1 FM. Don't cost nothin' after all.

  • photo
    Alabama head coach Nick Saban argues after a penalty call during their game against Texas A&M Saturday in College Station, Texas.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Highly unlikely that Saban leaves for Texas. The only thing that job — or any other college job — could offer Saban is the chance to be the only coach in the history of college football to win national titles at three schools. Someone could match his standing as the only coach to win national titles at two schools — Meyer might could; Spurrier if the magic hit; maybe a couple of others — but if he notched crowns at three different locales, forget it. Game, set and match, Saban would be the best ever.

As for money and Texas' deep pockets, please. Alabama would do whatever it took. And if a bidding war starts and Saban starts cashing $8 million checks per year, those of us who are steadfast against paying players will no long be able to say, "Well, it could bankrupt the athletic programs."

As for the rest of the SEC and those of us who follow non-Crimson teams, the only shot of Saban leaving the Capstone in our view is if a high-powered NFL team comes calling at the right time when he's tired of dealing with NCAA-issues or booster nonsense.

Other than that, buckle up buttercup. The road to the SEC title (and the BCS title) goes through Tuscaloosa.


From several of you

Todd Helton is retiring. Is he a Hall of Famer?

We think he will be a real close call.

There have been very few links between Helton and PEDs, which will help his resume. Dude was a Gold Glove first baseman who was a career .316 hitter with 368 homers and averaged more than 100 RBIs per season. That's the good.

The bad is he had roughly 51 percent of his career at-bats at Coors Field, the haven for hitting. That has to be taken into account. Also, he never finished better than fifth in MVP voting.

Helton is a very good player who had a very good career.

He is not a Hall of Famer. Side note: He's one of the three best college baseball players we ever saw — along with LSU's Todd Walker and Auburn's Tim Hudson.



From sportsfan

Jay - Let's change it up this Friday. If you could change one rule in college football, the NFL, and major league baseball, what would it be in each?

SF —

Great question, and one we'll have to do some thinking on.

Our first answer for baseball was to eliminate the fake to third and spin and look at first. We hated that, but they already changed that one. we also would love to change a slew of the rules and nuances of the new 'targeting' rules but we're not entirely sure we have a complete and firm grasp on them yet.

So let's go here:

College football — Defensive pass interference is a spot of the foul penalty. Right now it's capped at 15 yards, which means if you get beat on a long pass it behooves you to break the rules. Breaking the rules should not be rewarded unless you are escaping a dictatorship or are a creative accountant.

NFL — We know this has zero chance because the safety push, but we miss kickoff returns. Move the line back and let's have Hester and Patterson and the rest of those speed demons streak up and down the field.

MLB — Enact and enforce a between pitch clock for hitters and pitchers. The fact that baseball takes 3-plus hours — or 4-plus hours for Yankees and Red Sox — is going to kill the game in this modern-day, short-attention-span theater.

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...


I like how during the normal week it seems to be the same 6-7 people (myself, Spy, MT, Chase, B-i-B, etc.) and only during the mailbag do other people come out of the woodwork. Folks, this is not where they ask you more questions then your doctor at a physical. Set up an account and get to commit'n The motto is "Don't cost noth'n".

Concur on sports sequels 101. As much as I loved the original Major League, the sequel and lord forbid the third with Captain Archer was basically a quick buck and half-donkey to boot. The Shrek sequels* were more entertaining.

*Second one was good; three and four + the specials fall in the looking for anything to milk the franchase catagory.

September 20, 2013 at 10:26 a.m.
chas9 said...

Go ahead and recant. Decant, too. Don't cost nuttin'.

Great channeling. Including Haden is a bonus. I hear sportswriters get great chicks, too. At least Roy sez so.

September 20, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[As for the ruling, we picked Nebraska -20 over South Dakota State before Taylor Martinez was ruled doubtful this morning. Can we recant or are we stuck? We need a ruling.]

To be fair, you should probably keep the pick. There's an element of risk with making picks mid-week. The bookie wouldn't give you your money back. But on the other hand, these picks don't go to print until tomorrow's TFP, and there won't be as much confidence in the explanation for this pick for tomorrow's readers who see the pick for the first time then. Because of the nature of the situation, this one is indeed a toss-up.

[College football — Defensive pass interference is a spot of the foul penalty.]

I prefer the NFL rule as well, but I would be against the college game making this change simply because the refs aren't as good. A blown call on this penalty has a huge effect on the game, and I'm not sure I'm willing to put that level of trust in the NCAA refs. And keep in mind this would be for all levels of the NCAA, not just the FBS.

Bad call in the Bama/A&M game where the Bama guy was flagged for targeting. He was initially ejected (by rule), but the ejection was later overturned by the booth. So if the call is "targeting", not interference, then why can't the booth also overturn the 15-yard penalty in addition to the ejection? Makes no sense.

Jay, you have mentioned this before...both the NFL and college game should get rid of the half-the-distance-to-the-goal application of penalties. So if you're on your own 10 and get a 10-yard holding penalty, the ball should be spotted at the 1, not the 5.

September 20, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

A sequel, how about Bad News Bears with the original characters on the team now parents and raising a new group of knuckleheads. An aside, I read not long ago the girl playing the pitcher in the Billy Bob Thornton remake passed away in a car accident. Sad.

The conspiracy theorist in me would believe Clemson got the benefit of a doubt on NC State's called-back touchdown, due to the league wanting Clemson in a national title game. But that would be silly, wouldn't it?

September 20, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent

My one complaint about the "between pitch clock" for the hitter and pitcher is that you need to be able to do a pick-off attempt. If you mean between throwing the ball to the base or to home, then I am in favor of it.

There is that clock in college baseball. At least, I saw a clock ticking down at the college baseball games I attended last year. It never got anywhere close to going off completely. I'm in favor of this rule. It just makes sense.

I think you're fine on replacing Taylor Martinez/Nebraska. I'm not sure it really makes a difference in my opinion on whether or not they will cover the spread. But I do think that you can change it if you so desire.

September 20, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Wait...did the picks run in today's paper instead of tomorrow's? If so, I think you should definitely have to keep the Nebraska pick. But I agree with StuckinKent, the Huskers should still cover either way. Besides, if you switched games now, you'd really be kicking yourself if the Nebraska game covers, and the one you switch to doesn't. So thank me now for advising you against doing things that might lead to self-inflicted Chuck Norris-style roundhouse kicks to the face. (Ouch.)

September 20, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Say what you will about ESPN, but they can squeeze every drop out of a non-story. Breaking news...Saban to Texas?!? Texas has a coach in Mack Brown whose seat has been upgraded from toasty to hotter than a four-balled tomcat. Now some of the big money boosters in Austin have expressed interest in hiring that guy in Tuscaloosa who has reeled off three national championships during the last four seasons. This just in, there are other college football programs that would like to be where Alabama is right now. Who would have guessed?

I'm going to take the liberty of mashing up a couple of the questions. Rules changes for sports movies. First, no more locker-room dance sequences. In my younger days I spent plenty of time in locker-rooms. I remember that they were always hot and humid regardless of the temperature outside and they smelled like feet and ass. You know what I don't remember, any spontaneous choreographed dance numbers to Motown hits. Knock it off with that Hollywood. Also, no more movies about monkeys that are really good at baseball or hockey or any sport for that matter. I'm sure sports playing simians seemed like a good idea at one time, but all of those movies have gone straight to the cinematic scrap heap. If you have a monkey that rides shotgun in an that's another story.

September 20, 2013 at 3 p.m.
jgreeson said...

GD —

Fred the basset hound rode shotgun for the Snowman. "Hold on to your A** Fred."

Clyde the orangutan rode shotgun in Filo Bedo's old beater pick-up. "Right turn Clyde."

Other than that, your post was fall-down funny. Well played indeed.

Stew —

If we were still flexible enough to do self-inflicting Chuck Norris kicks, we'd be OK no matter how it worked out.

LB —

Interesting conspiracy theory there. Hmmmmmm.

September 20, 2013 at 3:17 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, I woulda answered sooner but I had too much polident and my fingers got stuck to the keyboard.

Sheesh. Stthupid denthhuressh. Dang it - thherethh thhey go againsssh

September 20, 2013 at 7:06 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I think my iPod was trying to tell me something today. After playing Sunday Morning Coming Down, it played White Rabbit

September 20, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.
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