published Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

5-at-10: Johnny Finger, College football lookaround, Braves and chance to win tickets

Remember the mailbag.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's make the magic happen.

Johnny Finger

So that happened.

Johnny Manziel — aka Johnny Football; aka Johnny Melonhead, aka Bieber's Buddy — got a lot of the reps on a national stage Monday night as he tried to take the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback job.

The lasting image of course was not his subpar accuracy or his erratic play or even the fact that his chief competitor — Bobby Hoyer — was even worse for a Cleveland offense that was offensive to even the causal viewer.

No, the lasting image was Johnny Finger giving the Washington Redskins a one-finger salute after yet another bad throw and another round of heckling.

Is this a big deal in the grand scheme of things? Of course not. But it's another addition to the grocery list of doof-tastic moments for Johnny Bonehead.

And we're not even talking Vegas or all the rest of the sidetracks that are completely understandable for a 21-year-old dude with a seven-figure income.

Just think about these two statements, and wonder if this is a guy ready to be the guy:

• Owner says to every media outlet everywhere, "We want Johnny to come in and act like a back-up." Translation: Keep your head down and work hard. Johnny Finger's response: A slew of photo opts in Vegas or with the Beebs or partying in a Vegas bathroom with a rolled up $20 bill that is commonly used for some less-than-acceptable habits.

• Johnny Responsible says he's focusing on being a better quarterback and makes strides to the point that Monday was a preseason game that had some interest. (Sorry, Spy.) And while his play was blah-tastic, how many legit NFL starting QBs would you expect to flip the bird to a heckler?

As for the quarterback play, having watched way more of the Redskins' 24-23 preseason win over Cleveland than we should, Connor Show looked like the best quarterback option for the Browns.


College football quick scan

Where do we start? For the rest of the preseason — which is this week and next — we'll offer a college football scan. Yes, it's a modern version of the old-school 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10.

Here are five Yogi Berra college football items of interest:

1) "The future ain't what it used to be." Call us crazy, but we're starting to believe the Vols offensive line will be better than most expect. Here's TFP ace Downtown Patrick Brown's look at the freshman moving into the right tackle role.

2) "I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question." TFP SEC ace and Press Row cohost David Paschall has been all over this from the start, but is there any way any of us believe that Jake Coker will NOT be the Alabama quarterback come game time? Of course not. We know it. Nick knows it. Heck the QBs know it. Lane Kiffin? Eh, we're not sure what he knows.

3) "You can observe a lot by just watching." Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall — he of the offseason pot run-in that will mean he'll miss at least the start of the season opener against Arkansas — got a ringing endorsement Monday from his back-up. Jeremy Johnson says he's certain that the passing-improved Marshall will win the Heisman. Wow.

4) "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." Interesting story from UTC football ace Stephen Hargis about UTC working on crazy late-game situations. Here's betting that after how last year's Iron Bowl ended, the Mocs are in the majority of teams working on unusual game-ending scenarios.

5) "It ain't the heat, it's the humility." We believe Ohio State has a pretty clear path to the College Football Playoff. The Big Ten (plus a few) is not overly tough and the Buckeyes defense is salty. That said, if the reports out of Columbus that Braxton Miller's right shoulder is seriously injured, well, tough break Urban. The Buck Bus is busted without Braxton.


Big Braves' roll

Atlanta scored six in the first to beat Pittsburgh 7-3.

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves' Andrelton Simmons is greeted by on deck batter Freddie Freeman after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of the baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Pittsburgh.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Still, the Braves can't make up ground on Washington, which won its seventh straight and leads the NL East by six games.

The good: Jason Heyward, despite hitting South of .270, is an MVP candidate. Seriously. Dude is the best defensive outfielder in the NL and affects the game in several ways. Stunning for a guy that was Uggla-esque for the first six weeks.

The bad: Not much. The Pirates' three runs came on solo homers off starter Erwin Santana, and the bullpen was very solid.

The Uggla: No word if he's landed a new gig. Also, Stinky Upton took a day off Monday. He's 4-for-28 in his last 10 games and is hitting a less-than-stellar .207 on the season. As a side note, if you take away his free-world-leading 153 strikeouts in 444 at-bats, he's actually 92-for-291, which is hitting .316 on balls he's actually hit. So there's that.


This and that

— One more college football item: Oklahoma suspended running back Joe Mixon for the entire year for punching a woman in the face. Ah, Roger Goodell, when the University of Oklahoma — or any major college football monster for that matter — has tougher discipline on their players than you do, then you need to re-evaluate my man. Oklahoma = tough on violence against women; Goodell & NFL = indifference about violence against women. Shame on you Roger. Hey, let's discuss the length of the extra point.

— Another NFL item: While we readily admit watching NFL preseason games is the definition of boredom (unless you have a friendly, entertainment-only wager on the outcome, and that is the definition of a problem), the river of penalty flags that have dominated the first two weeks of the preseason is a problem. If that continues into the regular season, the rallying cry for this year will be: "Illegal contact, No. 23 defense. Five yards and automatic first down."

— Yesterday's tandem winner was Butch and Sundance. BiB, there are two tickets for the Madaris Best of Preps Kickoff Classic at the front desk of the TFP with your name on them. Congrats.

— To answer yesterday's query about putting stock in the preseason poll, we don't. It's just another list that people like. It's worthless to the point that its value can be measured in Confederate bills.


Today's question

The AD at the University of Hawaii says the school may have to drop football. His reason in large part centers on the power brokers in the sport getting more power.

Here's a story from

Hawaii will not be the last middle-tier program to debate this decision.

In truth, we believe the schools in the middle — who certainly will not be invited to the cool kids' Power 5 table — will be crippled by this more than the schools at UTC's level.

Still, we're looking for the best fill in the blank for the following sentence (the best will get two tickets to the Madaris Best of Preps Kickoff Classic):

In 10 years, the best way to describe college football is ?

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.
jomo11 said...

In 10 years the Power 5 football will have a 16 team playoff, The playoff will be sponsored by NETWORK TV , as technology will allow you to watch cable without paying. The conference networks will be gone as people can get it for free by stealing cable, a la Napster. Tickets to the game will be $200 to $500 and only corporates will afford it. Due to the loss of predicted Network fees, Giant buildings on campus will remain un-finished. Also player unions will demand a 50/50 split of ALL revenues, several strikes and work stoppages will insue. No players in the Power 5 will have to even attend class. Mike Slive and Tom Delaney will be hung in effigy. Players can transfer to other schools, even in mid-season and play immediately, . . . . basically the worst parts of the Old Testament. . . .It will get so bad that people will say " Remember Johnny "football" Manziel ? Now, there was a guy who played for love of the game " . . . . .thats what Power 5 football will look like in 10 years

August 19, 2014 at 10:17 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, I done told you before the draft that the Raiders should steer clear of Manziel for reasons demonstrated since Johnny Finger's arrival in the league. Actually, it was the memorabilia autographing that originally tipped me off to Manzeil's menacing arrogance and stellar stupidly. What we have here is a kid who's a cross between Kenny Stabler wildness and Jeff George's flakiness.

Prediction: Rocks and shoals ahead as the Browns get shelled all year long.

On the College game as a whole, initially we'll see "The Gun Fight at the OK Corral." It's pretty clear who is who in that one followed by heaping helping of "To Have and Have Not."

August 19, 2014 at 10:38 a.m.
Buschleague said...

5-So Johnny F U football looks more and more like Ryan Leaf. Not ready, Immature. The salute is something you do when you don't have anything else to say. Brian Cox, Jake Plummer, even Aaron Rogers did it after a playoff game in Philly. No big deal, these aren't choir boys. That being said the Browns from the top down are still a train wreck. It's nice having Caliendo and MNF back though.

August 19, 2014 at 10:40 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

Interesting analysis. And the possibility of unfinished buildings in the nine-figure arms race that is big-boy football is a nice touch.

FE to the C —

Man, if you could blend the other parts of Snake and Jeff George (Snake's confidence and game-time 'juevos' and George's natural ability)... Wow.

Buscher —

No doubt in the grand scheme of things the one-gun shoutout is not a "My God, he's got a STEEL chair" type of moment.

But, it's like guys that show up unprepared for the combine in that, you knew this was the big moment to make a statement, and THAT'S the statement you make.

And yes, MNF is always welcomed back, even if Jon Gruden endorsed every candidate this side of Brian Sipe in the Browns QB race.

August 19, 2014 at 10:47 a.m.
Stewwie said...

You can say that Oklahoma suspended Joe Mixon for the entire year...or you can say that they are simply giving him a mandatory redshirt. He still gets to keep his scholarship and stay in school. And he'll still have 4 years to play ball (unless he leaves early for the NFL). Plus, the suspension appears to only be due to the distraction from the charges...he has pled not guilty and still has at least one other court appearance.

And notice that it's the U of O making this call, not the NCAA or Big 12. So why are you directing criticism of the Ray Rice suspension to Goodell and not the Ravens organization if you think the suspension is too light? And I don't think a 2-game suspension (1/8 of the season) indicates that Goodell or the NFL is "indifferent" when it comes to violence against women.

August 19, 2014 at 10:51 a.m.
Buschleague said...

Stew- I think we're all indifferent to the whole violence thing by now. Brandon Marshall did the same thing bash/deny/marriage/move on. Greg Oden had a similar charge last week and had little coverage. If not for the video Rice would never have been suspended, maybe fined. The video sparked the outrage not the 'crime'. It's just where we are.

August 19, 2014 at 11:12 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, what's you take on the SEC Network so far? I happened upon their afternoon drive time call in show. The host is a Square, I mean Cubic.

I thought you might say that way. I don't think we're too far away from the days where quarter back parts will be melded and cloned from the common Play Station device.

August 19, 2014 at 11:13 a.m.
sportsfan said...

In 10 years, the best way to describe college football is "a disaster of biblical proportions. Real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria." and that's all I've got to say about that...

August 19, 2014 at 1:16 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Interesting concept from Juno. Though in fairness people believed Sirius XM would be the would be the nail in the coffin for terrestrial radio and it's still present. CDs would be the death of vinyl (still present). I grant you a lot of scripted programming is going to Netflix and Hulu (Plus) but that's not free (monthly subscription + whatever you pay for Internet). I can't even get football games on the Tres unless I show I have a cable subscriber. I don't believe all mid-level conferences will be effected though don't look for any Boise States to rise from the ranks to be the next giant killer anytime soon. As long as the Mocs still play (for however long that is), I'm still a fan of the game.

In others news, Cowboys are still are still too expensive and the only people going to their games are more interested with their social media devices then whose out on the field.

August 19, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Sportsfan —

Anytime we can get a Ghostbusters reference into the comments, well, sir you have won. And remember, don't cross the streams.


True enough, but there will be real alterations. Want to know which mid-level conference is ahead of the game? The MAC, which has found a TV home on Tuesday/Wednesday nights and just extended its deal with ESPN tor another decade.

FE to the C —

Mailbag-level question there.

Buscher —

Very fair point there about the fact that we have the video and that's what we're outraged by more than actually the crime. Interesting angle, and fair. And sad.

Stewwie —

Yes and no.

Yes, he can retain on financial aid by meeting certain restrictions. This is hardly a redshirt year, though, since he can't participate in any football-related activities.

Also, a fair point about the Ravens as much as the NFL, but we're not sure what a specific team can/can't do in an era of collective bargaining and players' unions.

Now factor in how much different today's fill in the blank will be if every state has a college football players' union.

August 19, 2014 at 1:39 p.m.
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