published Thursday, August 28th, 2014

5-at-10: Happy College Football Day and Rushmore of actors known for one role

It;s here. It's happening.

From the "Talks too much" studios, you know what time it is.

  • photo
    UTC fullback Taharin Tyson and the rest of the Mocs are fired up to start the season after just missing the FCS playoffs last year.
    Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

UTC questions

The Mocs kick off tonight. Follow TFP UTC football ace Stephen Hargis' in-game coverage here on the website and on Twitter with the hashtag #tfpUTC.

As the season dawns here are our three questions for the Mocs:

What is the realistic expectation for this team?

Your UTC Mocs open a season with more hype and promise than any since Reagan was in the White House.

The stars have aligned and the future is now. This is not a diatribe of 11-0 heading to Alabama like we authored last year. This is one time we are going to (try to) refrain from zingers or snark.

This UTC team should win the Southern Conference and host a playoff game. They have arguably the best offensive player in the conference in Jacob Huesman and arguably the best defensive player in FCS football in Davis Tull. They have a much easier road in the SoCon with App and Georgia Southern moving on to the wide, Wide, WIDE open spaces of Conference Global or wherever they are playing.

Are the B-listers ready?

After Huesman and Tull, the Mocs have talent. That talent will have to deliver as every foe will make someone other than the headliners try to win games. It's of great advantage to have match-up edges Huesman and Tull provide — receivers will get a lot of single coverage; since Tull demands a double team the rest of the defense is going 10-on-9 — but the rest of the Mocs will need to deliver.

We believe they will. We had faith in Keon Williams last year despite a ton of nay-sayers and he delivered so there's no reason not to think he won't be an all-conference-type player again this fall. Defensively, we have little reason to doubt the talent or the plan. Special teams, well, that may be a different matter entirely.

Can this coaching staff deliver driving the pace car?

This is an interesting question. Coach Russ Huesman and Co. have worked miracles restructuring a roster and a program that was among the worst in Division I football before they arrived. Seriously.

The talent comparisons are staggering and so stark that it seems like 20 years ago when Russ wasn't here, you know?

That said, there's a different skill set between rebuilding a roster and taking the step between competitive and championship.

The Mocs coaching staff has delivered on each step — and in some ways they were way ahead of schedule on the project in part because B.J. transferred in — and while some will say last year was a disappointment, you have to remember that winning a share of the conference title has to count for something.

This year, though, the only child in us is coming out. There can't be any sharing. There can't be any shortcomings that do not include hardware and postseason plans.

No matter the situations, the expectations have moved to the next level. So these Mocs do the same.


College picks and prognostications (and SEC five things to watch)

We'll have our BCS stuff in the comments, and you are welcomed to post yours. (Two crazy ones we had last year — Surprise team: Auburn; Overrated team: FSU. Go figure.)

As we do on Thursdays, we'll have 5 SEC things to watch this weekend:

1) Coming out party. There are a ton of talented newcomers. Who will still the show?

2) Auburn's encore. We're pumped to see the Tigers' offensive wrinkles.

3) Todd Gurley. Enough said.

4) Who will take the first snap for Alabama?

5) Are the baby Vols ready for Prime Time Sunday night?


Fab 4 plus 1 picks

Our final prediction of the 2013 college football season was Auburn plus the points and the over. Each hit. Yay. We finished the bowl season 24-17 and 74-57-1 against the number last year. Not too shabby.

Not up to previous seasons — where we went 85-36-2 in 2012 and 52-27-2 in 2011 — but still not too bad. All told in three years picking games against the number we are 211-110-5 (

Two things to remember, these stats are the interweb so they have to be true and all picks are for ENTERTAINMENT purposes only. So take each with a grain of salt.

Ohio State -15 over Navy: The Buckeyes were loaded for a run into the four-team playoff before preseason Heisman candidate Braxton Miller was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. While a title chase may have taken a ding with Miller's injury, the fact that the supremely talented Buckeyes are only giving a smidge over two touchdowns to Navy is crazy.

Ole Miss -9.5 over Boise State: This is the most talented Ole Miss team in a generation. This is a Boise State team with a reworked coaching staff. This has the feel of a 41-17 whipping. You're welcome.

Georgia -6.5 over Clemson: One team lost college football's most explosive playmaker in the man you know better as Joe the Policeman on the 'What's Going Down' episode of "That's My Mama," Mr. Sammy Watkins. The other team has arguably college football's most explosive playmaker. This game is in Athens and it may be close, but we like the Bulldogs. A lot.

Tennessee -6.5 over Utah State: Should UT be worried? Yes. Should UT be worried about Chuckie Keaton? Absolutely. Should UT fans be patient with the youth movement — Butch Jones said as many as 30 true freshmen could play Sunday night? Of course. Still, UT has more talent and more at stake and should be playing in front of a full house. That's good enough for us.

LSU -5 over Wisconsin: The Badgers have pieces back. The Tigers have newcomers. The Badgers have a running back that could win a Heisman. The Tigers have a running back that will win a Heisman. The Badgers have big-time hopes. The Tigers have big-time talent. We prefer talent.


This and that

— The Braves beat the Mets 3-2. Man three whole runs? The Braves must have had a balanced breakfast.

— Josh Gordon, shut your pie hole. Dude, you did it. You got caught. And to issue an apology that includes a sentiment that you are sorry the NFL did not reconsider its judgement is such a lack of self-responsibility that it is laughable.

— It's Honey Boo Boo's birthday. She's 9. That.s 1.28 in dog years. And here's hoping her 15 minutes is up.


Today's question(s)

We have two items for your interest.

1) Whomever make the craziest college football prediction that turns out to be correct (no more than four entries per, please), we'll give you two tickets to next year's Best of Preps banquet.

2) Jason Priestley turns 45 today. He will forever be Brandon Walsh for a big chunk of the population. Who is on our Rushmore of actors forever known as one character? Go.

And Happy College Football season. And remember the mailbag.

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...

I really believed that USC's Josh Shaw saved his nephew's life. I saw a quote from Manti Te'o 's girlfriend who witnessed it. . . . .GAME DAY ! Mocs have tall task on the road as 14 point underdogs. . . . . . .You got to love Butchy ( Coach Slogan ) exagerrating the number of freshman UTK is playing. . . . Let the excuses begin . . ..

August 28, 2014 at 10:12 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Jay-G: ? for you...The Mocs will upset CMU because...(who, what, how) ?


August 28, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Appy State and Georgia Southern are in the Slum Belt conference now, or is that Sun Belt? Oh well, same thing. As JoMo11 has said, and will say again, they have entered the NCAA Witness Protection Program where they will disappear and never be heard of again.

August 28, 2014 at 10:23 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Jason Priestly?????? that was on television when aluminum foil was required to watch any Fox program....

THE DEFINITIVE RUSHMORE Don Knotts Michael Richards Carol O'Conner James Arness

August 28, 2014 at 12:03 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Before tonight's opener, I have to ask, will any starters be dressed but not playing due to "tweaked hamstrings"? Lol.

[Defensively, we have little reason to doubt the talent or the plan.]

The secondary will be a clear weakness.

[Coach Russ Huesman and Co. have worked miracles restructuring a roster and a program that was among the worst in Division I football before they arrived. Seriously.]

What miracles? Yes, the team has improved, but Huesman's tenure has been filled with disappointment and underachievement. And still no playoff appearances.

[ have to remember that winning a share of the conference title has to count for something.]

Not really. The conference was clearly down last year. Knowing what we know now about App and GSU, there's no reason why we shouldn't have gone 10-2 last year.

The supposedly good recruiting classes need to translate to better success on the field. The excuse-making from Huesman for us not doing better simply needs to stop.

August 28, 2014 at 12:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

Pre-Huesman UTC was arguably the worst D-I team in college football. Now they are the pick to win the SoCon.

In regard to talent on the roster, that qualifies for miracle to us.

Have they stumbled in some big moments? You bet. And is this a year they have to find the postseason. Absolutely.

That said, we have not heard of any Mocs player who will miss time with a sprained 'joint.' We'll see thought, right?

OG —

Dude you bagged "aluminum foil" on 90210 and then trotted out a black-and-white show and a Western.

And while Fife was amazing, there are a lot of folks who know Knotts as Mr. Furley and Archie Bunker as the cop on Heat of the Night.

Kramer is on there. We can see your support for Marshall Dillon.

We'd lean toward Arthur Fonzarelli more than those.

BiB —

You are in.

August 28, 2014 at 12:24 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

True enough on the Fonz JG...I will give you that one...Can't wait for the Mocs home opener year 8 lol

August 28, 2014 at 12:26 p.m.
MocTastic said...

The Fonz has been playing Eddie on Royal Pains on USA for several years now. Younger people probably know him from that.

August 28, 2014 at 12:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BiB —

We think tonight's game will be closer than the number but we don't see the Mocs with an upset. That said, you asked ow an upset will happen, and here's our answer in three parts:

No. 1 Davis Tull goes up there and does Davis Tull things. Couple or three plays that lead to turnovers and leads a defensive line that keeps a better than expected CMU relatively in check.

No. 2 Big play from an unlikely source (Hi, Richardre Bagley, maybe) be it in the kicking game or a swing pass or somewhere.

No. 3 Finish the drill

Simple. Sound.

August 28, 2014 at 12:38 p.m.
Buschleague said...

5- Is this a big 'money' game for UTC? If so how does is equate to the Tenn or Ala payouts? Is it really worth whatever the payout after travel and lodging to get bbq'd on the road?

One role- Phoebe Cates. (Only one needed)

August 28, 2014 at 12:46 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Geez Stewwie, I understand devil's advocate but considering the rampet thuggery from the previous programs, Russ has done what no one in the post Joe Morrison era has ever done: build a consistent winning program out of next to NOTHING. I've been a Mocs fan since the Buddy Green era and I wouldn't trade the last two years for anything other then we shot ourselves in the foot on some close games. I use to joke about Three Doors Down singing our school fight song. As we speak here at work I am the ONLY Mocs fan in DFW with his Power C golf shirt on and flying his Chattanooga Mocs car flag in the parking lot. I've turned down two seasonal positions at work because they wanted me to work on Saturdays (offered them Sundays but they refused). Call me delusional, but sometimes I think I'm more superfan then that Buddy fella (beer belly guy with the van). I grant you that's a stretch but Texas can hook'm horns all they want. This is Christmas Day. Win or Lose.

August 28, 2014 at 12:47 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JMC there is so much ill will against the Mocs today, and I guess they want to suffer through another washed out year by the Clorox Orange...who knows what their issue is with the Mocs program...The most idiotic thing I heard all week was Jeff Styles asking Jim Reynolds on air, if the Mocs could compete attendance-wise with the god, is Styles that far removed from reality?????

August 28, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Buscher —

We believe that counts as two roles.

UTC is getting a check for the trip. We'd expected the bus ride to Knoxville brings about $500K. This would be closer to $100K.


Keep believin' dude.

OG —

We don't feel the ill will against the Mocs, but that's from our seat.

Winds can blow differently across the landscape.

August 28, 2014 at 1:02 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

If the Mocs don't win the SoCon this year ... well, there are a ton of questions to be asked.

MT, the line about the Sun Belt being the witness protection program off college football is mine. No offense to Jomo, but you heard it from here first. That being said, good luck to the Mocs, and I do hope they win the conference. They got absolutely tooled in Statesboro last year by the refs and that cost them.

Rushmore of one-role actors? Ted Danson, anybody? I'll also go Roger Moore. Yeah, he did The Saint, but he is really more associated with being a faint facsimile of James Bond after Connery. Connery has done so much other great stuff - Highlander, The Untouchables, A Bridge Too Far, Jeopardy and his constant harassment of Alex Trebek - that he's more than just Bond.

August 28, 2014 at 1:29 p.m.
Stewwie said...


I love your passion and we both share the same desire to see the Mocs succeed. But I think a lot of folks have a low bar for the football program. At this point, who cares how it looked when Russ arrived? This is Year 6. He's got the talent (and he has since 2011), so we need to see some better results. And now that our conference is weaker than ever, there's really no excuse. I can't speak for everyone else, but I am personally getting tired of seeing us underachieve.


Pre-Huesman, the Mocs had terrible coaching. There was no championship-level talent on the field, but it wasn't bottom-feeder either.

I thought the UT trip is bringing in about $400k and the Central Michigan trip $300k or so? The Central Michigan check is supposedly going toward the new football building.

August 28, 2014 at 1:34 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


O.o While shocked Styles said that, not really. Remember, as much as I've enjoyed the mellow sage Jeff, this is guy who follows no-name bands and no-name events that do not appeal to anyone other then his clique. He'll follow Georgia Dog football (for obvious reasons not related to the fact the station broadcasts the games) but he's always talked to JR about the Mocs in this passive tone like "they still have a football team?" Kinda sad when your the flagship personality. But it was better then the hot air coming from the Nth degree this morning. Waste of airtime.

August 28, 2014 at 1:42 p.m.
MocTastic said...

This is a breakdown of past and future Mocs payouts here that I put together:

August 28, 2014 at 1:44 p.m.
MocTastic said...

For those of you who are blocked from message boards here are the Mocs paydays for football games since 2006 and into the future:

Previous Schedule Payouts

2006 Memphis $150,000

2007 Arkansas $325,000

2008 Oklahoma $475,000

2008 Florida State $460,000

2009 Alabama $400,000

2010 Auburn $425,000

2011 Nebraska $475,000

2012 South Florida $435,000

2013 Alabama $450,000

Future Schedule Payouts

2014 UTK $450,000

2014 Central Michigan $350,000

2105 Florida St $550,000

2016 Alabama $500,000

August 28, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JMC you are spot on with your perception...I would say something but I shall refrain...It is indeed sad when the mighty JR is gone, Mocs game tonight is an afterthought on sports reports and not one mention of the Lookouts and Smokies division deciding series starting tonight...perhaps you can go to Riverfront Nights and enjoy the money the Blue Cross shelled out to enjoy some his favorite NOBODY HAS EVER HEARD of bands lol

August 28, 2014 at 2:02 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

Preach on, Brother Stewwie, preach on...I am in your flock!


August 28, 2014 at 2:31 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

OG - You're welcome.

Spy - Ted Danson was on "Becker" which aired on CBS in the late 90s. He played a xenophobe doctor who made Grouchy Smurf look like Barney the Dinosaur. He is currently on CSI: Whatever (too many; lost count).

I know GSU is playing "Duck U" (not Oregon but the other Duck U.) on November 29th. Will laugh if they make an appearance at "The Paul".

Right about witness protection. Most of the television rights will be ESPNU (boonies on most cable/satellite affiliates), ACC Network (very regional), though the Navy game is scheduled for CBS (interesting)

August 28, 2014 at 3:12 p.m.
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