published Friday, February 7th, 2014

5-at-10: Mailbag filled with Rushmores and recruiting

From chas9

Questions for Friday: How do you pronounce "Richarde?" And what is your Rushmore of Olympics movies? Hint: Start with Chariots of Fire and Cool Running." I'll accept a judge's ruling on whether Blades of Glory is an Olympics flick.

9er —

Man, a Rushmore of Olympic movies, huh?

-- Miracle. In fact we talked about this on Press Row yesterday that there is no sporting event that is on more good Rushmores than the 1980 Olympic hockey team.

-- Chariots of Fire. Great call. (And the theme song is so money... whomever that is that does the singing on that one does not miss a note. It may have been Biz Markie.)

-- Munich. Not exactly the up-lifting, inspiring, sports-based movie but excellent nonetheless.

And we'll go off the board for world-class, pure 1980s cheese and fill the Rushmore with American Anthem with Janet Jones and Mitch Gaylord and a host of really bad high-fives. This is the sports version of Roadhouse in that it's so bad it's good.

————

From Big UT nut.

I have been consumed with recruiting news. Maybe it is because this is the first time UT has felt like UT.

Now that it is done and the Vols finished among the elite in recruiting what does it mean and what can me and the host of lost Vols fans expect this fall?

Thanks, and I have called into Press Row a few times. I enjoy your show and you and Paschall really know your stuff. Keep up the good work.

Big UT nut —

We will expound more on this later and in the Saturday TFP, but know this: This recruiting class can't be overstated for Butch Jones and Co.

As for the fall, well, that hinges more on whether Jones and his staff find a reliable ooption at quarterback among the four guys they have.

But this was a class that Butch promised to make special and he did. So he added talented and he backed up his vow. Both of those things are of equal import, since it's been a while since the UT fan base could believe in the guy running the program.

Hope you enjoyed Signing Day, and thanks for listening and reading.

————

From CC

What are the worst Valentines Day gifts? Thanks and War Press Row -- really enjoy the show and can't believe that guy called you and Paschall the Tiger Twins... that's funny.

CC —

We have loaded this mailbag with Rushmores so why stop now. In fact, Paschall and the blockheaded sports editor have a Rushmore almost every day on Press Row from 3-6, so we may recycle a few of these.

Worst Valentine Day's gifts:

No. 1 — Nothing. Gang, this is the biggest of all missteps, and even if you have an upfront agreement not to do anything on Valentine's Day, you need to do something. Trust us on this. Seriously.

No. 2 — Lingerie that does not fit — either physically or into the realm and realistic nature of your relationship. Work friends do not swap Victoria's Secrets. And if you are a straight-laced couple, V-Day is not the time to 'expand' your horizons. ALso, make sure you know the proper size of whatever you are buying, because as we have discussed before, if you miss too big or too small, the better half will believe you think she is heavy. She could be a fasting Kate Moss, but a size miss on underwear will be viewed as a statement.

No. 3 — Sporting goods. She may say she wants to try golf or tennis or whatever, but V-Day is not the time to hand her a 3-wood and say, "Fore." And sweet buckets of pity and power, exercise equipment will fall under the "Does he think I'm heavy" mushroom cloud of bad.

No. 4 — Appliances. Simply put this is never a good gift. You may think a new dishwasher says "Hey, I love you, hope this helps take some of the work off you," but she'll hear, "Hey, wash some dishes."

Hope that helps, and in truth, just go simple and put a little thought into it. Hey, if can make something, because even if it is bad, it shows effort and thought and that's better than most anything else you can get on the world's dumbest and most Hallmarked-up holiday of all-time.

————

From sportsfan

Jay - I'm cold. I'm waiting on a flight to an even colder place. Football's 7 months away. I need a distraction. For the mailbag. What's your Rushmore of warm places and why? Side question. Name your preferred tropical beverage for each location...

Sportsfan —

Thanks for the happy distraction. And as bad as the football purgatory before us, this brutally cold winter needs to move along. Plus, the cold is making a lot of the pleasant folks we know kind of ornery. If we wanted to live in the sub-20 temps with angry folks all around, we'd move North. Thanks but no thanks, and if that fat and famous rodent is wrong about the weather, we're going to hunt him down and shave him. Make him completely (Paul) Barys.

As for the Rushmore of warm places, well, know that we are not exactly a world traveler. In fact, we prefer to stay near home base. The Mrs. 5-at-10 has gypsy blood and loves to go, go, go. We should get her version of the best warm places, too, but if we have to give you ones with first-hand knowledge, well, here you go:

Rushmore of warm places (In no particular order)

The Panhandle (locale varies depending on age), and we have done just about every stop from the glorious PCB to the Flora-Bama to golfing in and around Mobile (Kiva Dunes = good times). And you knew we'd have the Red Neck Riviera here since we are, you know, a red neck.

Folly Island outside of Charleston, good times

Costa Rica

Cancun

As for the beverage, well the folks that know us well will relay that we are a very loyal consumer. The 'Co-Colas' of choice in our world are Bud Light and Gentleman Jack. We drink Bud Light, we play Titleist golf balls and we only have eyes for the Mrs. 5-at-10. So it goes. (At one time Copenhagen was on that list, but we had to quit that one. Sigh. We still occasionally miss it, though.)

If we're going to mix up our beverage choice, especially on vacation well, we're game, but no tequila. Ever. That's the one we had 'THE' experience with when we young — and everyone reading this just nodded their head and said, "Yep, mine is (fill in the blank)." We all have one that we abused in our younger days that still turns your stomach. Ours is tequila.

———

  • photo
    University of Tennessee football coach Butch Jones talks about the NCAA college football team's signing class on Wednesday in Knoxville.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

From Stewwie

Recruiting is obviously important, but I believe that National Signing Day is overblown. Is it really worth it for some of the Joe Schmos of the world to burn a vacation day to devote all day to keeping track of who has sent in their faxes? Why can't simply reading the recaps with full analysis at the end of the day or next day be good enough (great job in today's Sports section by the way, TFP)? Plus, what matters more is what actually happens on the field, not who wins some convoluted recruiting rankings battle. Jay, what is your Rushmore of overrated sporting events/games/celebrations? And yes, National Signing Day is on mine.

And in honor of Jay Leno retiring (aka being forced out by NBC for the 2nd time), what is the Rushmore of Jays (alive or dead, real or fiction, first, middle, or last name)?

If the Cuonz gets the ax next year, do the Vols consider going after Will Wade? I know the mere thought of that happening is going to make Jomo's blood boil, but it might actually be a viable option for the Big Orange...especially if Year 2 for Wade in Chatt-ville is even better than Year 1.

Stewwie —

Dude, you so brought it that we could not pull just one from the list. Well-played indeed. Thanks for the kind words about the TFP sports section, we are blessed to have a great staff that takes a lot of pride in their work.

From the top down:

Of course on the field matters more, but it's not exactly a coincidence that Alabama has dominated the last five years of college football and has finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in six of the last seven years. Yes, recruiting has become a monster to the point that it is unrecognizable. We believe that could be one of the big changes in the next decade of college reform, considering what an early-signing period for football could offer. We'll get into this more, but the signing process — early options, transfers, etc. — needs as much reform the sanctions and loop holes of the NCAA recruiting rules.

Our Rushmore of overrated sporting events/games/celebrations (and this was tougher than we thought)

-- All professional all-star games

-- Major conference college basketball tournament title games — granted if a Cinderella needs the win to get in the dance, this can be interesting, but since the shelf life of an SEC or ACC conference tournament title is about 45 minutes before we start looking at selection Sunday, well, we're having a hard time remembering a conference title game that really mattered since Kemba Walker and UConn ran the Big East gauntlet a few years back. Now small conference tournaments where Dancing Cards are on the line are a different animal.

-- All events before and after professional all-star games (sad how far the dunk contest has dropped — it used to be a big deal — and the home run derby is arguably the most unwatchable 'sporting' event out there)

-- The runt of the Grand Slam litters, be it the Aussie Open (because of the time change mainly) or the PGA Championship

  • photo
    Married musicians Beyonce, left, and rapper Jay-Z tour Old Havana, Cuba.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Rushmore of Jays

This was harder than we thought, and it may be splitting hairs, but we made sure it was the full "JAY" spelling and not just 'J' like LL Cool J:

-- Jay-Z: Dude will be a billionaire before he's done and he landed Beyonce. Not sure which is more surprising to tell you the truth.

-- - Jay Leno: Dude took over on the best TV talk show in the country two decades ago and did not embarrass himself. Even if he had, he likely would have made this list because of his chin alone. Man, what a mandible.

-- Jay Bilas: Right there with Mel Kiper as the best ESPN has to offer, and considering how much ESPN offers, that's saying something.

-- Jay Greeson: Spy knew we were going to do it. Hey, if you don't believe in yourself, who will, right? (Plus did you see that TFP signing day coverage. Wow.)

If The Conz gets the ax this year, it seems highly unlikely the Vols would come after Will Wade. Hey, the regulars around here know we are on one of the front seats on the Wade Wagon, but one year — barring an NCAA tournament bid and a win or three — as a head coach would be a risky move. We believe Wade will be a coveted property sooner rather than later (let's set the over/under on his time in Chattanooga at three years and two NCAA tournaments), but that's too soon, especially for a UT situation that is going to be starving for a WOW hire after The Conz has tarnished the pearl Bruce Pearl had polished in Knoxville.

As for next year, well, anything could be possible. And if Wade's second season is better than this one, then our over/under above is likely low. Still, UT seems like an unlikely bad fit because of the need for a 'splash' hire to get the program back to where Pearl had it.

Of course, an NCAA tournament win — even in the play-in game — changes all perception and alters the timetable greatly.

From JMC

Jay,

I understand all the hype regarding out new class of incoming Moc freshmen but at the same time, I was curious as how well it stacked with out prime target in Fargo.

According to 247.com (which appears to be the "go to" source much to Spy's concern), NDSU is National Rank 136, MVC Rank 2, Average Rating 0.7198 while UTC is National Rank 129, SC Rank 1, with an average Rating 0.7554.

This is pretty tight if you ask me. While we appear to have the upper hand with three to four "three star" players, Big Bad Fargo has two national championships under their belts.

Taking out the game against Mother Knoxville, are the statistics in our favor for the much anticipated "Rocky vs. Drago" showdown in Frisco I've dreaming of for a year in a half now?

JMC —

Coach Russ Huesman and Co. have assembled some big time pieces.

And for the first time in this three-and-half-year journey that has been the 5-at-10, we can actually see this bunch not only making the playoffs, but making a run in the playoffs — next year and beyond.

Let's review:

Huesman was at Richmond when they won the FCS title, so he has a real good idea what it takes. And that factor is speed. Everywhere. The Mocs have stockpiled speed and that is an excellent foundation.

The expectations have been jacked and that's a good thing. UTC fans everywhere should be smiling that Russ and Co. are speaking about contending for championships — conference and beyond. If you treat it like an egg shell or like a pipe dream than it will always seem like something so fragile or far away that no one will ever believe it could happen. Sure that opens you up for criticism if it doesn't happen, but there will always be criticism and we'll always side with the dreamers and the believers rather than the pessimists and the nay-sayers.

As for next year, we say why not? On Press Row on Thursday, Huesman made a great point that in a recent team meeting he said he told the current Mocs that as much ink and hype and hope this recruiting class has, that the guys in the locker room right are the guys that will carry the bulk of the weight this fall. And that's 100 percent spot on, and a good thing because there is a ton of talent coming back.

The Mocs have improved in almost every way and a big part of that growth and stability and maturation is from the simply genius and geniously simple plan to redshirt as many of the recruits as possible.

Huesman said that will be the plan with most of this class, too, but admitted that there are some very talented kids in this group that likely will play this fall. Among that group are the two Georgia linebackers (Tim Whatley and Dale "The Sheriff" Warren) and a couple of the skill guys, especially Richarde Bagley.

We're not ready to put a "Frisco or bust" tag on these Mocs just yet, but heading into spring practice next month, the Mocs are closer to national championship material than they are the dreck that was UTC football pre-Russ. In fact, as we told Russ on the radio, if the Mocs are not the SoCon favorites next year, John Immarino has some 'splainin' to do.

As for the Rocky-Drago comparison to the ND State bunch, well, not unlike Montana in its heyday, ND State has a great edge that is seldom measured by recruiting metrics. There are a slew of kids that are playing for ND State that grew up around that program dreaming of playing for them. It's the in-state power and in some ways the regional landing spot for a lot of kids in the Dakotas and the surrounding area.

But one of the great things about football and sports is that talent still matters more than anything else. And UTC got more talented Wednesday.

When does football start back up?

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 ...

9
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JonathanMCook said...

Jay, thanks for the response and the breakdown. You are definitely spot-on regarding the "regional powerhouse" concept. When I was skimming the list of new Bison recruits, one thing that caught my eye was how many of them had the following sentence: "Father played for ND State".

I always said these cats could give Alabama a run for their money in deep rooted fandom, and I still believe it.

For now, I'm in no rush for football to start back up. Two words: Rangers Ballpark YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I am looking forward to seeing the schedule for this year.

February 7, 2014 at 10:25 a.m.
fechancellor said...

"No. 2 — Lingerie that does not fit — either physically or into the realm and realistic nature of your relationship."

Another problem can crop up. Your significant other, be it he or she, claims to be a size 4, when she's actually a size 7. What's that word they say over and over in college football until the meaning is fallow? Ah yes, accountability.

"Work friends do not swap Victoria's Secrets." Are you sure about that, Ten Ring? Well, maybe very close "office pals" some time in the past.

February 7, 2014 at 10:40 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Good Rushmores. Here's mine:

Overated sporting events/games/celebrations:

National Signing Day, Opening Day, Kentucky Derby, Olympics (seriously, about 90% of the events are not too exciting to watch. But I guess to most of America, they are. Whatever).

Rushmore of Jays:

Jay Leno, Jay-Z, Jay Gatsby, John Jay (Founding Father and 1st Chief Justice).

Jimmy Fallon is nowhere near as good as Leno, but he is still light years ahead of Conan. So Fallon isn't a bad pick for "Tonight", but I would have let Jay end his career on his own terms, especially while he was still #1.

The Mocs have a great class this year, but I'm thinking that none of the offensive players will see the field this year. I'm thinking only 2 or 3 true freshmen will play this year...all on D. Won't know for sure though until they put on the pads in August.

Great tips on V-Day, Jay. And fellas, make sure you know what your wife's top love languages are. Meet those on a daily basis and you'll be rewarded nicely. And we'll just leave it at that.

February 7, 2014 at 11:17 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

To fellow Moc Fan Stewwie:

I must respectfully disagree regarding the Kentucky Derby. It is the 1 day of the year I drink bourbon. [I prefer a cheap Canadian blend or Ronrico White rum.] Every year a friend has a KD party + a Preakness party, just to see if the KD winner has a shot at the Triple Crown. I am not a horseman or a cowboy, but I am redneck + any reason to have a party is ok by me.

C-Niner: what say you?

Billy-In-Brainerd

February 7, 2014 at 1:37 p.m.
chas9 said...

Billy & Stewie--Derby rules! Kinda like a 100 dash, in that it's over too quick, but that makes the fun more intense.

How about the Jay in "You can call me Jay or you can call me Ray…"?

Ralph Kiner was seven time HR champ and played with The Georgia Peach, for crying out loud.

According to 24/7 Sports, the best college recruiters are #1 Georgia's; #2 Tee Martin; followed by TWO each from Bama and LSU, with Auburn's and UT's at nine and ten.

February 7, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

According to the commercials, and I believe everything I see in commercials, the best thing to get that special lady on Valentine's Day is a four-foot tall teddy bear. For just one-hundred dollars American, you can give the gift that will turn even the most frigid woman into a raving nymphomaniac. Let's get ready to rumble!

Back in my college days, a guy I worked summers with as a raft guide gave his girlfriend a T-shirt with a photo of himself in a heart for Valentine's Day. I don't know if that's the worst gift ever, but it has to crack the top ten.

February 7, 2014 at 3:02 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Billy/Chas, I do think that the tradition that is the Kentucky Derby is pretty cool. However, in the end, we're talking about a lot of fanfare in the media and on the TV for a horse race that lasts only a couple of minutes. No offense to you guys and others who are very interested in this event, but I think its popularity and coverage is a bit over the top. Just my opinion, though.

February 7, 2014 at 3:15 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Rushmore of Jays ...

Jay Ferguson, singer of "Thunder Island" and "Shakedown Cruise."

Jay Burson, Ohio State point guard who could flat out play until he hurt his neck.

Jay P. Morgan, wizard of Wall Street

Jay Mohr.

Other Jays of interest: Jay of Jay and the Americans, great group from the 60s.

Jay Haas, golfer

Jay Schroeder, Washington Redskins QB

Ricky Jay, magician and illusionist.

Chief Jay Strongbow

Overrated sports events:

National signing day.

Professional all-star games.

Most professional sports drafts.

Anything ESPYs related.

On other topics, Fallon is extraordinarily talented and there are bits and pieces of his show that I really like. Never found Leno as a host all that entertaining and appealing. There are things Conan does that are really good but sometimes I feel as if he could be better at what he does. Still prefer him to Jay.

But at the top of that Rushmore is Carson. No ifs. No ands. No buts. In fact, it's a one-man Rushmore. Letterman is next in line.

February 7, 2014 at 3:33 p.m.
chas9 said...

Spy--Don't get reminded of Jay and the Americans oftenenuf. Saw 'em live.

Yes, Carson rules, for sure.

February 7, 2014 at 4:07 p.m.
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