published Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

5-at-10: New Titans boss, NFL playoffs path, LeBroning, new Tide coach and college hoops questions

And we're off.

From the "Talks too much" studios, is that a whisper of excitement from Titans land? You bet it is.

Whisenhunt hired

  • photo
    San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, left, walks off the field with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt after a 27-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL wild-card playoff football game on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Cincinnati.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Titans have hired a new head coach, picking Ken Whisenhunt from the group of common names and familiar faces.

TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer weighs in here.

We believe this is a home run hire for several reasons.

First, the Titans got the most accomplished name on the market, lest we forget that Whisenhunt got the Cardinals — yes the Cardinals — to the Super Bowl.

Second, the Titans landed one of the big three — Whisenhunt, Bill O'Brien and Lovie Smith who were considered to be sure-fire candidates for the seven NFL coaching openings, and they did it despite being the last opening and the fourth team to make a hire.

Third, the Titans swept Whisenhunt out of what appeared to be a safe landing in Detroit, which has more pieces already in place.

Win-win-win.

In fact, we feel so good about this hire, we have to ask if the Titans got lucky or if this really could be a new day for the franchise?

NFL Playoffs

Now we are down to four, and not so amazingly, the best four teams in the NFL.

We spent all season offering power rankings on Tuesdays each week, and truth be told, the teams that dominated the polls are still standing. So it goes.

What is also conspicuous is that the final four is also the top two poster children of the 5-at-10's official division in the modern NFL.

Follow along.

We have said from the beginning that the way to build a Super Bowl contender is to have either a) an elite all-time QB who can win with almost anyone in the huddle and can mask glaring deficiencies in your roster because he is an elite all-time QB or b) have a good and affordable young QB who is making peanuts but gives you enough cap space that you can be superior everywhere else.

Sound familiar. Yep, the Patriots and Broncos are examples 1a and 1b of postulate a) and the Seahawks and 49ers are the personification of postulate b).

So in addition to living the theory, we'll even get a chance to see which postulate is a better approach since we are assured of option a) meeting option b) in the Super Bowl.

Good times.

————

LeBroning

OK, we all know the 5-at-10 thinks highly of LeBron James. Very highly.

Dude is the best player in the game, one of the best all-time, and arguably one of the best athletes ever. We have much respect.

But this is too funny not to pass along. Apparently high school kids have started a viral campaign mocking King James for flopping. In fact they call it LeBroning, and not unlike Tebowing or Duffnering, it is quite clear and pretty funny.

Here's the clip and know that the NBA and the officials can try every method to stop flopping and it may or may not work.

This however could have a really effect. Hey, call it the playground principle — someone doing something questionable, gets called out for it, gets poked at a little, that someone quits doing whatever it was.

————

This and that

— Nice win for Jim Foster's Mocs at App State in women's college basketball. Sorry if that came across as wordy, still getting used to the "no Lady Mocs" rule. In truth, we're OK with that as long as it is universal across all sports. It's their nickname. If they want to be called the Flying Squirrels, great. Here's the TFP report on the outcome from Boone.

— Deion Sanders is going to suit of for the Pro Bowl. Perfect. That's absolutely spot-on perfect, because if any other complete and total farce in sports need more of a circus feel, it's the Pro Bowl. Hey, I've always liked Deion — in fact you can make an argument that he is one of the five most influential NFL players of the modern era — but c'mon man.

— The UT Orange and White game is April 12, and yes, that is the Saturday of the Masters.

— Alabama hired Bo Davis as their defensive line coach. Davis used to be at Alabama and had spent the last few years at Texas, which just hired Chris Rumph, who left Alabama. No word on whether Alabama got a grad assistant to be named later.

————

Today's question

Bigger basketball surprise: Mocs starting 4-0 in the SoCon or the Vols struggles?

ESPN hoops ace Jay Bilas has the Vols No. 41, which seems high, but Bilas is one of the best working at ESPN. In fact if you need another talking point, who are the best national college hoops guys. Bilas is our No. 1 for sure.

Discuss.

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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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.
chas9 said...

I'd rather live in The Music City than The Motor City. How about you?

UK's women's team is officially no longer the Lady Kats, either. Don't know about the Lady Vols. Volettes?

Yesterday BiB intelligently brought tennis and golf rivalries into the discussion and got me to thinking about individual competition. Fair question if it's a real sport, but figure skating's Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan had a thing going for a while.

GD--Unicorns don't exist.

An anonymous bidder got Laettner's stinking jersey from his lousy perfect game for $119,500. No word on whether he plans to fumigate it or burn it. In the same auction a real treasure, a Honus Wagner card, went for $657,250.

Weeds is right about how strong #1`Arizona is. Florida's the highest ranked two-loss team at #7. They won't finish that high. Memphis High School is ranked #17 in both polls. That's too high. UNC got no votes in either poll. In a normal year, UK would have little shame in admitting their worst loss is to the Tarheels.

The Cavaliers (who lost to UT) led Dook at Cameron with 30 seconds left. Whiz Parker got all of 8 points and 3 rebounds as The Blue Devils squeaked it out to get to 2-2 in the ACC.

Carolina and Duke are yesterday's news. King of the ACC is Syracuse.

January 14, 2014 at 10:12 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

C-Niner...thanks...I wish I could say I resemble that remark; the following will confirm that I do not. Rivalries I thought of this morning:

Falstaff vs Schlitz, Bud vs Miller, Evan vs Jim, George vs Jack. Hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere...

Billy-In-Brainerd

January 14, 2014 at 10:24 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Whisenhunt is a home run hire. . . . UTC assistant men's basketball coach Wes Long spoke to the Chattanooga Quarterback Club yesterday and "hit it out of the park" awesome guy who will be a very successful D-1 head coach

Trivia question : of the 4 starting QB's in the NFL final four playoffs, Peyton Manning is the only one NOT drafted by major league baseball

January 14, 2014 at 10:24 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Music City every day. In fact, we never thought we'd move this far North (to Chatta-Vegas).

Concur about the hoops analysis, Memphis is too high. Florida will have some ups and downs (but that experience will help in March).

And Syracuse is King of the whole realm in our view.

And figure skating is not a sport. It's very athletic, but it's not a sport because the final score is directly determined by interpretative judging.

And if you think unicorns do not exist, you are not drinking enough.

BiB —

As for the rivalries, we'll go Schlitz, BUD (huge), Jim, Jack (and Jack over Jim).

And you bet it's five o'clock somewhere.

Jomo —

Great stat, we likely will use that on Press Row today and give you full credit of course.

And we heard that Wes was aces. Good to hear.

January 14, 2014 at 10:37 a.m.
MocTastic said...

JG, rather than giving JoMo11 credit for the Peyton Manning stat about not being drafted, give ESPN Sports Center credit as it was in a SC tweet this morning that I KNOW he saw. That JoMo11 is a sneaky guy! Interestingly, Peyton's backup at UTK was drafted though, some kid named Todd Helton.

January 14, 2014 at 11:09 a.m.
jgreeson said...

MT —

What's the football/baseball Rushmore? Deion and Bo are no-brainers. Brian Jordan needs a spot, too. Who else we got?

January 14, 2014 at 11:20 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

Saturday Down South reports that 57 former SEC player are in the NFL semifinals. Includes IR and practice squads. No word yet if Bob Stoops says they are overrated or not.

BiB - thank goodness, its 5 o'clock, this day has been long enough already.

January 14, 2014 at 11:20 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Jay,

I prefer Foster's Femme Fatales but that's just me. I understand the push for gender neutrality by the athletic department and even give two major thumbs up to the "boy-girl-boy-girl" Fat Head marquees at the Roundhouse section entryways but it's almost like I'm grandfathered in to say Lady Mocs.

However, I'm not about to go attaboy to the men's side just yet. The reason being the obvious: they're barely winning against what many sports writers have dubbed the worst conference in the NCAA regarding strength. The women's aren't exactly in any better shape. If Mickey was still alive he tell both genders "Ya'll playing a bunch of bums! A bunch of bums I tell ya! You're not hungry! etc. etc."

Moving on to more positive news. Enjoyed Hargis' piece on the new commentments. Usually we're getting transfers from Navy, Middle Tennessee and whoever as suppose to having us be the first selection. This Lawson guy should be interesting if he was that sought after.

January 14, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.
jgreeson said...

McPell —

You bet. In fact we may swing by Chili's on our way to the radio station for Press Row. You think we toss out some crazy stuff normally (we broke down a call like a coach does film on Monday for crying out loud), let us a get a few belts in us.

On second thought, maybe that's not the best plan. Giddy-up.

JMC —

Good to see you are these parts, and yeah FFF may not fly.

And while the SoCon is hardly the SoCon of a few years ago, at least these Mocs are finding ways to win.

Color the 5-at-10 impressed with young Mr. Wade's way.

January 14, 2014 at 11:54 a.m.
chas9 said...

Gary Parrish is out with his 2014 mock NBA draft. He has Stokes (the only Vol among the 60 picks) going at #41. That's behind six Wildcats, leading one to suppose that UT's performing as well as its talent should be expected to do and UK's seriously underperforming. Kentucky has 5 of the top 23 in Parrish's draft.

Parrish's top 10, in order, are: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, Dante Exum, Willie Cauley-Stein, Gary Harris, and Rodney Hood.

Duke's Parker, Kansas' Wiggins and Kentucky's Randle were supposed to be the star freshmen to watch this year, and they all look good, but none has broken through yet to dominate all comers. Facing double team defense has a lot to do with that. Currently, Parker leads in points scored and Randle in rebounds.

I think WC-S could go a little higher, but his list looks good to me. I like his including Duke's Hood. Dude can play.

He says this about Andrew Harrison (#23): Harrison is described as a big point guard, and he's a prospect worth following. But is he really a point guard? Or just a tall guy who brings the ball up and then drives it?

'Drew's the key to my team, and I hope he raises his game, but I think Parrish nailed it. Kentucky has long loved the tall guards, but they have gotten burned by the smaller, super-quick true point guards.

The SEC is the 7th best conference (ouch!) says cbsssports.com, and the Southern Conference is a splendid 31st best.

January 14, 2014 at 11:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

There aren't that many who played pro baseball/football. More in the basketball/baseball combo. Neon's the only athlete to win a Super Bowl and World Series while running track. Ron Widby was UT's last four-sport letterman (golf, football, baseball, basketball).

January 14, 2014 at 12:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Will check out Parrish's list, but if he has McRae over Stokes, well, that puzzles us. Stokes is undersized on the block and can not create his own shot consistently. Plus, his shooting touch has not progressed.

The top 10 gets not quibble from us, but the success of rookie PGs make us think that Smart will make a GM look pretty smart.

And Harrison will go higher than 23rd because of the insane success former Syracuse star Michael Carter Williams — another big PG — is having with Philly.

I concur that the Cats' best hoops are in front of them and it falls on the Harrison duo.

January 14, 2014 at 12:11 p.m.
chas9 said...

I didn't understand the omission of McRae either.

January 14, 2014 at 12:46 p.m.
MocTastic said...

JG, only other one that came to mind is a guy who many think might have been the greatest athlete in US history, Jim Thorpe.

January 14, 2014 at 12:54 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Glad you read through our mis-worded response. We would have McRae over Stokes, unlike how we typed above.

MT —

We thought Thorpe too. The only other ones would be guys that were pretty stinky in both such as Josh Booty and Drew Henson (who did make the show in both).

Then you could look at an Elway or a Joe Mauer, guys who are Hall of Famers in the one they picked but were highly coveted in the other too. (Elway was a second-round pick by the Yankees; Mauer was the national high school football players of the year according to USA Today and committed to FSU as a QB.)

January 14, 2014 at 1:12 p.m.
MocTastic said...

JG after commenting I did some googling. Ernie Nevers, NFL HOFer, also played major league baseball, http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/n/neverer01.shtml

January 14, 2014 at 1:31 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Tebowing, LeBroning, Duffnering...you left one off. Bradying. Poor guy sat on the field motionless and head down after blowing another Super Bowl to Eli. And photos of folks imitating this look went viral. Will we see more Bradying this Sunday afternoon? If he has a similar performance in the 2nd half of the AFC title game like he did in last year's game, all signs point to yes.

Not liking UTC's reluctance to use "Lady Mocs" as part of an overall branding fix. In fact, over the last 15-20 years or so, there's been more confusion than anything with the Mocs' brand. Start with the mascot. After firing Chief Mocanooga, the Mocs turned to a mockingbird as the new mascot. But then again, we're NOT the "Mockingbirds". We're just the "Mocs". Go figure.

A few years later, UTC and the UT system as a whole started putting an orange tint to all official letterhead and to UT system websites in order to promote the UT-brand. Couple that with UTC then putting "Chattanooga" on uniforms and wanting to be known as "Chattanooga" as their listed team name. I had a family member who lives out of town ask me if UTC and Chattanooga were two different schools. It's embarassing that that question had to be asked.

January 14, 2014 at 1:36 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Stewwie —

That's a show unto itself, no? Let us collect some intel and let's see where this goes.

Good points all around. And as they say in Coming to America, "If a man want to be called Muckhamd Ali, then we should call him Mckhamd Ali..." Followed by: "His mama calls him Clay, I'm gonna call him Clay."

MT —

Winner. Nevers is a stud duck on a lot of fronts.

January 14, 2014 at 1:41 p.m.
Walden said...

Whisenhunt sounds like quite a hire. Besides his football prowess, he is also an Eagle Scout, a darn good golfer from Augusta (he once shot a 72 on the National, including an eagle on number 11, yes number 11, during the round). Oh, by the way, he has also carded 2 holes in one in his golf career.

January 14, 2014 at 1:45 p.m.
MocTastic said...
January 14, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Walden —

He holed on 11? Wow. That's more impressive than taking the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. Have played Augusta National twice and never made anything better than double on 11.

January 14, 2014 at 2:12 p.m.
MocTastic said...

Okay...who all here are up for voting JG off the island..bragging about getting to play Augusta National, twice...just ain't right.

January 14, 2014 at 2:42 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

9er wrote: "GD--Unicorns don't exist."

Not so fast my friend. North Korean "scientists" discovered the burial site of the unicorn ridden by King Dongmyeong, not to be confused with King Dong who was a working stiff in stag films back in the 1970s. This discovery was reported by the Korean Central News Agency. And if you can't trust the Korean Central News Agency...Recent reports have Dennis Rodman investing in a working unicorn ranch.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go herd my jackalopes.

January 14, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Dave Winfield, drafted by four professional teams, is legit. I also saw Julius Peppers play a lot in college, at defensive end and power forward, but no baseball for the Tar Heels. And his position in high school as a Southern Nash Firebird? Tailback.

Didn't Auburn have a wide receiver/outfielder a few years ago. I know Quinton McCracken played football and baseball at Duke but just baseball in the pros. Adam Dunn was a QB at Texas before giving that up to play baseball.

And Ken Whisenhunt goes down in lore for three teams for his turn at QB for Georgia Tech. He took a bad (very, very bad) Tech team to a 3-3 tie with Notre Dame. And that was the same day Lindsay Scott outran the cops, I mean, the Florida secondary.

January 14, 2014 at 3:46 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Spy that was Gabe Gross. Played QB & outfield.

January 14, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Didn't Frank Sanders or somebody like that play two sports as well? I know Erk lettered in four on the plains.

January 14, 2014 at 5:19 p.m.
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