Gang, hope this finds you warm. Sweet Abe Lincoln's beard it's cold. We still live in the South right?
From the "Talks too much" studios, knuckleheads out there cold shooting some hoops.
Wow, how about that for turning into a newsy Tuesday?
Is there a way for 5K?
Jomo kicked off the discussion Tuesday that filling McKenzie will be a litmus test for whether Chattanooga is a good sports city.
His premise has an interesting basis but there are some serious disconnects.
It will be interesting to see how many casual UTC fans will come out and support the Mocs on Thursday and also take-in the doubleheader on Saturday in which UTC women's basketball coach Jim Foster goes for career win 800. (Side note: It's official, the 5-at-10 is very much disappointed by the dropping of the Lady Mocs. It makes every dual reference much longer. But as long as they are uniform across all programs, we'll adhere to their wishes. Wonder if they gave XX Mocs and XY Mocs any thought? Want a unique brand, go with some DNA coding. Or maybe not.)
Labeling a town a "bad sports" town because it skips a regular-season college basketball game seems a little over the top. In fact, the key to 5,000 fans at the Roundhouse is how many students the Mocs can attract. In truth, if the students could become regular attendees, the cyclical affects could be staggering. Follow along:
More students = more energy = more entertaining for everyone = more return casual fans. Heck, even an Auburn grad can add that math up and see more students is a good thing. Granted that has been the million-dollar question for every UTC sport since Doubleday decided 90 feet between the bases was magical.
We will say the following three things about Thursday night:
1) We are planning on going. We want to see how the Mocs have flipped the switch in the last eight games. (Side answer: Hi Ronrico and thanks for getting healthy.)
2) We had Will Wade on Press Row for his normal Tuesday appearance, and we asked for questions from some of you cats on Twitter. UTC ace superfan Bob Mulkey suggested we ask if Wade would commit to staying in Chattanooga forever. We asked; Wade emphasized how much fun he is having and how much work they have still to do and how great the city and program have been to him. And naturally he dodged the lifetime commitment question. (Although we agree with Bob, the longer Wade stays, the better it is for UTC.)
3) The numbers and streaks of UTC's current run — 6-0 in SoCon and eight wins in a row — are staggering by comparison to date and last time of occurrence. And yes, regular and loyal reader Stewwie was on record in November saying he expected big things, but the difference from last January is stunning. This has as much to do with X's and O's as it does the natural newness and freshness of a complete restart brings with it a full-blast lift and energy. But there are a lot of factors. Yes, the return of Ronrico White has been off-the-charts big — UTC is 8-0 when White plays this season. Still, we expected good things from Wade and Co. They are delivering great things. There is still plenty of room on the WadeWagon.
See you Thursday.
Don't let the door hitcha in the needle cushion
Apparently the MLB players association wants to kick Alex Rodriguez out. Cool.
Of course they can't do that (did you know the annual dues for the MLBPA is more than $11K?) , but the fact that the players union wants to dismiss A-Clown is encouraging in several regards, most notably in the potential it offers for cleaning up the game.
Follow along. If baseball is going to get clean, the only way to do it is to truly punish the perpetrators. Right now the risk — a 50-game or even a season vacation — is worth the rewards of monster contracts.
Think about it: PEDs turn fringe big-leaguers into starters and that's life-changing money. PEDs turn starters into stars and that's life-changing money for their kids' kids. PEDs turn stars into A-Rod and they land $20-million annual salaries and that's life-changing money for generations. Yes, 50-game suspensions are worth that. Yes, public shame is worth that gamble in most cases, especially when the full truck load of shame is only reserved for the biggest shams like A-Fraud, Clemens, Armstrong and a few others.
But if the union puts teeth into its side of the PED deal — and explosion from the union could possibly mean explosion from the game — then we'll start seeing results. The risk of PEDs and the rewards of life-changing wages become much greater when the risks include going and finding a real job at $35K a year.
Until the players and the owners police themselves, there is no way to ever expect the game to be cleansed.
This is a start. Maybe.
A fortnight to go
There are two weeks until National Signing Day. We are committed to spending some time every day answering your recruiting questions, be them here or on Press Row. Granted, that's a non-binding, verbal commitment, but it's a commitment none the less.
So what do we know with two weeks left? Great question. Let's explore:
• There are reports that a ton of late flips and flops could be the storyline of this national signing day. Who knows, but this year has felt pretty calm and clear so far. Is there drama on the horizon?
• Your UTC Mocs continue to roll on the recruiting trail, getting commitment No. 13, as TFP all-around ace Stephen Hargis tells us here. Couple things to like about Trevor Wright from Hargis' report — he has good size for an 'athlete' at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds; and whether he plays DB or WR, dude averaged better than 44 yards per kickoff return in 4A football. That's good times, and he could give the Mocs their best home-run-hitting return guys since Brian Sutherland.
• Despite having almost 700 commitments — or really 33 — the Tennessee Vols are looking to add more, as TFP all-orange expert Patrick Brown tells us here. The Vols' haul will be one of the nation's best — heck they already have 14 members of this recruiting class in school — and how they finish will be fun to follow.
• And the rich get richer. Not only does Alabama — the nation's most talented team the last three years — have a historic class in the works, the entire SEC is smoking the recruiting trail. Right now, Ole Miss is No. 15 nationally in recruiting according to Rivals.com, which is only good for ninth in the SEC. Wow.
This and that
— We love the draft. You know this. The NFL has decided to test that love tonight, and is allowing Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice to draft Pro Bowl rosters. Yes, we love the draft but we loathe the Pro Bowl. We have not decided if we're going to watch or not.
— The Vols have a monster test tonight at home against Arkansas, which has been a beast in Fayetteville and occasionally beastly on the road. UT has shaved its margin of error close to the bone as it is, and a home lose to a 12-5 Arkansas team with an RPI of 65 would hurt. UT is 11-6 and has a realtime RPI of 56.
— UTC signs a five-year deal with Adidas. Hey, we prefer Adidas shoes to all others (they fit our cinder-block-shaped feet better). Here's hoping the new uniforms are daring. Thoughts? (Side note: UTC finalized the five-year pact with Adidas the same day as Notre Dame inked a 10-year, $90 million deal with UnderArmour. Ninety Million is a ton of cabbage. Wonder if they will change the old-school UA slogan of "We must protect this house" to "We must protect this Touchdown Jesus.")
— Speaking of big-time cabbage, Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans are offering a bilion — yes, Billion with a 'B' — to anyone who picks a perfect NCAA tournament bracket. Here's TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's view on it.
— We're trying to come up with a court case that needs a change of venue more, but we can't think of one that demands moving location than the civil suit against Kristen Saban in the state of Alabama. Is there any way to find a group of 12 Alabamians without a Tide fan? We say no.
David Paschall and the bone-headed TFP sports editor on Press Row have adopted a daily Mount Rushmore and we're always looking for topical versions to throw out to our listeners. Have any suggestions?
We had the Rushmore of Shermans on Tuesday (we went with Richard Sherman, Sherman Hemsley, Sherman Klumpp from the Nutty Professor and Sherman Potter from M*ASH). Thoughts on a new Rushmore?
We thought about with the excellence of Kevin Durant right now, the best shooters 6-foot-10 or taller, and yes, KD joins Larry Joe Bird as the top two.
Thoughts, and remember the mailbag.
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 ...