published Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

5-at-10: Saban's logic, Big 3, Bad Moon and college hoops Rushmore,

Gang, remember the mailbag.

From the "Talks too much" studios, please Hammer, don't hurt them.

Saban speaks

The 10-second rule will come up again this week.

Here's a 10-second briefing on the 10-second rule, which has been called the Saban Rule by none other than Steve Spurrier because of Alabama coach Nick Saban's support of the proposal:

A small collection of coaches that despise the hurry-up approach that is the offensive plan du jour have hatched a propose rule change that teams can't snap the ball until at least 10 seconds have elapsed or face a delay of game penalty. The coaches who hate the hurry-up make this pitch in good faith because they believe the game of football will be safer if it's played slower.

  • photo
    Alabama coach Nick Saban talks with media during Pro Day at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The tug of war that has ensued has ranged from Arkansas coach Brett Bielema callously and wrongly saying a California player's death was in part because of the pace of play to Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez parodying the movie "Speed" in an effort to make a point. Bielema quickly apologized for his insensitive remark.

Amid the hubbub that also included several coaches complaining about the back-door and secretive nature in which this rule progressed through channels and the request from several coaches to see this "evidence" that pace makes the game more dangerous has been relative silence from Saban.

That ended Tuesday when Saban talked to

"I don't care about getting blamed for this. That's part of it," Saban told "But I do think that somebody needs to look at this very closely.

"The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there's no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What's the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there's no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, 'Yeah, there probably is.'"

Hmmmmm. Let's set a baseline here. Saban is the best coach in college football. We have much respect for his skills and talents. We have dubbed him "Perfection's Guardian" because he assembles the most talent and demands the most from them, making sure every five-star knows that if he does not produce he will be replaced. That's why seeing Alabama come up short in its final two games last season was so shocking. We have become accustomed to Alabama's perfection under Saban, and anything short of that is surprising.

That's an amazing accomplishment in the wide-spread realm that is modern-day college football and the utmost cutthroatery that is the current SEC. And Saban rules it.

But.... his 'logic' on this one is one-sided and narrow. It's crafted like a hard-core political speech focusing on a detail that makes for a fun sound bite, but is unsound upon further review. (And side note: This is a proposed rule change in a college game, can we please stop using life-and-death references in regard to the 10-second rule. Sure, it's a serious matter, but c'mon.)

If Saban believes fewer plays are logically safer, then maybe we should have 10-minute quarters.

Or, if we're using logic, then maybe we should cap the size of specific players? Or the speed, because we can logically assume that bigger players moving at faster rates are inherently more dangerous, correct?

But that would limit Saban's edge, since he has more big and fast guys than everyone else, wouldn't it.

Everyone has an agenda in this matter, and it's either protecting one team's approach or trying to limit another's.

Saban said continually that his motivation is safety, and who's to question him since there are few teams, regardless how quickly they snap the ball that have had continued success against his team.

He even suggested that the college game more mirror the NFL game because "they spend millions and millions" to try to make the game safer. (We would argue the NFL spends millions and millions on the game to make billions and billions, but we might be a touch cynical.)

Sure, the NFL snaps way fewer plays than the average college game, but that's mainly because the clock-stoppage rules are radically different.

And if there is hard evidence that pace of play is directly responsible for a more dangerous game, then the discourse on this proposed rule change is a must.

But to use logic as your basis, then it's shaky from the snap of the ball.

Is it logical to have the defense dictate the flow of the offense? Is it logical to have a delay of game penalty for moving too fast? Is it logical to come up with a football environment that is safe?

Nope, none of that is logical, no matter how fast or slow you prefer to go.


College hoops primer

We are going to have a college hoops entry every day for the next couple of weeks. It's March after all.

Also, remember that we will have our annual NCAA tournament contest here. We're sticking with the last-in, first-out format in which you pick the last double-digit seed left standing and the first No. 1 seed to get bounced. Invite some friends, and we may up the ante this year in the prize categeory.

We'll also be playing in the bracket challenge at as part of the Press Row endeavor. Good times.

Here's today's Quick 3:

1) Syracuse continues to implode. The Orange lost to Georgia Tech (who knew they still had a team) and some senior point guard named Trae Golden (where do we know that name). It's the second home loss to a team with a losing record in the last two weeks. Gross. (And yes, we're still riding Syracuse, which has officially flipped places with UNC as the biggest bracket conundrum.)

2) Major props to Will Wade for being named the SoCon coach of the year. Well-played indeed. And yes, we're 100 percent certain that he would trade that hardware for a tournament title, but it's still nice. When he joined us on Press Row, we tried to get Wade to commit to shaving assistant coach Was Long's head if the Mocs advanced to the NCAA tournament, but he declined. Wade did say if the players made him an offer he couldn't refuse, he'd listen. Ideas?

3) Is there any way to describe tonight's game at Auburn as anything but must-win for UT? We say no. Road conference losses normally do not count against you that much, but the timing and the nature of this circumstance for the Vols feels most different. Will they be ready? Thoughts?

And 1 — We asked Joe Lunardi whether he's an eye-test guy or an RPI guy and he told us he's 100 percent on the quantitative side of the ledger. Good question Chas9.


Bad Moon re-rises

Andre Rison, the outspoken former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl wide receiver, is a newly hired high school football head coach in Arizona.

That'd be pretty strange, right? Having a guy that was a very public and very boisterous figure being the guy coaching your high school sophomore.

Not as strange as Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell from 2 Live Crew coaching your kid or even Snoop D-O-Double G, but still.

And yes, Dennis Rodman, international diplomat is the pinnacle of "He's doing what!?!?!?!!?" former athletes.

Still, Bad Moon Rison — the guy that was married to Left Eye, who burnt their house down — being Coach Taylor seems like a stretch.


This and that

— Very interesting short film here on a Charlotte guy who fashioned just the third perfect putt-putt round on record. Good stuff.

  • photo
    USA basketball players LeBron James, left, jokes with teammate Kevin Durant as they sit on the bench during a game against Tunisia.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Kevin Durant answered the James bell. A night after LeBron scored 61 to swing the conversation back to South Beach, an undeterred Durant dropped 42 on the dreadful Sixers. As efficient as James was getting 61 on 33 shots, Durant was moreso, hitting 42 on just 20 shots, and it could have been more considering Durant, who is normally a 90-percent free-throw shooter was 12-of-18 from the foul line. We are enjoying the silent tug of war between the game's two best players. Good times

— Thunder, part II. And if you want to know why the Thunder are doing everything in their power to get Russell Westbrook back in the flow, well, he did rock a triple-double Tuesday night in 20 minutes of action. Yep, Westbrook went 13-10-14 in a little more than a quarter and a half. Ouch-standing.

— The Braves won yesterday for the first time this year. And even more surprising than that is the stat that Danny Struggla is hitting .300 through the club's seven spring exhibitions so far. We're smelling contract extension. (Kidding, kidding.)


Today's question

Creighton All-American Doug McDermott moved into ninth all-time in college basketball scoring. He passed Danny Manning last night during his 22-point game against Georgetown.

The guy they call Dougie McBuckets — which is a boss nickname — could get as high as fifth all time in Division I scoring. Here's the top 10:

Pete Maravich, LSU — 3,667

Freeman Williams, Portland State — 3,249

Lionel Simmons, La Salle — 3,217

Alphonso Ford, Mississippi Valley State — 3,165

Harry Kelly, Texas Southern — 3,066

Keydren Clark, Saint Peter's — 3,058

Hersey Hawkins, Bradley — 3,008

Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati — 2,973

Doug McDermott, Creighton — 2,966

Danny Manning, Kansas — 2,951

Who's on your Rushmore of all-time college hoops greats?

(Side note: Add Pistol Pete's all-time NCAA scoring mark to the list of unbreakable records, too. Wow that's a lot of points, and he played 23 fewer games than everyone else on the above list except The Big O, who played 86 career games to Pistol's 83 career games.)

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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MocTastic said...

With respect to Saban, if we had fewer possessions and slower players in college basketball we probably cut down injuries there also. After all, fewer possessions and slower would result in less exposure to injury. So, I am proposing no fast breaks in college basketball. Balls must be walked up the court. Any player that is found to be running will be whistled for a penalty resulting in two free throws. That should make for lower scoring games and less injuries. If that works, maybe we should even look at banning jumping in the game. Many injuries occur when players leave the ground and have to land. Lets make the game as safe as possible.

March 5, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.
chas9 said...

Question for Friday: How much better would The Vols be with a Golden point guard?

Yes, The 'Cuse may be the biggest bracket buster, but the term may be almost irrelevant this year, when it's all wide open. Former Caesar's oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman says the difference between the projected #1 is and projected #4 seeds is less than four points. That's 16 teams inseparable by more than one bad bounce and one missed call.

And even when he matches up the top 16 teams with their likely Sweet 16 matchups, the biggest spread is #1 seed Florida 9.5 over #8 seed Stanford. That round has #3 seed Creighton 1.5 over #6 seed Kentucky. Close your eyes and make your picks. A 12 beating a 5 won't be an upset this year. Or even a 13 over a 4.

But the SEC tourney seeds will matter. A lot. As things stand, #4 Tennessee, needing a win or two, will be bracketed with #1 Florida, while #2 Kentucky is bracketed with #3 Georgia.

The situation is reversed on the distaff side. The #4 XX Cats are bracketed with #1 South Carolina, while the #2 XX Vols get the #3 A&M.

In the current XX AP poll, SC is #5, UT is #6, UK is #12, and if you include "others getting votes," UTC is #27. Current seeds, according to Lunardi, are SC a 1, UT a 2, UK a 4, and UTC a 12. And The Lady Vols had a big win over the Lady Cocks Sunday.

Thanks for the mention. I heard Lunardi's sensible take on the numbers over eye test. But I live in a fringe reception area, and early in the show there were two other 105.1 signals drowning out Press Row. Maybe it was atmospheric aberration. Anybody else have that trouble?

Kentucky beat Bama yesterday, but the W wasn't encouraging. UK continued their abysmal shooting, hitting only 32.7%. From three land, The Tide hit 23% and UK only 18%. And though they weren't falling, The Cats kept firing away, a total of 28 threes attempted. That's a sign their dribble drive is defunct. Thought I was watching Tennessee.

King James' mask is awesome. But know this: Wilt had back-to-back 60+ games 11 times. So Lebron can get outta here with his weak stuff.

March 5, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.
MocTastic said...

Heard on ESPN yesterday, know what Wilt would say to 61 points? Halftime.

1961 to 62 season Wilt averaged 50.4 points per game and 25.7 rebounds per game.

Wilt was the most dominant player ever in the game, sorry Lebron.

Check this out:


Remember, basketball had a rule change due to Wilt, from the interweb:

When Wilt Chamberlain was in high school, he had a unique way of shooting free-throws. He would stand at the top of the key, throw the ball up toward the basket, take two steps, jump toward the rim and jam the ball through the net. Doing this resulted in basketball rules to state that a player cannot cross the plane of the free-throw line when shooting a free-throw.

He is the only person I remember who could block Jabbar's skyhook.

March 5, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, have you contacted your State Representative or Senator urging the passage of a resolution declaring the Third Day in March Lebron James Day in Tennessee? If not yet, the following is free use, "This honor is in recognition of his many important contributions to the condition to man and mankind, specifically for scoring a personal record 61 points in an NBA game."

All time college greats, David "Sky Walker" Thompson, Wilt Chamberlain , Pistol Pete, Jerry West.

March 5, 2014 at 11:55 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

40+ years ago Bryant hired an OC to install the Wish-Bone [thanks, please pass the 1000 island]. Maybe Satan...oops...Saban should hire an OC to install the hurry-up/spread [Parkay?]. Can you tell I am fasting today?

If Satan...oops...Saban wants the college game to be more like the NFL, maybe he should coach in the NFL. What's that you say? He can't win in the NFL? Really now?


March 5, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.
MocTastic said...

I suspect Saban is one of those coaches whose welome would wear out real quick with a team of players who some of are making more than him. He apparently is a mini-dictator type of coach and that style has a quick half-life in the NFL, while in college the players are gone by the time they can't stand him anymore.

March 5, 2014 at 12:09 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Another little tidbit for you to ponder JG regarding the man who was MJ before there ever was an MJ...A interview with Bill Walton who said that had Pistol been playing with today's rules with the 3pt line, etc would have averaged over 57 points per game at LSU...he was in a class by himself in college basketball...

March 5, 2014 at 12:23 p.m.
titanic said...


Bernard King, Larry Bird, The Pistol, and James "Fly" Williams (Austin Peay). If you're under 40, you probably never heard of the Fly. If you ever saw him play, you'd never forget him.

March 5, 2014 at 12:23 p.m.
MocTastic said...

The Fly is open,let's go Peay!

March 5, 2014 at 12:26 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

FEtheC, MT, OG + Mr T:

Well played boys...well played indeed...


March 5, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.
chas9 said...

MT--You beat me to it. Has there ever been a cheer anywhere close to as good as that one?

And Wilt's fly was open a lot, too, resulting in lots of scoring.

But no scoring in Knoxville, if our legislators have their way.

March 5, 2014 at 12:43 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Look at you folks, spread the love and the cheer. Not quite to Wilt's standards, but still.

Our Rushmore — Pistol, Alcinder, Manning and (cover you eyes 9) Laettner.

Love the feedback and the back and forth.

FE to the C —

Great idea on LBJ Day. But in a way, isn't every day LBJ? Kumbaya.

MT —

Yes, that seems like a fair Saban = NFL breakdown. Also, we need to make sure baseball pitchers are throwing under-handed and there are slew of hockey issues that need to be address. Remember, it's about the children.

OG —

Here's our Pistol story. Our dentist back in Smyrna played at Georgia when Pistol was at LSU.

So the Tigers come to Athens, and Pistol is being Pistol. Clock's running out before the half and he lofts a half-court hook shot that swishes through. As he's leaving the court, a couple of students are giving him the business about "You're lucky this," and "You're full of that."

So.... first possession the second half, Pistol lofts a half-court hook that naturally swishes, and looks at the student section and says, "Any questions?"

MJ before MJ indeed.

And a big-money mustache.

March 5, 2014 at 1:01 p.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Greatest college basketball players: Pistol Pete, Elvin Hayes, Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton with honorable mention to the Big O.

Saban needs to get with the program or the game will pass him by. After the Auburn and Oklahoma games showed chinks in the armour he needs make changes so maybe that is why he brought in Kiffin. If he is worried about injuries he can tell his players not to play or he can retire that will cut down on them.

March 5, 2014 at 1:10 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Jay, you forgot to mention that KD got his 42 through only 3 quarters. Can the Sixers make it any more obvious that they are tanking this season away? All the more reason for the NBA to consider giving the lottery teams an equal chance at the top pick.

Wilt's 50 pt/game season was spectacular. But if LeBron played back then, he'd do it too. AND average a triple double just like the big O. And I don't have a LeBron man-crush like Jay does. I'm just calling it like I see it.

Did you see Dominique say that he could drop 40 on the Bobcats at age 54? What's he smokin'? And he implied that LeBron got 61 simply because the Bobcats weren't playing good defense. First of all, if bad defense is all it takes to get 61, why are more guys not doing it against the bad teams in the league year in and year out? Plus, 'Nique had his share of games against bad foes as well. It's his own fault if he didn't exploit the bad matchups when they came.

March 5, 2014 at 2:09 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Coach Saban is all about the safety of his players. Upon hearing that recent signee Rashaan Evans is getting the business from the war eagle crowd in his hometown of Auburn, Nick "Li'l Vladimir" Saban has amassed a collection of five-star warlords and intends to annex Lee County into the Federation of Crimson States. Saban has stated that he believes it important to protect the ethnic minority of rammer jammers from those animals in Lee County.

When reached for comment, Gus Malzhan said: "Oh, Crimea river!" In response, Saban said: "I am strong like bull...I must break you."

March 5, 2014 at 3:07 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The college Rushmore ... Alcindor, Walton, David Thompson, Len Bias. The Spy will now close his office door and wipe a tear away thinking about Len Bias. Almost want to substitute Pistol Pete for Lew.

So Struggla's hitting .300 in spring training. There are fewer emptier numbers than those generated in exhibition seasons.

Dan Patrick has been railing about how unwatchable college hoops has become. I don't know. I watched T.J. Warren from N.C. State put on a show the other night against a good Pitt team in Pittsburgh. There was last night's Tech shocker in the Carrier Dome (Syracuse is an underrated town. It's also usually under eight feet of snow, but it is an underrated town).

March 5, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.
MocTastic said...

I am happier with Uggla hitting .300 in spring training than .180.

March 5, 2014 at 3:51 p.m.
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