5-at-10: College coaching ninjas, Melky's little helper and celebrating The King

5-at-10: College coaching ninjas, Melky's little helper and celebrating The King

August 16th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

We're starting to see the light at the end of the football preview sections tunnel and we believe it's not a train. We're a lot tired, a little slappy and a touch punch drunk. But we're here, without fear, get used to it.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's go.

Hi Karate chop

Alabama coach Nick Saban gestures during NCAA college football practice Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

We have tossed out a couple of great early college football lists.

Wait, rewind, let's fill everyone in. From now to the start of college football season, we're going to offer a top five list every day. It's our personal duty as we speed headlong into the best sports time of the year.

Tuesday was the top five Heisman finalists. Wednesday was the top five pirates among today's college football coaches. Today, we're taking a cue from Todd962 and listing the top five ninjas among college football coaches.

1) Nick Saban, Alabama: Dude is a bad man. Chief among the qualities of ninjas everywhere are secrecy and espionage. And Saban is flush in secrecy. Think of it this way: As much success as Saban has had at Alabama and all the attention and focus that has created, can you name one thing about Saban personally other than he likes Oatmeal Creme Pies? (And to be fair, we would feel pretty safe saying that about anyone because they are that good. Gandhi? He had to love Oatmeal Creme Pies. Babe Ruth? No doubt. Osama bin Laden? No, probably hated OCPs, but that man was evil, so that makes sense.... where were we?)

2) Urban Meyer, THE Ohio State: We're not sold on Meyer as the genius coach that most in the media (i.e. ESPN) believe him to be. His success has been generated by having the No. 1 overall NFL pick at a mid-major program and the single best college football player since Herschel Walker. That said, Meyer has the ninja vibe and when you make career decisions that stun your family, well, that's ninja.

3) James Franklin, Vandy: OK, dude is not as quiet and behind-the-scenes as a normal ninja. Still, Franklin is making waves at Vandy - not exactly a common occurrence - so he has to have some tricks up his sleeve. And he is working some magic on the recruiting trail (we don't believe Vandy's out of it for Vonn Bell) and at Vandy that screams ninja.

4) Steve Sarkisian, Washington: Dude can coach. Really. And he's got the Huskies on the verge of making a run. In fact, when the Huskies win 10 games and Sarkisian is offered a big-boy job and half the country asks, "Who's Steve Sarkisian?" the answer is ninja.

5) Les Miles, LSU: We think Les should make every list if for no other reason than we get to quote Les. In fact, he may have been looking for some secret agent/ninja help a couple years ago when he was asked how to stop Auburn terror Cam Newton. "If I could have a spy no one could see, a guy on the field that didn't count, that would be a great answer." God bless Les Miles.

That explains everything

This June 5, 2012 file photo shows San Francisco Giants' Melky Cabrera reacting after striking out during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego. Cabrera has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for testosterone. The commissioner's office says the suspension is effective immediately. Major League Baseball said on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, that Cabrera tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance, which violates MLB's joint drug prevention and treatment program.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

OK, we may not have talked about it before, but raise your hand if you were stunned by Melky Cabrera's stunning succes the last 18 months.

Dude was a fourth outfielder with the Yankees and came to Atlanta and became a bitter teammate that lead the free world in wasted at-bats and ground outs with two outs and runners on first and third.

Then he goes to K.C. and starts hitting. That could have been blind squirrel stuff or just being the best player on the Royals, which means a river of facing mediocre pitchers and no one caring because you're the best player on the Royals.

But through August, Cabrera has been right there with Andrew McCutchen as the frontrunner for the NL MVP. How? Dude went from fireplace mantle to Mickey Mantle in the blink of an eye... or the cycle of a steroid.

Cabrera was suspended 50 games Wednesday for testing positive for testosterone. The Giants have 44 games left in the regular season and Cabrera's suspension would carry into the playoffs if the Giants advance.

And while ninjas would not use steroids - and if they did, they certainly would not get caught - maybe it's something in the water in the Giants clubhouse.

Around college football

Georgia State NCAA college football coach Bill Curry talks to reporters at a news conference where he announced that he will retire after this season, in Atlanta, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Lots going on in the college football world. Let's survey:

- Bill Curry announced his decision to retire at the end of the season. Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has a great view on Curry. And know this, Curry is a real champion. Seriously. That guy is just a fine and respectable human being.

- Lane Kiffin has yielded his vote in the coaches' poll after the dust up whether he did or didn't vote his USC Trojans No. 1 (he did). Now Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is weighing in. Whatever.

- Apparently, 20 schools contacted LSU to see if the Honey Badger needed a new home. Tyrann Mathieu likely will announce his transfer plans in the next day or so after meeting with Les Miles, who told him to move along and get on with getting on.

- Reggie Bush returned his Heisman.

Can you feel it? We're close. Really close.

This and that

Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez hugs manager Eric Wedge after Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, in Seattle.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

- OK, they've been playing baseball for a while, right? And there have only been 23 perfect games in big league history after King Felix Hernandez threw a gem for the Mariners on Wednesday. That seems crazy, no? And how about the fact that there's been three this season and six since the middle of 2009? That's more than 25 percent of the perfect games ever in the last three years. Nuts. Ninja.

- Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will miss some time with a spleen injury. Here's hoping he's ready for the opener. Witten's a good dude.

- The U.S. men's soccer team won in Mexico for the first time ever. This would be like the Mexican national hot-dog eating champion coming into Coney Island and beating Joey Chestnut. Huge upset. (What's that? Did we watch it? Of course not, it's soccer, but hey, we're all about U-S-A! U-S-A!)

- The Braves punched the Padres in the halo. And from the files of "Ninjas doing work," how about that Paul Maholm? After Ryan Dempster was unwilling to come to the A-T-L, the Braves landed Maholm, who has allowed one run in his last 16 innings over his last two starts - both wins - for your Braves. As for Dempster, well, he's been very un-ninja like with Texas.

- We're planning on chatting with Chris Goforth today around 2 p.m. on The Show on 1370 AM today.

Today's question

Elvis on the set of 1962's "Ninjas! Ninjas! Ninjas!"

Elvis died 35 years ago today.

With today's question you have three options as we tip our visor to the man known as the King:

Who's on your Mount Rushmore of individual music acts of all time? (We'll take Elvis, the Boss, Michael Jackson and Zamfir - one of those is a joke of course... we'd never pick MJ.)

Was Elvis a ninja? (We say overwhelmingly yes for Young Elvis and so-so on Vegas Elvis.)

Peanut and banana sandwiches: Friend or foe? (We'd say friend but view them more as an acquaintance.)

Discuss, and happy birthday to the Mrs. 5-at-10 today. And yes, if you're scoring at your home computer, the Mrs. 5-at-10 has her birthday and our anniversary right in the middle of the craziness that is football preview time. She's aces.