5-at-10: College football, Augusta opens up and QB shuffles

5-at-10: College football, Augusta opens up and QB shuffles

August 21st, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Speaking with friend of the show Quake yesterday, it dawned on each of us that our jobs are more enjoyable (and busier) during football season. So it goes, but it's here, and it's all happening.

The mailbag is filling up, so if you want it, shoot it along.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

College football list

We have been listifying about college football in excited anticipation of the season satrting next week. We've done ninja coaches, pirate coaches, most valubale QBs and today we'll do most valuable non-QBs.

And remember, if there's a list you'd like to see, shoot it over. We're up for anything that meets with our F-O-I-B policies. (Heck we did ninja coaches after all.)

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore (21) runs for a touchdown. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Giddy-up

Most valuable non-quarterbacks in college football. (Remember, most valuable does not mean best per se. These are the guys that if they go down, there would be a major panic among fans, coaches and teams. And yes, it was tough leaving off "The man you know better as Joe the Policeman from the 'What's Going Down' episode of 'That's My Mamma' Mr. Sammie Watkins, any number of LSU defenders and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o "Daylight come and me want to go home" but so be it.)

1) Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina: Dude is a bell cow, and while Connor Shaw may be more reliable than Stephen Garcia, there's not a USC-east fan anywhere that wants to go to battle with Shaw flying solo.

2) Barrett Jones, Alabama: Arguably the best leader in college football this season. Dude was an All-American left tackle and accepted a move to center to help the Tide. This is one that would affect the team inside the locker room as much as on the field.

3) Montee Ball, Wisconsin: The Badgers have landed their yearly free agent quarterback, but it's not that tough handing the ball to Ball, provided he does not wander into a street fight before kickoff. Ball is poised to eclipse the 4,000-yard-career-rushing mark, and that's rarified air.

4) Jarvis Jones, Georgia: With Tyrann Mathieu in rehab, Jones may be the nation's most impact defensive player. And Georgia's defense could be special as long as he's on the field.

5) Brent Russell, Georgia Southern: Yes, this is a shout-out to our guy Spy, but Russell is a beast and the Eagles are poised to make a run. When the Mocs and the Eagles meet this fall, half of the FCS All-American defensive line will be on the field with Russell and UTC's Josh Williams.

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Augusta National admitted two deserving female members, financial world heavyweight Darla Moore and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It ended the all-male membership that had become a hot button issue in a decade-or-so-long standoff between women's rights groups and the private Augusta National membership.

At left, in a March 24, 2011 file photo, Darla Moore speaks to students at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. At right, in a Jan. 24, 2008 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice smiles during a meeting with trade union leaders in Medellin, Colombia. For the first time in it's 80-year history, Augusta National Golf Club has female members. The home of the Masters, under increasing criticism the last decade because of its all-male membership, invited former Secretary of State Rice and South Carolina financier Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Whether you think this is a great day for Augusta National or shrug your shoulders or even bemoan the fact that this should have happened years ago, this is a newsworthy event. Is it a red-letter day or a scarlet-letter day?

We could make an argument that yes, Augusta's move was a step forward. We could also argue that it happened 20-plus year too late. But we also feel that a private club should be allowed every right to decide its membership how it sees fit. Everyone is not entitled to be a part of everything everyone else is doing.

So it goes, we suppose. (Side note: The hypothetical questions out there of, "What if the women had said 'Thanks, but no thanks,'" are simply re-DONK-ulous. First, it's Augusta National for crying out loud. They don't ask twice. Secondly, if it's a decision this newsworthy and high-profile, you don't the Augusta National folks had every confidence - up to and including asking Moore and Rice behind close doors - this offer would be accepted before it was extended? This is not the senior prom.)

We were there when Martha Burke tried to strong arm Augusta National about opening their membership to women. Her point was heard and her delivery was loathed - then-president Hootie Johnson saying famously that Augusta would likely allow women members at some point, but would not do it "at the point of a bayonet."

So that controversy will end when Rice and Moore show up in mid-October in green jackets. (Side note II: OK, we all agree that the Augusta membership is not cheap, right? It seems like the prime, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it type of situation." But the club is closed from mid-May to Mid-October. So you're paying huge coin to be a part of the world's best course that you can't play in the summer? Hey, maybe women were the smart ones from the get-go.)

That said, there will be another controversy of conformity on the horizon soon enough. Hey, may the color wheel and Crayola will partner together against the Masters' jackets. Why should green be the only color?

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As the quarterbacks turn

OK, while prep football kicked off and college football is on the horizon, we have underplayed the NFL. It is the most popular sport in the country, and as we said all this month, we're all about our country. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A. (Side note: Is there a single sport out there that any one country would dominate as an Olympic sport as the U.S. of A. would in football - not soccer, but actual football? Kenya's marathon dynasty - it's fairly easy to develop a distance running dynasty when that's your nation's primary form of travel and you occasionally have to avoid tigers as often as traffic - would be in trouble. If surrendering was a sport, the French could offer a similar dynasty, we suppose. And hey, like Austin Powers' fahza Nigel said, "There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.")

OK, where were we? The NFL, yes. Some real quarterback news in the last 24 hours, and let's break each down as it affects the team and how it may affect your fantasy team.

- Titans name Jake Locker their starter.

Team view: This is the right move at the right time, even though owner Bud Adams' praise of Locker's height seems a little short sided. (Titans PR folks, it's time to keep Bud away from the mic. Deal? Deal.) The only reason to turn to Matt Hasselbeck for another fall is if you believe you can make the playoffs right now. That said, turning to Matt Hasselbeck, tells Jake Locker the coaches and the front office don't believe he's better than a veteran journeyman. The time for Locker is now - right or wrong. The Titans - management, coaches, players and fans - need to know if Locker is ready. So does Locker. To paraphrase Red and Andy from the yard, either get busy winning or get busy finding your quarterback of the future.

Fantasy view: Locker has a bona fide stud in the backfield in Chris Johnson. Locker has a good offensive line. His receivers are less than good, and defensive coordinators across the league are going to exploit his inexperience. Locker is no more than a late-round pick that could develop into an option midway through the season.

Ryan Tannehill

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

- Dolphins name Ryan Tannehill their starter.

Team view: This seems like a Joel Goodson from "Risky Business" move, and he's right sometimes you just have to say, "What the flip?" Hey, if you're options are Matt Moore or a gimpy David Gerrard or Tannehill, you kind of picking Farmer Ted from "Sixteen Candles." He may be the king of the dipsticks, but at least he's the king. Tannehill has an outside chance at having more success than many believe simply because Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was his coach at Texas A&M and should have a firm grasp on how to put Tannehill in the best possible position to succeed.

Fantasy view: Similar description as Locker's, but Miami has fewer weapons on the perimeter. Heck, the Dolphins were so desperate at receiver they tried to make the Chad Ochocinco/Johnson project work.

- Mike Vick hurts his ribs.

Team view: None, really. He'll be fine.

Fantasy view: Vick can be one of the real game changers in fantasy football. If plays a whole season, he can be the FFMVP and 90 percent of the league champions everywhere will have him. If he gets hurt, well, you're then the guy talking yourself into either Locker or Tannehill off the waiver wire.

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This and that

- Tough loss for your Atlanta Braves. And for the first time, we got an extended view of the Nationals, and they are pretty stacked. Their lineup is better than the Braves', their starters are similar (at least until Strasburg gets put in timeout) and their manager is more experienced. This is going to be a fight to the end. Side note: Jason Heyward has been a stud. Period. And his game-tying homer last night sounded like a cannon shot. After his inexplicable demise last summer, Heyward looks like the bona fide mix between Dave Parker and Eric Davis again.

- What a weekend for golfers with ties to the area? TFP golf ace David Uchiyama connects the dots http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/21/golf-chattanooga-better-than-par/ of five players with local ties who made a mark this weekend at all levels. Cuh-razy.

- Watching the Little League World Series last night, one of teams had a boy named Hu on their team. (Yes, Johnny Cash fans, he has to be tough because he's a boy named Hu.) And amazing he played, you guessed it, first base. So there was a boy named Hu's on first. And that may be the first around the horn of Cash-to-Abbott-to-Costello pop culture reference of all time.

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Today's question(s)

Feel free to free flow. It's a catch-all Tuesday.

If you need some starting points, here we go:

What do you make of Roger Clemens returning to baseball, pitching for the Skeeters of the independent league in Texas?

Which cartoon character was most underrated Hong Kong Phooey, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn or Droopy? Discuss.

If you're a Braves front office type and another team called and said, "What's it going to take to trade Jason Heyward?" what's your response?

A) You're best Dr. Evil, "A billion dollars..."

B) "Whatcha offering?"

C) You hang up the phone

D) Start with your best pitcher and your best position prospect

Discuss.