5-at-10: UT contest, Tuscaloosa rumors, Yankees on the brink

5-at-10: UT contest, Tuscaloosa rumors, Yankees on the brink

October 17th, 2012 in Sports - Columns

Remember the Friday mailbag, and, hey, do something nice today. Bring a co-worker a cup of coffee, speak to a stranger, buy a newspaper. It's well worth the investment.

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

Derek Dooley and Nick Saban

"A contest of course"

We know Friday is mailbag day, but we felt the need to include this e-mail from our dear friend - and UT alum - scole203 as soon as possible:

Dude, it's the Third Sunday in October. I am not overly confident in much about the game other than I won't be watching it at your house.

(Side note from the 5-at-10: The only two times scole023, who lives in the midstate, has watched UT play at the 5-at-10 compound was the 2009 Alabama game and the 2010 LSU game. Yes, the T-Cody blocked field goal and the 75 Vols on the field at the end. He won't be back in the 423 for a Vols game any time soon. Back to the email.)

The one thing that could make this thing tolerable is a 5-at-10 contest. You know how I like to win stuff.

My score: Alabama 24, UT 12

C'mon 5-at-10, you're our only hope.

- Johnny Vols Fan No. 023

OK, we're 100 percent behind this idea. You know the basics: Pick the score of Saturday's UT-Alabama game. Whoever hits or is closest to the point difference (Price is Right rules are in play of course) wins. If there is a tie, the closest in total points wins.

Any questions?

Thanks scole023, and thanks for the old-school Star Wars reference at the end.

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This Aug. 3, 2012 file photo shows Jimmy Haslam III during a news conference in Berea, Ohio. The sale of the Cleveland Browns to Haslam III was unanimously approved by NFL owners Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, and team President Mike Holmgren will be leaving the Browns at the end of the season. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Conspiracy theorists unite

As soon as Jimmy Haslam was officially introduced as the new owner of the Cleveland Browns, the official 5-at-10 Hotline started buzzing with texts among a group of of our friends with SEC alliances.

"Hey, Haslam's going to hire Fulmer... Ha-Ha-Ha."

"Who cares about the Browns... But his brother looks like Dana Carvey from the SNL days."

"Hey dude - what if he hired Saban? That would be awesome."

"YES!!!"

"Shut-up - NO WAY. Shut-up." (Yes, this was the Johnny Tide Fan in the group.)

And on and on it went. It only increased in fever and pitch when Browns GM Mike Holmgren announced he was resigning at season's end.

While we don't believe Saban is going anywhere in the immediate future, look at the positives for Haslam in hiring Saban:

- He'd be helping the team he owns (forget Saban's time in Miami, we believe he's as good a talent evaluator as there is anywhere and that makes all the difference in the NFL);

- He'd be helping his beloved UT Vols (and the SEC, because let's face it, as long as Saban is in T-Town, the SEC title goes through the Capstone);

- The move would be so popular in the state it almost assuredly would secure his brother's re-election as governor (and yes, Bill Haslam looks like Dana Carvey - a lot; so much so that if Billy Haslam ever runs for president, it actually could revive Carvey's career - and that's saying something)

- And if the coffers are getting a little cash-strapped after paying a billion bucks for the Browns, if they pull off luring Saban to the NFL, the Haslams could open Pilot stations in Auburn, Baton Rouge, Fayetteville, Athens, et al., and recoup the funds in one football season from grateful fans across the league.

C'mon Jimmy, you're our only hope.

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Detroit Tigers' Omar Infante dives back into second as New York Yankees' Robinson Cano reaches to tag him in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the American League championship series Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. Infante was called safe on the play by umpire Jeff Nelson.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Yankees staring at 3-bagel hole

The Detroit Tigers are good. And they seem like a likable bunch.

But if it's the Tigers-San Francisco Giants in the World Series, well, that won't be appointment TV for us. So it goes.

Well, other than the games that Justin Verlander pitches that is.

Verlander was awesome in a 2-1 win Tuesday as the Tigers took a 3-0 lead over the struggling New York Yankees. And watching the overpowering right-hander dominate even when he doesn't have his plus-stuff is good times.

As for the Yankees, the makeshift offense has become so broken that three runs would be considered a bonanza and five would be considered Shoney's breakfast bar.

At the core of the Yankees' offensive meltdown is Alex Rodriguez, one of the game's highest paid stars who has struggled so much that he became a spectator in Tuesday's must-win ALCS game.

That's right, A-Rod and his $30 million salary were on the bench.

Debate the move all you want - A-Rod is a brutal 3-of-23 (.130) with three singles and 12 strikeouts in the playoffs but is .333 career against Verlander - but this move certainly goes beyond the physical and to the mental.

Case in point: The Yankees have runners on first and second and two outs. Lefty closer Phil Coke is on the mound for Detroit and with the season in the balance, Joe Girardi stays with left-handed Raul Ibanez with A-Rod on the bench. Granted Raul Ibanez has been hot in the playoffs, but still. And fellow mental marshmallow and struggler Nick Swisher was waiting in the on-deck circle to pinch hit. Not A-Rod.

That's $30 million well spent.

And this may carry over since this is far more about A-Rod's fragile mental state.

In fact, Kobe Bryant reached out to A-Rod and tried to offer some advise, telling ESPN that A-Rod has to remember he's one of the best to ever play the game.

"We're different," Bryant told the worldwide leader. "But you're talking about, 'He's one of the best to ever play.' I think really the difference is, sometimes he forgets he's the best. ... Where, I don't."

C'mon, Kobe, you're A-Rod's only hope. (Well that or the never-before-attempted confidence transplant. This is occasionally referred to as a "Marbles" move for those familiar with Major League II.)

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This and that

- Wow, that's hardly shocking. Word came down Tuesday that Penn State had decided not to renew the contract of Penn State AD Tim Curley. Wonder why? Has anything happened at Penn State recently that would reflect negatively on the leadership in the athletic department? In fact, why was dude allowed to finish his contract at all? They ask Paterno to leave but allow Curley to finish out his contract? How is that fair and what type of evidence does Curley have hidden?

- The Fab 4 picks (plus 1) are on deck for Thursday, and we have to tell you, we're wrestling with some of them this week. Badly. We feel like Rowdy Roddy Piper in the early Wrestlemania days. Minus the kilt of course.

- OK, check out the photo to the right of the dude that forgot to apply the bronzing cream to his melon. This is so outstanding. And for those of you who think his mistake was not applying it to his head, we'll counter that using bronzing cream to begin with was the mistake. Heck, all those hours in the gym and everyone who looks at this picture thinks it was a photoshop job. Heck if Luis was here, we can picture the 5-at-10's pale mug up there. Wait. What the...

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Today's question

We have more than a few littered throughout today?

Let's recap:

What's your UT-Alabama predicted score?

What's more important for pro athletes, talent or confidence? Or better yet, which is easier to overcome a temporary lack of confidence or a temporary lack of talent?

Why did Spy forget to use the bronzing gel on his head?

Discuss, and bring it. It's the Third Saturday of October this week, and you're our only hope.