5-at-10: More Vols fallout, NFL POWer Poll and memorable quotes from the weekend

5-at-10: More Vols fallout, NFL POWer Poll and memorable quotes from the weekend

September 18th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

From the "Talks too much studios," let's get to it...

Tennessee Volunteers coach Derek Dooley looks on in the fourth quarter of the loss Saturday night to Florida at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. Dooley said the coaches as well as the players learned some lessons from the Gators' late-game dominance.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Vols try to pick up the pieces

There are a slew of reasons to like sports.

Competition. Excellence. Excitement. Winning. Work. Pick a lesson and a component and sports in general can offer untold wealths and rewards.

It's one of the side benefits beyond the basic aesthetics of athletics.

For the 5-at-10, two of our favorite subplots in sports are inertia and response.

Inertia is the scientific fact that things in motion tend to stay in motion and things at rest tend to stay at rest. This is true in sports and the it's the scientific definition of momentum. We like to watch the ebbs and flows of momentum during any sporting event.

As for response, we like to watch how coaches get their team to respond. How they handle the hurdles and cover the challenges without getting too high after success and too low after struggles.

A coach who can guide the ship through the turbulence and triumph with an even hand is built for long-term success. Bobby Cox was excellent at it.

So now we'll see how Derek Dooley is at regrouping his troops. The Vols as a team had a lot invested in Saturday's Florida game - as did the fan base - and the fourth-quarter meltdown has left a stinging pain in the right arm of Johnny Vols Fans everywhere.

And yes, there is a sizable percentage of UT nation that want Dooley gone. We can see that, but we can all agree that Dooley is going to be the coach of the UT football team at least for the next few weeks, right?

So let's evaluate where they go from here. Akron should not be that much of a problem on Saturday, but the trip to Georgia - a trip to Dooley's hometown no less - is shaping up to be the defining moment of his career.

We have always believed that good coaches can regroup a team amid challenges and great coaches can regroup them amid great distractions. The inverse of that is true too, and if these Vols do not respond with an inspired effort in what will surely be the biggest game in Dooley's coaching career, then we all will see exactly what kind of presence Dooley has in the UT locker room.

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Officials break up a scuffle between Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos players after a Falcons fumble during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Pouya Dianat)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NFL POWer Poll

There are six NFL teams that are 2-0. That's a testament to balance across the league and the working attributes of flex scheduling and salary caps.

One of those six is Arizona, which has won with John Skelton and Kevin Kolb at quarterback. That's a testament to a blind squirrel finding an open receiver. The Cardinals will not make the Pow-er Poll.

Here are the five strongest teams in the NFL as of this morning:

1) San Francisco: Not only are the 49ers 2-0, they have convincingly handled Green Bay and Detroit, two teams that figure to be playoff contenders. Looking at that defense, the 49ers have done an amazing job of collecting former first-rounders - Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner were first-round busts in Washington and Buffalo respectively but have flourished in San Fran - and melding them with later-round picks. That's the NFL's best defense.

2) Atlanta: Hey, giggle all you want, but the Falcons beat the Denver Peytons last night by forcing turnovers, which was one of Atlanta's biggest questions marks. With the Saints looking discombobulated (underrated word, right there), the Falcons control their destiny in the NFC South and could be a contender.

3) Houston: Best running back tandem in Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Aggressive defense that brings Wade Phillips back into the conversation (shout out to the Dallas office and Run JMC). That said, we're not buying long-term success because can we really trust Matt Schaub.

4) The NFL referees: Gang, the Monday Night Football game between the Falcons and the Mannings was marred by several spotty spots and questionable questions. Plus the game toooooooooooooooook foreveeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrr. And the replacement refs played a huge role in each. Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer had an excellent column from the Georgia Dome on this last night here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/sep/18/falcons-look-good-in-midnight-football-win/. The NFL is risking a 10-figure product on a seven-figure negotiation. If Al Davis was still alive, he would have already fixed this.

5) Philadelphia: The Eagles have turned it over 76 times in two games (that may be an overstatement, but the 5-at-10's research department did not show up today - they stay indoors when it rains). Plus, the Eagles are 2-0 with a scoring difference of plus-2, and even without the research department we know that's two pretty close games. So what does that tell us? The NFL is such a close collection of teams that winning and losing one or two games is the difference between 8-8 and 10-6, which means winning two close games can be the difference between sitting at home and making the playoffs.

That or the Eagles are the league's biggest pretenders. We should know more about that this week in the Pretender Bowl when the Eagles play at the Cardinals and quarterback Red Skelton or Kevin Costner. (Stupid research department.)

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LSU coach Les Miles speaks to reporters at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media day, Wednesday, July 18, 2012, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Athletes say the darnedest things

This is a floating feature that we should really use more of. Athletes - and coaches, too - have two speeds when it coms to quotes. There's cliche and there's awesome. Rarely is something in the middle.

The first determining factor is the person. Les Miles is the Zeus of quotes because he's an equal mix of charismatic, clueless and clever. In fact, we're going to listen to Les on this week's teleconference just for spits and giggles. (And know this, media teleconferences are not fun. Period. Unless of course Les Miles is involved. Let's spin an oldie but a goodie from the Les collection: "We have a team that has learned to play with freedom." Les Miles - great quote, great American. U-S-A. U-S-A.)

The second determining factor is the question. We believe good questions can generate good quotes from just about anyone this side of Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh. So it goes.

That said, we're determined let's review the three best quotes for a variety of reasons from the weekend.

No. 3 - Peyton Manning on his team's four first-quarter turnovers in Denver's 27-21 loss at Atlanta: "Each turnover has its own story that no one really wants to hear," he said. "I've just got to take care of the ball better." Well, that's not true. Each turnover's mother wants each turnover to get fair coverage because those turnovers work as hard as anyone else.

No. 2 - James Franklin, when asked if he has caught up with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham since the two ended last year's UGA-Vandy game in a screaming fight: "Actually, this summer our families went on vacation to Disney World. We were floating in the pool together drinking Mai Tais." Franklin is quoted in our SEC ace David Paschall's story here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/sep/18/vandy-positive-as-no-5-dogs-loom/. And God bless coaches who try to have a sense of humor.

No. 1 - Michael Johnson, Cincy defensive end and former Georgia Tech star, was caught by NFL Films saying this to a teammate on the sideline of Sunday's game against Cleveland: "I'll say that to say this. If you hadn't did what you would had did, then we we wouldn't of been where we was at to get what we got." There are three people on the planet that understand Johnson - Johnson, his teammate who was nodding right along, and Les Miles. Les Miles is the quote whisperer.

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This and that

- OK, who was really surprised that Shaun "Flying Tomato" White was arrested? Now if you're surprised pot was not involved, that's one thing. White, who was allegedly drunk and beat up a phone), was on the Rushmore of psuedo celebs/fringe athletes destined to be picked up by the cops with Bode Miller, Carl Lewis and Marion Jones. You better stay out of trouble Anton Ono.

- The Braves won again, cutting the Nationals' lead in the NL East to five games. Hey, we like the tinkering Fredi Gonzalez is doing with the lineup. Side note: Dan Uggla may need to go further down the order. Before his two-run homer in the Braves four-run first inning that jumpstarted them to a 7-5 win over the Marlins, Uggla was 3-for-38 in the first inning. That's .079 - hey, research folks did show up - and that's not good.

- MLB is investigating Yunel Escobar's eye black and an alleged gay slur that was written in Spanish there during Saturday's game against Boston. Who wants the first black-eye, eye-black joke? And who thinks dealing Escobar for a bag of baseballs was a steal for the Braves?

- Things appear to be getting worse at UNC. After the recent round of allegations at the hoi polloi (Where did you come from, a scotch ad?), the UNC chancellor has resigned.

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Today's question

Tonight on ABC, they are unloading an ABC News special report.

Is it on Penn State? Nope.

Is it about the bounty-gate? Nope.

What about steroids? No chance.

Well, if you're asking yourself what ABC News special report could make the 5-at-10, well, you're not alone. But know this, they have partnered with People magazine, and we all know the rich and storied news gathering history of People magazine. (Side note: Can we all agree that People is the same as the National Enquirer with better paper and a better publicist?)

Anyhoo, at 9 p.m. (Eastern), ABC will count down the best TV shows in the following categories:

Best TV Comedy

Best TV Drama

Best Legal or Cop Show

Favorite TV Mom

Favorite TV Dad

Favorite Reality Show

Best Talk Show Host

Best Non-Human Character

Favorite TV Variety Show

Best TV Show of All Time

Who you got? We'll make out predictions of what's going to win and share our personal choices around lunch, but feel free to toss out some ideas.

Explanor: OK, we're all friends here, right? Well, the 5-at-10 loves list shows. It's a guilty pleasure and one that we have no real explanation for it. Yes, we know that sounds bad and we embrace it. The Mrs. 5-at-10 heckles us about it, but it is what it is. In fact, it's somewhat out of character for us, but to paraphrase the great philosopher Michael Johnson: "We'll say that to say this. If we hadn't did what we would had did, then we we wouldn't of been where we was at to get what we got."

Amen and pass the biscuits.