5-at-10: Friday mailbag with more Te'o, QB debates and top sports liars

5-at-10: Friday mailbag with more Te'o, QB debates and top sports liars

January 18th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sportscolumns

Gang, another great week and thanks for playing along. Feel free to reply to any of the questions below. Here we go with more, and we're still debating our NFL playoff picks for Sunday.

Enjoy and enjoy that crazy glowing ball of fire in the sky - anyone know what that thing is called?

From the "Talks too much" studios let's do work...

From Irish Fan

Have never read your column before this week and I will never read it again. You have no idea what happened -- no one does. And you just jumped in trying to be clever at some kid's expense.

Is it impossible to believe that someone tricked Manti and if not why would the ND AD put his reputation on the line like he did?

Shut up and go back in your small market hole.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o walks off the field following an NCAA college football game against Wake Forest in South Bend, Ind. A story that Te'o's girlfriend had died of leukemia - a loss he said inspired him to help lead the Irish to the BCS championship game - was dismissed by the university Wednesday as a hoax perpetrated against the linebacker.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Irish Fan,

Thanks for reading and feel free to swing by any time.

Here's what we know - either Te'o was in on it or he is one of the most gullible folks ever. And that's possible we suppose, and the chance that Te'o is a victim is given more credence because of the way Irish AD Jack Swarbrick fully supported Te'o. While Swarbrick's defense is certainly a plus, the release of the transcript of the SI interview with Te'o looks bad.

As you said, no one knows what happened, well other than Te'o. So everyone is allowed their opinion, right?

That said, you obviously do not read this forum very often if you think we're about having fun at some "kid's expense." That's not our style, but Te'o is hardly a kid who has been forced into the public eye. Dude is comfortable in the spotlight and even craves it according to some teammates.

If you want to debate something, bring more than insults and indignation. Either way, agree or disagree, read or don't read, is fine with us. (And we really love our small-market hole, thanks for asking.)

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From Newbie

Ever met anyone online? Can you recall a more strange story than this Manti Te'o thing? Who is the bigger liar -- Te'o or Lance? And you didn't answer your Rushmore of sports liars from early this week. What's yours?

Thanks for the 5@10... I read it every day and am starting to pick up some of the jokes. You are pretty funny for a newspaper reporter.

Newbie,

Thanks, we fancy ourselves as pretty humorous - even for a newspaper reporter.

And since you're fairly new to the forum, we'll allow you to bend the question limit this time (and remember to swing by whenever you can - as Bluto says, "it don't cost nothing.")

No, we've never met anyone online. In fact, we may be one of the last people we know who is not on FaceSpace or MyBook or whatever it is. We finally got on the Twitter (@jgreesontfp) late last year.

Lance is the bigger liar and it's not close. One of the crazy things about being the sports editor in a "small market hole" is the insane number of emails we get, and one of the ones we got last night was from a body language expert who was willing to be quoted about Lance's body language during his interview last night. We're going to try to reach him today, but here's our un-expert body language opinion: Lance was lying and we know this because his lips were moving.

Our Rushmore of Sports Liars, in order - Pete Rose, Lance, Tiger Woods and then probably a syringe to represent the steroid era in baseball. (Side note: Te'o would make a push for the Rushmore for sports hoaxes, which would definitely include Rosie Ruiz, who won the 1980 Boston Marathon by cutting off a bunch of the course and taking a cab to the final mile or so, Danny Almonte, the kid who was like 16 and pitched in the Little League World Series with the rest of the 12-year-olds, Kevin Hart, who faked his own college football signing party despite not having a scholarship offer, and the crazy story of the 2000 Spanish Paralympian basketball team, who competed and won gold in the developmentally disabled level - IQs under 70 - despite having 10 of the 12 players on the roster that were not disabled.

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Alabama Coach Nick Saban

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

From CelticVol

Hey 5@10,

My wife and I had dinner with 2 diehard Alabama fans this past weekend. Of course one of our conversations was about Alabama winning the National Championship Game and how they dominated. As we're talking the subject turns to Nick Saban. This diehard Alabama fan looks at me and says, "You know I really don't like Nick Saban." My eyes got real big and I almost choked on my coconut shrimp. He goes onto say, "He has a horrible personality and he's a liar." I can understand this coming from an Auburn fan or a Tennessee fan but this came from a diehard Bammer. Yeah I know that Alabama fans love all the National Championships and beating their opponents to a pulp but do you think they really 'like' their coach?

CelticVol,

Almost all of them don't like Nick Saban. They LOVE Nick Saban.

We believe your buddy is an Outlier. In fact, we're pretty sure that if word spread that Nick Saban needed a kidney, he would have more non-family volunteers than any other person on the planet. (Rushmore of celebs who if they needed a kidney would have the most people volunteer: Saban, Obama, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber. Side note: If Manti Te'o's imaginary girlfriend needs an imaginary kidney, we'd image a scenario where lots of folks would pretend to give her one.)

Millions of Bama folks would line up to give almost any organ to Saban (wait, well, you know what we mean). In fact, we agree with something Clay Travis has written before that if another school or an NFL team came in and offered Saban $10 million per year and Alabama AD Mal Moore said, "OK, fans we need your help. We've got $6 ready to go, but we need another $5 million in donations," he'd have it by the end of business on Tuesday. Seriously.

In fact, the only feeling 99 percent of the Bama fan base feel about Saban that is not positive is fear - fear that he will leave and the recruiting machine and winning machine that has turned the Tide into the 1970s USSR hockey team will slow down.

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From Orangeguy

You think Chip Kelly will change the NFL?

Chip Kelly

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Orangeguy,

Yes, we do.

We think Chip Kelly will have success in the NFL, but we think the offensive change has already started. That's not the change Chip Kelly will incorporate. There already are mobile quarterbacks using the midline and zone option, and that trend is going to continue no matter what Aaron Rodgers thinks. (Rodgers said he believes the running QB will be a fad and go away; we tend to disagree because watching a lot of high school and college football, all of the younger levels are using mobile quarterbacks. It make sense too, especially for high school teams to put your best athlete at the one spot that you know is going to get the ball on every snap. The number of pure drop-back passers are dropping every year. Look at this year's draft class - top three prospects may be Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon in a weak draft class that may be the first since 1996 without a QB in round 1. Next year the top three draft prospects likely will be AJ McCarron, Logan Thomas and Johnny Manziel. That's six QB prospects and half of them are completely comfortable running the zone option.)

Most of the changes to embrace mobile quarterbacks has been to maximize one QB's strength. Case in point, Washington was putting RGIII in the best place to succeed and changed its offense when Kirk Cousins was playing.

Where we think Chip Kelly will change the NFL is in his philosophy. His use of a running QB will be about the offense and not the quarterback. We've heard reports that he's going to try to land spend draft picks and free agent coin and build a dominant defense. He's also looking to have two or three mobile quarterbacks, knowing that his system puts QBs in harm's way. It's a forward-thinking approach.

Of course his time in Philly could mirror Spurrier's time in D.C., and if that happens there will be a feeding frenzy of college ADs falling all over themselves to hire Chip Kelly on the rebound. (Side note: Did anyone else giggle a little bit that Kelly landed in the NFC East. So, after leaving college football completely confounded by trying to stop the spread and the zone option, new Dallas defensive coordinator Monte "Abe Simpson" Kiffin will get four games a year against Chip Kelly's Eagles and RGIII's Redskins. War Kiffin.)

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From JMC

On a sidenote, I read Paschall's article while eating breakfest regarding this year's attendence numbers at Finley and its reflection of a 20 grand drop in revenue. This may once again bring up a possible topic for upcoming Five at Tens. Allow me to quote from the Book of Eckstein:

And thou said "At that point in time, we were still in contention for the league title. We had a disappointing result against Appalachian State, when they ran away with it in the fourth quarter, but I would have expected much better for Georgia Southern....other games were a little less than we expected, and I really don't have an answer for that."

I do. 1) UTC has plateaued. Russ may have helped raised the program from the cellar but three winning seasons out of four years and nothing to show for it (i.e. Conference champion, co-champion, or post-season), would make any fan fickle no matter how hardcore they are. Until the Mocs start going 9-3 with post-season action, people will still stay away. 2) Non-sexy conference. With less than half the conference schools being private schools no one cares for (period) and all of UTC's biggest rivals having either left the SoCon or fix'n to leave the SoCon, there really isn't whole lot to get excited about. That said Jay, maybe it might be a good time to pull up my scenerio chart regarding UTC's fantasy move to the FBS in a "very special" Five at Ten (I can resend it to you if you lost/deleted it). I'm not saying this is the "ultimate cure all" to Finley's woes (It's definately not). But it would not shock me one little bit that "scenerio" is presented sooner than later.

Love to hear your thoughts on this.

JMC -

The dream-scenario about moving to the FBS for UTC is still so far down the rails we don't know if the light at the end of the tunnel is a train or the way out. (Plus, until a new chancellor and AD are tabbed, the future is at best murky for next month, never mind the next generation.)

That said, we wanted to discuss the first two parts of your view. We'll start with this: If UTC's football attendance was a living, breathing organism, it suffered a direct hit that was painful and lingering when the Mocs imploded against The Citadel in the late Fall of 2011. We've heard more than one person reference that "Come from ahead, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" debacle as the example that UTC will always be UTC when it comes to football.

We think that's harsh and not true, mind you, we're just passing along what we've heard.

As for your assertions and how it relates to attendance, the nonconference lament is spot on - when you're bringing in teams that no one knows their mascots, well that's a tough sell in a market that is three hours from UT, UGA, Georgia Tech, Vandy, Auburn and Alabama. Now, the flip side of that coin is it's super tough for UTC to schedule high-profile foes here in the 423. And, next year, the Mocs need a nonconference sweep of non-money games because...

We don't feel like Russ and Co. have plateaued. We feel the timeline of rebuilding the program was escalated by B.J. Coleman's decision to transfer home. And while that's a good thing on almost every level, it also has raised expectations more quickly than maybe the foundation was prepped for. Think of it this way: We've been the sports editor here since the early 2000s, and at that time and for most of the next seven or eight years, a UTC fan wanting more than 6-5 from the football team would have comical.

Enter Russ and B.J. at the same time and the talent is lifted, the production is lifted and the expectations are lifted. All of these are good things of course, but we don't feel the Mocs have plateaued.

That said, another break-even season in 2013 - especially with all the pieces and parts the Mocs have coming back - and we'd be a lot more likely to agree with you.

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From Stewwie1

[Rushmore of active QBs or all-time QBs at this moment?]

I was thinking all-time QBs, but just for fun, can you do both?

Stew1 -

We'll do a Rushmore of QB Rushmores in the following four categories:

Active QBs Rushmore - Brady, Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees

All-time QBs Rushmore - Brady, Elway, Montana, Unitas

QBs Rushmore of guys drafted after the third round - Brady (6th), Kurt Warner (undrafted), Johnny Unitas (9th), Bart Starr (17th round)

Underrated QBs Rushmore - Aikman (dude was way better than people realized), Dan Fouts, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton

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From Stewwie2 (who got two mailbag entries because we forgot this one last week)

Jay, let's assume that Ohio State was eligible this year. Had the 4-team playoff been in effect, the Buckeyes would have gotten in along with Notre Dame and Bama. But who do you think gets that 4th spot and why? Has there been any guidance given for the selection committee on how many (if any) conference champs should be required to make the playoffs?

Stew2 -

It has been reported that the selection committee will be charged with picking conference champions whenever possible, especially champions from the Big Six conferences. And since Notre Dame would be considered the at-large team, the pressure would be high to make the other three conference champs, which would leave Oregon and Florida on the outside looking in (which would mean the only team - Oregon - in the mix that could challenge Alabama would not have been in the Final Four).

So, if Ohio State was eligible, we think the field would have been:

No. 1-seed Ohio State vs. No. 4-seed Stanford and No. 2-seed Notre Dame vs. No. 3-seed Alabama. Since we know the Irish-Tide outcome is as one-sided as Katherine Webb vs. Manti's imaginary girlfriend (who we feel certain Brent Musberger would have thought was hot, if you know, she was real), let's play out the rest of the scenario.

We think Stanford upsets Ohio State in a Rose Bowl that would be electric. Considering The Cardinal snuffed out Oregon's spread offense that had better pieces and more explosion than Ohio State, we think Stanford would have had success against Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller.

And we think Alabama would have thumped Stanford, too. The only difference may have been whether Brent Musberger would have kept his tongue in his mouth.