5-at-10: Recruiting wrap, UT hoops, Winter Olympics primer

5-at-10: Recruiting wrap, UT hoops, Winter Olympics primer

February 6th, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

So, what happened on Wednesday? We just kicked back and sipped some cocktails and put our feet up. You?

OK, with Re-Cruitmas in the rearview, we can turn our attention to important things like Co-Colas and such.

Ah, Co-Colas.

From the "Talks too much" studios, that escalated in a hurry - Brick killed a guy.


Alabama Coach Nick Saban

Alabama Coach Nick Saban

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A crazy national signing left the a hazy confusion that cleared to leave a familiar picture.

Alabama and Nick Saban had the nicest collection of new, shiny toys and the Tide had the best class. Alabama has had the nation's No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the last four years and six of the last seven. Wow.

Tennessee drilled it. So did Georgia. In fact, the SEC dominated signing day. So it goes.

UTC killed it too, raking in what 247Sports says the Mocs have the best group in the FCS. Read that again.

Here's our five takeaways of the signing day festivities:

UT players to get on the field sooner rather than later: Josh Malone, Derrell Scott and Todd Kelly. If Jalen Hurd is healthy, count him in too.

Alabama players to get on the field sooner rather than later: Cam Robinson, Marlon Humphrey and juco transfer DJ Pettway.

UTC players to get on the field sooner rather than later: Richarde Bagley and Dale Warren (who we have dubbed the Sheriff, a nickname of which Warren approves, because when you watch this dude's tape, well, he stops people). Also the three-star wide out Wil Young from Mobile has serious looks from Vandy before James Franklin left.

Signing day has never been bigger, considering the interweb traffic shutdown Rivals.com and the top trending topics for most of Wednesday dealt with signing day.

Nick Saban is the best recruiter ever. And it's not close.


UT stumbles

The Tennessee Vols went all over the state of in recruiting and took they wanted. They were the Honey Badger.

The Tennessee Vols basketball team went to Nashville Wednesday and took one on the chin.

Man, right when we start to think this bunch has found something they leave a floater in the bowl. Last night UT shot less than 38 percent and lost to a now 13-8 Vandy bunch despite committing just eight turnovers. Seriously, if you only commit eight turnovers and have a 41-26 rebounding edge, it seems like you should win.

But seems and should have little to do with figuring our Cuonzo Martin's third version of the Vols, considering this bunch has mastered the pogo-stick of mediocrity. These Vols are pretty good with pieces that are better than that.

And if you think this bunch is not underwhelming - and yes, road games in the conference are always tough and three of UT's four SEC losses happened outside of Knoxville - well there's a real chance that UT could finish no better than fourth in the league and have two members of the All-SEC team in Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes.

Does Wednesday's loss, which dropped UT to 14-8 overall and 5-4 in the league, hurt? Some, maybe, and we think the Vols are still on the tournament track. But Wednesday's loss does prove that the Vols are consistently inconsistent and have yet again wiped chipped away at any possible wiggle room they may have added to their NCAA tournament resume.


Winter Olympics

Today is the first day of activity in Sochi for the Winter Olympics.

There may not be a bigger sporting event that we know less about. So let's find talking points together. Deal? Deal (and what else do you have to do, college football is taking a six-week break until spring practice starts).

OK, we're officially out on all sports that have to be scored by judges. If you can't explain the fundamental rules of winning to a 6-year-old, well, that's too much effort. Either score more points, get somewhere faster, jump higher, there needs to be a one-sentence baseline of victory that does not include "subtract the lowest and highest score and multiple by a degree of difficulty while factoring the undeniable bias of the Russian judge." We have enough bias - real or perceived or really perceived - in or society today that we'd like to left out of our sports as often as possible and certainly when it comes to deciding winners at an event like the Olympics.

Russia's Alexey Sobolev takes a jump during men's snowboard slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

Russia's Alexey Sobolev takes a jump during men's...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Does it matter that the best U.S. hope for a medal in the supremely popular women's figure skating is named Gracie Gold? Well, maybe a little, but we're still going to pass even if Gracie Gold is akin to Tommy Touchdown or Glen Grandslam in the world of awesome sports names.

So, sorry Gracie and figure skating, save your sequins for someone else. We'll pass - unless Katrina Witt or Will Farrell make an appearance. If figure skating or interpretative snow dancing or rythmic pairs ice boarding is your thing - and we may or may not have made that last one up - knock yourselves icy. We're out.

But we're in on the Olympics because you never know when the US Hockey magic could happen. U-S-A. U-S-A.

Here are our five things that us intrigued:

Curling: We're monster fans of any sport in which drinking Co-Colas during the event is not only possible but seems somewhat mandatory. And how would a young curler practice his craft in the summer, sweeping floors? This is a sport we need to get the lil' 5-at-10 involved in considering he needs to do more chores and our genetic advantage of kicking back Co-Colas.

Bandy: This is field hockey on ice and since ice hockey was already used, they decided to go with Bandy. Not sure what other names were bandied about or if this will stick in the Olympics or bounce around like a ball of rubber band-ies. Sorry. There are some elements of soccer, like throw-ins and free strokes, and players can't intentionally touch the ball with their heads, arms or hands with the exception of the goalkeeper, who does not have a stick. It's new, it's different, and it has to be way better than the half-pipe for crying out loud.

The Jamaican bobsled team: C'mon, you have to have a soft spot for these guys, right? How many other Olympic squads took to KickStarter to get a chance at the gold. Plus, anytime a Disney movie has a real-life sequel before an actually movie sequel, well, we're in. And if you need one more reason to follow the Jamaican bobsled guys, well, think about the cast of that movie, which included John Candy, who died far too young. C'mon guys, let's do it for Caretaker. Let's do it for Candy.

Any of the speed events: For crying out loud we Southerners of all people must recognize how devastating ice and snow is, right? It caused the biggest headache in Atlanta since Sherman left town for crying out loud. It's some nasty stuff. Heck, could you imagine how abominable a massive, nasty snow man could be? Scary. (And yes, that was sarcasm, and the overwhelming hand-wringing in our hometown of Atlanta like they were hit by a tsumani became quite tired.) Still, there will be some world-class folks approaching world-class speeds on a variety of icy surfaces, and unlike the timed-to-music-snuggle-fest that is ice dancing and that ilk, the skiing, speed skating and the sled stuff is pretty awesome. Side question: Is there a sporting event in the world in which personal hygiene is more important that the four-man bobsled? Derek Dooley could reuse that shower shoe speech to the US team for sure.

The juxtaposition of the men's hockey: Thirty-four years ago the US hockey captured the nation's attention and spirit on home soil with a magical run. This year's Russian hockey team faces more pressure than that bunch. After dominating the first 40 years of the Olympics - eight golds in 10 Games, and the only two times they did not win the Games were in America - the Russians have not won gold in the last five OIympics. Where's Kurt Russell? Miracle indeed.


This and that

- CBS acquired eight Thursday night NFL games. Here's a prediction: in 10 years, the only network that has a chance to compete against ESPN is CBSSports.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

- FSU coach Jimbo Fisher says Jameis Winston will play this year and next, despite being eligible for the draft - and likely being the No. 1 overall pick - after the 2014 season. Sure, he will Jimbo. Just like Johnny Football was supposed to, too. Hey Jimbo, thoughts on the Loch Ness monster? Discuss.

- The Lakers finished the game with five players on the floor last night. This normally would not be news worthy. One of the five Lakers was Robert Sacre, who fouled out with 3:32 left in the game. The Lakers, who started with eight players and two more leave the game with injuries, got to use a little-known rule to finish the game with limited numbers and a fouled-out player. L.A. was assessed a technical foul and allowed to re-insert Sacre into the game. So much for "My team is on the floor," huh Coach Dale?

- Starting today, the celebrity pair to watch at the Pebble Beach AT&T Pro-Am has to be the all-star duo of Kid Rock playing with PGA pro... wait for it... little longer... John Daly. Rock and Daly. Daly and Rock. This should have it's own reality show. Seriously, if the Golf Channel followed this duo for the whole week and aired it over six nights, like a Shark Week-meets-Real World-meets-Golfers Gone Wild, you know you'd watch it.


Today's question

Feel free to give your view on your team's signing day haul.

Also, remember Friday's mailbag - we have spots.

If you still need talking points, well, here is one:

In honor of Gracie Gold, what are the best real sports name you can think of?