5-at-10: Saban's logic, Big 3, Bad Moon and college hoops Rushmore,

5-at-10: Saban's logic, Big 3, Bad Moon and college hoops Rushmore,

March 5th, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Gang, remember the mailbag.

From the "Talks too much" studios, please Hammer, don't hurt them.

Saban speaks

The 10-second rule will come up again this week.

Here's a 10-second briefing on the 10-second rule, which has been called the Saban Rule by none other than Steve Spurrier because of Alabama coach Nick Saban's support of the proposal:

A small collection of coaches that despise the hurry-up approach that is the offensive plan du jour have hatched a propose rule change that teams can't snap the ball until at least 10 seconds have elapsed or face a delay of game penalty. The coaches who hate the hurry-up make this pitch in good faith because they believe the game of football will be safer if it's played slower.

Alabama coach Nick Saban talks with media during Pro Day at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama coach Nick Saban talks with media during...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

The tug of war that has ensued has ranged from Arkansas coach Brett Bielema callously and wrongly saying a California player's death was in part because of the pace of play to Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez parodying the movie "Speed" in an effort to make a point. Bielema quickly apologized for his insensitive remark.

Amid the hubbub that also included several coaches complaining about the back-door and secretive nature in which this rule progressed through channels and the request from several coaches to see this "evidence" that pace makes the game more dangerous has been relative silence from Saban.

That ended Tuesday when Saban talked to ESPN.com.

"I don't care about getting blamed for this. That's part of it," Saban told ESPN.com. "But I do think that somebody needs to look at this very closely.

"The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there's no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What's the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there's no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, 'Yeah, there probably is.'"

Hmmmmm. Let's set a baseline here. Saban is the best coach in college football. We have much respect for his skills and talents. We have dubbed him "Perfection's Guardian" because he assembles the most talent and demands the most from them, making sure every five-star knows that if he does not produce he will be replaced. That's why seeing Alabama come up short in its final two games last season was so shocking. We have become accustomed to Alabama's perfection under Saban, and anything short of that is surprising.

That's an amazing accomplishment in the wide-spread realm that is modern-day college football and the utmost cutthroatery that is the current SEC. And Saban rules it.

But.... his 'logic' on this one is one-sided and narrow. It's crafted like a hard-core political speech focusing on a detail that makes for a fun sound bite, but is unsound upon further review. (And side note: This is a proposed rule change in a college game, can we please stop using life-and-death references in regard to the 10-second rule. Sure, it's a serious matter, but c'mon.)

If Saban believes fewer plays are logically safer, then maybe we should have 10-minute quarters.

Or, if we're using logic, then maybe we should cap the size of specific players? Or the speed, because we can logically assume that bigger players moving at faster rates are inherently more dangerous, correct?

But that would limit Saban's edge, since he has more big and fast guys than everyone else, wouldn't it.

Everyone has an agenda in this matter, and it's either protecting one team's approach or trying to limit another's.

Saban said continually that his motivation is safety, and who's to question him since there are few teams, regardless how quickly they snap the ball that have had continued success against his team.

He even suggested that the college game more mirror the NFL game because "they spend millions and millions" to try to make the game safer. (We would argue the NFL spends millions and millions on the game to make billions and billions, but we might be a touch cynical.)

Sure, the NFL snaps way fewer plays than the average college game, but that's mainly because the clock-stoppage rules are radically different.

And if there is hard evidence that pace of play is directly responsible for a more dangerous game, then the discourse on this proposed rule change is a must.

But to use logic as your basis, then it's shaky from the snap of the ball.

Is it logical to have the defense dictate the flow of the offense? Is it logical to have a delay of game penalty for moving too fast? Is it logical to come up with a football environment that is safe?

Nope, none of that is logical, no matter how fast or slow you prefer to go.


College hoops primer

We are going to have a college hoops entry every day for the next couple of weeks. It's March after all.

Also, remember that we will have our annual NCAA tournament contest here. We're sticking with the last-in, first-out format in which you pick the last double-digit seed left standing and the first No. 1 seed to get bounced. Invite some friends, and we may up the ante this year in the prize categeory.

We'll also be playing in the bracket challenge at ESPNChattanooga.com as part of the Press Row endeavor. Good times.

Here's today's Quick 3:

1) Syracuse continues to implode. The Orange lost to Georgia Tech (who knew they still had a team) and some senior point guard named Trae Golden (where do we know that name). It's the second home loss to a team with a losing record in the last two weeks. Gross. (And yes, we're still riding Syracuse, which has officially flipped places with UNC as the biggest bracket conundrum.)

Will Wade

Will Wade

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

2) Major props to Will Wade for being named the SoCon coach of the year. Well-played indeed. And yes, we're 100 percent certain that he would trade that hardware for a tournament title, but it's still nice. When he joined us on Press Row, we tried to get Wade to commit to shaving assistant coach Was Long's head if the Mocs advanced to the NCAA tournament, but he declined. Wade did say if the players made him an offer he couldn't refuse, he'd listen. Ideas?

3) Is there any way to describe tonight's game at Auburn as anything but must-win for UT? We say no. Road conference losses normally do not count against you that much, but the timing and the nature of this circumstance for the Vols feels most different. Will they be ready? Thoughts?

And 1 - We asked Joe Lunardi whether he's an eye-test guy or an RPI guy and he told us he's 100 percent on the quantitative side of the ledger. Good question Chas9.


Bad Moon re-rises

Andre Rison, the outspoken former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl wide receiver, is a newly hired high school football head coach in Arizona.

Andre Rison

Andre Rison

That'd be pretty strange, right? Having a guy that was a very public and very boisterous figure being the guy coaching your high school sophomore.

Not as strange as Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell from 2 Live Crew coaching your kid or even Snoop D-O-Double G, but still.

And yes, Dennis Rodman, international diplomat is the pinnacle of "He's doing what!?!?!?!!?" former athletes.

Still, Bad Moon Rison - the guy that was married to Left Eye, who burnt their house down - being Coach Taylor seems like a stretch.


This and that

- Very interesting short film here on a Charlotte guy who fashioned just the third perfect putt-putt round on record. Good stuff.

USA basketball players LeBron James, left, jokes with teammate Kevin Durant as they sit on the bench during a game against Tunisia.

USA basketball players LeBron James, left, jokes with...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

- Kevin Durant answered the James bell. A night after LeBron scored 61 to swing the conversation back to South Beach, an undeterred Durant dropped 42 on the dreadful Sixers. As efficient as James was getting 61 on 33 shots, Durant was moreso, hitting 42 on just 20 shots, and it could have been more considering Durant, who is normally a 90-percent free-throw shooter was 12-of-18 from the foul line. We are enjoying the silent tug of war between the game's two best players. Good times

- Thunder, part II. And if you want to know why the Thunder are doing everything in their power to get Russell Westbrook back in the flow, well, he did rock a triple-double Tuesday night in 20 minutes of action. Yep, Westbrook went 13-10-14 in a little more than a quarter and a half. Ouch-standing.

- The Braves won yesterday for the first time this year. And even more surprising than that is the stat that Danny Struggla is hitting .300 through the club's seven spring exhibitions so far. We're smelling contract extension. (Kidding, kidding.)


Today's question

Creighton All-American Doug McDermott moved into ninth all-time in college basketball scoring. He passed Danny Manning last night during his 22-point game against Georgetown.

The guy they call Dougie McBuckets - which is a boss nickname - could get as high as fifth all time in Division I scoring. Here's the top 10:

Pete Maravich, LSU - 3,667

Freeman Williams, Portland State - 3,249

Lionel Simmons, La Salle - 3,217

Alphonso Ford, Mississippi Valley State - 3,165

Harry Kelly, Texas Southern - 3,066

Keydren Clark, Saint Peter's - 3,058

Hersey Hawkins, Bradley - 3,008

Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati - 2,973

Doug McDermott, Creighton - 2,966

Danny Manning, Kansas - 2,951

Who's on your Rushmore of all-time college hoops greats?

(Side note: Add Pistol Pete's all-time NCAA scoring mark to the list of unbreakable records, too. Wow that's a lot of points, and he played 23 fewer games than everyone else on the above list except The Big O, who played 86 career games to Pistol's 83 career games.)