5-at-10: Weekend winners and weekend Butches, UT-UGA fallout, Rushmore of newspaper comic strips

5-at-10: Weekend winners and weekend Butches, UT-UGA fallout, Rushmore of newspaper comic strips

October 2nd, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/George Bridges)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Weekend winners

Will Healy. As Weeds noted here, Healy the former UTC assistant and Boyd-Buchanan star quarterback now has won three in a row as the head coach at Austin Peay. To state how impressive that is, know this: Healy is 3-2 in your two with Governors, who went bagel-11 in his first year. Since the start of 2013 the Governors were 1-45 and lost 29 in a row before Healy's first win last month. The last time the Governors won three games in a season was 2011, when they went 3-8. Austin Peay has not won three games in a row since before we worried about Y2K. (Still working on the actual year.) 

Deshaun Watson. Wow, that was staggeringly good. For all of us who pegged Watson as the class of this rookie class, well, his destruction of a Dick LeBeau Titans defense was an exclamation point on the early justification of that statement. (LeBeau's defense was 27-3 against rookie QBs heading into Sunday's 57-14 Houston win.) Watson's final line was 283 passing yards and four scores with four carries for 24 yards and a score.

Georgia. Yes, the overarching storyline from Saturday was the steaming floater that Butch and the Boys laid in front of their home crowd in Knoxville. But as someone asked on Twitter during a dizzying social media Saturday as the Bulldogs bulldozed UT 41-0, was that whipping more of a statement for Kirby Smart than an indictment on Butch? It's fair, and Georgia has a great resume, considering they pummeled Miss. State and UT and beat Notre Dame in South Bend.

Luke Falk. The Washington State quarterback and former walk-on looked more the part of NFL first-rounder Friday night than USC counterpart Sam Darnold. Falk was decisive and impressive in a crazy atmosphere that was one of the most entertaining games of the weekend.
 

Baseball fans. The marathon that is the regular season is over. The playoffs are here. AL Wildcard game — Twins at Yankees — is Tuesday night. NL Wildcard game — Rockies at D-backs — is Wednesday. We'll discuss this more tomorrow.

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones walks the sidelines in the final minutes of a 41-0 loss to Georgia in an NCAA college football game against Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.



Weekend losers

Man, the state of Tennessee when it comes to football over the high school level. The Titans were hammered. The Vols were hammered. The Mocs were hammered. Vandy lost by two scores. Memphis got hammered. Really everyone playing with the ball that bounces funny other than Austin Peay lost. (More on Butch and Co. in a moment.)

Butch Jones. More on this to come, but know these stats: That was UT's first shutout since 1994. Butch is now bagel-and-12 against top 10 foes with an average margin of defeat of 25 points. And try this one on: UT is a season-opening escape against Georgia Tech and,  if UMass' QB had stayed in the game, from being 1-4.

Ed Orgeron. Let's add this together: Homecoming. Paying Troy $985,000. Losing 27-24. For LSU, that's not priceless. It's painful. And as we Tweeted on Saturday night, so what that coach the Tigers was Ed Orgeron's dream job. My dream job was pitching for the Dodgers. Neither of us have the skill set to handle the duties. 

All of us. What drives people to do the unthinkable like shooting 500 people outside a music concert in Vegas. 

NFL teams littered with big-name injuries. Marcus Mariota (hamstring), Julio Jones (hip), Dalvin Cook (knee), Chris Carson (ankle) and Derek Carr (head/neck) all left their games Sunday and did not return. Know this: The NFL may be the most Darwinian mission on the planet. Only the strong (and healthy) will survive both in the moment and in the long-term.
Los Angeles Chargers. Philadelphia defensive end Jason Peters said the Chargers theoretically have 16 road games this year. That's a tough challenge. 

Georgia cornerback Malkom Parrish wraps up Tennessee tailback Ty Chandler during Saturday's 41-0 rout by the Bulldogs. The Vols managed just 62 rushing yards on 29 carries.

Georgia cornerback Malkom Parrish wraps up Tennessee tailback...

Photo by Erin O. Smith



Mailbag Monday?

The overflow of questions about Butch and the disaster that was Saturday's UT debacle against Georgia generated more social media and email questions in the moment than we can remember.

This one, from long-time friend of the show EC, was the collective embodiment of all of them for the most part. Here we go:

Jay, as I watch a great pick six by the Seattle Seahawks I sit and wonder what to make of Saturday's dismal performance of my beloved Tennessee Volunteers. As a long time listener, reader and overall fan of your work (congrats on the Best of The Best award... you would definitely play Eric Roberts in a Times Free Press version) I have to ask for your opinion on who the Vols could realistically replace Coach Jones with if and when that decision is made? The job he has done up to this point has been admirable considering but that's certainly not the best compliment one could receive. So it feels as if it's coming sooner rather than later. Also inexcusable or unexcuseable ? The later is underlined in read so I suppose my question is answered.

Look forward to hearing and reading more. Keep up the good work!

EC —

Wow. Great to here from you, and that Eric Roberts line made me laugh out loud. (Side note: Want to guess where Eric and his somewhat famous sister, what'sherename Roberts — think she is into the Hollywood arts, too — are from? Yep, Smyrna, Ga., same high school as me. Crazy comparison with crazy connections.)

And yes, it's inexcusable to use unexcuseable in polite conversation. As for around these parts, either works.

As for Butch, I have said for a while now that I did not think his seat was as hot as most either believed or preferred. Yes, his brochure-worthy pre-planned propoganda pressers are junk, but he's correct that they have won 18 games the last two years.

But Saturday was something different altogether on a lot of fronts. Let's explore the ways:

1) UT was ill-prepared. The first dozen plays or so, which are almost always scripted were drawn up as if UT was playing Georgia State rather than Georgia. The players — especially on offense — were either disintersted (make that uninterested, rather) or scared, and each is a poor reflection on their connection to an embattled head coach or a lack of belief in their chances. And those are not good looks for the HBC.

2) This is year five for Butch in what has been a rather tepid East. That's going to change. Georgia looks like Tuscaloosa East, and the fact that Kirby has zoomed by Butch in his second year is staggering and a stark slap in the smoocher for the UT fan base.

3) Name one part of Saturday that made you think Butch was the long-term answer? In arguably his biggest game on the UT sideline to date — last week vs. a UMass team that Ohio boatraced on Saturday was awful and completed in front far too many empty seats — Jones was listless, the Vols were sloppy and indisciplined (make that undisciplined) and under-prepared, the gameplan was basic and gave you the feeling that this UT staff believed they could line up and play straight forward against a Georgia defense that was swarming and relentless. That's just dumb.

It was a bad look. And if that comes in Neyland from a Georgia team that looks like a facsimile of Alabama, what is the actually Alabama going to do later this month?

As for your question, I now believe it is possible for Butch to be got this year. This season has the potential to completely fall of the rails like Gene Chizik did in 2012 at Auburn. (Remember that was year four of the Chiz and he had a Natty on his resume and he still got run because Alabama and Georgia walked him to the wood shed and whipped his tail 48-bagel and 38-bagel respectively.)

If I had to put odds on it, we'd still lean 60-40 against, because we thought longtime friend of the show Wes Rucker said something very insightful on Press Row on Friday. Rucker clearly made the point that a tie would likely go to Butch since athletic directors in general normally only get to make one football hire, so if new AD John Currie pulls the plug now, he takes a step forward in the firing line.

Right now Butch is an issue for Currie, but not Currie's fault. He was hired by the previous regime. When Butch gets got — because lets face it he really seems to be in over his head at this level in almost every way come Saturday, and while recruiting is important, if you can't deliver on Saturdays, you time will be short-lived — then the clock starts on Currie.

If his football hire is a home run, then he extends the clock. If it's anything short, Currie is on the clock.

As for the variables, well, Butch and Co. better treat the two week break between now and South Carolina like the Super Bowl.

Because every Johnny Vols Fan with even the scantest amount of orange camouflage is angry right now. Lose to South Carolina and they will become undifferent (maybe it's indifferent) and that's the final straw.

When you lose the passion of a fan base as into it as UT's fans are, you are done.

In some ways Butch has to approach the Oct. 14 date in Neyland with the Gamecocks like Maximus. He has to win the crowd as much as win the game.

And they are all starving to see something they have not seen before, at least this year. To see Tennessee play a complete and thorough football game against a decent opponent.

In short, which is tough for a 6-foot-4 guy who writes and talks as much as I do, South Carolina has to be a must-win right? 

And if we are going to be completely honest a must-win midway through year five against a team you should expect to hammer almost every year is almost as bad an indictment on Jones' job and connection with his fan base as the floater they laid Saturday.

Almost.

As for realistic replacements, we think Currie, who has shown a great ability to raise funds, would start at the top and work his way down. He'd make Bob Stoops say no. Same with Chip Kelly.

He'd try to money whip Justin Fuente at Va. Tech. We're pretty sure, he'd ask Peyton if he wants any part it. 

Truth be told, we think Bobby Petrino will be in play this offseason too.

As for realistic, well, that's tougher than ever because while the money is great and the fans are amazing, the SEC openings have not been super attractive because of the cut-throat nature of the league and the hurdle that has become Alabama.

Great question. 

This and that

— Mixed bag on the picks this weekend. College went 2-3, although we're pretty sure that while they did not cover, we had the right side on the discussion in USC over Washington State (Trojans lost three offensive linemen to injury Fridaynight) and Oklahoma State over Texas Tech (that was going to be a runaway but the 95-yard pick six was huge). NFL picks — Texans plus-3, Eagles minus-2, Seahawks minus-13.5, Steelers minus-3 — went 3-0-1. Know this 5-3-1 is entertaining, but man we left some winners on the table. (It's not you Georgia, it was us. Same with you Miami, Auburn and Alabama, which Jim Donnan correctly called on Thursday's Press Row.)

— According to Darren Rovell, last week more than 180 NFL players did not stand for the anthem. Yesterday, the number was 52, with 30 of those coming from the San Francisco 49ers and nine from the Seahawks.

— O.J. is out on parole. Keep your head on a swivel friends, so that you know, you can keep your head on period.

— College basketball practice starts today for both UTC teams. Here are practice previews for Jim Foster's Mocs and new coach Lamont Paris' Mocs. Good stuff, TFP UTC beat ace Mean Gene Henley knows his hoops friends.

— The U.S. routed the International team in a very boring President's Cup, that was attended by the President. 

— Speaking of the President, man, difficult weekend for the Trumps. SNL was back. Marshawn Lynch showed up with a "Everybody vs. Trump" T-shirt. Then there was the asinine Massachusetts librarian who rejected the gift of 10 Dr. Seuss books because, at least in part, they are racist. Yep, when I think of truly offensive and confrontational titles, "Oh, the Places You'll Go" is right there near the top.  

Today's question

Weekend winners and weekend Butches? Who ya got?

As for today, the tale of Peter Rabbit was published on this day in 1902.
Gandhi was both on this day in 1869. Groucho on this day in 1890. Bud Abbott of the Abbott and Costello comedy duo was born in 1895. Coco the Clown in 1900.
Steve Sabol, founder of NFL Films, was born on this day in 1942. Sting born on this day in 1951.

Samuel Adams died on this day in 1803.

Sixty years ago, the classic "The Bridge over the River Kwai" was released. In 1959, "The Twilight Zone" was premiered on CBS.

Fifty years ago today, Thurgood Marshall was swing in as the first black Supreme Court Justice.

On this day in 1980, Larry Holmes TKOed Ali in the 11th round.

On this day last year, Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in paris.

As for a Rushmore, on this day in 1950, the first Charlie Brown comic is published in nine newspapers. It was originally titled "Li'l Folks" before becoming the universally recognized "Peanuts." Who makes the Rushmore of old-school, newspaper comic strip characters?

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