New twist in today's mailbag. We're doing it in a hour. Period. If that means we only get to three questions, so be it. We have copied all the questions into the column and we'll time stamp the answers as we go. Here goes, and if we surpass the hour time limit, next week's mailbag will be free. Oh, wait...
From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
What a great scene Tuesday night seeing Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski. The older I get the more I appreciate head coaches who are able to have sustained success at the same school for a long period of time. Do you think head coaches staying at schools for 25 plus years is a dying breed?
P.S. To comment on last week feeling good about Tennessee's chances against Arkansas...I've gone back to my regular coffee and I don't what I was thinking. This week I see us barely squeaking by Vandy.
(Starting time 7:27 a.m.)
Great question, as always. You sir are the Bernard King of the mailbag. We know you're going to show up, deliver 28 points and do it with some flare and everyone thinks, "Wow, Bernard King can really play," then we start to forget about it until the next Friday mailbag. Well-played indeed.
We think there is an outside chance a college hoops coach could have a 25-year tenure somewhere. It's unlikely, but it's possible if the situation's right. The coach and his family love the town, there's good pay and success but not over the top success that a bigger fish comes calling and moneywhips the coach - we'll pay the copyright tax on using the term "moneywhips" to Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) who can forward it along to Coach Mac. But even still it's a long shot. Maybe a Mark Few at Gonzaga.
It's a different time now, and everyone expects 22 wins a season and NCAA trips every third year. The expectations of college coaches are off-the-charts: A coach wants a program that has fans and boosters invested and excited, but with that excitement comes expectations. And when expectations are not met, the jobs are lost. Don't get the 5-at-10 wrong, we'd love to have a clause in our contract like a Houston Nutt, who was asked to leave Ole Miss and will receive somewhere around $6 million to do so.
But if there's an outside chance for someone to spend 25-plus years at a college basketball program, there is absolutely zero chance it will happen in major college football again.
There will never be a Bear Bryant or a Vince Dooley or fill in the blank coach that stays at a major football job for 25 years. Coaching a major college football team is a 340-day-a-year gig. The win-or-else demands are over the top and sustaining the success it takes to meet those demands is near impossible. Plus, the money is so outrageous today - here's saying that Derek Dooley will earn more from his current contract at UT than his daddy did coaching Georgia for 25 years - coaches don't have to keep working the grind.
PS - C-Vol, we're glad you're back to the Folgers or whatever your regular brand is. We're pretty sure the stuff you were sipping that led you to believe UT was going to scare Arkansas is also known as "Everclear" or in Smyrna as "PawPaw's wine." The 5-at-10 knows this because we must have been sipping the same brew since we thought Auburn was going to stand toe-to-toe with Georgia. So it goes.
First time listener, long time caller.
Eldrick and Mr. Williams will have to shake hands, as golf etiquette and courtesy dictate, at the end of their round o' play in the Presidents Cup, since Mr. Williams' employer will be in a team against Mr. Woods and his playing companion.
On the scale of awkward, cold or testy handshakes, where does this rank all-time? And what would be among the tops of those postgame I hate your stinkin guts but I have to shake your hand anyway even though I hope you die in a fire handshakes?
Thanks, and keep rockin' in the free world!
Great question. The icy-stare between Eldrick and Stevie during their handshake on the first hole was awesome. We ran a picture of it and the veins popping out on Eldrick's forearm give everyone a pretty good idea he was not offering a dead fish and was going straight to the knuckle-cruncher.
We just had the Jim Schwartz-Jim Harbaugh Handshake-Gate, so this question is timely in each regard. We'll break it down in two categories and offer a top three for each:
Awkward/Angry postgame handshakes
1) All boxers. Never really understood how you could stand there for two hours trying to knock someone out, then hug after the bell rings. Maybe they are that happy it's over.
2) Peyton Manning and Tom Brady
3) Rivalry high school football games. This is not always the case, but when you know the schools, players and coaches are less-than-cordial, the postgame handshake is more like playing freeze tag and lasts about a fraction of a second are excellent to watch.
The hey, I always hated you and now that we're at the same charity event we have to shake hands and pretend like we don't want to drop gloves right now
1) Tommy Tuberville and Tony Franklin
2) Dennis Eckersley and Kirk Gibson - Don't you know that every time Eckersley sees Gibson he thinks, "I won a Cy Young and should be in the Hall of Fame but the only highlight any of my grandkids will ever see is a hanging slider that this goof ball's lucky swing turned into World Series history."
3) Don Zimmer and Pedro Martinez
As for the Neil Young shout out, a Southern man don't need him around anyhow.
Had a good 'bag question yesterday, but lost it somewhere on Hwy 27 before Soddy...so here's 2nd choice: What major moves do you see the Braves making this offseason?
(7:54 a.m. - behind schedule because we had to make breakfast for 5-at-10 tots)
Two weeks ago, we would have told you the Braves have two things to do: Deal Derek Lowe for a bucket of balls and look to add a piece or two. The Braves are contenders and major changes would not be needed.
That said, in the last week, it has become obvious that the Florida Marlins are going to be players in the free agent market. If the Marlins make significant upgrades, the Braves will have to make some, too. If the Marlins pass the Braves, playing for third against the Nationals in the NL East is not a good goal.
So with that knowledge, the two places the Braves could upgrade are shortstop and left field (since if the Braves make a trade, Martin Prado likely will be part of it). Sure, a bona fide No. 1 starting pitcher would be nice, too, but those are not cheap - either as free agents or in trades.
That said, there could be some shortstop options out there - Jose Reyes is a pipe dream for the somewhat cash-limited Braves - but a two-year deal with an option year to Jimmy Rollins could be beneficial to both sides (and hurt the Phillies in the process).
As far as making trades, the Braves should be aggressive and should listen to offers for Jair Jurrjens, especially if that could mean adding a difference-maker.
Assume Oklahoma State does not handle its business against Oklahoma. I know and share your feelings about a re-match between LSU and Alabama. So, who are your BCS championship matchups and why? I'll also add: I think Oregon should be excluded as a finalist for already losing so poorly to LSU no matter how they are playing now. I also believe that to be true even if LSU loses and does not get selected for the Championship.
In the interest of full disclosure, I do not like the Ducks or those God-forsaken uniforms.
(Starting time 8:01 a.m.)
Not unlike the LSU-Alabama matchup, we believe the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game is a national semifinal. The way the pieces have fallen - Stanford's out, so is Boise State - the winner of the Oklahoma-OSU game will generate enough buzz that the Sooners could leap frog Alabama.
Although the biggest help Alabama has in its efforts to get to the title game is ironically Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn and current Texas Tech coach. Tuberville's Red Raiders beat the Sooners and are providing a computer anchor by playing dead ever since winning at Norman.
That said, here's saying that the anti-LSU-Alabama arguments will start to get louder and louder as we get closer to the announcement of the BCS games. And yes, we have said that our view is that a team that did not win its conference title should not be able to play for a national title, but that is NOT the rule so Alabama has a great shot of getting another shot. Are Alabama and LSU the two best teams? We believe they are. Of course, how fair is that to LSU to have to beat them twice.
And we wrote this yesterday, but thought it was worth reposting because it's the scenario we're kind of hoping for now. LSU and Bama meet in the BCS title game where neither is the SEC champ. Listen up - let's say Oregon loses to USC this week, Oklahoma beats OSU and Alabama thumps Auburn and LSU beats Arkansas. Then let's suppose UGA sneaks by LSU in the SEC title game. Georgia as the SEC champ could go to the Sugar, and since the computers love LSU and Bama, those two could go to the BCS title game. (And yes, that would be three SEC teams in the BCS, which is supposed to be outlawed but if they finish 1-2 in the BCS poll and have a conference title tie-in, it would happen. Even David Paschall said it could happen.)
How did we get here? How did we get to the point that UT fans and alumni are hoping to beat Vandy? VANDY. This is not how the natural law is supposed to be.
How did this happen and when is it going to be fixed?
By the way, you talk too much.
(Starting time 8:11 a.m. - we have 16 minutes left. We kind of feel like Smokey and the Bandit. Hold on to your tail Fred.)
Where to begin?
This has been a painful stretch for UT football fans. A stretch marked by the unknown and unfamiliar feelings of hopelessness. There are fewer UT fans squawking today than we can ever remember and that is because there is precious little to squawk about. What are you hanging your hat on as a UT football fan? That a healthy Tyler Bray - a lanky and talented sophomore quarterback who's best win was against Cincinnati - is going to be able to be Peyton Manning 2.0? That somehow, someway, these Vols - who have been whipped like rented mules in their last five SEC games by a combined 158-35 - will start running the ball or defending the pass or pressuring the quarterback Saturday for the first time since SEC play started?
The current dire straits of UT football is almost as puzzling as the path to how it got here.
The coaching carousel and roster turnover and missed chances/assessments in recruiting have left this team behind the curve in an SEC that has never been more competitive and more dominant.
That is magnified for UT fans, who can at least comprehend the fact that the Alabamas or LSUs or Georgias or even the Auburns of college football are going to have runs of being better than the Vols, especially when UT is in a time of turmoil/transition. But the fact that Vandy has enjoyed a breakthrough season despite having their third coach in three years (read our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown's report here: Vandy worries Tennessee Vols) and comes to Knoxville as the favorite - read that again - is hard to fathom.
The how it happened has been debated to the ends of the state, from East Ridge to West Memphis and all points in between. There is plenty of blame to go around, be it in the lap of Phil Fulmer's fading final years, Mike Hamilton, Lane Kiffin for 13 months of hype and hypocrisy, the roster upheaval, wondering whether Derek Dooley is the guy to turn it around, etc. and et al.
Is it fixable? Of course it is because UT spends too much money on football and has too much riding on success in football for it not to get better. And quickly. Whether Dooley is the guy to turn the Big Orange ship around is unknown, and it figures to be more known after Saturday night's game against Vandy. And the fact that you just read that sentence and nodded your head - that a UT-Vandy game is huge for the Vols and their coach and their fan bases - is the most direct and plain statement that UT football is at its lowest point in a generation.
Time - 8:28 a.m. an hour on the dot. And remember about the contest, the UT-Vandy Throwdown Showdown (We want your UT-Vandy scores. Be it UT 9-6 or Vandy 31-0, we want what you believe to be the final score. The first factor will be picking the winner, then the margin of victory. We're asking for a score prediction so we can have total points scored as a tie-breaker. Remember, "Price is Right" rules are in effect, meaning that if you go over you're out. We'll try to get some of the area's "experts" on college football to play along too.)
We'll update the entries around lunch, and feel free to offer your answers to the questions above.
Discuss and enjoy the weekend.