5 at 10: NFL picks, Penn State news and College football staff changes

5 at 10: NFL picks, Penn State news and College football staff changes

January 12th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports

From "the soon to be named studios" here we go.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees smiles on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NFL playoff picks

The Fab 4 (plus-1) picks finished the college season 58-30-2 against the spread. We're content with that - especially since the 5-at-10 went 1-8 in picks involving Clemson. Stupid Clemson.

We're 2-2 so far against the number in the NFL playoffs (and we blew the Steelers-Broncos game big-time). Stupid Tebow.

Now we have four games this weekend, and we normally make four picks. Seems like symmetry, huh?

Let's get it done (and remember to buy the hook, right Quake).

New Orleans-San Francisco over the 40: This is only the second road favorite this late in the playoffs since the days of Joe Montana. Yes, that Joe Montana. So, this seems like a sucker's bet right? Well, we've been called way worse (especially if you read our e-mail this morning after our column on the UT coaching staff woes). Plus, we're borderline giddy over the chance to bet against Alex Smith in a playoff game. (And yes, that's giddy in an entertainment-purposes-only kind of way.) Let's take the over and know that we're safe either way.

Green Bay-New York Giants over the ----: Heck, we didn't even look this one up. They can't set it high enough. (Unless of course there's a blizzard in Green Bay. Somebody get Paul Barys on the horn and check this out.)

Baltimore minus-7 against Houston: Granted, every time Joe Flacco opens his pie hole, we become less and less confident in the Ravens. But here's saying if the Texans are going to need T.J. Yates to make plays to win a road playoff game, well, we'll lay the points.

New England minus-13 against Denver: Yes, that feels like a truck load of points. And yes, we're placing our gambling soul in great peril by going against Saint Timothy. But, it's at New England and last time we checked New England has Tom Brady. Yes, God may be with Tim and the Tebows, but IT'S TOM BRADY. Yes, the force is strong in young Tebow-walker, and the overwhelming cosmic power of his 316 passing yards is the stuff of goose bumps. Hey, let's continue the John 3:16 run - New England 31, the Denver Tebows 6.

Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky, center, arrives in handcuffs at the office of Centre County Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot while being escorted by Pennsylvania State Police and Attorney General's Office officials in State College, Pa. Former board members of Jerry Sandusky's charity say its CEO never told them about a 2002 shower incident that is the focus of child sexual abuse charges against the retired Penn State assistant coach.

Photo by (AP File Photo by Andy Colwell/The Patriot-News)

More embarrassment for Penn State

The Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News is reporting that accused child sexual predator Jerry Sandusky watched Joe Paterno's record-setting 409th career win in October from then-Penn State president Graham Spanier's luxury suite. Read that sentence again. Now know that Sandusky was arrested on 40 counts of child sex abuse a week later after an investigation that lasted years and included several PSU officials - including Paterno - being interview by a grand jury in the months before the start of the football season.

The collective obtuseness of the entire Penn State administration in this entire sordid mess is astonishing. Simply astonishing.

Did they believe that it was all going to go away? Did they think no one would find out? Do they believe Sandusky is innocent (and if that's the case, why has no one - NO ONE - come out to support him)?

This smacks of either an over the top arrogance that bordered on the belief of being bullet proof or an absolute child-like view that "if we pretend this didn't happen, maybe it will disappear."

Either way, the overwhelming guilt of inactivity that covers everyone - yes, everyone especially Joe Paterno - will forever be part of the Penn State brand.

Does new PSU football coach Bill O'Brien have the toughest job in the history of sports? It's possible.

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against the Alabama, Saturday, Oct, 22 2011 in Tuscaloosa Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

College football movement

The comings and goings of college football seem endless in the month between when the bowls end and signing day.

Everyone who knows how to spell Peyton Manning is well aware that the Vols are still looking for a defensive coordinator. Now there's word that UT offensive line coach Harry Hiestand may be on his way to Notre Dame for the same gig on Brian Kelly's staff.

The Vols are surely not alone in reshaping their staff. Alabama is looking for an offensive coordinator; as is Auburn. Florida just hired a new OC when Brent Pease agreed to leave Boise State. There will likely be even more coaches move after certain NFL teams finish their playoff runs and after certain colleges finish the recruiting period. Happens every year.

Granted, most of the Johnny Vol Fans we know would help Hiestand pack after an experienced Vols front regressed in 2011 and failed to generate any push in the running game this season. That said, if Hiestand heads north, he'd be the fifth UT assistant to leave since the end of the season.

That's a bunch.

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin is seen in this file photo.

Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Times Free Press.

This and that

- Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin and his UT hoopsters hit the road tonight with a tough trip to Starkville as our UT ace Patrick Brown tells us here (Vols look to end road woes as No. 20 MSU set to host UT tonight). The win over Florida was big for The Conz, but a road win against a pretty tough Mississippi State team would be HUGE.

- The NCAA tweaked its rules this week, making third-party negotiations a violation that will cost athletes their eligibility. And with that pen stroke, the Cam Newton loophole is closed. And wow, did we spill a lot of ink and angst over that ordeal for a whole lot of not-so-much. In fact, the lasting memory of the whole situation was the cliche "Where's there smoke, there's fire," is no longer valid.

- Georgia tight end Orson Charles opted for the NFL, as our SEC ace David Paschall tells us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jan/12/charles-going/?sportscollege. Here's saying that Charles will test well and could be the second tight end off the board in the draft. (Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen is a monster.)

- We're planning on making our regular Thursday appearance on "The Show," with Chris Goforth today around 2 p.m. on 1370 AM here in Chattanooga.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley talks to his team on the sidelines during the first half of Saturday's game against Georgia at Neyland Satdium.

Photo by Patrick Smith/Times Free Press.

Today's question

We're going to go quick:

Do you think the staff turnover in Knoxville is....

A) Normal college football offseason stuff

B) A little troubling, but nothing Derek Dooley and folks can't handle

C) Pretty alarming, especially since it's taking this long to hire a defensive coordinator

D) A five-alarm disaster, and a sign of the sinking of S.S. Dooley.

E) (fill in the blank).

Discuss.