From the "Talk too much studios," let's go.
Manning on a move?
OK, here's what we know:
The Colts finished 2-14. They fired their longtime VP and his son the GM. They fired their coach, and a chunk of the offensive staff. They have the No. 1 overall pick in a draft - we love the draft, but you know this - that includes the top-ranked quarterback in a generation. They also have on roster one Peyton Manning, arguably the top quarterback of the current generation. We also know that Peyton was not consulted during the search for the next coach, and that in a very-telling interview Peyton told the Indy Star that the Colts football offices are not a fun place to be. (OK, technically when most folks say their work place is not a fun place to be, we all nod our heads and say, "Yeah the TFP sports editor there is block head." But Holy Jeff Saturday morning cartoons, this Peyton Manning. The same guy that probably watches film over his Cheerios and frequently falls asleep at night reading the playbook.)
We also know that the Colts hired Chuck Pagano as their head coach, a move that signifies the changes are going to be rampant in Indy, and likely far-reaching beyond whatever happens with Manning. Pagano was the DC in Baltimore and is a hard-core 3-4 defense guy that craves size and strength. The Colts are an aging 4-3 team that used speed and quickness. These pieces are not compatible. Pagano is going to need a slew of new and bigger defensive linemen and some bigger middle linebackers.
Now, lots of folks believe that Manning is on the way out of Indy (and we certainly can see that view), the more tradable piece is Luck.We can all agree change is coming. And since the Colts will owe Manning a $28 million roster bonus in early March if he's still with club, that change is coming right soon. Plus, with that price tag hanging out there on Manning, the rest of the league could have pause trading for any player coming off three neck surgeries in 19 months with a huge contract and who could very well be a free agent by the start of the NCAA tournament.
But for a team that is about need a slew of new defensive parts, is the extra coin of cutting Manning more valuable or is dealing Luck for a King's ransom the play?
The wide, Wide, WIDE World of Sports
We all loved that show growing up right. The Wide World of Sports was ESPN before ESPN. It was a Saturday morning staple if for no other reason than the intro view with the skiier busting and Jim McKay's classic "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" in the background.
Today, the wide world of sports is truly world-wide. Rafael Nadal rallied for a four-set win over Roger Federer early Thursday morning (here)/late Thursday night (there) to reach the finals of the Australian Open. The Aussie Open final will be this weekend, some 9,035 miles from Chattanooga. And if you have the means and the meant to, you better leave now. It's almost a 19 hour flight.
Golf also hit full stride in a far-reaching corner of the globe.
In the United Emirates, Tiger Woods opened his 2012 season with a bogey-free 70 that included a green-scratching 34 putts. Woods hit 17 of 18 greens but could do no better than 2 under because of his balky putter.
It's crazy to think about the major sports events that happen half a world away, but that's today's global sports community. The United Emirates is roughly 7,555 miles from Chattanooga. Think of it this way, if Tiger Woods hit 333-yard drives from the tee box at Brainerd straight toward the course he'll play this weekend, he'd have to hit roughly 39,890 of those drives to reach the United Emirates. Without a hook or a slice, mind you.
Golf sneaky change
Amid the hubbub of the start of the golf season, PGA commissioner Tim Finchem announced a change to one of golf's longstanding events. Finchem has taken the "win the lottery" aspect out of Q-school. For those unaware, Q-school was short for qualifying school, and it was the pressure-cooker process that allowed any golfer with a minuscule handicap and a ton of game to earn a PGA Tour card if he could survive the toughest golf obstacle course this side of holding a one-shot Sunday lead on the back nine at Augusta.
Finchem pulled the teeth - and in a lot of ways the joy - out of Q-school.
The new plan according to the AP, "is for the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour and the top 75 players who failed to keep their PGA Tour cards to play a three-tournament series. Players would be ranked based on how they fared on their respective money lists, and the top 50 after that series would earn cards."
Everyone else could give Q-school a try from there, but the graduates of Q-school would only earn Nationwide cards.
Consider the 5-at-10 against this with every club in our bag. Q-school was the great equalizer for the guys with big-time game but not a big-time name. As Dustin Johnson said on Twitter, "Just left the player meeting here in San Diego!!!! I don't like any of the ideas about changing the tour!!! There is NO reason to!!!!!!!!!"
Johnson is a perfect example. He was a talented college player, and got his PGA card after advancing through Q-school on his first try. He has won each year since making his debut. Without big-time backing, though, would Johnson have the funds to start out on the Nationwide Tour and work his way through an extra layer of the system?
That's hard to know. But it seems silly that we want to find out?
This and that
- The Lakers-Clippers may be the NBA's best current rivalry. Last night tempers flared and big guys started posturing during the final moments of the Lakers' 96-91 win over the their cross-town rivals. Pau Gasol got a little testy - which every NBA fan knows is saying something; think what it would take to get Mr. Rogers fired up and then add a shot of Wild Turkey. So did Chris Paul. Heck, Metta World Peace (the Artest formerly know as Ron) was starting to get the crazy eye.
- Auburn officials announced they will replace the poisoned trees at Toomer's Corner if they die. This was expected. Has there been another story like this one? Where there's a salty blend of crazy, crime and cruelty? Sure college football is filled with some hair-curlers, but this one seems more and more surreal with each new chapter.
- AC Milan standout midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng is on the shelf for four weeks because of a muscle lesion. Yes, it's fair to ask, "Hey, 5-at-10, is this really a soccer update?" And, yes, it's fair to ask, "Hey 5-at-10, what's a muscle lesion?" But the most important question here is, "Hey, 5-at-10, how did dude get said muscle lesion?" According to he model/actress girlfriend Melissa Satta, the injury is a result of too much whoopee. Read that again. (And yes, we went old-school "Newlywed Game" on everyone with a "whoopee" reference.)
- Your UTC Mocs welcome SoCon heavyweight Davidson into the Roundhouse tonight. Whatcha' got Johnny Mocs Fans: Are the Mocs ready? Could this be a springboard-type of win? What's the over/under for fannies in the seats? Say, 2,000? C'mon Jomo, show your gold.
Our SEC ace David Paschall got an interesting interview with longtime UT football coach Phillip Fulmer on Wednesday afternoon. You can read it here (Former Vols coach Phillip Fulmer adjusting to life away from UT). Fulmer, who won 100 more games than he lost with the Vols, was shown the door late in the 2008 season as the Vols were on their way to a 5-7 finish. In the three years since the Vols have rolled through more than a dozen assistant coaches and are on their second head coach, and Tennessee is 18-20 in that time frame.
The most interesting quote from Fulmer in our view was this one, "my feeling at this particular point is that we had an unbelievably great run at Tennessee, and I truly believe we would have been right back on track if it had just been left alone."
So we ask you, whether you're a Johnny Vols Fan or not, do you agree with Fulmer's statement? Would he and his staff been able to get the program "right back on track" three-plus years ago?