5-at-10: Monster mailbag with Butch reaction and UT job rank, Mike & Mike goodbye, college football primer, Rushmores and Fan mail

5-at-10: Monster mailbag with Butch reaction and UT job rank, Mike & Mike goodbye, college football primer, Rushmores and Fan mail

November 17th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Breaking News

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts runs the ball against Auburn defensive back Daniel Thomas during the second half of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 30-12. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

5-at-10 note: Just realized I forgot the NFL picks. We'll post them around lunch.)

From Todd

Hi Jay, Love Press Row and the 5-at-10 column. Let's get down to the most important items on the fall calendar late-season college football and Thanksgiving. What games are you zeroing in on the next two weekend? What's on the menu to go with those games? Yes, I know the NFL games are out there too but no thank you.

Todd —

Thanks for the kind words.

Well, the big one is of course the Iron Bowl. And more so this year than any year since 2010. (Yes, the Kick Six was truly amazing, but that was so unexpected. This is the first time we go into the Auburn-Alabama game thinking it's anyone's game since Cam Newton was involved.)

If we were forced to rank the games we are most excited about over the next two weeks, almost all of them are next week, which is OK. (And we concur, Todd, the NFL can have December until February, but this is the college football homestretch.)

Hey, a 5-in-10 from the 5-at-10, anyone?

1. Iron Bowl — The Jordan of the category, especially these days.

2. THE Ohio State-Michigan — Stakes not as big as Iron Bowl, but hatred's close.  

3. Georgia-Georgia Tech — This could really upset the SEC apple cart folks.

4. Mississippi-Mississippi State (on Thanksgiving night) — Underrated in terms of hate; this is Rebels Super Bowl.

5. Wisconsin-Michigan — Biggest gametes week; can unbeaten Badgers survive?

(In a lot of years, the FSU and Florida would be a no-doubter on this list, but man that's two groups who have watched the wheels fall off completely.)

As for snacks, the single most important left-over at Thanksgiving — bar absolutely none — is left over turkey for as many turkey and mayo and pepper sammiches on white bread. 

(Little secret, and let's just keep this between us friends, but we have a crew of great friends and family that make the trip for Thanksgiving. It's a great time. We do chili dogs for everyone on Wednesday night and the traditional Thanksgiving fixings on Thursday. As for the secret: Well, we do a whole separate turkey breast (above and beyond, and yes everyone has more than enough on T-Day) and keep that hidden to make sure we have enough leftovers.)

Todd, you also bring up an interesting point that we're not sure many have discussed about Thanksgiving NFL slate yet. Look at the teams in action on what is one of the big-time stages of the NFL.

Vikings-Detroit with Case Keenum at QB in purple. Dallas hosts the Chargers with Ezekiel Elliott suspended. The imploding Giants go to Washington in the nightcap. NFL action it's fan ah forget it.

From War Eagle Mike

Did you see that the anniversary of the Marshall U. plane crash was Tuesday? I love that movie. What makes your football movie Rushmore?

Love the blog and read it everyday.

WE Mike —

We did see that, and that moves very well done. (Side note: Do you think the dad of the running back/trustee was a real person or just the trumped up sports-movie villain that every sports movie needs to create conflict? The internet tells us that Ian McShane's character was a composite of a couple of folks, so there's that.) 

And friends not sure why but the post-film image of the Marshall announcer, who's the son of the guy who was then the Marshall announcer who died in the crash, makes it dusty for us every time. Every. Single. Time.

Rushmore of football movies, though, is tough to crack. Let's review the contenders, and know football movies are the toughest to have real-life looking action for a lot of reasons. (And the action from "Any Given Sunday," which includes one of the great pregame speeches ever, is awful and headache-inducing.)

Plus, the much-needed and often created sports-drama on the field or the court in football normally involves some sort of trick play chicanery that simply insults everyone involved. (Well unless it's "Little Giants" which is criminally underrated.)

With that in mind, we'll go Friday Night Lights, North Dallas Forty, the first Longest Yard and All the Right Moves.

For the silly, embraced-slapstick comedy version of this, we'll go Little Giants, Replacements, Necessary Roughness and Waterboy.

As for "real-life" football versions — and we use that term loosely, especially on Remember the Titans, because the film's directors took a lot of liberties with the actual story, we'd go Marshall, Titans, Rudy and Brian's Song, and that's with a tip of the visor to Invincible, Blind Side,  Radio and Gridiron Gang. Now if Draft Day turns out to be a real-life story, well, call us.)

Great question, and it brings us to this week's Rushmores

Rushmore of fast food restaurants: Chick-Fil-A, Wendy's, Zaxby's, and we're sorry friends, and the only time we really use it is for breakfast, but McDonald's has to be here if for no other reason than honoring the joint that made it all happen.  

Rushmore of TV lawyers: Perry Mason is a no-brainer; Jack McCoy; Matlock and Saul Goodman. (Now it's hard not to include Jackie Chiles and Lionel Hutz, but that's our final answer.)

Rushmore of most influential rappers (and our list skews little older, embracing the influence more than the legacy): NWA (and considering that the original collection included Dre and Cube, and those dudes begat Snoop and Tupac, well, dang), Eric B and Rakim, Run DMC (yes, there were a lot of groups in the 80s that took rap mainstream, be them the Beastie Boys, L.L. Cool J and even 2 Live Crew, but can you really put a value on Run DMC doing "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith at a time when Fab 5 Freddie and Yo! MTV Raps were starting to take off), Grandmaster Flash.  

Rushmore of sports stars who changed their names: The religious angle kind of dominates in that Ali and Jabbar have to be here, right? we'll take Hakeem Olajuwon (officially added the 'H') and Ahmad Rashad as the other religious name changes. As for the 'different' name changes, we'll go World B. Free, Chad Ochocinco, Stylez G. White (yes, Greg White, former Buccaneers defensive lineman who changed his name in honor of Michael J. Fox's character's best buddy in Teen Wolf) and Sugar Ray Robinson (who was born Walker Smith Jr.). Side note: Did you know that Marvelous Marvin Hagler actually made his legal first name Marvelous and Mark Super Duper actually made his middle name Super. Good times.

On this day (Nov. 17) in history:

Congress held its first session in Washington D.C. today in 1800.

The infamous Heidi Game between the Raiders and Jets happened today in 1968.

Douglas Engelbart got a patent for the first computer mouse today in 1970.

Today in 1973, Nixon offered the famous, "Well, I am not a crook."

Martin Scorsese (75) and Lorne Michaels (73) were born on this day. (Scorsese Rushmore is pretty tough friends.)

From Billy-in-Brainerd

What are your thoughts on the MAC playing football games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in November? Do the ratings indicate success? Thanks + keep up the good work here and on the radio...Go Mocs!

B-i-B —

Personally we like the MACtion as it's called. (And we liked it a lot back in the day when we made an occasional wager or three.)

It primarily was designed, plain and simple, for gambling addicts to have a Tuesday or Wednesday game to put some action on. And anyone who denies that, well, you're wrong.

(In fact, we're wondering how the debate was quashed about the whole Student-Athlete discussion. Somehow, the academic progress of those in MAC schools who take a couple of weekdays off to to travel most the year is fine. Oh, nevermind. Looking for consistency and reason from the NCAA is like expecting to find an extra donut in in the newsroom. No chance.)

The ratings are dreadful. Simply dreadful, but this is a rare scenario that the final score (eyeballs) does not tell the entire story.

ESPN craves live-action events. Period, and football during the week is way better than reruns of Highly Questionable or First Take (which by the night time, would then be Last Take).

The MAC has really gotten a nice boost of exposure in our view too. Seriously, we think we could more easily name most of the MAC than we could the other Group of Five conferences. Thanks for the kind words B-i-B, and playing along with the craziness.   

From a couple of you folks

Are you sad Mike & Mike are no more? 

When Mike & Mike started, and these stats were on their show this morning:

Roger Federer and the Williams sisters had all of two majors. They now have combined for 48 singles titles in the majors since.

Bill Belichick had not started coaching with the Patriots.

Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Jason Terry were the only currently active NBA players in the league.

Carlos Beltran was the AL rookie of the year. He retired last week.

Movie tickets nationally were less than $5.50. Smooth by Santana was the No. 1 song and Stuart Little was the No. 1 picture at the box office.

Y2K. Elian Gonzalez. According to Nielse, here's the top 10 shows of 2000, the year Mike & Mike debuted:

1. Survivor (CBS) 
2. ER (NBC) 
3. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire(ABC) 
4. Friends (NBC)
5. Monday Night Football
6. Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
7. Law & Order (NBC)
8. The Practice (ABC)
9. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS) 
10. The West Wing (NBC)

And how's this for a terrible decision: Blockbuster declined the chance to buy Netflix. The price tag? $50 million.

As for Mike & Mike, think of all the changes in the genre they experienced, with social media and simulcast and all the others.

They pioneered a lot on a national scale. The end was needlessly messy in a couple of regards, and they are not everyone's cup of team.

But make no mistake, they were the champs for a long time, and doing  that as a tandem for as long as they did, man, it's unbelievably impressive.

From Chris

I know this is not sports but it seems like every male big name in Washington and Hollywood is being accused of assaulting women.

My friend and I were talking about, and I used your steroid comparison from MLB 1995-2005 -- Is there one name out there that would truly surprise you if they were accused of this?

Thanks and keep up the great work we here (place of work) read your 5-at-10 every day. (Don't put (place of work) in there if you can. Don't want the boss to see it.)

Chris —

Thanks. We had not drawn that conclusion between the steroids theory and all the allegations.

The names keep coming down, with Al Franken and Sly Stallone being the latest ones added to the list. Stallone's rep is vehemently denying the charges from a girl that claims she was forced to having sex with Stallone when the accuser was 16 while he was filming "Over the Top."

(Here's a slide show of the names that have been accused form the New York Daily News.)  

The only names we could put on the steroids list that would truly surprise me among the MLB stars of the era your referenced are Greg Maddox and Tom Glavine. That's not an accusation against anyone, just a acknowledgement that we simply don't have close to all the knowledge of that time.

As for all these allegations, well, the roof was blown off the top from the very get. To the very specifics of your question, "Is there one name out there that would truly surprise you if they were accused of this?"

Yes, there was. His name was Bill Flippin' Cosby for Pete's Sake. For a lot of us of a certain age, Heathcliff Huxtable was the Maddux-Glavine-Derek Jeter combo all rolled into one.

So no, I do not believe there is someone that would really surprise us, and we're willing to bet a lot of people are quite nervous. 

From Spencer

Is is safe to assume Jim Mora is out at UCLA?

Spencer —

We think that's a safe assumption.

Consider the following: He has a career 46-29 record in a couple weeks short of six seasons with the Bruins. But he was 29-11 with three bowl trips in his first three years and is 17-18 with one bowl trip since with USC on Saturday.

UCLA is almost an 18-point underdog against the Trojans, who have regrabbed control of that rivalry despite all the dysfunction at USC in the last five years.

Mora should have seized control of L.A. (College football edition) and let it slip. He's 28-25 in conference play, and it's not like the Pac-12 has been the bee's knees during his tenure.

Also, know this: Mora's run of a little above average has been with three years of Brett Hundley and three years of Josh Rosen behind center. That's a six-year run with guys who are going to have lengthy NFL careers at quarterback, and this is the result.

The only way we see Mora getting one more ride in the sun, is a) a strong effort and win over USC on Saturday, and more importantly b) the UCLA brass look up and do not want to pony up the big dollars in a buyout (some reports have it as much as $10 million) right now to wrestle with Tennessee and Florida — two power programs who have already started their search process — for their next coach. 

From Stewwie —

Jay, I'm curious as to where all the Butch angst has come from. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but why do you feel so strongly about what is going on in K-town? I'm not talking about just plain ol' criticism, but rather such strong criticism and lots of lots of negative ink about Butch and the program over the years. Are you a closet UTK fan? Was Butch a jerk to the TFP and/or Press Row?

Stewwie —

You know, we never thought about it until you raised this point, Stew.

In truth, not sure. As for the two questions at the end, well, we did grow up a UT fan (our mom went to UT and grew up in the mid-state) before becoming a full-blown Auburn fan because of Bo Jackson. 

But we don't think that's it. And we only had Butch on maybe once or twice on Press Row, and he was his typical boring and delusional self. (We do remember this: I point-blank asked Butch if he practiced his answers or had buzz words that he was tried to make sure to insert in interviews. His answer was no, and he went on to say that he always speaks from the heart. So there's that.)

Also know, that the media gigs in this state are more fun when UT is actually good. And that's something that has not been the case for a long time. 

In some ways, it may have something to do with the Press Row gig, rightly or wrongly. When you speak that much and offer opinions, some times I go a little overboard. And that can only galvanize and expand.

That said, Butch's tenure was filled with "Yeah, you think the fans are mad or disappointed now Well, hold my beer" moments. And in truth, almost every time the man spoke to the media, it felt like fingernails on a chalk board for me. 

There's also this: We had high hopes for Kiffin, and were tough on him when he left. Really tough. We had zero hopes for Dooley, but the early signs of Butch were positive, and maybe the extended disappointment added to the frustration of awful in-game decisions and the droning sounds of every sound bite.

But your point is fair, at times my criticism, in retrospect, we can see how at times it was viewed as over the top, even though Butch deserved to be fired a month ago.

And you know what? Thanks for calling me on it. But hey, you know us liberal media types, right?  

From a slew of you (from something we said on Press Row)

(You are) outta your mind, UT can definitely get back with right coach. Look at Clemson, they have nothing UT doesn't with less tradition.

It sounds like you guys would put us in a Arkansas like category lol I can't agree with that. But i get the negative feelings seeing how we have competed lately
I don't understand the Tennessee can't get back to a national contender statement. We would have contended nationally if butch hadn't made bad decisions in close games in 2015 and 2016. Not to mention he had a top 5 class this year without "legacies"

Man, I'm sitting here screaming in my car. You are an idiot. The Vols job is a top 10 job and the right hire can do for UT what Smart did for Georgia -- nationally relevant in Year Two. Please do some research you Alabama/Georgia homer. 

Gang —

First, love the homer reference. Yep, that's us. Especially a Bama/UGA homer. And part of the liberal media machine.

Good times.

Can they get back into the national picture? Yes, we never said they could not get back. We said it would be amazingly difficult for Tennessee to get there. And it will take the perfect hire. The PERFECT hire. 

Kirby Smart inherited an absolutely stacked roster. Look at the usual suspects that litter the top 10. Clemson as ana example is fine, but no one knew that Dabo was going to be this, right?
It also needs to include a monster, direction-changing recruit and recruiting class early in the tenure. Deshaun Watson changed the Clemson narrative. Cam Newton changed it at Auburn.

Butch could recruit, but the challenge at Tennessee to recruit nationally will always be that. And unlike when Tennessee was rolling under Fulmer, the high school stars of today do not know that version.

Simply put, what is Tennessee's high-water mark of the last decade? Seriously?

So high school seniors would remember Tennessee most for what?

Yes, UT has amazing facilities and the money to keep up in the arms race.  But if we say UT is now a top-15 or 20 job, by comparison, the numbers back our view.

(And yes, if we are talking historically, maybe UT cracks top-10 status, but the historical argument also brings a lot of other folks into the discussion that UT currently outdistances.)

As for today, is Tennessee a better job than Alabama, THE Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Florida, FSU, Oklahoma or USC.

What about Michigan or LSU or Auburn? Or Penn State or Nebraska or Washington? How about Miami or Clemson or Wisconsin?

Yes, the fact that we could keep tossing some out there and make everyone think is a big reason Butch had to go. (Side question: How unbelievable was Josh Dobbs to keep that offense and that program afloat pretty much by himself until Alvin Kamara was actually, you know, given the ball?) 

And the thing that will make all of this even more difficult is that none of those schools are going anywhere for the foreseeable future, you know?

Is it impossible? No. Not when UT made more than nine figures in football revenue, the second-most nationally in the last fiscal report. (A fact that tells everyone that UT simply can not afford NOT to be good at football.) And I don't think I ever said it was impossible.

But it will be difficult and without the right hire, it will take a long while.

Fan mail

Dear Jay, Just when I think you are showing more maturity, you write a column like today's. It was a masterpiece of incoherence and cluelessness.

And

Man, your opinions are completely suck.

And one more

I hate you.

Good talk.

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