published Friday, April 22nd, 2011

5 at 10: Friday mailbag

Gang, outstanding questions today. Kudos all around.

Here we go...



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    Butler shirts sit on display in a shop before a men's NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Michigan State Saturday, April 3, 2010, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

From scole023

What's the next contest? Thanks for the Final Four tshirt. I want to win more stuff.

scole023

Thanks for the kind words about the many hours the 5-at-10 staff puts into the show. Your obvious devotion to our product, oh nevermind, here's the next challenge. Side note: Scole023 won the "Overrated/Underrated Bracket (that had to be decided in overtime because we nailed the overrated and stunk at the underrated part) Challenge" and SportTalk's Cowboy Joe (he is a cowboy after all) won the “Mastering the masterful Masters top-5 masters challenge”

The 5-at-10 loves the NFL draft. You know this.

So we have to have a draft challenge, right?

Here are the guidelines: Send us which players you think will be selected with the first picks of the Carolina Panthers, the Tennessee Titans, the Atlanta Falcons, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders. That's it.

Five players, and you get one point for each correct pick. If we need tie-breakers, we'll announce that next week.

We still need a name for this one, and we'll try to have some local sports big names like Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) involved. We'll come up with some sort of T-shirt or a hat or Lookouts tickets or maybe Braves tickets or something for the winner.

As always, grab a pick, don't cost nothing.



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    An undated photo provided by the Auburn Public Safety Department shows Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr., 62, of Dadeville. Updyke Jr. was arrested early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011 and charged with one count of first-degree criminal mischief in connection with the poisoning of the historic Toomer's Corner oak trees at Auburn University. (AP Photo/Auburn Public Safety Department)

From 2010 NChamps

What do you make of Harvey Updyke? Seriously. Guy is a nut, right?

2010 NChamps

Here are some of the 5-at-10's thoughts on uber-Alabama fan Harvey Updyke, the man you know better as Al from Dadeville in the "What's Going Down at Toomer's Corner" episode of "That's Our Iron Bowl Rivalry." Updyke, of course, has all but admitted on a national radio show to poisoning the oak trees at Toomer's Corner at Auburn.

There is so much ground to cover (and there's little doubt, we'll forget something) so we're using the bullet point method. And forgive us, Bigbearzzz, for not using our TPS cover sheet on this report. Buckle up:

— Of course he's a nut. But he may also be crazy like a fox. If he has copyrighted any number of the things he said on the radio Thursday, when he gets out of prison he's going to be transformed from Harvey Updyke, nut bar, to Harvey Updyke, eccentric millionaire.

Seriously, everyone in Alabama can see some logic in Harvey's wisdom: "I'm not crazy, I'm an Alabama fan." You don't think that's going to be on T-shirts in Tuscaloosa and in Auburn? Please.

— Who is his attorney, Lionel Hutz? Seriously, Harvey's facing a felony charge of criminal mischief and there are reports that the EPA is going to get involved and issue charges and he goes on a national radio station and spills his guts. Did you skip that day in law school counselor?

— Paul Finebaum has made a killing on this entire episode. Whether you think Finebaum is the bomb or a boob is beside the point; dude has been in the right place at the right time, and Harvey's radio appearance Thursday on Finebaum's show was gold. Like Charlie Sheen-meltdown-don't-want-to-listen-but-can't-turn-it-off gold.

— The emotions of the entire interview (and this entire episode, really) range from anger to entertaining to sadness. At one point, Harvey told Finebaum "I don't want those trees to die. I would give anything in the world if this had never happened. I don't want my legacy to be the Auburn tree-poisoner. I guess it's too late now." Amid the giggles and the other heckles or hard words, it can be easy forget the reality that this mistake could forever change a great Auburn tradition and will forever affect that family and has damaged the national perception on a great college rivalry.

— The 5-at-10 is sure that we'll have more on this later, but right now we have to move along to two of the better, off-the-beaten-path questions we've received in a while.



From SteelerFan

Hey Fiver:

Sorry I’ve been out of pocket for a couple of weeks. Here’s my question: Flat-screen TVs and hi-def broadcasts seem to have changed the home viewing experience for us sports fans. Can you take each of the major sports — baseball, basketball and football — and break down how to watch the flow of the game away from the ball. All of us old-timers were trained to watch the game from the POV of the ball. If you do that now, you’re missing a lot, right?

(A tip: Anyone who wants to learn more about football should watch Jon Gruden’s QB Camp shows on ESPN. They will change the way you see the game. Plus, Gruden is like Madden on steroids. You gotta love his enthusiasm.)

SteelerFan,

One of the great questions we received this week.

SteelerFan is spot on — the fan perspective watching from home is surreal now, and that's not even talking about 3D. Across all sports the camera angles and the sharpness of the pictures give images that a decade or two ago were impossible. Plus for all sports, a big key is embracing the rewind features that are available on most cable systems. It's normal to watch any play live from the point of view of where the ball is; but when you re-watch (and controlling instant replay is another amazing transformation of the fan watching experience) you can pick any number of things to watch.

Here are a few of the things the 5-at-10 does while watching from home by sport:

BASEBALL

Most of the centerfield camera angles force the fan to watch from the perspective of the pitcher. So it goes. On TV, we try to steal the catcher signals (1 finger for the fastball, 2 for curve, etc.) and that's more challenging of course when there's a runner on second and the signs are juggled or are blended with indicators or sequence. (Our sequence in high school with a guy on second was always the first sign after the first 2. So if the catcher put down 2-1-3-3-2-1, it was a 1 for fastball; if he did 1-1-3-2-2-3, it was a 2 for a curve — unless of course Ken Griffey Jr was hitting, and then the 5-at-10 might as well have turned and thrown the ball over the right-field fence.)

As for going to a baseball game, watching the shortstop move defensively is entertaining (you have no idea how much the SS leads and is involved with), and our favorite is watching a potential base steeler get a lead at first or second and mess with the pitcher before trying to steal.

BASKETBALL

The camera angles in basketball are wide-enough to see most everything, and the best exchanges are always away from the ball. That's the most physical and the most telling.

Watch a team's best player — or a team's best defensive player — work when the ball is in someone else's hands.

Here's a good one: The Celtics have one of each. Ray Allen is one of the league's hardest working offensive players, and if you watch him work to get open — running off picks, running from side-to-side, lulling his defender to sleep before stepping back or cutting to the basket, etc. — is a treat. Defensively, Kevin Garnett is not what he used to be athletically, but he's still a very good defender. Watch him work (read push and shove) against his man in the post and even better watch him help against players running through the lane or off screens or driving to the basket.

FOOTBALL

This is the game that has offered so many new TV features and angles (it's also the game that has grown more than any in the last two decades, and no that's not surprising or a coincidence).

First identify the best players on the field. Be it the best offensive lineman or the best linebacker, it's a treat to watch excellence, and the guys that know the game and their position inside and out are awesome.

For you SteelerFan, watch Troy Polamalu roam and read and react. His blend of athleticism and instincts is worth the price of admission (especially if you're at home and didn't pay anything).

Watching Rolando McClain play linebacker is a treat; watching Hines Ward at receiver, especially on running plays; watching linemen pull or battle in the trenches is also a treat.

Personal favorite on live action plays is fullback Tony Richardson when the Jets are on TV. Guy is a beast and is never out of position and is always in the middle of the action when he is on the field.

On football replays — and the array of angles and options is incredible — the view from behind the quarterback with the rush coming and the receivers moving and the coverages changing is awesome. And telling why that is the most important position in sports. Which leads us to...

The Jon Gruden QB sessions are awesome in their awesomeness. ESPN has done some good stuff in years past (think some of the 30-for-30 stuff, just about anything Tom Rinaldi does among them), but these Gruden sessions with the quarterbacks heading into the draft may be our favorites.

Gruden has grown as a commentator and he is tough as an interviewer without coming across as a JackWagon, which can be a tricky balance. His session with Cam Newton was outstanding and his session with former TCU quarterback Andy Dalton changed the 5-at-10's opinion on him (he's going to be a good NFL player judging by the session with Gruden).

That's it. We're going to revisit the Gruden session next week.



From P-Davi

The FBI's crack down on online poker this week had me looking at gambling websites and laughing at the prop bets being offered. What's the strangest/funniest sports related prop bet you've seen? I get $85,000 if Prince William drops his wedding ring during next weeks Royal Wedding. If Queen Elizabeth dresses in all black I'm a millionaire.

Outstanding question, and the death of the U.S. online poker scene created a lot of extra time for a few of the 5-at-10's friends. Plus, it's going to really curtail the number of poker events that are on TV (somewhere the Mrs. 5-at-10 just did a Tiger Woods' fist pump and she's not really sure why) since a lot of those outfits sponsored those made-for-TV events and provided a lot of the entry fees.

As for your question, first let's explain a prop bet. It's short for, "propositional bet" and it's something the bookmakers in Las Vegas came up with the 1980s when there was a run of blowouts in the Super Bowl and players would leave after the games got out of control. So they put out prop bets — propositions that were different than the main bets about which team would win and how many points would be scored.

At first, the prop bets did not take off, but then the Fridge scored and all the gamblers in Vegas scored and prop bets took off. That's right, gamblers got something like 8-to-1 odds betting on whether William "The Refrigerator" Perry would score a touchdown when the Bears whipped the Pats in after the 1985 season. Everyone had Fridge fever and the house lost millions. Prop bets are now as much a part of the Super Bowl as old halftime acts, five-hour pregame shows and that guy that gets a little overserved at your Super Bowl party and breaks something. So it goes.

Now, back to your question — and love the tidbits on the Royal Wedding prop bets, here's saying that the London bookmakers are offering untold number of props, even something like a 20-to-1 offering if someone in the wedding party falls. Awesome stuff.

Here's our top 5 — and most of these stories involve professional poker players since they are, you know, gambling addicts — and since we have already written like 7,000 words, we're going to try to move quickly. That's right, a top five, each in 20 words or less (or a 5-in-20 by the 5-at-10):

5) The crazy number games that involve multiple sports: Some Super Bowl prop bets now cross sports, like which will be higher, a receiver's yards or a golfer's score.

4) "The Contest" on Seinfeld. Master of your domain. Kramer's out in like 4 minutes. The episode that catapulted one of TV's true Mount Rushmore comedies.

3) Legendary kids' division: Rumor has it Dr. Suess won $50 for writing "Green Eggs and Ham" with just 50 different words.

2) The Biggest Loser (seriously): Poker player Ted Forrest collected $2 million from Mike Matusow by losing 50 pounds in less than two months.

1) He can make it anywhere, except Des Moines, Iowa: John Hennigan bet six figures that he could live in Des Moines for six weeks. He lasted two days.

  • photo
    Cuonzo Martin speaks during a news conference after being introduced as the new University of Tennessee men's basketball coach on Monday. Staff Photo by Patrick Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press

From CelticVol

Hello Coach 5@10,

I just wanted to get your take on Cuonzo Martin’s first few weeks of recruiting and if you think he will land anymore signees for next year’s class. Also, I wonder if there were any of those secret handshakes going on with Kevin Ware signing with Central Florida. Jay, how in the world can you sign with Central Florida after just being visited by Ricky P.?

C-Vol,

Thanks for bringing us back. The 5-at-10 thinks Martin is a stand-up guy, and that's a big bonus for a program that needs some structure right now.

He seems to be a good coach — our TFP college hoops ace Mark Wiedmer was impressed with the open practice parts he witnessed earlier this month.

That said, he's been dealt a tough hand. If Scotty "High-Top Fade" Hopson and Tobias Harris leave, on paper this could be the least talented Vols team since early in the Buzz Peterson days. Yeah, that's not good.

As for his recruiting efforts, he's landed a couple of athletic guards that he's comfortable with, and it doesn't look like there will be any more in this class. And that's not a bad thing. Considering the situation and UT's current scenario (let's face it, even after dismissing Bruce Pearl, the Vols are still in NCAA timeout until at least June and maybe longer) one late addition this year is not going to be that big of a difference-maker. The blue-chippers are signed and sealed, so waiting and holding that scholarship for a difference-maker in the next class seems like the prudent play.

As for Kevin Ware, maybe the lure of playing with Michael Jordan's son at UCF was too much, but the 5-at-10 shares your point of view. If Ricky Pitino is coming to town, we're going to listen. (Unless, of course, he wants to tell us what's the after-hours special at a Louisville Italian restaurant. No thanks.)

Until Monday.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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bigbearzzz said...

THIS HAS TO BE THE QUITEST DAY EVER ON 5@10....OK GOTTA RUN!!! BYE!

April 22, 2011 at 3:08 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oso —

Shhhh. Everyone's taking a nap.

Or maybe everyone is outside. Or taking Good Friday as a holiday. Or getting ready for the Water for Elephants premier.

So it goes.

April 22, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.
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