5 At 10: NFL Power Poll, Jemele Hill Suspended, Big Week For Butch, True Or False Tuesday, Rushmore Of College Football Alternative Uniforms

NFL Power poll

The names are not the same. 

No where close in fact. Look at the division leaders around the NFL. The Jets and Bills are tied with New England for the lead in the AFC East. The Jags — yes, the Jags, who slaughtered Pittsburgh last Sunday — lead the AFC South. The Chiefs are the best team in the league.

Heck, the Colts have two wins with Jacoby Brissett as their starter, same as trendy playoff picks Oakland, Tennessee and Dallas. The Rams are better than the Seahawks in the NFC West.

It's crazy.

Before we get to the power polls, let's review last night's Monday Night game which was dominated by the Star Wars trailer. (Yes, the trailer looked amazing, but it looked like a chipmunk was driving the Millennium Falcon, right? And let's just say the 3-2 halftime score leading into a monster audience tuning in for the trailer was not exactly the lead-in the ratings challenged NFL wanted.)

It was the debut of Mitch (aka Mitchell, aka Mit, aka 'Chell or whatever other aka he's into this week) Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick for the Bears.

First, let's look at the 11 teams that passed on Deshawn Watson, who has been the best quarterback in the league the last three weeks. Trubisky for sure will be measured against Watson forever. In fact, even with Mike Glennon's turnover issues, there is a big belief that Watson's early mega-success forced the Bears to get their rookie on the field.

So the Bears and the Browns, who took Myles Garrett No. 1, have rookies at QB, and can only watch as Watson delivers on the promise and poise that a lot of us saw when he left Clemson.

San Francisco went No. 3 and took Solomon Thomas, who had a sack on Sunday. Brian Hoyer is the 49ers starter, and that's not a long-term solution either. Now, if the 49ers were building — they have a lot of needs — and looking toward the QB heavy 2018 draft, OK. Still, Watson is killing it.

Jacksonville at 4 took Leonard Fournette, and he's been awesome. The Titans at 5, the Chargers at 7, the Panthers at 8, the Bengals at 9, the Saints at 11, all had much bigger needs than quarterback. (Yes, the Chargers and the Saints could have gone with a future QB, but we get that line of thinking.)

That leaves the Jets, who have three wins with atrocious QB play and the Chiefs, who moved up to draft Patrick Mahomes, the QB from Texas Tech. Watson went 12th, and the Texans are pretty happy with how that played out.

To the poll.


1. Kansas City. Yes, the Chiefs are the last unbeaten team in the league through five games. Yes, the Chiefs have absorbed a painful injury to their best defensive player when safety Eric Berry was lost for the year in the opener. Yes, the Chiefs have acquired a bevy of playmakers to the point that Travis Kelce — the game's best tight end, in a league that has become very tight end-oriented — could be option No. 3. But all of that takes a back seat in importance and on the surprise meter to this: Through five weeks, Alex Smith is the runaway MVP of the league right now. Let that soak in.

2. Green Bay. We header someone make the analogy that Aaron Rodgers is the QB LeBron James. Neither has won as much as some of the folks they will forever be compared against in the GOAT talks. But when it comes to the eye test and our ultimate value indicator of would you trade player X for Rodgers or James in their respective primes, who would say no, we think Rodgers and James are right there in the very top of the best ever to play. We strenuously believe that the Pats would deal an in-his-prime Brady for Rodgers; James for Jordan — and remember Jordan's prime was wasted for the most part with the Doug Collins era — would be a great conversation. 

3. Denver. The Broncos didn't play this weekend, which means the crippled New York Giants, who had a devastating set of injuries last week, will face a fresh Denver defense Sunday night. IF we gave you Giants' over/under 6.5 points, what would you take?

4. Carolina. Man, maybe Cam Newton needs to create social controversy more often. After his insulting response to a female reporters question last week, Newton was aces Sunday. Aces. He was 26-of-33 for 355 yards and three scores and no picks as the Panthers handled the Lions more convincingly than the 27-24 final.

5. New England. Brady's still there. Belichick is still there. The Pats will still be there when it matters.


28. Los Angeles Chargers. They are not real good. Neither city — L.A. or San Diego — really cares where they call home. So let's go here: Man, Philip Rivers is a fun guy to have on your fantasy team. Yes, he tossed out a floater against the Chiefs earlier this year, but for the most part, the Chargers are always behind and he's always looking to sling it.

29. Chicago. Big year for the rebuilding Bears and their rookie quarterback. Trubisky was 12 of 25 for a TD and a pick that led to the Vikings' game-winning field goal last night. He's got the ball now. And all of Chicago will keep one lusting eye on Watson in Houston.

30. New York Giants. We all kind of expected a New York team to be winless five weeks in and contending in the Dreadful for Darnold or Stink for Saquon sweepstakes for the top overall pick. We just thought it would be the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. The Giants have been decimated at receiver. They are 0-5. And they become a very interesting player in the race for No. 1 overall pick, since Eli Manning is 37 years old and turning the page at quarterback has to be a talking point within the organization. 

31. San Francisco. The 49ers are winless. Since losing to Seattle in the 2014 NFC title game, the 49ers are 15-38. That's not real good.

32. Cleveland. Hey, at least the Indians are interesting — a decisive Game 5 is Wednesday against the Yankees — and the Cavs start soon. Serious question: The Browns pulled rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer after he had something like 213 turnovers last weekend. If the Browns — who have passed on Carson Wentz and Deshawn Watson the last two drafts (OUCH-standing) — get the No. 1 pick, even after taking Kizer in the second round last April, does Cleveland look at quarterback again next spring?

FILE - This is a Feb. 3, 2017, file photo showing Jemele Hill attending ESPN: The Party 2017 in Houston, Texas. ESPN anchor Jemele Hill has been suspended by the network for two weeks for making political statements on social media. Hill, who is African-American, received criticism from the network last month after referring to President Donald Trump as a "white supremacist." On Monday, oct. 9, 2017, Hill targeted Jerry Jones, after the Dallas Cowboys owner stated that players who disrespect the flag would not play for his team. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)


Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Jemele Hill

The controversial ESPN personality Jemele Hill was suspended for two weeks for her social media post asking people who disagree with Jerry Jones to boycott the sponsors of the Dallas Cowboys.

Here's her Tweet from last Sunday: "This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ's statement, boycott his advertisers."

This came about a month or so after see made a national stir by posting harsh words on Twitter of President Donald Trump, a move for which she was not suspended but the four-letter network said she was talked to afterward.

For those that think this a two-strikes and you're out for two weeks deal, well, it's actually Hill's run-in with controversy. She was suspended in 2008 from ESPN for saying cheering for the Boston Celtics is like cheering for Hitler. (Kids, the lesson here as always, is unless you are Mel Brooks, Hitler is never funny or clever.)

Are we surprised that she was suspended? No, but the underlying message here is very clear: Say whatever you believe in against this White House and/or in support of liberal politics. That's cool. But in a million years do not T-T on the electric fence that is the NFL and in turn ESPN's bottom line.

Because make no mistake, calling the president and his staff a bunch of white supremacists is way worse than asking to boycott a billionarie's billion-dollar corporate partners. But the latter affects ESPN's bottom line too, because how many of those sponsors are also ESPN sponsors, and with the dwindling number of subscribers, football is one of the last vital options on ESPN. (True or false Tuesday: If ESPN lost its contracts to broadcast live games of the NFL and the SEC, you would drop it.)

It also puts ESPN in a very strange place. Now the Reverend Al Sharpton is threatening to protest the decision to suspend Hill. which means a growing number of the hard-leaning folks on the left are now becoming as mad at ESPN as the hard-leaning folks on the right. 

And to make matters worse, guys like Michael Wilbon are coming on the various platforms and comparing NFL players to modern-day slaves. Hey, I'm as white as virgin's wedding dress, but in my recollection of history, I'm pretty sure slaves were not offered minimum salaries of $465,000 for rookies. But, hey if, I'm remembering that incorrectly, please, someone correct me.

It also is really not a punishment for Hill, who will parlay this into a network job when all the smoke clears. She will jump to The View or some pop culture show on the mornings on any of the big networks not named Fox. (And that's really smart too, because of the controversy and the fall-out, here's betting that the SC6 will be gone within a year. Which is a shame because I enjoyed the chemistry between she and Michael Smith.)

In the end, ESPN will be the big loser in this, and in some ways the network's double standards in policing opinions of its non-opinion givers and its decision to move more toward the E (Entertainment) rather than the S (Sports) is extremely hurting the N (Network).   

Tyler Byrd (10) is congratulated by Brett Kendrick (63) and other Vols linemen after Byrd scored a touchdown in a football game against the Massachusetts Minutemen in Knoxville on Sept. 23, 2017.

Tyler Byrd (10) is congratulated by Brett Kendrick...

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

UT game week

Yes, we have gotten wordy.

What did ya expect?

So let's go here: True or false Tuesday, this is the biggest game in Butch Jones' time in Knoxville. We are leaning to true, because a loss will mean he will have less support among the fan base than Lane Kiffin does right now.

Seriously. If they lose, and as bad as the fall out was after Kiffin went West at midnight, we'd bet that a majority of Johnny Vols fans would trade Butch for Lane come Monday morning.

This comes on the heels of a suspension for Darrell Taylor, who allegedly got into a fight and kicked Trey Smith in the face. Hey, good times.

This comes on the heels of the latest Butchism, when Jones coined the term Leadership Reps, whatever the heck that is.

This comes on the heels of what Jones called the best bye week in the history of the free world.

It also comes on the heels of TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer asking fairly if the Vols have a chemistry issue. 

We say true that this is the biggest week for Jones to date for another reason too.

The optics of Weeds' query will be magnified and clear come Sunday.

There's no doubting that Jones' seat is hot. There's no doubt that a win would be huge. There's no doubt that in situations like this, head coaches who still have control of the locker room and the support of the players in it, get monster efforts in support of the head coach.

If UT delivers, then that makes a statement of support for Jones from the players.

If UT falls flat, then that too makes a statement about Jones' place in the players' view, and it will match the uneasiness and angst of the fan base.

This and that

— Sneaky monster game Saturday between non-ranked teams when Duke (4-2) hosts FSU (1-3). Florida State, a team picked by several folks as a playoff frontrunner, has not started 1-4 since 1975. Duke has lost back-to-back games after winning four in a row.

— The New York Giants lost three wide outs for the season Sunday. Three. Wow, tough to be Eli Manning right now. Side question: If you team lost three wide outs in a weekend, should they sign Terrell Owens, who looked great when he was in Chattanooga for homecoming last weekend.

— This was a glorious Tweet because Lane Kiffin simply does not give a rip. In response to the ESPN Football Power Index numbers showing that his FAU team has a 37.3 percent chance to win Conference USA, here's Kiffin's post: "Please stop media!! This is rat poison to our players!! #process #top10rushingoffensesinthecountry #bama #thefaU." Here's betting even Nick Saban thinks that's funny.

— Hey, the Astros have advanced to the ALCS by sweeping Boston. The Dodgers have advance to the NLCS by sweeping Arizona. Yankees-Indians play decisive Game 5 Wednesday in Cleveland. Chicago beat Washington 2-1 last night and lead the Nationals 2-1 going into Game 4 tonight. Good times.

Today's question

Let's review some true or falses, shall we?

True or false Tuesday, this is the biggest game in Butch Jones' time in Knoxville.

True or false Tuesday, if ESPN lost its contracts to broadcast live games of the NFL and the SEC, you would drop it.

True or false, you would take Aaron Rodgers over any quarterback of the last 40 years.

As for today, it's 10-10. Rin Tin Tin, God bless that dog.

David Lee Roth is 63 today. True or false, you are surprised David Lee Roth made it to 63.

As for a Rushmore, let's go here. The Florida Gators are trotting out a new alternative uniform this week. (True or false, you like this Gators uniform.)

Rushmore of best college football alternative uniforms.

Source : http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/sports/columns/story/2017/oct/10/5--10-nfl-power-poll/453697/

5-at-10: NFL Power Poll, Jemele Hill suspended, Big week for Butch, True or false Tuesday, Rushmore of college football alternative uniforms
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