Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Alex Smith …
- ESPN picked out four athletes who turned pro in 1996. They are not only still playing at a high level, they dominated their sport for much of the time.
They were Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and golf's Tiger Woods.
All of them in team sports have been the best players on their respective teams and Woods was on fire until a extramarital affair cost him his marriage and his death grip on golf's majors.
Lewis will become the first to announce he will retire after this season. Lewis may have lost a half-step, but his passion bucket overflows every game he plays. He was a big part of eliminating the Titans from the playoff two years and eliminated Peyton Manning and Denver Saturday.
- Speaking of Manning, he committed the cardinal sin that quarterbacks abide by. Never run to one side of the field and throw back across your body to the middle of the field.
I guarantee you the quarterbacks at the Manning Passing Academy each summer have that no-no drilled into them.
Manning's arm strength seemed to wane as the game was played in an icy minus-2 degree wind chill. He lost steam on a number of passes late in the game.
But the interception early in the second overtime put Baltimore in prime position to win the game, as only a field goal was needed to allow the underdog Ravens to fly home happy.
And did we have to hear Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis blubber on and on about how his faith in God allowed them to pull the upset? Please. I don't think God plays favorites when it comes to sports. You don't think there were any prayers going up from the Broncos players?
- Ensworth football/basketball star Corn Elder has Ohio State as one of his top choices and recently visited the Buckeyes. Elder wants to go to a school that will allow him to walk on in basketball.
He also has the skills necessary to run the Buckeyes read option.
- The consensus top high school football player in the state next season is Hendersonville Beech running back Jalen Hurd.
The question is, what position will he play at the next level? A lot of college coaches project him as a defensive back, likely a safety.
Hurd is tall for a running back and has an upright running style. It hasn't hurt him in high school as he scored seven touchdowns in the state championship game and rushed for 3,357 yards as a junior.
- I'm with Titans rookie linebacker Zach Brown. After Coach Mike Munchak fired linebackers coach Frank Bush, Brown tweeted what was shared by Twitter followers until Brown took it down: What is going on?
Bush coached one of the team's few positions that have a bright future.
The perception I have is that Munchak has pretty much fired some no-name coaches and replaced them with other no-name coaches.
I would like to see Munchak go after more proven assistants, but with only two years left on his contract and owner Bud Adams not going to extend him, how many top-flight coaches would sign here when they could be gone in two years or less.
- As if we need a reason to eliminate computer rankings from the BCS formula, the Colly Matrix gave us all the needed ammunition.
It is one of the computer formulas used in the current BCS formula and even after the BCS Championship Game, it had Notre Dame No. 1 and Alabama No. 2.
Good golly, Miss Colly. Are you nuts? Alabama wins 42-14 and you have the Irish No. 1?
The computer gave Bama four top 25 wins and the Irish three. What a joke.
- How pitiful is the state of SEC hoops? About as bad as it gets. RealTimeRPI.com ranks the conference the eighth best conference, trailing the Big Ten, Big East, Mountain West, ACC and Pac 12 and two others.
Florida is ranked No. 11, and Missouri at No. 22, Belmont No. 20, MTSU No. 37 and Missouri at No. 22 are the only other SEC team inside the Top 25.
Perhaps Tennessee and Vanderbilt should see if they can borrow some of Belmont's shooters. Coach Rick Byrd's team is on a roll and putting up some big scores.
- Denver's wide receiver Eric Decker made some key plays in the Broncos playoff win over Baltimore. Decker is taller and stronger than many NFL wide receivers and has a bright future.
Decker is a hit on and off the field as his fiancée is country music artist Jessie James, a rising star in Music City.
- Tennessee first year coach Butch Jones and his staff need to make up some ground the next two weeks in recruiting. They have had a lot of highly touted recruits on campus in resent weeks and we'll get an idea of how their message and closing ability is in the coming days.
ESPN's recruiting site has five SEC teams ranked in its top 10. They have Vanderbilt at No. 18 and Tennessee at No. 32. Arkansas and Kentucky failed to make the top 40.
- Lance Armstrong is going to tell all to Oprah? Who is next, Jerry Springer?
I'd rather watch 24 hours of Honey Boo Boo.
- I nominate the Philaelphia Eagles as a solution for bringing our economy back where it once was.
The Eagles first interviewed Oregon Coach Chip Kelly. Kelly said thanks, but no thanks, and the Ducks increased his salary.
Penn State's Bill O'Brien was next to dance with the Eagles, but decided to return to Penn State where they are working on a new contract.
Most recent, it was Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and the Eagles huddling to see if a marriage could be arranged. Nope, Brian said, his love for Notre Dame was immeasurable.
So, now Kelly and the Irish are working on a new contract.
What is it with the Eagles? Did they watch the Alabama-Notre Dame game?
Who will be the next person to pick from the Eagles' free money tree?
- Late night funnyman Conan O'Brien was excited about the NHL strike being settled.
"Good news for hockey. After 113 days, the National Hockey League has settled its contract dispute. The last time Americans went 113 days without watching hockey, it was during last year's hockey season.''
- Once again, the Titans failed to land a player on the All-Pro team.
The problem with the Titans is not all coaching. They don't have an elite NFL roster of players. Until they get one, they can hire Ron Zook as head coach and Bud Adams could really save some money.
They do have some promising young players, but by the time they establish themselves, the current coaching staff may be gone.
Mike Munchak is between a rock and a hard place, with a 90-year-old owner whose edict is to win now.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.