The Midweek Stock Report — or The MSR, with a capitalized ‘T’ to announce its presence with authority — is designed to highlight trends in and around University of Tennessee athletics, pop culture and anything else we feel like discussing.
Do not provoke this young man.
For those new to The MSR, our weekly roundup is broken down into three categories: Stock Rising for things on the upswing, Stock Falling for things on the downswing and Stock Holding for things that are just as awesome, just as awful or just as mediocre as they were seven days ago.
Those are the basic ground rules, but The MSR reserves the right to tweak this feature as we see fit. If you don’t like that, start your own website.
CROOTIN’: Now that the 2014 recruiting cycle is done and dusted, The MSR can report that Vols coach Butch Jones and his staff did a fantastic job. Tennessee signing an elite class despite its recent struggles on the field is very impressive, and that shouldn’t be forgotten. The Vols’ class is deep and balanced, and it looks to have plenty of instant-impact options. And Tennessee is already ranked third nationally in the 2015 cycle, as well. Perhaps, as some suggest, Butch gets it.
NEWBS: Shiny new toys are always nice until they get a few dents, but it’s worth noting that The MSR can’t talk to anyone in the Tennessee football program these days without them raving about the Vols’ 14 January enrollees. Apparently those kids can play. That’s good for the Vols, because they need more kids who can play.
SERRANO SWAGGER: In case you missed Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano’s preseason presser from earlier this week, The MSR highly recommends watching it. That’s a confident baseball coach right there. We love the swagger. We absolutely love it. Be a man. Call your shot.
MIAMI VICE: When a story looks too good to be true, oftentimes it is, much to The MSR’s chagrin. But according to The Palm Beach Post, David Beckham really is considering naming his new MLS franchise Miami Vice. That has to happen. It just has to.
KNOWING WHEN TO GO: It’s no secret that The MSR has a begrudging amount of success and immense amount of jealousy of the New York Yankees, but it’s impossible not to respect the heck out of consummate professional Derek Jeter. And considering Jeter recently posted on his Facebook account that 2014 will be his final season, we hope he goes out in style — by playing well for his team in a World Series loss to the Chicago Cubs. JK. Our Cubs are terrible. But, seriously, we wish Jeter nothing but success and are happy that he’ll never have to play another game with A-Rod.
Tough times in the 865.
VOLS HOOPS: There’s no other way for The MSR to put this: The Tennessee men’s basketball team has been a disappointment to this point. But the season isn’t over, and we’ll see how it ends. But this team should have at least a couple of more wins and a couple of less losses.
SN-OMG: As a student of history, The MSR can tell that you “Pax” means “peace” in Latin. Perhaps it means “war” in Pig Latin. There’s nothing peaceful about one full foot of snow. Nothing at all.
MORE HEART THAN SMART: As much as The MSR loves Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, and as much as we think that obnoxious Texas Tech fan probably deserved what he got, we can’t condone any player putting his hands on a fan. And Oklahoma State might have to go to the NIT after Smart’s three-game suspension. That’s unfortunate. Lesson learned for the kids, hopefully.
NOT JUST SMART: To be clear, The MSR is not condoning Smart’s actions. He deserved to be suspended. What he did wasn’t acceptable. But why do we continue to put fans closer and closer to the action and allow them to cross the line with their verbal taunts at players? Some of the things we’ve heard over the years have blown our minds. Loud, hostile fans are one of the things that makes sports great. But there’s a line. And it shouldn’t be crossed. And fans who cross it should be punished.
SHAUN WHITE: If The MSR has said it once, we’ve said it 100 times. The Power of Men often comes from their hair — head or facial hair — and the suddenly-clean-cut Shaun White failed to medal in the halfpipe in Sochi. This is what happens when you bow to corporate America, Shaun. Are you happy now?
BAMA CROOTIN’: Forgive The MSR for noting this, but our journalistic integrity requires it: When we see how good Tennessee’s recruiting class was, and then we look and see how much even-higher-rated Alabama’s was, we wonder whether even The Nicktator has ever signed a class with so much talent. And he got to kick Auburn in the gut on National Signing Day by taking Rashaan Evans.
Five-star hoarder, IMO.
SEC BASKETBALL: As much as The MSR loves covering college basketball — more than we like covering college football, for what it’s worth — we’re getting more and more frustrated with SEC hoops. It shouldn’t be this mediocre. It just shouldn’t. There’s too much money and tradition in this league. This shouldn’t happen. It’s entirely possible that the SEC will be a two-bid league this season. That’s crazy. And unacceptable.
NORWEGIAN APATHY: The MSR could live to be 175 years old and still not understand the lack of American anger at Norway vis-à-vis the Winter Olympics. Only one nation in the history of ever has more Winter Olympics medals than the might Americans. And this is the meager Norwegians. And despite the borderline unhealthy amounts of rage Americans show time and time again when sports are involved, the Norwegians never register on the collective radar. This must end. And it must end now. Norway is again leading the pack in Sochi. The Norwegians are bitter rivals, and they must be treated as such. Pressure, in the form of bitter hatred, must be applied to them. The MSR demands this.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, SHUFFLEBOARD SUPERSTARS: Reports have surfaced that the Philadelphia Phillies signed A.J. Burnett to a one-year, $16-million deal this week, and The MSR’s laughed couldn’t be contained. Yep, another old guy is definitely what the Phillies needed. If this were soccer, the Phillies’ jerseys would have “Icy Hot” or “Matlock” on the front. Of course, our beloved Chicago Cubs have signed a rather impressive collection of has-beens and never-will-bes this offseason, so we don’t have much room to talk. Still, though, old people are usually funny.
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT: Aside from people falling down — which The MSR considers the time-tested pinnacle of comedy — there’s nothing we enjoy more than pure awkwardness. And nothing was more awkward in the past week than a woman showing Chicago’s WGN-TV her phone for a story on criminal-record expunging and forgetting to remove a porn site from her browsing history. Gold. Solid gold.
WINTER 2014: Still sucks.
SPRING 2014: Still so far away.
SUMMER 2014: Still so, so far away.
St. Bonaventure guard Andell Cumberbatch
ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Frequent trips for business often give The MSR chances to relive albums we forgot how much we love. This week’s winner is Undun by The Roots. We love that band, and we love that album.
YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE WEEK: This week’s gem — which you can see here — is a Portland woman busting her tail while jogging in the snow. People falling down is always the pinnacle of comedy in The MSR’s mind, but this one gets bonus points for the woman explaining moments before the fall that this snow provided a “perfect texture” for jogging. We’ve watched this at least 15 times this week.
COLLEGE ATHLETE NAME OF THE WEEK: Let’s head on up to St. Bonaventure this week and honor Bonnies junior guard Andell Cumberbatch — who’s averaging 9.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He needs to work on his free throws, though. Guards need to shoot better than 60 percent from the stripe. But that’s a great name.
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: Some of the best things in the world are so often forgotten, and The MSR is as guilty as anyone. But every time we think to buy Fudge Stripe cookies at the grocery store, we remember how great they are. There are many cookies in this world, and our grocery has new ones every week. But when in doubt, just go with the Fudge Stripes.
FACT OF THE WEEK: Before the English came up with the word “orange,” the color was described as “geoluhread” — which means “yellow red.” And the word was initially given to the fruit. The color wasn’t referred to as orange until a couple hundred years down the road. “Go Big Geoluhread” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?
CONFESSION OF THE WEEK: We’re not proud of this, but The MSR was happy to see Marcus Smart shove that moronic fan. Fans often scream things at players they’d never scream at them on the street. And there’s a word for that. It’s called “wuss.” That wuss got what was coming to him. We’re not condoning Smart’s behavior, but we’re not going to lie and suggest it made us unhappy. Quite the contrary, actually.
RON SWANSON QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “(This crib) is perfectly safe. I tested it by hitting it with my truck.”
Contact Wes Rucker at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.twitter.com/wesrucker247 or www.facebook.com/wesrucker247