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.
OMAHA! (News Sentinel photo)
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’: There aren’t many rooms left in the inn for Tennessee’ 2014 football recruiting class, but the The MSR still has crootin’ news for y’all this week. That’s because coach Butch Jones and his staff have continued stocking their 2015 class. The latest addition is a good one, too. Nearby Maryville High School defensive end Dylan Jackson is a load at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, and he’s now the seventh commit to Tennessee’s 2015 class. The Vols have already plundered some of the best in-state linemen in that class, with Jackson joining a group that already includes Coalfield’s Zach Stewart and Murfreesboro Oakland’s Jack Jones. That’s a really good start. Plus, Zach, Jack and Jax sounds like a future boy band. So they have that going for ‘em. Which is nice.
SIZE-20 SNEAKERS: The Jarnell Stokes that showed up in Rupp Arena on Saturday was the Jarnell Stokes that The MSR hoped to see on a consistent basis this season. He had 20 points and 15 rebounds and was the best big man on a floor full of next-level big men during the Vols’ loss to Kentucky. It’s a shame for Tennessee that no one else produced much, because it wouldn’t have taken much from the perimeter to win that game. Now, of course, the question is whether Stokes can prove that game wasn’t a fluke.
BABY TIGHT ENDS: Early reports from The MSR and others indicate strong man-crushes from coaches and teammates toward Tennessee January tight end enrollees Daniel Helm and Ethan Wolf. If those kids stay healthy this spring, you’re probably going to hear plenty more about them. The early buzz has been strong. Jones and his staff love two-tight sets, and perhaps now they’ll finally be able to use them.
OMAHA: Leave it to corporate superstar Peyton Manning to make even Midwesterners feel included. “MSR” also has three syllables, though. We’re just saying.
RICHARD EFFING SHERMAN: Love him or hate him — and The MSR loves him — but never ignore him. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is the man. Let the record state that we cracked up long before Sherman’s infamous postgame interview, though. As soon as he tapped Michael Crabtree on the backside after tipping the game-changing interception, we were sold. We’ve loved Sherman before, and we absolutely love him now. Plus ... he’s a smart. No ... really. Google him. He knows what he’s doing. That’s the best part. Go Cubs. Go Richardon Sherman. Go America.
Don't bring weak sauce into this man's kitchen.
THE DAMN YANKEES: As much as it pains The MSR to admit this, we’ve always been a bit jealous of the New York Yankees. They spend a lot of money, and some of it on horrendously bad contracts, but few organizations are more committed to winning. The Yanks continued their annual offseason splurge in a huge way this week, adding Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka for seven years and $155 million. We never got our hopes up that our beloved Cubs could pull off Tanaka, but they gave it a good ol’ college try.
VY: It brings The MSR no joy to note that the inevitable — former Titans star Vince Young filing for bankruptcy — finally happened. Here’s hoping VY learns a tough lesson and becomes a better man for it. He’s just 30. He has time.
BILL BELICHICK: Some of the most successful people on this planet are the worst losers on this planet, and The MSR won’t tell you otherwise. But we were still disappointed to see Patriots coach Bill Belichick whine about Wes Welker in the aftermath of Denver’s AFC Championship Game win over New England. Come on, Bill.
JANUS: First off, The MSR would spell it “Janice.” Secondly, that winter storm ain’t playing around. We drove through it yesterday, and that was a lot of snow. Be safe, Northeast.
WEST HAM: As much as The MSR loves to laugh at London soccer teams not named MIGHT ARSENAL, we’re starting to feel a bit sorry for West Ham. The Hammers just had to play juggernaut Manchester City home-and-away for a Capital One Cup semifinal, and they lost those two games by a combined score of 9-0. That ... doesn’t happen very often between two Premier League teams. Yikes. Tough times for the Hammers. (By the way, Arsenal is still better than Tottenham Hotspur at everything in soccer and in life. Eat it, Spurs. Eat it. All day, every day.)
SCRIPT LEAKING JERKS: A good movie is a great common denominator for the masses, and The MSR is a big, big fan of Knoxville native Quentin Tarantino. But the world will have one less Tarantino movie now. He cancelled plans to film a Western called The Hateful Eight after a copy of his recently written script leaked onto the internet. Tarantino gave copies to just six people, and one of them ultimately leaked it. Jerk.
The best player in college basketball.
DOUG McDOIN’ THE THING: Perhaps The MSR is going a bit crazy here, but we really believe Creighton’s Doug McDermott is the best player in college basketball. The 6-foot-8 senior wing just does absolutely everything. He puts up great numbers, but you have to watch Creighton to really understand everything he does for his team. That’s a good team, and McDermott makes it a really good team. If you haven’t had a chance to watch him, make the time to do it. You won’t regret it.
VOLS HOOPS: Do not misunderstand The MSR here. We also believe the Tennessee men’s basketball team hasn’t played as well as it should this season. But we don’t believe that team is done. We’ll let you know if that changes. The way Stokes performed in Rupp left us thinking this team might just find a way to be OK in the long run. If he keeps playing like that and his teammates make a few more shots on the perimeter — and stats show they’re more than capable of doing that — then the Vols should be OK. But they have to go prove that, obviously.
THE KNICKERBOCKERS: This is a fact, and The MSR will disregard anyone who disagrees: The NBA is at its best when the New York Knicks are competitive. And they keep not being competitive. And that stinks. A recent study by Forbes confirmed again than the Knicks — not the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics or anyone else — are the league’s most valuable franchise. Get good, Knicks. Please. Pretty please.
PRO BORING BOWL: Perhaps The MSR is speaking out of turn here, but why does the Pro Bowl still exist? No one seems to care. We haven’t cared ... maybe ever. Kudos to the NFL for having the fantasy football idea this year, but we’re still not sure anyone cares. Why would those players want to get hit any more than they already do? We sure wouldn’t.
ANTI-SOUTHERN SENTIMENT: Time magazine, much to The MSR’s chagrin, recently called the White Castle slider “the most influential burger of all-time.” Hey, Time, try coming down to The South and getting away with that comment. We bet you don’t have the stones to try it. This is Krystal country, and don’t you forget it. You know why Harold and Kumar didn’t go to Krystal? Because it’s too awesome for them.
THE CLEVELAND BROWNS: Still don’t have a head coach.
THE CLEVELAND BROWNS: Still don’t have Johnny Football.
THE CLEVELAND BROWNS: Still reside in Cleveland.
Emporia State center McWisdom Badejo
ALBUM OF THE WEEK: It’s no secret that The MSR is a ginormous fan of Paddy Rock, and since Flogging Molly is on tour at the moment, let’s go with their Live at the Greek Theater album. It’s fantastic.
YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE WEEK: This week’s gem — which you can see here — is the hilariously awful penalty kick miss from Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon during a recent Premier League game against Tottenham. We can’t stop watching this, especially since it happened in the freakin’ Premier League. How is this possible?
COLLEGE ATHLETE NAME OF THE WEEK: This week’s winner is also a strong candidate for the all-decade and all-time name team. Let’s head to Emporia State, the home of sophomore center McWisdom Badejo. After one season at Florida A&M, Badejo took his McWisdom to ESU, and the Hornets couldn’t be happier about that development. We’re sure the team’s GPA has soared.
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: There aren’t many things The MSR hates more than cold weather, but our wonderfully warm Spyder fleece jacket makes things more tolerable. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari is also a noted fan of Spyder gear, and no place on this planet is colder than Lexington, Ky. If it’s warm enough for the Frozen Blue Tundra, it’s warm enough for anywhere.
FACT OF THE WEEK: A recent report by Oxfam indicated that the world’s 85 richest people have as much wealth as the lowest 50 percent on this planet. Whoa.
CONFESSION OF THE WEEK: Despite being an official Jack Daniel’s Squire — one of the best presents The MSR has ever received — sometimes we’re in the mood for George Dickel. It’s still Tennessee sour mash, right? Hopefully there are no hard feelings. We just want everyone who loves whiskey to get along.
RON SWANSON QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Luck is a concept invented by the weak to explain their failures.”
Contact Wes Rucker at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.twitter.com/wesrucker247 or www.facebook.com/wesrucker247