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Vol Nation Comes Back to Earth: Straight Down from Space without a Parachute

Grudenmania crashed and burned on Friday. The only thing that remains are ashes that still smolder.

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Where We Are on the Eve of the Georgia Game

Expectations, anticipation, and then…

Here’s a visual to help you understand where we are as a program, and a fanbase…

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I’m Back!

Thought I was lost or dead?

Well, perhaps unfortunately for some, no. Instead, the 2012 season beckons, and I can’t resist the siren song of Tennessee Vols football. Never have, and possibly never will.

Opening posts will look at the defense, in general and position-specifics, to be followed by similar looks at the offense and special teams. There will also be a season outlook, a W/L prediction for the 12 scheduled games, and a preview of the opener against the NC State Wolfpack in the Georgia Dome.

So, I’m back. I hope you will be, too!

Giants v 49ers preview

Predicting the outcome of football games, especially playoff games, is an exercise in pretending to know the inevitable. Ratings, tendencies, history. They are all considered. And then the hunch weighs in. Proceed.

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The original ‘Big Game’ just got a whole lot smaller

Reminiscent of the fears over schedule changes as a result of SEC conference expansion and partial divisional realignment, the Pac-12 Conference left a lot to be desired when it released its schedule for 2012 on Wednesday. Next season, Stanford and Cal will play on October 20. Yes, the 2012 Cal-Stanford game will be played on the third saturday in October.

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Everything’s coming up roses

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley hosted a session for the media on Tuesday morning in Knoxville. It was quite the feel-good festival on nearly the 40th day since his last public commentary following the disaster in Lexington. He obviously had a lot of ground to cover, and not just because of the amount of time that has elapsed since his last appearance. A lot has happened since he walked out of Commonwealth Stadium.

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A VIEW FROM THE TOP: ATHLETIC DIRECTOR DAVE HART SPEAKS ON THE NEED FOR LEADERSHIP (AND ANSWERS A FEW “BURNING QUESTIONS” FROM TENNESSEE FOOTBALL FANS)

At the Knoxville Quarterback Club this past Monday, University of Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart came “to talk about leadership” with the UT football faithful. I was in attendance for his presentation.

UT Athletic Director Dave Hart

In reflecting on the talk, it seems to me that Dave Hart was consciously trying to distance himself from his predecessor, Mike Hamilton, with not only the emphasis on “leadership” but also the concept of “putting the student-athlete first.” Of course, it remains to be seen whether this will actually take place, or is simply a matter of public relations. If true, it could be a welcome change from the previous athletic director, who seemed to be interested first and foremost with wringing every last penny from fans, contributors to the athletic department, and service providers; with his main focii being the bottom line and then the happiness of the wealthiest contributors.

It also struck me that Hart genuinely enjoyed being among the Tennessee fans; and while coming to the Quarterback Club – and speaking and interacting with this segment of the fanbase – might have been an inconvenience, he never let on that it was anything but a pleasure.

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The Coach You Love To Hate

This weekend the Tennessee Vols travel to Columbia, South Carolina for a meeting with the Gamecocks of the University of South Carolina. The current head coach of USC has many nicknames — the Ol’ Ball Coach, Steve Superior, Coach Visor — but one that might appropriately describe Tennessee’s relationship with him is, “Prince of Darkness.” So, with the upcoming game, a few comments and reflections about the POD.

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She Hates Florida. Who Doesn’t?

If profanity offends you, then consider this: it might be appropriate when talking about the Gator State.

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It’s Gator Time Again

By the way the GatorNation is carrying on, you’d think Florida was Virginia Tech. Hand-wringing seems to be the neurotic behavior du jour.

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57 Channels and Nothing On

Maybe Bruce Springsteen was a college football fan and wrote that song between National Signing Day and spring practice…

Or maybe that’s really why Elvis shot his TV.

But there was some news this week that has caught my eye. For starters, Derrick Dooley’s staff now have their actual assignments of responsibility: Read More…

How Often Do You Get This Opportunity?

1. Bye week.

2. Next two opponents play each other.

Alabama Helmet_BIGSouth Carolina Helmet_BIG

Sat 17 Oct 2009 • Bryant-Denny Stadium• Tuscaloosa • 7:45 ET • ESPN

 

Bottom line: mandatory viewing, even though all of us are “taking the weekend off.”

Predictions?

Mine is Alabama 31 South Carolina 13

Yours?

The Brave New World

The torchbearer on campus symbolizes the Volunteer spirit, displaying initiative and service in the best interest of both the University and one's peers.

The torchbearer on campus symbolizes the Volunteer spirit, displaying initiative and service in the best interest of both the University and students. Does Lane Kiffin have the best interest of both the University and his players in mind?

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. – George Orwell

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. – Aldous Huxley

I don’t know all the Tennessee history and tradition with all the matchups, nor do I ever intend to… There’s a lot of great teams in this conference, but I told (players) that, to me, this is the biggest matchup. To me, because of what we need to do in recruiting, this (the Georgia game) will be the biggest matchup for this staff and for our team.  – Lane Kiffin

Coach Lane Kiffin made that statement in a post-game press conference, chronicled by Wes Rucker of the Chattanooga Times Free Press where he explores Coach Kiffin’s post-game comments regarding Georgia being Tennessee’s biggest rival. Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution did the same.

What is noteworthy is a comment posted to Mr. Rucker’s article: “Wow. This just shows what Kiffin cares about. Not the University, not the players, but how he looks in recruiting.”

How he looks in recruiting. Hmmm. Now why would that be a bad thing?

Senator Blutarsky over at Get the Picture has a beef with this post-game comment – it would have been more impressive as a pre-game comment he argues. The Senator then has a go at what the comment actually means, writing: “How weird is that rationale, anyway?  I thought a program recruited to win games.  The Laner wins games to recruit.  Maybe he’ll give his program a trophy the year Rivals ranks his recruiting class #1.”

Ahhhh, I see. People think all of this is some kind of narcissism, not about wins and losses. Read More…

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