Tag Archive | college football

The Butler Experiment: Is College Football Taking Notes?

College football has a lot to learn about how to choose its champion. Monday night should serve as the final lesson.

One of the very best ever held. College football could certainly learn a thing or two - it needs to.

When the draw for the 2010 NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament was held on March 14, it looked like the final game would certainly include one or more of Kentucky, Kansas, or perhaps Duke. On the other hand, Butler University was just another participant — one with a basketball tradition, mind you — but likely only to break into the Sweet Sixteen if things went swimmingly for the Bulldogs.

What we learned during this tournament, and what we saw on Monday night, was that Brad Stevens’ Butler basketball team belonged in the championship game. They approached the game the right way, without an ounce of bravado, with pounds full of fundamentally sound basketball. They were worthy of being a national champion. Read More…

Vols Will Eat Mor Chikin

It’s Tennessee vs Virginia Tech in Atlanta, Alabama will meet Texas for the title, and the SEC clean up with 10 bowl spots.

It’s official. Our Tennessee Vols will face Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Years’ Eve at 7:30 pm ET. The game will be televised on ESPN. Tennessee readily accepted the bowl bid today. The appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, formerly known as the Peach Bowl, will be Tennessee’s 48th bowl appearance in school’s history, making UT tied for 3rd with Southern California in all-time bowl appearances. Only Alabama (soon to be 57) and Texas (soon to be 49) have played in more bowl games. The Vol’s bowl record is 25-22.

We’ll take looks at the Hokie’s season and team in the coming days here at Vols in the Fall. Read More…

I May Hate Your Team, But At Least We Can Mingle

This picture of fans at the 2007 Tennessee-Kentucky game struck me as I looked at it again a couple of days ago.

Tennessee Vol and Kentucky Wildcat football fans

Vol fans intermingle with Wildcat fans at Commonwealth Stadium in 2007.

Two sets of fans that pretty much despise each other’s schools sitting right next to each other with no apparent trouble.

We take this for granted.

I used to.

I don’t anymore. Read More…

So What’s a Game at Neyland Like?

Today we say so long to yet another season of football played at Neyland Stadium.

You know what it’s all about.

I know what it’s all about.

The Color Orange

But, have you ever been approached by someone who has never been to a game in Knoxville and is interested in knowing what it’s like? Do you just get all babbly and googly and teary-eyed, and just end up saying, “well, you just have to go and be there for the experience“?

I did just that to a friend in California, a Cal alum, and he ended up going to the Cal-Tennessee game played at Neyland in 2006. He came back all babbly and googly and teary-eyed from the experience, even though his school got soundly thrashed. He told all his friends back in the Bay Area that didn’t go that they should have, because it would have been nothing like they had ever experienced.

So the next time you get the question, send them to this great article in two parts written by freelance writer and editor Eric Angevine who lives in Charlottesville, VA. He is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com and the editor of the college basketball Web site StormingTheFloor.net.

For that matter, this is a must read even if you’ve been to a hundred games at Neyland.

Then both of you can get all babbly and googly and teary-eyed just from the read.

Watch Video of the Most Important Tennessee-Vandy Game Ever

In 1926, Robert Neyland began his stewardship as the head football coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. Professor Dougherty gave Neyland the assignment: “Even the score with Vanderbilt. Do something about the terrible series standings.” Before then, Vanderbilt held a gaudy 18-2-1 record over the Vols. Neyland’s Vols performed marvelously, compiling a record of 16-3-2 against the Commodores in 21 years. Neyland’s Vols went on to an overall record of 173-31-12, while shutting out nearly half of their opponents. That’s why there is a stadium bearing his name.

It seemed though the only thing that would escape Neyland going into the 1950s as his career was winding down was the National Championship. There had been some close calls. Especially the undefeated 1938 team that finished No. 2 in the polls. And even the 1939 Vol squad that finished the regular season not only undefeated but also unscored upon – they somehow finished second as well. Tennessee came close again in 1950, losing only to Mississippi State 7-0 and finishing No. 4 in the AP poll and 3rd in the brand-new coaches poll.

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But 1951 finally proved different. Read More…

Memphis in the Meantime

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It’s been quite a stretch of games. Auburn. Georgia. Alabama. South Carolina. Now it’s on to Ole Miss.

Aw, crap. I forgot. “Hey honey, do we really have to host this get together this weekend at our house? You know I’ve never even talked with my cousin from Memphis. I don’t even know him that well. And I don’t think I really want to. All he wants to talk about is basketball. For chrissake, it’s football season!”

“Dear, you knew we made this commitment weeks ago . It’s been on our calendar.”

“I know, I know. But can’t we say we caught the H1N1 or the R2D2 or whatever they call that pig flu?”

Do you feel the same? Hasn’t it felt like a bye week? Don’t you really wish you could do something else this Saturday? (I am, but I’m not telling anybody)…

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State of the Vol Nation – November 2009

VITF Roundtable

We are now eight games into this 2009 season and the Vols are even for the season at 4-4. With Memphis coming to town this Saturday night – the weekly pre-game buildup will be a bit on the sluggish side – it’s an excellent opportunity to sit back and take stock in where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. I’ve invited the charter members of the Vols in the Fall commenters to answer a series of questions on the Vols, the SEC, and the national scene. I throw my two cents in as well. We all provided comments without seeing each others’ musings. A blind tasting if you will.

Since none of us know what we’re talking about when it comes to Tennessee Football, or anything else for that matter, this should rank right up there with the professional media. As somebody once said, some things are far too important to be left to the professionals.

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Tennessee 31 (21)South Carolina 13: Game Recap and Summary

Tennessee-S Carolina Scoreboard

Recap /   Box Score /  Play-by-Play /  Drive Chart

MAXIM #2: Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way – SCORE!

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The international sign for a fumble recovery. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

Mission accomplished on Saturday. It was simply the difference. Three induced fumbles by the Vol ball hawks in the first half and an interception in the second were quickly turned into 24 points on All Hallow’s Eve down by the river. That’s right – 3 TD’s and a FG immediately after 4 turnovers. These weren’t turnovers that killed Gamecock drives. Instead, they happened in USC’s own half, allowing the Vols to start their drives from the C27, the C43, the C22, and the C47 because of the 4 Gamecock turnovers. Yes indeed – make the breaks and when one four come your way – SCORE (EVERY TIME)!

However, in years to come, this game will not likely be remembered for the turnovers and resultant scores, but for the black jerseys.

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Game Preview: Tennessee vs (21) South Carolina

UT vs S Car

UT-USC Chess Match

This All Hallow’s Eve matchup gives us two of the great coaching minds of a generation. Will the game become a chess match between a high-powered Spurrier passing game against Monte’s vaunted defense?

To answer this question, let’s think about the major strengths and weaknesses of this season’s South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Vols on the opposite side of those weaknesses.

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Q & A with Gamecock Man of Garnet and Black Attack

Garnet and Black AttackToday, we are hosting another Q&A, this time with Gamecock Man from the fine South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack. Our friend has an interesting history as noted on his bio. He came late to Gamecock sports having grown up in Mobile and being raised by his Auburn-loving family. But graduate school at USC turned him around to where he is all garnet and black. Damn – I should have asked him if his family still speaks to him! He’s currently in exile somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line getting a PhD, which explains his good writing and insightful posts (but what about his common sense?!?!).

Gamecock Man has already posted a couple of previews for this weekend’s Halloween bonanza: Previewing South Carolina at Tennessee: Topics for Discussion on the Vols’ Offense; and Previewing South Carolina at Tennessee: Topics for Discussion on the Vols’ Defense. If he keeps that productivity up, he’s going to get his degree in less that the typical three years!

He has recriprocated by posting on his blog [HERE] my answers to his questions regarding the Vols and the Tennessee-South Carolina matchup. But first, give a read of Gamecock Man’s answers to my questions on the state of Gamecock football and the upcoming game – right after the jump.

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Q & A with Leftover Hot Dog

USC LogoToday, I am pleased to have the writers over at Leftover Hot Dog (LOHD) as a guest at Vols in the Fall. LOHD is a Gamecock blog that, as they say on their site, “has worked to bring you all the Gamecocks sports info you need concerning THE University of South Carolina while mixing in the occasional tailgating story along the way or other mindless pieces of information. The LOHD blog is your independent source for Gamecock news.” It is informative, entertaining, and if nothing else has one of the best names in the blogosphere.

The authors at LOHD were kind enough to offer a Q&A trade. We both submitted questions to each other. The following, after the jump, are their answers to my questions. They have posted my answers to their questions over at LOHD. So, enjoy a Gamecock perspective.

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(1) Alabama 12 Tennessee 10: Game Summary

Slide1

Attendance (Bryant-Denny Stadium):  92,012

Recap /   Box Score /  Play-by-Play /  Drive Chart

I’m back. Somewhat rested. Still wondering what to make of it all. But in the spirit of moving forward, here’s the game recap, possession by possession.

Technical DifficultiesBut first, a word from our… Oops. Technical difficulties. Do not try to adjust your set. Or your headset…

Right before kickoff, it becomes apparent that the Tennessee coaching staff is discussing the possible sabotage of their headsets. Yes, it is just a coincidence, I’m sure. Faulty wiring or just a bad connector. Right. So the officials rule that both teams’ staffs must remove the headsets until the “problem is fixed.” The “problem” is “fixed” after only a couple of plays.

A red rat chewing through a wire no doubt…

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(1) Alabama 12 Tennessee 10: Post-game Thoughts

Recap /   Box Score /  Play-by-Play /  Drive Chart

A game not to be forgotten for a long time.

This old rivalry lived up to all it could be. Tennessee, a two-touchdown underdog, traveling into enemy territory. Alabama, an undefeated season in the making, ranked number one in the AP poll. A perfect setting for a blowout. Or, a memorable upset.

Neither happened.

But instead, what happened was the stuff of legend.

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Up Next: Alabama Crimson Tide

In Book II of Rhetoric, Aristotle presents the three means of persuasion : ethos (grounded in credibility), pathos (grounded in the emotions of the audience), and logos (grounded in patterns of reasoning). In this post, I’m going for the pathos, baby. So if a touch of sentimentality doesn’t grab you about the Third Fourth Saturday in October the way it does me, then wait for the next post. Otherwise, dive into this remix of Tommy James and the Shondells’ hit. It now goes like this:

crimson and orange_over and over

Crimson and orange, over and over…

Crimson and orange, over and over…

(repeat for a total of 91 times)

A matter of the heart.

For Vol fans, Tennessee-Florida is the rivalry of supremecy for the SEC East Division. Tennessee-Georgia is the newly-christened rivalry of supremecy in the recruiting battleground of Georgia. Tennessee-Kentucky is the age-old state-line rivalry that is called the Border Battle (104 games and counting) – by the way, I miss the Beer Barrel. And, Tennessee-Vanderbilt is that bitter in-state rivalry (103 games and counting).

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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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