Every game is a ‘big game’ for Vol fans. That’s what makes us great fans. We care. A lot.
But Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a really Big Game. This team has made it a big game due to psychological concerns – we now have a phobia of, a neurotic aversion to, a downright fear of the Dreaded Second Half.
I had a dream about Saturday’s game…
Except for rare circumstances, I pull for SEC schools against non-conference foes. Thursday night’s National Championship game, Alabama vs Texas, played at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, was not a rare circumstance for me.
Usually, what’s good for the SEC is good for Tennessee. It brings continued pride, wealth, and the national spotlight on my conference, and some of that spotlight shines on the Vols, even when we are in the middle of the conference’s pack. Read More…
For Virginia Tech, the Peach Bowl game is a very big deal. If they win, they get a 10-win season.
The Hokies have had 10-win seasons 10 times before under Frank Beamer. So, it isn’t about that.
They’ve achieved way bigger things than that. For starters, they’ve had a perfect 11-0 regular season—remember the 1999 Miracle in Morgantown? They’ve played in the national championship game for goodness sake—the 2000 Sugar Bowl loss against Florida State.
It also isn’t about revenge against Tennessee over being manhandled by the Vols in the 1994 Gator Bowl when freshman Peyton Manning led Tennessee over the Hokies 45-23. And, it isn’t about revenge over their consecutive 27-0 losses at Knoxville in 1933 and 1937. Hardly.
The Peach Bowl game is about pride and recognition as a national entity. It’s about being a real player on the national stage. You know—about being one of the big boys. About belonging to the club.
Beating Tennessee would mean that much toward those aims? Read More…
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…
The self-proclaimed biggest game ever played for a generation of Kentucky football fans in front of 70,981 turned into more of the same Saturday night:
- A dog-fight of a Boarder-State Rivalry War; and
- A Tennessee victory.
With a win on Saturday, Kentucky would have fulfilled a string of significant accomplishments for their improving program under coach Rich Brooks.
- An 8-4 regular season, the first 8-win regular season since 1984.
- A second place finish in the SEC East for the first time since the realignment of the conference in 1992 and best SEC finish since 1977 (when they tied for first with Alabama).
- A likely New Years’ Day bowl date for the first time since the 1998 season (Outback Bowl, Jan 1, 1999 vs Penn State).
- And perhaps, most importantly, an end to The Streak – 24 consecutive losses to their bitter, long-time, border state rival.
But, would have didn’t materialize. Read More…
I had the Rolling Stones’ song When the Whip Come Down rattling around in my head all Thanksgiving Day. I think I know why – it started to morph into Will the ‘Posts Come Down?
Kentucky (7-4/3-4) is due to break their losing streak of 24 against the Vols (6-5/3-4).
During the period 1985-2008, the ‘Cats are 0-24 by a total score of 911-400 and an average score per game of 38-17. The Vols shutout the ‘Cats four times and held them to under 10 points an additional four times. Tennessee scored over 50 points seven times. Five of those seven 50-plus games were in consecutive seasons (1996-2000).
But, all good things come to an end. The streak will be broken sooner or later. I’m just not ready. I’d rather see 2009 anointed as the silver anniversary of the last Kentucky win of the Beer Barrel (where in the hell is that thing now anyway?). Read More…
But above all, appreciate the performer you saw on the field, even though he wore blue and gray.
Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster carried the ball 25 times. He gained 282 yards. That’s an average of over 11 yards a carry.
He scored 4 TDs on runs of 15, 23, 32, and 77 yards.
He also gained 42 yards on 4 pass receptions. That’s 324 all-purpose yards.
Dexter broke the all-time Ole Miss records for most rushing yards in a game (formerly 242 yards by Dou Innocent in 1995) and most all-purpose yards in a game (formerly 317 yards by Deuce McAllister in 1999).
If Ole Miss had been playing anybody else, that would have been exciting to watch. Another performance showing the excitement of college football.
But it was against the Vols. And it was the most rushing yards ever given up by Tennessee to an opposing rusher. Ever. He busted it by 65 yards, formerly co-held by Mike Prichard (Colorado 1990) and Bobby Humphrey (Alabama 1986), both with 217 yards. And according to Knoxville’s Jimmy Hyams on the radio, McCluster became only the second opponent to rush for 4 TDs against Tennessee, equaling the mark of Southern Cal great Marcus Allen back in 1981.
Oh, and Dexter McCluster’s 282 rushing yards on Saturday were more yards gained on the ground than any team against the Vols this season.
A humbling end to a very bad week.
WARNING: After the jump, there are a lot of photographs of Dexter McCluster enjoying open-field running. Read More…
As game day approaches, usually beginning Wednesday afternoon like a scratchy throat signaling the ultimate chest-flim fest, paranoia starts to seep in, no matter who the opponent. It starts to settle in on Thursday like a relative who lost his job and just moved in with you and the Misses. By Friday, it’s a full-fledged 103.5-degree fever, with night sweats and up at 2 am to vomit your Orange Confidence.
No matter how well your team has been playing, there is Potential Death standing right around the corner. “This might be the game the wheels come off” you tell yourself. “This might be the day that the New Year’s Day Dream vaporizes into a mist with a foul odor that hangs around well into December” you say to yourself while cutting yourself shaving.
So, to say the least, I’m worried. Read More…
On our Saturday morning post, Breakfast Before Memphis, I referred to the $30,000 fine handed to Urban Meyer as reported in Dr. Saturday’s article, A brief history of the SEC’s descent into ref-related absurdity. The good doctor recounted the litany of questionable calls that have been widely publicized, spawning a conversation that has resulted in opinions ranging from “bad officiating is an unfortunate part of the game” to “the fix is in.”
Some who gravitate toward the latter end of the opinion spectrum don’t do so because they think that gambling forces are hidden in the weeds. Their premise is more sinister: the conference would like to guarantee that Alabama or Florida will play in this year’s BCS championship game in Pasadena. Read More…
Everybody needs some nourishment before they embark on their game-day experience. Up early, get the paper, cup of coffee, check the weather, gauge the proper clothing for Neyland at Night, and pack the car (after attaching the travel flags). Now you’re ready for your favorite meal of the week – that Saturday Breakfast before the weekly Vols game. So, wherever you eat this morning, here are some extra helpings from around the Vol Nation and elsewhere to fuel you for the upcoming clash between East and West Tennessee.
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.
MAXIM #2: Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way – SCORE!
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.
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.
Today, 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.
Today, 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.