Game Preview: Tennessee vs UCLA

Tennessee Helmet_BIGUCLA Helmet_BIG

Saturday 12 Sept 2009

4:00 pm ET

Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

Forget about last week – keep looking ahead

Last week was the opening gala, the overture. And the opponent made it look more like a dress rehersal. Yes, it was good to get off to a rousing start. To kick off a new era without a hint of disappointment, without an ounce of regret, was just what the doctor ordered. But now, it is time to forget about it.

The Vols will be using some litmus paper this Saturday.

The Vols will be using some litmus paper this Saturday.

On Saturday, we will dip our litmus paper into the solution of competitive college football. We will find out more about last week than we found out last week about anything. Except how much fun it can be at Neyland Stadium in early September, seeing old friends not seen since the prior November. And this week perhaps we fill find out a little bit about  next week.

If the paper turns orange, then we’ll just work ourselves up into a big sudsy lather over the anticipation of next week – going down to the cesspool to try and knock off the number one team in their own pig sty. But if the paper turns blue and gold, then we’ll try to pretend that we’ll be playing City College or Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville rather than UF.

Don’t look too far ahead, though

Second-year head coach Rick Neuheisel brings his young talented Bruins to Knoxville this Saturday, fresh off of an opening win over San Diego State, a school to which they have never lost (21-0-1). They are coming with their own litmus kit to see if they have improved over last season. But that might be just a tad unfair. None of their players have played in an atmosphere like they will see on Saturday.

But Neuheisel has, and will likely have his players as ready as possible.

For a squad that by most accounts has defense as its strong suit, UCLA didn’t start like it last week. San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley passed for 142 yards and 2 TDs in the first quarter, including a 78-yard bomb on 3rd and 10.

Safety Rahim Moore had 3 INTs in last weeks win over San Diego State.

Safety Rahim Moore had 3 INTs in last weeks win over San Diego State.

But Lindley only could muster 96 more yards over the remaining 3 quarters, and 3 interceptions by UCLA’s safety Rahim Moore. UCLA eventually got it together for a respectable win. They put it away for good when when Jerzy Siewierski blocked a SDSU 35-yard field goal attempt in the final minute of the third quarter, and UCLA gathered it and ran it all the way back for a 70 yard touchdown, finishing the deal.

UCLA's freshman QB Kevin Prince has come a long way already.

UCLA's freshman QB Kevin Prince has come a long way already.

On the other side of the ball, UCLA has a neat story in development. Last week, Kevin Prince became only the second Bruin to start a season opener for his school. The redshirt freshman has made an eventful journey just to get to this spot in his young career. Two years ago, as a high-school senior, he opened that season by suffering a season-ending knee injury. But he came to UCLA, and not only went through the always difficult rehabilitation, but this spring beat out last-year’s starter Kevin Craft.

And the Bruins have some talent behind their QB, mostly in the name of RB Derrick Coleman who put UCLA ahead to stay in last week’s game with a 29-yard TD scamper late in the second quarter.

Too much is being made of irrelevant things

Wally Skalij

Layne Kiffin was a USC assistant coach

So what else is new? Sportswriters will make a possible angle out of everything because that is their job as reporters and columnists. But for me, it’s much ado about nothing. Yes, Lane Kiffin used to be an assistant coach for USC from 2001-04. That’s the USC, the big cross-town rival of UCLA, not the dump in Columbia. And, yes, Lane Kiffin’s assistancy (is that a word?) was to then-USC offensive coordinator par excellence Norm Chow, who is now UCLA’s offensive coordinator par excellence. And, oh yes, Tennessee assistant Ed Orgeron (that name’s going to go over big when UT visits Eugene in the future isn’t it?) used to be an assistant to Pete Carroll at that same USC. Apparently Ed got the flames going a bit earlier this week on Lane Kiffin’s Sunday TV show when he said, “I tell you what, you will not find anybody else in the world that wants to beat UCLA more than Ed Orgeron and Lane Kiffin.”

Nice going, Ed. Can we all as a Big Orange family just keep it to a bit of a lower tone for a little while? The quote is all over LA this week, and we don’t need to be donating bulletin board material to anybody. We’re gonna have enough of that thrown in our face next week.

82053014HH025_TENNESSEE_V_U

A game just better left forgotten

And speaking about this being some kind of revenge match over last year’s 27-24 OT loss in Pasadena. That game seems like it was played 10 years ago, which is about how long ago it seems that Phil Fulmer was on the Tennessee sideline. The beginning of the end of an era. An era that ended before that season even ended. The patient that was the Vol football program has been put back on its feet with a blood transfusion. What happened on September 1, 2008 is now totally irrelevant.

Full disclosure

Hey, I’m the first to admit that UCLA is one of my favorite teams outside the SEC. I’ve always liked those powder blue and gold uni’s. I never missed a USC-UCLA game when I was a kid – they were always on TV and I remember marveling at the Coliseum and the weather out there in Southern California. And ever since September 16, 1967, one of the first UT games I can remember listening to on the radio, I’ve thought that the Tennessee-UCLA series is one of the best and most competitive of Vol non-conference get-togethers.

The Artful Dodger

The Artful Dodger

Further down this post is a full list of Tennessee-UCLA matches, beginning with the famous end-of-1965-classic in Memphis where the up-and-coming Vols upset the Rose Bowl-bound Bruins, taking some of the sting out of the tragic accident two months earlier that ended the lives of three Vol assistant coaches.

Others were classics, too. Including the Condredge Holloway show on national TV in September 1974 that is memorable because of the Artful Dodger’s great run and dive for the game-tying TD. But that was preceded by the theatrics of Holloway ending up in the hospital emergency room during the first half because of an injured shoulder, then coming back onto Shields-Watkins Field, dramatically trotting out of the tunnel in front of the full house, and leading his Vols to salvage a tie.

But don’t get me wrong. On Saturday, UCLA sits on the same stool with Florida, Alabama, and Vanderbilt.

Who’s gonna win?

Las Vegas has Tennessee the favorite, by a single-digit spread. No surprise there. It is a home game against a rebuilding program. But spreads are not necessarily about who is going to win. So, who’s going to win?

Simple.

Tennessee 31  UCLA 21

Go Vols!

Go Vols!

Updates:

Here is some pre-game assessments from the UCLA blog Bruins Nation. Here, too.

A link to their website is also included on the right under Xeno Fan Blogs (“blogs from foreigners”). A good blog.

Games Against UCLA

Won 7  Lost 5 Tied 2   360 points for / 297 points against

December 4, 1965 at Memphis – Tennessee 37 UCLA 34

September 16, 1967 at Los Angeles Coliseum – UCLA 20  Tennessee 16

November 2, 1968 at Knoxville – Tennessee 42 UCLA 18

December 5, 1970 at Knoxville – Tennessee 28 UCLA 17

September 7, 1974 at Knoxville – Tennessee 17 UCLA 17

September 20, 1975 at Los Angeles Coliseum – UCLA 34  Tennessee 28

September 16, 1978 at Knoxville – UCLA 13  Tennessee 0

September 14, 1985 at Knoxville – Tennessee 26 UCLA 26

September 9, 1989 at Pasadena – Tennessee 24 UCLA 6

September 14, 1991 at Knoxville – Tennessee 30 UCLA 16

September 3, 1994 at Pasadena – UCLA 25  Tennessee 23

September 7, 1996 at Knoxville – Tennessee 35 UCLA 20

September 6, 1997 at Pasadena – Tennessee 30 UCLA 24

September 1, 2008 at Pasadena – UCLA 27  Tennessee 24

This Week’s Games Involving Upcoming 2009 Opponents

Saturday September 12

Troy at Florida (12:21 pm ET)

South Carolina at Georgia (7:00 pm ET)

Mississippi State  at Auburn (7:00 pm ET)

Vanderbilt at LSU (7:00 pm ET)

Florida International at Alabama (7:00 pm ET)

Memphis at Middle Tennessee State (7:00 pm ET)

Ohio University at North Texas State (7:00 pm ET)

Kentucky BYE WEEK

Mississippi BYE WEEK

This Week’s Games Involving Past 2009 Opponents

Saturday September 12

South Florida at Western Kentucky (7:30 pm ET)

Televised SEC Games

Thanks to Chris Low at ESPN.com (he now lives in Knoxville), here is this week’s SEC TV schedule.

  • Troy at Florida, 12:21 p.m. ET, ESPN Regional/SEC Network
  • UCLA at Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Vanderbilt at LSU, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
  • Mississippi State at Auburn, 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net
  • Florida International at Alabama, 7 p.m. ET, Pay per view/ESPN360.com and ESPN GamePlan
  • South Carolina at Georgia, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
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    17 responses to “Game Preview: Tennessee vs UCLA”

    1. T K says :

      BEFORE YOU GUYS PICK THIS GAME LET ME GIVE YOU A LITTLE INFO. EACH WEEK A NEW TRADITION AT NEYLAND STADIUMS BRINGS TWO FORMER PLAYERS BACK FOR INTRODUCTIONS TO THE CROWD. ITS REFERRED TO AS “LEGENDS OF THE GAME” THEY ARE INTRODUCED AT MID FIELD, THEIR FEATS WHILE PLAYING AT TENNESSEE ARE SUMMARIZED AND SEVERAL HIGHLIGHTS OF EACH ARE SHOWED ON THE JUMBOTRON.
      WITH ALL THIS SAID THIS COMING WEEKEND ONE OF THOSE LEGENDS IS TO BE, ARE YOU READY, MR JOHNNY MAJORS HIMSELF.
      JUST THOUGHT THAT TIDBIT OF INFO MIGHT MAKE YOU SHIFT A FEW POINTS ONE WAY OR ANOTHER………..YOU KNOW SOMETIMES JOHNNY CAN WORK SOME MAGIC!

      • NorCalVol says :

        No doubt about it.
        I’m happy that he has been invited.
        The timing is not surprising – I’m sure he never would have been invited as long as Fulmer was coach.

        I have read the criteria for retiring numbers, and so I understand why Johnny’s Number 45 is not preserved.
        Having said that, his number deserves retirement, regardless of “criteria.”

    2. T K says :

      FRED
      I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING ABOUT RETIRING NUMBERS. JOHNNY DOES HAVE SOME CREDITS TO HIS NAME. BUT, IM GLAD THE CRITERIA IS SET SO HIGH……….BECAUSE ONE THING I HATE ARE THESE TEAMS THAT HAVE MORE RETIRED NUMBERS THAN ACTIVE NUMBERS..IM SURE YOU GET MY POINT!! WITH ALL THAT SAID, IM NOT SURE TENNESSEE WILL RETIRE MANY MORE BECAUSE THEIR STANDARDS ARE SOOOOO HARD TO MEET. AND THAT COULD BE GOOD OR BAD.
      ARE YOU AND I THE ONLY ONES DOING FOOTBALL NOW…….WHY NO COMMENTS FROM THE REST OF THE NUMB NUTS??????

    3. NorCalVol says :

      Yeah, I know what you mean about the too-many-numbers thing. Kind of like the NY Yankees – there won’t be any single-digit numbers before too long.
      But UT needs to honor Majors in a lasting way.
      Here is an idea.
      Name one of the stands after him.
      For example – name the East Stand the Johnny Majors Stand.
      Or something like that.
      Fitting, I think.

    4. T K says :

      thats a hell no from me……they have too much damn stuff on that campus named for everybody in hell. sorry fred i cant go along with that one…….but there is a johnny majors street somewhere on campus i think. im just against a bunch of names on the stadium……too much of a traditionalist here i guess!!!!

    5. T K says :

      THANKS AGAIN FREDDY………ANOTHER GREAT WRITE UP
      NOW IM OLD AND ITS EARLY THIS MORNING BUT WHO WAS THE UCLA COACH IN THE CONTROVERSIAL GAME AGAINST UCLA IN MEMPHIS…….AND WHAT WAS THE CONTROVERSY OVER……MY MIND HAS JUST GONE BLANK THIS MORNING, BUT YOU AND I USED TO TALK ABOUT IT.
      WHAT MY MIND IS CLEAR ON THIS MORNING IS THIS WEEKENDS SCORE. IM GIVING IT OUT NOW SO BOBBY WONT ACCUSE ME OF STEALING HIS SCORE. BUT THEN HES ALWAYS CRYING ABOUT SOMETHING. THE WEATHER IS SUPPOSE TO BE GREAT IN KNOXVILLE SATURDAY AND HOPEFULLY THE CROWD WILL BE A LITTLE MORE PUMPED UP THAN LAST WEEK. LIKE YOU, FREDDY, IVE ALWAYS LOVED THE UCLA RIVALRY. I PROBABLY RATED IT SECOND BEHIND THE OLD GEORGIA TECH NON CONFERENCE GAMES (WISH THEY COULD BRING THAT SERIES BACK). LOVE THE POWDER BLUE ALSO…………BUT IM AFRAID THE BRUINS GO IN THE “L” COLUMN THIS WEEEK…….TENNESSEE-26, UCLA-22. AND SMOKEY WIGGLES HIS TAIL!!!!!

    6. NorCalVol says :

      Tommy Prothro was the UCLA head coach. Here’s an edited summary from Russ Beeb’s old book, “The Big Orange: A Story of Tennessee Football.”

      The Bruins were headed to the Rose Bowl and Tennessee was going to the Bluebonnet bowl, their first since 1957. The game was drubbed “The Rosebonnet Bowl.”

      It was a see-saw game that went down to the final minute. Vol QB Dewey Warren (“The Swamp Rat”) took the ball at the UCLA one yard line on 4th down and went toward left end, and finally in to the end zone.

      The UCLA player went bezerk saying that he didn’t make it across the line. Movies later verified it was the correct call.

      But Prothro was hot in the dressing room after the game. But it really wasn’t the late TD that had him steamed – it was a couple of othe calls earlier in the final drive that allowed the clock to stop to keep the drive going.

      Prothro, to reporters, said, “For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be a southerner.” (He was a Memphis native).

      Seems mild. But here’s what Beeb says in his book. Quote: “In the context of the era in which Prothro said it, at a time when civil rights turmoil was on everybody’s mind, there were some who expected to look out from the Bruin dressing room to see Mel Farr, his black tailback, hanging from the south goal post. Some considered it unjust and uncalled-for-slap at the South at a time when the region was having a hard-enough time adjusting to social upheavals.”

      Also, apparently when Prothro returned to LA, he embellished his comments a bit. He later issued a formal apology.

      The classic game between the Vols and UCLA in 1967 was the Bruin’s revenge – the Gary Beban-led Bruins beet UT 20-16 at night in the Coliseum.

    7. Sandy says :

      I was wondering where all the chatter was this week, and then remembered to check the blog. Is there any way to be automatically subcribed to comment feeds?

      Speaking of places with lax requirements to hang a jersey, has anyone ever seen the rafters in the Dean E. Smith Center? It is ridiculous.

      I think the difference coaching makes was seen last weekend. What do you think the score would have been with the staff from last year? It would have been a struggle, and win or lose, a low-scoring affair.

      That coaching difference will be evident again this weekend. I’ll go out on that limb again, and say the Vols win easily, something like 34-14. The Vol Nation starts thinking about what might happen down in the swamp!

      • T K says :

        FRED…..THANKS FOR THAT STORY….I REMEMBERD PROTHRO’S NAME AS SOON AS I SENT THE MESSAGE BUT COULDNT REMEMBER THE DETAILS……..DIDNT HE ALSO COACH FOR THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS OR SOMEONE?

        SANDY…..DONT EVEN THINK THAT THEY WILL HAVE A CHANCE IN THE SWAMP…I M NOT A PESSIMIST, BUT REALLY NOW I CANT SEE THAT AT ALL.

        WHERE ARE OUR OTHER PARTICIPANTS THIS WEEK……MAYBE BOBBY IS GIVING BERT AND DONALD ONE OF THOSE ORANGEBOBBERS???? DO YOU THINK?

        • Sandy says :

          I don’t think there’s much chance against the gators either… but I do think a big win this Saturday will whip the Vol Nation into a frenzy next week. It’s been a while since anything like that existed.

      • NorCalVol says :

        Sandy,
        Indeed you can.
        Right below the box where you enter your comment, there is the orange (great they picked that for the color) RSS Feed widgit and the link “Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS”. Click on that and your browser should then show a bunch of gobblygood – just copy the address into your newsreader.
        As far as I can see so far, you have to do this for each individual post.
        Of course you can also subscribe to the blog as a whole.
        Let me know if there is a problem.

    8. NorCalVol says :

      Sandy,
      Indeed you can.
      Right below the box where you enter your comment, there is the orange (great they picked that for the color) RSS Feed widgit and the link “Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS”. Click on that and your browser should then show a bunch of gobblygood – just copy the address into your newsreader.
      As far as I can see so far, you have to do this for each individual post.
      Of course you can also subscribe to the blog as a whole.
      Let me know if there is a problem.

    9. Bert says :

      coaching will definitely be the difference this year, as it was in the first game.

      you bring up a good point, sandy…i don’t know that the WKU game woulda been a struggle
      last year but you can bet da vols would not have won by 56 points, that’s for sure.

      did you see what LSU did last week against a washington huskie team that went 0-12
      last year?

      only gave up 478 yards, which happens to be more than they gave up in any game last year. throw in 25 first downs and you can see that mr chavis is doing for them what he did for us…ie, not much!?!

      this is the week eric berry breaks the record and da vols head to da swamp 2-0…

      ut 41
      ucla 24

    10. NorCalVol says :

      Here is some pre-game assessments from the UCLA blog Bruins Nation.

      http://www.bruinsnation.com/

      A link to their website is also included on the right under Xeno Fan Blogs (“blogs from foreigners”). A good blog.

    11. NorCalVol says :

      Here is where we are with this week’s picks (season predictions in parentheses):

      Bert (8-4): TENN 41 UCLA 24
      TK (7-5): TENN 26 UCLA 22
      Sandy (7-5): TENN 34 UCLA 14
      NorCalVol (6-6): TENN 31 UCLA 21
      Orangebobber (7-5): Don’t know (where is he?)
      DW (6-6): On vacation

      • orangebobber says :

        I know everyone has been waiting on the analysis of the Orangebobber and it is worth waiting for. The Big Orange will prevail in ths game but will have a tougher task to make it happen. My prediction is 34-17. The Uclans will be much better coached that Western K. and will have more success in putting some points on the board.

      • T K says :

        CAN WE USE “ON VACATION” IF WE REALLY HAVE NO CLUE ON A PREDICTION????

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