Archive for the ‘Rants From the Cheap Seats’ Category

2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 2

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: 3rd Saturday in Blogtober

This week marks the second edition of the 2009 version of the Big Orange Roundtable and is hosted by the guys over at 3SIB..

Week 2

1)  We will start with an easy one.  Last week, our beloved Rock was relocated across the street to make room for a new building on campus.  What are your thoughts on the Rock’s relocation?

bullet HSH: Being a student, I actually have the slight advantage of seeing the change.  I drove by as the crane was lifting the behemoth out of the ground, and I’ve only seen it once since it’s been moved.  I have to say it’s going be to a little odd driving through the stoplight next to Stokely Athletic Center and the Thornton Athletic Student Center (where all the UT athletes get their school on), looking to my left and not seeing the Rock.  It might take a little bit of time to get used the change come the fall.

For me, it’s just another aspect of a common theme of my years here as a student.  Here’s what’s changed or been built since I came to Knoxville in the fall of 2006: all the recent renovations to Neyland Stadium, the makeover of Thompson-Boling Arena, Pratt Pavilion, a new soccer stadium, a new softball stadium, the brand new aquatic center.

And that’s just the changes on the athletics side of campus.  There’s also been the total change in the old Glocker Building, which has now become Haslam Business Building where all the business majors do their thing.  The Baker Policy Center was risen up on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and 17th Street, replacing the parking lot where my family parked for every game I came to up until I graduated from high school.  Those are two major projects, that I’ve seen started and completed in my days as a student.

Back to the Rock, my only contact with actually came before I was officially enrolled.  I had two of the more enthusiastic Orientation leaders, and late one night during the two-day event we got together and painted the thing.  I would have visual evidence to prove it, but my computer erased my hard drive awhile, thus I have nothing…


The Rock in its new Home

The Rock in its new Home

bullet Lawvol: First of all, I am glad that the Rock did not unceremoniously disappear from campus as a result of the new Student Health Center that is being constructed.  The worst thing imaginable would have been for the university to simply blow the thing up or what have you and cart it off.  I realize the process of relocating the Rock was both onerous and expensive, but I have to give a little credit to university administration (a/k/a “The Big Orange Screw”) for making the right call and preserving this tradition for future generations.

All that said, the last time I painted the Rock was 1997.  I say “painted”—my involvement actually centered more on leaning up against the Rock in a near catatonic state as drool fell from my gaping mouth and I uttered various slurred obscenities at my cohorts.  You see, I was completely pissed drunk overcome by a multitude of circumstances at the time and my recollection of that particular evening of frivolity is fuzzy to say the least.  Still, the Rock does have a special place in my mind due to its tradition of announcing great events, lurid innuendo, and Gameday proclamations.  Considering it is directly across the street from where it used to be located, I doubt there will really be all that much difference.

Of course, I do wonder whether some students may be confused by the relocation—in particular, those suffering from the same … mental confusion … that afflicted me the last time I painted the Rock.  If so, the university may be faced with a long road of maintenance as the drunken masses repeatedly paint the front of the new Student Health Center.

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The US Congress and College Football: An epidemic in the making

In case you hadn’t heard, the United States Congress has been hard at work lately—tackling the hard-hitting issues that our country is facing.  Our representatives in the House have been addressing monumental concerns impacting the daily lives of all Americans far and wide.  What, you might ask, is the single most important question in the minds of Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Mike Simpson (R-ID)?

Whether the BCS / Bowl system for determining NCAA football championships needs to be replaced by a playoff system.

As a result, these congressmen introduced a House Resolution in April seeking to have the United States Congress and the United States Department of Justice investigate the Bowl Championship Series.  In particular, this obscenely overstated meaningful legislation resolves that the House of Representatives:

(1) rejects the BCS system as an illegal restraint of trade that violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act;

(2) demands the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigate and bring appropriate action to have the BCS system declared illegal and require a playoff to determine a national champion; and

(3) supports the establishment of an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Championship playoff system in the interest of fairness and to bring parity to all NCAA teams.

• 111th Congress, House Resolution 68

Heavy stuff, that…

As a result of the tireless grandstanding efforts of these shameless self-promoters champions of the common man, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held hearings this past week to look into the actions of the BCS in hopes of determining whether something nefarious is afoot.  This included taking testimony from: John Swofford PDF Document (Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series), Craig Thompson PDF Document (Commissioner of the Mountain West Conference), Derrick Fox PDF Document (President and CEO of the Valero Alamo Bowl), and Gene Bleymaier PDF Document (Athletic Director of Boise State University).

For those of you out there that hate yourselves, you can view a streaming video of the entire hearing through the committee websiteNote: Apparently the Congressional muckety-mucks are too busy to hire someone schooled in the basic art of video editing.  Thus, you will want to fast forward to approximately 19:45 to view the hearing (that is, unless you just enjoy watching a blank screen for almost 20 minutes).

During the hearing, the Committee specifically looked into whether the BCS amounted to a monopoly, running afoul of federal anti-trust provisions.  With the great all-encompassing seriousness that can only come from the stuffed shirts of Congress and with the aire of the Watergate hearings, the committee set about digging deep into the bowels of college football’s deep dark secret.  Having watched some of the video of the hearing, it was obvious, in the minds of some of the assembled officials, that they felt the very sanctity of our American Republic hung precariously in the balance.

Right…

Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to the idea of a college football playoff, in fact I would gladly support such a system—so long as it is fair.  The disdain that is oozing from this article comes not from my opposition to the notion that college football needs a playoff, but rather from the nauseating belief by those in Congress that they are the answer to this problem.  Oh yeah, there is also the minor fact that the entire nation is passed out from the H1N1 flu in the economic toilet of the world with chunks of last night’s General Motors and Wall Street flavored hot dog still clinging to its mouth while these clueless egomaniacs are wasting their time trying to determine how we end our football seasons.

I’d love to sit around in a fancy conference room with hospitality service and get paid to talk football all day as much as the next guy, there’s no denying that.  The thought that our Congressional leaders have nothing better to do than just that, is more than a little bothersome.  The fact that they can do it with a straight face while purporting to represent the best interests of their constituents, makes me think of three words: “explosive projectile vomiting.”  I suppose that this sentiment is precisely what led CBS Sports.com’s Dennis Dodd to note that “Retching is common for these kinds of mundane Capitol Hill gatherings.”

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The Great Punkin Returneth…

Well, in case you hadn’t heard, Phillip Fulmer (a/k/a “the Great Punkin”) has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the Robert R. Neyland Trophy.  Fulmer will be formally presented the award at the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame awards brunch on Saturday morning.  Fulmer will also be honored on the field prior to the start of this weekend’s Orange and White game.  This award, named in honor of General Neyland, has been awarded by the Knoxville Quarterback Club for the last 44 years.

This year’s choice has a few people upset, or at least scratching their heads a bit.

It is hard to argue with Fulmer deserving the award.  The issue for some folks is the the timing, because now Coach Fulmer will be honored immediately prior to Lane Kiffin’s debut as the head coach of the Volunteers—the same team that Fulmer coached up until the end of last season.  One need look no farther than any of the various Tennessee web forums and blogs to see the proverbial “lines in the sand” being drawn by fans on both sides.

Never afraid to make a public statement when called upon to do so, the Blackjack General commented on the matter earlier today :

Coach Fulmer has had a tremendous impact on Tennessee.  He’s the second-winningest coach in Tennessee history behind General Neyland. It’s only fitting that he receives this prestigious award. I hope all Tennessee fans will show up early Saturday to show their appreciation for all he has done for our program, our university and our state.

Lane Kiffin: Commenting on Coach Fulmer being honored prior to the Orange and White Game | GoVols Xtra

Some will say (or already have) that the timing of Fulmer’s selection was intentional—that this was an orchestrated barb at the athletic department (most pointedly at Smiling Mike Hamilton) from Fulmer supporters on the Neyland Trophy committee.  Others will say that the award amounts to little more than incurable homerism on the part of some who refuse to let Coach Fulmer go.  On the other side, there is the argument that Coach Fulmer was an immensely successful coach and earned the award fairly, and that it is fitting he be receive the award at the first appropriate opportunity—the first year after he leaves Tennessee.  Others still will say that the only reason that some are complaining is because they fired a good coach and they know it.

Either way, it makes for some high drama…

I for one don’t see what the big deal is either way.  Lane Kiffin had nothing to do with Phillip Fulmer’s ouster.  Phillip Fulmer was a great coach for the Vols and remains a loyal Tennessean—I respect the man for what he has done.  Coach Kiffin has had to deal with much worse, as has Coach Fulmer.  There is no reason in this instance why the orange-clad faithful can’t have their cake and eat it to.

In my opinion, the “controversy” over this is nothing more than a few people with axes to grind on both sides of the fence trying to create a storm for/against Coach Fulmer being honored or for / against Coach Kiffin taking “the greensward of Shields-Watkins Field” for the first time.  What I haven’t heard from anyone is this:

The politicization of this event by “factions” does nothing but dishonor the memory of one person: General Robert R. Neyland.

The Neyland Trophy was created to honor the General’s legacy, and to preserve his mark on the landscape of college football.  To try and turn this award into a circus is, to me, repugnant.  To anyone that would add fuel to the fire in either direction and not support both Fulmer and Kiffin, I say “shame on you.” It is bad for the fanbase, it is bad for Tennessee, it is bad for Coach Fulmer, and it is bad for Coach Kiffin.  In my opinion it is wrong.

There is no reason that the fans cannot cheer their former coach for winning the Neyland Trophy and then, five minutes later, cheer their current coach as he brings his team out on to the field.  In the process of doing both, those cheers also honor General Neyland.  I support both Fulmer and Kiffin.  I also support preserving Neyland’s place in the pantheon of the game I love.

More than any of that, however, I support Tennessee first and foremost…

It is not about either man, it is not about making a statement for or against one coach or the other, it is not about using the event as a bully pulpit.  It is about supporting your team, your school, your “family,” and doing what is right.

So, who do you support?

– So it goes…About Lawvol


Death to the Smurfs (UNC), Go Spartans!!!

I will be the first to acknowledge that both the blogosphere and the internet in general are full of vitriol directed toward various teams.  Any team that has ever enjoyed any success whatsoever has something written about it which drips of the sort of steaming hatred that accompanies sports rivalries great and small.  Most of the time these flaming rants come from fans of teams that are either rivals (or wish they were rivals) of the object of the spewing hatred.

This post is a flaming rant.  It is not, however, aimed at a traditional rival of the Tennessee Volunteers.  Furthermore, while it amounts to little more than a creative rationalization on my part, I feel that I have earned my bitching license on this one since — in addition to being a graduate of the University of Tennessee — I am also a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I despise the Tarheels Tarheads

From 1998 until 2001, I attended “trade school” at UNC.  For the record, I got a wonderful education at the UNC School of Law, and have nothing but good things to say about the educational aspects of that institution.  There are a few reasons for this.  First, UNC School of Law is an excellent institution with a fine faculty.  Second, as is the case at most professional and graduate schools, most of the students at UNC School of Law did their undergraduate work elsewhere.

See, I said something nice about UNC…

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Flashback: CBS Sports and the NCAA Tournament

Flashback | Gate 21

Yes, friends and neighbors the NCAA Tournament is upon us.  Thus, we all get ready for the mayhem that accompanies that grand old tradition.  For what seems like forever, that has included watching endless hours of basketball courtesy of CBS Sports.  Now, generally, I am a huge fan of CBS Sports, and I favor their web presence when it comes to sports content on the internet. **

All that said, last year’s NCAA tournament almost drove me mad.  Actually it wasn’t the tournament, but the way that CBS covered the tournament on television.  That led me to fire off at the mouth a bit.  Since it is that time again, I figured it would only be appropriate to take a stroll down memory lane and look back on what I had to say about CBS’s coverage.  I do this for two reasons.

First, this seems relevant as we all get ready to become couch potatoes for a month.  This may be minimized a little bit due to the fact that CBS will be broadcasting all games online free of charge once again, but the fact remains a big flat screen is infinitely better than even the best computer monitor.

Second, I have been so busy that I haven’t yet gotten a chance to finish up my thoughts on the Oklahoma State Cowboys…

Thus, without further adieu, we go back in time to my post entitled simply:

CBS = Complete Bull Sh*t


BANNER%20-%20RANTS

I intentionally waited a few days before airing this complaint, mainly because I didn’t want my vitriol to be mistaken as nothing more than “sour grapes” over the BasketVols loss to the Louisville Cardinals.

Trust me, this has nothing to do with Tennessee, Louisville, or any other specific team…

CBSFor the past … well, it seems like quite a long time, now … CBS has been the exclusive home of the NCAA Tournament. I vaguely remember ESPN covering first and second-round games during the 1990s, but CBS is all we have had for a while. Either way, CBS has held a stranglehold on the Final Four since Billy Packer conned James Naismith himself into signing over the rights some time during the 1920s — back when Billy Packer was in his 50s.

First of all, I do want to applaud CBS Sportsline — CBS Sports’ internet division — for their ambitious decision to broadcast every tournament game for free on the web. Similarly, the CBS “Game Center” on the internet for each game — displaying myriad stats and information in real time — is amazing. It is as artful as it is impressive. Any fan can get up-to-the-second information on every facet of the game — including points, fouls, assists, shooting trends, whether a player is taking bribes to throw the game, which boosters the cute little cheerleader next to the basket is sleeping with, and so much more — via one of the best interfaces I’ve ever seen for statistical information of that kind.

Despite the minor fact that the bandwidth draw for the “March Madness on Demand” service has been so obscenely high that it has — at times — nearly crashed massive trunk lines on the web, I salute these efforts of CBS’s internet division. For reasons which will become clear in a second, in the future I may choose this as the only way I’ll watch the tournament — even if it is in a 5″ x 5″ low resolution streaming window.

Continue Reading >>


**Disclosure: While lawvol is a voting member of the CBS Sports Football Blog Poll and the CBS Sports BasketBlog Poll, neither this site, its editor, nor publisher receives any payment or other compensation of any type or kind in return for participation. Furthermore, neither Gate 21 nor lawvol received any benefit of any kind for this article, which was neither requested nor solicited by CBS Sports. This article represents the actual opinion of the author (for what that is worth) and was in no way influenced by any other person(s).

Yeah, I’m not happy…

Rants From the Cheap Seats | Gate 21

I’m not going to complain, however.  I just really thought a new header was in order (you may have to hit refresh a time or two for it to appear).

No, the new graphic has no correlation with Tennessee’s performance in the game today.

None whatsoever. I wouldn’t lie…

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


» Updated: 20 September 2008 — 10:25 pm

I changed the header back to my standard look, but for those of you who would like to see what it looked like, you can view it by clicking here.

Our Students…

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

From One of Their Own…

First off, let me say some stuff: I am currently a student at the University of Tennessee. This is my third football season here, and in the previous two years I’ve missed one home game (Kentucky 2006 because it was on Thanksgiving weekend) and been to five away games. I was in Athens in 2006. I witnessed the embarrassments at Florida and at Alabama last year. I saw the heartbreak of letting and SEC title slip away in ATL last December.

Proof I witnessed the beatdown in Gainesville last year (more on that trip Friday. I also saw the one in Tuscaloosa and the heartbreak in Atlanta...

So going back to last April, when The Daily Beacon broke the story (yes, it was their one occasion of actually printing new news) that students were going to have to begin to pay for football tickets, I hardly cared. I had spent probably close to over $300 on the three trips (hint: getting tickets from my dad and staying with people you know helps), what was $90 more?

The rest of my fellow students didn’t take the news so well. There was Facebook group that got up to 7,000 members in anger of what Mike Hamilton was doing. There were threats of boycotts of the UAB game, and a rally at the Orange & White Game, a rally that never occurred.

Personally, I got a kick out of watching everyone get so pissed off. I was actually happy in a way, because having to pay for tickets would get some of the people who don’t care enough anyways (dead weight, if you will) out of Neyland Stadium. It’s nowhere near impossible to save $90: like, say, spending less money on alcohol and the “going out” that I generally hardly ever take part in. Not only that, but I knew what getting tickets post-graduation was like, and we still have it pretty easy.

What does this have to do with anything? Well let me be blunt: on the whole, our students suck. Yes, I think we get pretty loud (the “F*** You Bama” chant in ’06 was pretty good too) and I thoroughly enjoy sitting in the student section on Saturdays, have always enjoyed it, and will continue doing so. That’s about it.

It started with the whole unnecessary uproar over paying for tickets, the people who either show up late/leave at halftime, and the clingy couples who exhibit more PDA than interest in the actual game, and continued with this weekend’s nonsense. First, the booing – which unless my hearing is deteriorating (it’s not, that’s my sight) – began in the student section. After two incomplete passes and an interception.

I’m pretty adamant about this: NEVER BOO THE HOME TEAM. Not the players. The coaches I’ll give some leeway on, but never the players. Did Luke Stocker deserve to be booed after his drops? Probably. Does Jonathan Crompton‘s play deserve the boos he got? Maybe. Still, there’s no reason for that – from the students, from anybody. I can’t count how many times Erik Ainge was cussed out last year around me – and we were undefeated at home!

Our moronic students need to be more aware that recruits on official visits come in and see that, and it’s duly-noted. Who wants to go where if they potentially screw up get booed? By their fellow students? Especially this week, when our recruit list is pretty phenomenal – not just limiting it to football recruits either. This is a big weekend for Bruce Pearl as well.

Then there’s the above picture, taken by my dad from his seats in XX3. Notice this is at the time the “T” is opening up. From D, I had no idea that was even there. It’s pathetic. Yes, it was UAB. Yes, it was a 12:30 game. Yes, it was on TV. Yes, it was really freaking hot. Yes, we lost to UCLA. Say what you want, give your excuses, whatever. That’s just awful and there’s no other way around it. I showed the picture to my friends later that night and they felt the same way.

I know attendance on the whole was pretty bad, but the last place I honestly would expect to see a decline in attendance would be the students. Out-of-towners, yes. Students, no. I know there are actually people here that came to UT and the whole football scene didn’t factor into their decision. Seriously, though, how hard is it?

You don’t have to live and die with every play. You don’t even have to know what the hell is going on. You don’t even have to know what a UAB is or name a Tennessee starter. Treat it like a social event for all I care (those types need to go in the upper deck, though). It’s not hard, and most of the time the games are pretty enjoyable – especially any win.

The main point of my post is this: from this point on, I won’t be defending the students when the awful attendance and not picking up 1,500 of the allotment or anything else gets criticized. I know it’s not everyone and there are plenty of true fans on this campus, but I’m done. And with all that done and said…

HERE’S TO THE STUDENTS AND ALL VOL FANS PULLING TOGETHER FOR SATURDAY – NEYLAND NEEDS TO BE ROCKING!!

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