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2009 SEC Football Power Poll: Final Season Ballot

Check out the Full Poll Results at Team Speed Kills!

Final Season Ballot

Well, it’s been a long season and all the games are in the books.  This season, I have been less than dutiful in managing to write anything about the comings and goings of college football, which is highly disappointing for me.  Of late I’ve taken a few weeks off to try and recharge myself both as a person and as a blogger—more on that later.  Either way, since all that really matters in the world of college football is where you end the season, here’s my final ballot the SEC Football Power Poll, serving as a cap to the the 2009 season.

Here they are, my darlins:

Rk. Team Comments
1. Alabama Crimson Tide The last chapter in this book was nothing but ugly, but the 13 wins before that were pretty stellar.  A well earned championship the Alabama Crimson Tide.
2. Florida Gators The Florida Gators finished strong against Cincinnati—bidding Tim Tebow a fond farewell, and possibly Urban Meyer.

Next year, however, looks awfully uncertain, not bad, just really “sketchy.

3. Ole Miss Rebels Up and down, up and down.  The Ole Miss Rebels 2009 season was the roller coaster from hell, but it was fun, and was worth the ticket.

In 2010, the Rebels have holes to fill and maybe the expectations will be a little more reasonable.

4. LSU Tigers What a difference between 2008 and 2009.  The LSU Tigers looked like a top-rate, second-rate program at times, especially on offense.

I have a feeling there will be some changes in the off-season.

5. Auburn Tigers Considering where the Auburn Tigers were this time last year, I call this one a success.

Hats off to Gene Chizik for managing to return a winning record and to avoid being lynched by the Tigers’ fans.

6.(t) Tennessee Volunteers The Tennessee Volunteers improved steadily throughout the season until injuries began exposing just how empty the cupboard was when Lane Kiffin took over.

Call me crazy, but I think the Vols overachieved this season.  Next year, however, will be much more important; setting the stage for years to come.

6.(t) Georgia Bulldogs The Georgia Bulldogs finished with a win, which is probably a good thing for Mark Richt.

The question remains, however, just how much can they reasonably improve by 2010?  I fear not enough to keep the crazies at bay.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks While there were some real bright spots here and there in 2009 for the Arkansas Razorbacks, on the whole I am not so sure that things will be much better next season for the Hogs, until they figure out who they want to be offensively and start playing just a little bit of defense.

Still, they were much better in 2009 than in 2008.

9. South Carolina Gamecocks Once again, the South Carolina Gamecocks suffered their late-season slide. Still, they beat kissing-cousin Clemson before imploding against Connecticut.

So, how many more seasons does the Ole Ball Coach hang around?  I’m thinking not that many.

10. Kentucky Wildcats While the Kentucky Wildcats lost to Clemson in the Music City Bowl, considering where the Cats were when Rich Brooks took over, I call four bowls in a row big time improvement.

As for the future, well, it’s not like Joker Phillips hasn’t already been there and done that.

11. Mississippi State Bulldogs Dan Mullen‘s Mississippi State Bulldogs were light-years better than they were under Sly Croom in 2008.  They just could never catch a break when they needed one.

Next year, however, that should start to change.

12. Vanderbilt Commodores As for the Vanderbilt Commodores, well … umm … the field looked nice this year.

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Team Speed Kills, where the 2009 Football Power Poll round-up is there for all to see.

Now, on to basketball season…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

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HLL: NY Times Reports NCAA Investigating “Vol Hostesses”

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Tennessee FootballOkay, this pretty much sucks…

As the Vol Ambassador pointed out earlier today here on the Gate, according to the New York Times (which, as a general rule, avoids simply making stuff up), the NCAA is currently engaged in a wide-reaching investigation of recruiting at Tennessee under Lane Kiffin, with an emphasis on the use of the so-called “Vol Hostesses,” (with particular attention being paid to Hostess Lacey Earps), who routinely accompany recruits on visits to campus.  This investigation was confirmed by Mike Hamilton, though he declined to comment on the substance , and the UTAD has since issued an official statement.

The real interest appears to be trips taken by some of the Vol Hostesses to watch potential recruits play as high schoolers.  These visits, especially if they result in direct communications related to the recruiting of the athlete are potentially barred under NCAA regulations.  Times reporters Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans noted instances where Vol Hostesses had traveled as distance up to 200 or more miles to see recruits play, and had occasionally exchanged text messages with potential recruits.

As official representatives of the UT Athletic Department, contact by these Hostesses could lead to secondary violations, even if the contact was not sanctioned by athletic department officials.

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About all you have to say…”Job Well Done!”

25 Years

2 Montario Hardesty

Image by Tennessee Journalist via Flickr

On the back of Jonathan Crompton’s 220 passing yards and Montario Hardesty’s 179 yards on the ground, Lane Kiffin’s Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 30-24 in overtime and improved to 7-5 on the season and earned a 2nd place finish in the SEC East behind the Florida Gators.

More importantly in the minds of some, the Vols extended “the streak” to 25 years since yearly opponent Kentucky last beat the Vols.

To put that in perspective, the last time that Wildcats beat the Vols, I was 8 years old…

The Vols all-time record against the Wildcats in football?  An impressive 73-23-9 in 105 meetings.

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Giving Respect Where Respect is Due

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

It pretty much goes without saying that Jonathan Crompton’s journey as the Tennessee Volunteers’ quarterback  been a long and arduous one.  This Saturday, that journey moves one step closer to ending.

This weekend’s contest against Vanderbilt will be Crompton’s final home game for the orange and white and will be his one last chance to show the denizens of Neyland Stadium just how committed he has been to the fortunes of Tennessee football, how dedicated he has been to success as both a player and a leader, how much he has worked to become someone the Vols and their fans could be proud of.

It also represents the last time—perhaps the only time—for Tennessee fans of every stripe to show him just how much they appreciate him for what he has done.

Jonathan Crompton

Image via Wikipedia

Thus, I hope that all of you who make the trek to the game on Saturday will consider doing a little something special to show Crompton that we as the Vol Nation do appreciate his hard work, his effort, and his loyalty to the University of Tennessee.

I think it is the least that we as a fanbase can do.

In recognition of this, a special group has been formed on Facebook to celebrate Crompton’s contribution to Tennessee Football and to hopefully do a little something special for him on the Vol Walk this weekend.

For those of you out there who don’t recall, Crompton received death threats last season due to the Vols’ implosion.  Then, early this season, there were many who, again, questioned his abilities (including yours truly, I’m sad to say) and openly called for Lane Kiffin to bench the Vol senior in favor of reserve quarterback Nick Stephens.  This ignores the furor on the various chat boards.  This young man had to endure all of this while still trying to work toward winning games.  To Lane Kiffin’s credit, he stuck to his guns and was proven to have made a smart decision when Crompton had his coming out party against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Jonathan Crompton has played under four different offensive systems, and has had to re-learn everything throughout his entire time at Tennessee.  Yet, rather than complain or just give up, Crompton stuck it out despite his doubters.  He kept working, kept trying, kept pushing to be better.  Even though it probably took him a bit longer than he wished it had, he finally found that success that had so eluded him.  What’s more, in the process of attaining his goal, he gave the new era of Tennessee Football a fighting chance for respectability in its first year.

Despite his successes this season, it is doubtful that Jonathan Crompton will ever be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks to wear the orange.  With names like Peyton Manning, Andy Kelly, and Heath Shuler in the lineage, that is understandable.  Still, in many ways, Crompton has shown more determination, more perseverance, and more heart than any Tennessee quarterback in the modern era.

I think that means something.

Thus, I encourage all of you to not only join the Facebook group honoring Crompton’s contribution to Tennessee Football, but to also maybe do a little something on your own this Saturday as he makes his final Vol Walk toward Neyland Stadium—maybe a sign, maybe a salute, maybe a kind word.

In light of the events of the past week and the misdeeds of some of the Volunteers, I think Crompton’s type of dedication and sacrifice stands out all the more.

All I can do is to say that I am proud that Crompton wore the orange…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

HLL: Edwards & Richardson dismissed from team

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Well, the first step has been taken…

Mike Edwards and Nu’Keese Richardson have been dismissed from the Volunteers football team.
HT HT / via: Rocky Top Talk

I hate it for those young men, but I applaud Coach Kiffin for doing the right thing.  You cannot embarrass the program, its fans, or the university that way and expect to continue on like nothing happened.

Sad, but necessary…

Urban Meyer gets “Slived”

Some of Slive's Henchmen at Work

Well, it looks like there are a few teeth to Mike Slive’s new edict that coaches refrain from criticizing the SEC’s finest.  What’s more, and somewhat to my surprise, it appears that the new policy even applies to Urban Meyer.  The basis for these conclusions?  Mike Slive’s decision to fine Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer $30,000 for criticizing the officiating during the Gators’ game against the Georgia Bulldogs, which was announced via an official release earlier today.

I am sure that Jeremy Foley will be lodging a strongly worded protest shortly, demanding that Lane Kiffin apologize for not being fined before Meyer…

So this raises a question: can you get fined for criticizing the fine you got tacked with for criticizing the officials?  I wonder if we will find out?  That could be highly entertaining.

At any rate, I guess we now know that Mike Slive actually meant what he said when he declared himself the High Inquisitor of the SEC.  Of course, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition…

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HLL: “Opposing coach breaks down Kiffin offense”

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Nice piece by Mike Griffith:

Opposing coach breaks down Kiffin offense.

“It’s obvious they know what they’re doing; one play doesn’t work, and bam, the next play comes right in without any hesitation,” the coach said.  “They are all about getting you in match ups with their motions and shifts, it’s that NFL mentality…

HT HT / via: Ask GriffGoVolsXtra.com

Good, glad I’m not the only one who thought the coaching staff knew what they are doing…

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