Posts Tagged ‘Gainesville’

2009 CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: Week 15: End of the Regular Season

Here’s my ballot for this week’s CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by — as you might imagine — CBS Sports.

Week 15

Through 6 December 2009

Ahhh, 2009 college football regular season, we barely knew ye.  Yes friend and neighbors, here we are at the end of the regular season.  Thus, here is my final ballot for the 2009 regular season, the last ballot until after the completion of bowl season.  While I am sure some will disagree with some of my rankings, they are what they are: little more than my subjective assessment on the powers of college football.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here is is:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama
2 Cincinnati 3
3 Texas
5 Ohio State 1
6 Boise State 1
7 Penn State 1
8 Oregon 1
9 Brigham Young 1
10 Virginia Tech 1
11 Georgia Tech 4
12 LSU
13 Florida 11
14 Miami (Florida) 3
15 Wisconsin 4
16 Oklahoma State 4
17 Nebraska 4
18 Iowa 3
19 Stanford 4
20 Utah 4
21 Pittsburgh 5
22 Central Michigan NR
23 West Virginia NR
24 Houston 6
25 East Carolina NR
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Southern Cal (#14), California (#22), Clemson (#25).

Explanations after the jump…

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2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 6

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:

Rocky Top Talk

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Rocky Top Talk and serves up another installment of questions burning in the minds of the orange-clad denizens who follow the Tennessee Volunteers.

In the interest of full disclosure, HSH sent me his responses to this week’s questions earlier in the week.  In theory, I was then supposed assemble a post including my answers along with his.  In theory, this sounds simple … in theory.  Reality is quite a different matter.  I have been woefully unreliable in terms of my posting of late due to my “real life,” and more specifically, my “real job.”

Thus, as a result of me being completely backed-up in preparation for an upcoming trial (a/k/a “evidence manipulation conference”) I am yet again forced to punt—at least for the moment.  This is particularly annoying considering how great the questions are this week.  Thus, for now the only answers I have to offer are those from HSH—which is probably a good thing considering that he actually knows what he’s talking about.  I will try to add in my responses later, if possible.  Until then, however, here are HSH’s thoughts for the week:

Week 6

1) Which newcomer do you expect to play the most total snaps for the Vols this fall?

bullet HSH: Well, by the looks of things, we know for sure it won’t be Bryce Brown, though he may be the best talent of the freshmen.

Though I have trouble remembering him actually being a freshman, it almost has to be Montori Hughes at defensive tackle, simply because of the lack of depth at defensive tackle and the sore, wobbly knees of senior end-turned-tackle Wes Brown.  With Brown’s knees, its almost more a question of when as opposed to if they’re going to take him out of action.  I have to take this moment to say his never-quit attitude and what he’s been saying about his situation has him rapidly climbing up my favorite 2009 Vols.

Back to Hughes, I said he doesn’t seem like a freshman because of three things: first, he’s obviously from the 2008 class out of Siegel High School in middle Tennessee, but didn’t qualify.  Secondly, he enrolled in January, so he was in for the spring, so it’s like he’s been at UT for longer than the other freshman.  Finally, it’s because he’s a very large man.  Either way, it’s clear he’s moved up to the third tackle spot, behind Williams and Brown and ahead of Victor Thomas, Rae Sykes and Marlon Walls.

But given the situation at defensive tackle behind Big Dan Williams, Hughes has to be the freshman who will see the most action.

As for the “true” freshman with the most impact, I’ll say receiver Marsalis Teague.  I went to last Thursday’s practice and last Saturday’s scrimmage, and Teague had some impressive plays.  I think Gerald Jones and Brandon Warren will be the top 2 wideouts, but Teague is my third (and Quintin Hancock fourth), given the injury to Denarius Moore.  Also, Teague seems like more a pure receiver than Nu’Keese Richardson in my opinion.

bullet Lawvol: (Long thoughtful pause followed by a longer, yet less thoughtful, sucking sound…)

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Once More Unto the Breach…

Who knew that Shakespeare was a football fan?

Once again it’s time for the renewal of the battle between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators.  This is the game which always gets my blood up.  As I have said before, the series against Alabama rivalry is the strongest and best rivalry that Tennessee has — one grounded on mutual respect.  The Tennessee v. Florida series, however, is about pure animus.  At least it is for me.

The second game I ever saw in Neyland Stadium was the 1992 contest between Tennessee and Florida — a game now know as “The Storm” or “The Downpour.” That day Tennessee bested Florida 31-14.  The next contest I would see between these schools would be in 1994, when Tennessee laid an egg in the home opener losing 31-0.  That one sucked.  So did my trips to Gainesville in 1995 and 1997.  In 1998, however, the Vols managed to beat the Gators in what is, in my opinion, perhaps the greatest game played in Neyland Stadium in the modern era.  In total, I have witnessed ten different games against the Gators in person.  The Vols record in those games where I was in attendance is 3-7.

I’m beginning to think that me attending the games is the problem…

Either way, this weekend marks the renewal of the grudge match between the two schools and it is sure to be a slugfest on the field (and likely in the stands).  In light of the way that both teams have played up to this point in the season, I am really not sure who will win.  I know that Florida is favored by 7 points, but I also know that point spreads mean little when it comes to rivalries such as this.  Though I realize this makes me somewhat of a homer, I am going to take the Vols in this game (just like my friends at Hugging Harold Reynolds did — proving it’s not just a Tennessee thing) and I’m going to tell you why.

Tennessee has nothing to lose against the Gators this year…

While it is not necessarily the sort of thing you wish for, losing your opening game against an unranked and unremarkable opponent can be liberating.  Having already fallen flat on your face while the whole nation is watching brings great freedom in the form of fans throwing up their hands and shaking their heads. In the minds of some, the season was over when the final kick against UCLA sailed wide.  This is not meant to glorify failure — to the contrary, Tennessee should have beaten the Bruins handily — but rather to point out that a little self-doubt (or a large chip on your shoulder) can give you the freedom to leave it all on the field.  This is what sets the two teams apart this weekend.

I could go into the numbers, analyze the stats, try and find the way that Tennessee could win, but others have already done a far better job at that than I could ever hope to do.  All I will say is that for the last 15 years the only way you beat Florida is to run the ball well.  The good news is that the Vols happen to have a pretty darn good running attack.  I know that the statistics all say that the Vols will be out-matched and out-gunned at many positions, and that Florida will have the advantage.  I know that, on paper that means nothing — this is the vaunted Florida Gators — but I just have a feeling that Tennessee will dig deep and find a way.  I may look back in a day an realize I was wrong…

…but then again, maybe not.

I remember my first home as a student at Tennessee — it was versus Florida and … well … didn’t go well (that would be the 1994 loss).  I remember two trips to Gainesville watching the Vols go down in flames in both 1995 and 1997.  I remember more home losses than I care to remember.  I also remember the victories — few though they may be — I remember them well.  The reality is, however, sometimes it is the losses which spur us on more than the wins.  Sometimes that chance at redemption means more than the chance at perfection.  Sometimes you simply have to try one more time.  Lord knows I have tried, since I keep coming back for more Florida games.  I have a feeling that the Vols will as well, and will bring their best in an attempt to do as the header for this weekend (you may have to refresh your browser for it to change) here at the Gate says: “Carry the Fight to Florida and Keep it There for Sixty Minutes…

I have seen some miserable games played by the Vols versus Florida, but I have also seen some of the best.  I have gone to Gainesville, just like HSH, and had to put up with a depressing ride home after sweltering in the heat, being soaked by the rain, or both.  I have had to put up with Florida fans … well … I’ll just leave it at that — no need to start a flame contest.  Let’s just say I loathe Florida for a reason, and it has little to do with who wins or loses the games.  Let’s just say I decided long ago that I’ll not return to Gainesville ever, regardless of how good the Vols are — a distinction which Florida alone has earned in my mind.  Still, those losses were worth it when the victories rolled around.

I am not going to try and tell you from a football perspective how the Vols can beat the Gators.  I’m just going to join in saying that I do think they have it in them to win.  Hopefully, they realize that too.  Hopefully, they are ready.

Once more unto the breach, dear friend, once more…

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


The View From the Hill | Gate 21


That score has been rattling around in my head for the past year and four days. After bad Tennessee losses in the past, I’ve been mad, angry, frustrated, and those type emotions. As I was walking back to my car from Ben-Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville last September 15th, I felt totally embarrassed – and I left early, after Tim Tebow scored to make it 49-20 early in the 4th quarter.

Easily that weekend was the worst road trip I’ve probably ever taken. Here’s why:

  • It rained all Friday morning really, really hard. The first thing I did when I got back to class? Threw the clothes I was wearing in the dryer so I could wear them on the drive.
  • My friend and I got down to my car in the parking garage ready to leave, and it didn’t start (my 4Runner has a long history of battery issues…). We should have gone back upstairs at that point…
  • The drive took at least 2 and a half hours longer than we expected – over 10 hours down I-75. It rained no less than 7 of those hours, and it took us 2 and a half hours to go through about 50 miles on either side of Atlanta. The south Georgia construction – we’re talking 40 mile stretches here – was so annoying.
  • For those of you that went to UAB, you know how hot that was? Gainesville was at least 5 degrees hotter. Very few times were there clouds to help out, too. I hardly got any shade the whole afternoon. And the Swamp in the seats is as tight if not tighter. Sitting on the end, I was halfway in the aisle most of the afternoon.
  • 59-20
  • Brandon Spikes is right – Tennessee quit and you can’t tell me they didn’t. I know we should use the other things he said for motivation/bulletin board material, but that part about us quitting is true.

I should point out this trip did have a good part, and that was actually before the game. The two hours before we went into the stadium, the whole walking around Florida’s campus was pretty enjoyable, despite the heat. Despite what is often the thought, the campus is actually rather nice. It’s similar to our campus – it’s just much, much bigger, with no hills, and it’s always really hot. Not only that, but the I-75 exit we took was 387 – the same one that takes you to 17th Street/Cumberland Ave. (The Strip) off I-40 in Knoxville. We saw their version of The Strip (ours is better) and their University Center.

The Gator fans, you ask? Not as bad as I feared. Unlike my Athens trip in 2006, I did not get cussed out or almost get into any fights. Yes, they talked trash, did their little Gator Chomp at us, and yelled Gator Bait at us. Other than that, it wasn’t that bad. It was worse from the students – who take up half the stadium – as I was leaving.

I remember the last two Florida games - last year especially - like they were yesterday. Will tomorrow be more of the same? I BELIEVE it will not be.

What’s the point of me hashing all this out again? First, this post has been planned for awhile, going back to my days at my own site. Second, the pain and embarrassment from that weekend becomes much more relevant this particular week, this particular game. (NOTE: the SEC Title would have erased it all…)

This is my last home game against the Gators as a student and I don’t wanna go 0-fer against those punks. I still vividly remember the tough loss in 2006. I still vividly remember my experiences at the last two Florida – and it sucks. Point is, if the players and coaches are anywhere near as motivated and as personally ready to beat the living crap out of Florida tomorrow afternoon, then Florida better not be coming in as overconfident as their fans – and even most Vol fans – seem to have been this week.

Are Vol fans foolish for being down about this game? Not at all. Florida has more talent. Coach Fulmer has never been able to beat the Gators. They have Tim Tebow. They have Percy Harvin. Urban Meyer is 3-0 against Tennessee. Florida is in our heads. We lost to a team a Mountain West school beat 59-0. We scored just 35 on the worst defense in the country. Our longest running play against the Gators in those two games? Six yards. On paper, the odds are simply not in our favor.

Throw that paper out of the window – it doesn’t matter. Despite the somewhat somber mood surrounding this game this week, when that stadium gets filled it’s going to be loud. Really loud. It would be a total crime if it’s not. Tennessee has a better chance than we all think or want to admit. The mere fact this game is being played in Neyland Stadium makes me think it’s going to be close.

Honestly, I have no idea how we’re going to stop Florida’s speed. It’s been said a million times this week, Tennessee has to run the ball effectively to win this game. Can we do that against a stacked line?

To me, this is much like the Georgia game last year. It’s just setting up that way. Whether it ends up the same way, we’ll know about 30 hours from now. This game will easily determine where our season goes. Florida is easily one of the three teams that I can say I truly hate, along with Alabama and Georgia. Let me reiterate: I HATE FLORIDA, especially their tool of a coach. And I’ve been waiting a really long time now to get rid of those two images of losses to Florida these past two years…

I don’t know how we’re going to beat Florida and I don’t think we will, but with every bit of me I BELIEVE we can win tomorrow.


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…


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