Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska Cornhuskers’

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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

Buy Bactrim Without Prescription, 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 --
4 TCU --
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...

Comments, Explanations, and Excuses

Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

bullet Long-on-Horn Short on Strength:

I was completely underwhelmed by the Texas Longhorns (3) last second victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers (17) in the Big XII Championship game.  On paper, Texas out-matched Nebraska at every position except on the defensive line.  Nebraska, on the other hand demonstrated their lack of a productive offense in spades going the better part of two quarters without a first down.  Despite this, Texas was forced to kick a field goal with one second remaining on the game (which was only possible due to back to back penalties by the Cornhuskers in the final minute of the game).  Texas got the three points courtesy of their kicker and walked out of the Jerry Dome with a one-point victory.

What they did not do was play like a team deserving of a shot at the BCS Championship.

To Nebraska’s credit, they played their hearts out and did everything they could to win.  In my estimation, they earned the win but were simply unlucky when the clock ran out.

Now, I know that the Cincinnati Bearcats (2) defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers (21) by only a single point in the shooting match that was the final game of the Bearcats’ regular season, but I simply was more impressed with their performance and the tenacity of their team.  Furthermore, in my opinion Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly did a better job of coaching his team on gameday than did Texas’ Mack Brown, which really matters when it is all on the line.

For these reasons, I humbly submit that the Bearcats have earned the number 2 spot.

bullet Turning Gators into Gator Bait:

I had picked the Alabama Crimson Tide (1) to defeat the Florida Gators (13) in the SEC Championship Game, but I did not expect the Tide to annihilate the Gators from top to bottom.  Needless to say, I was impressed with the performance of Nick Saban’s squad.

I’ll be the first to admit, I loathe the Gators—they are the only SEC team I will never pull for.  This owes to my experiences visiting Gainesville.  Still, they are clearly a very talented team.  Alabama, however, completely dismantled the Gators from the start and never let up.  I was particularly impressed by Saban’s creative and complex scheming on both offense and defense and was similarly surprised at what appeared to be a very “vanilla” game plan from Urban Meyer.  That said, there is no denying that the impressive performances of Alabama running back Mark Ingram and quarterback Greg McElroy were key components to the victory, which left Alabama smiling and Tim Tebow crying.

Didn’t hurt my feelings any…

Parting Thoughts

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all insults comments.

You can view the final results of this week's poll over at CBS Sports later this week and check out an analysis of how the collective blogging brain-trust arrived at this week's result. If you're craving even more BlogPoll goodness, my Bactrim experience, Buy Bactrim online no prescription, you can also check out how other bloggers voted and see how your team fared across the Blogosphere.

-- So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

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

Week 14

Through 29 November 2009

Buy Seroquel Without Prescription, Ahh, Championship Week.  How quickly the 2009 regular season has passed us by.  Still, even this late in the game there were still a few surprises this past week in the world of college football.  Thus, here’s in my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot for week 14.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here is is:

My Ballot for the Week

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

Dropped Out: Navy (#23), Mississippi (#25).

Explanations after the jump...

Comments, Explanations, and Excuses

Here are the high-points of the week's changes:

bullet A Flip-Flop at the Top:

Yeah, yeah, I know some folks will think I am an SEC homer for advancing the Florida Gators (2) ahead of the Texas Longhorns (3), but that could not be farther from the truth.  I loathe the Gators with a white-hot fervor that is as irrational as it is juvenile, but they are a damn-good football team.  Their complete annihilation of the Florida State Seminoles (NR) was both impressive and efficient, much more so than the hap-hazard victory by the Longhorns over the Texas A&M Aggies (NR).  Thus, Florida gets the nod this week to the number 2 spot.

Take heart, Texas fans, either the Gators or the Alabama Crimson Tide (1) have to lose this week in the SEC Championship Game (for what it is worth, my money is on Bama taking home the hardware), thus this drop is sure to be short-lived.  That is, unless Texas loses to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (13) in the Big XII Championship Game, which I think is quite possible, in fact, it might even be likely.  Who knows?

bullet Returners & First Timers:

After one week outside my poll ballot, the Stanford Cardinal (23) return to this week’s poll along with in-again-out-again Pac-10 comrades the California Golden Bears (22).  Stanford picked up a nice win against Notre Dame (NR), likely sending Charlie Weis on his way.  Cal, on the other hand, didn’t do a damn thing this weekend, except watch Stanford—whom they soundly beat the week before—play the Irish.

Nice, to jump back into the rankings without having to do a thing…

bullet Everyone Else:

In the event that you don’t grasp the concept of rankings, everyone else who moved this week either lost (thus dropping) or were ranked near someone that did (thus rising).  It’s all very simple and orderly, don’t you think?

Parting Thoughts

Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong -- which is part of the way the BlogPoll is supposed to work.  I promise that I will consider all insults comments.

You can view the final results of this week's poll over at CBS Sports later this week and check out an analysis of how the collective blogging brain-trust arrived at this week's result. If you're craving even more BlogPoll goodness, order Seroquel from mexican pharmacy, Buy cheap Seroquel, you can also check out how other bloggers voted and see how your team fared across the Blogosphere.

-- So it goes…About Lawvol

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On Remote: Slim Pickings…

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

And Last Week Was So Good Too...

Last week had everything that makes college football great: big-time matchups, conference rivalry games, upsets, and close games. As we enter the first week in October (already?!?), things slow down a bit before a big weekend next Saturday.

Simply put, when ESPN's College GameDay is heading to Nashville, you know things aren't so good elsewhere. Seriously, what is the world coming to??

September has been weird. Florida, USC, and Georgia - the summer media darlings - have lost already. Alabama is up to #-freakin'-2.  Five non-BCS teams - BYU, Utah, Boise State, Ball State, and Tulsa - are undefeated. Also unbeaten: Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Kentucky. Duke is 3-1.

Oh, and our beloved Vols are 1-3 with the Dawgs and Tide coming up in the next month...

This weekend lacks the big name games, but like I've said before weeks like this one in the past, it's still college football. There's always possibilities for upsets and anything can happen any given weekend.

Plenty enough reason for me to pay attention...

SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

Florida at Arkansas (12:00, RayCom): Oops, Gators. You fail. Stunned at home by previously 0-9 in-their-last-nine-SEC-games Ole Miss last Saturday, the Gates pick up the pieces and head to Fayetteville to face easily the worst team in the league. For all the love Urban Meyer has been getting, he's 6-4 in his last 10 SEC games. With Tim Tebow. With Percy Harvin. And I'm positive he still hasn't thanked Ron Zook for that defensive line he was given to win the '06 Title...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="318" caption="Gators = FAIL"][/caption]

The Gators still are the favorites to win the East by default (seriously, Vandy won't last, Georgia's banged-up something fierce with that schedule, and Tennessee, well...), so I seriously doubt Arkansas gets them.

South Carolina at Ole Miss (2:00): Believe it or not, this game is not on TV - at least that I can find. OK, Houston Nutt, you beat Florida in the Swamp. Be careful, Carolina's capable of beating you in a slugfest. This should be the best front the Rebels have seen, so how effective will their "Wild Rebel" or whatever-it's-called formation be? Still, with the issues on the Gamecock offensive line and with whoever the QB is (Smelley? Beecher? Garcia?), I think the Ole Miss D-line with Peria Jerry and Greg Hardy wreaks havoc. Two even teams, but I like Ole Miss.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="304" caption="Careful, Houston: a loss to struggling South Carolina would all but negate that win at Florida last Saturday"][/caption]

Kentucky at Alabama (3:30, CBS): Prepare to meet reality, Wildcats. You're 4-0, but you've beaten two Sun Belt teams (including MTSU literally by a yard), a JV League team that lost to UConn, and Norfolk State. Safe to say, Tuscaloosa is a step-up, especially with the lack of an offense UK will bring. Kentucky's defense could keep them in it because John Parker Wilson is always good for a bad game every now and then, but that still may not be enough.

Tide fans hope they get past UK to their bye week, where they will all be in burnt orange to cheer for Texas to beat Oklahoma so the Tide can move up to #1...VOMIT...

Auburn at Vanderbilt (6:00, ESPN2) Auburn could easily be 1-3 in the SEC, but their defense (and Jonathan Crompton) have bailed them out. Vanderbilt has been winning with defense and not making mistakes (novel concept, eh?). I still can't believe GameDay is going to this game. Not only is it Vanderbilt, but it should the first to 14 points wins, which could still take til Sunday. Hello, low-scoring, defensive struggle...

I'm not sure who wins this game. I wanna say Vandy because Auburn's offense straight-up sucks. I wanna say Auburn because Vandy is still Vandy. Both have been good in close games this year. Vandy's playing at "home," but I guess I'll go with Auburn, though Vandy's gonna get two wins elsewhere...

Northern Illinois at Tennessee (7:00): For a team trying out a new QB (or at least I hope and pray that's what we're doing), this game sets up well before the three-week gauntlet that lies ahead. Most fans want to see Nick Stephens start and B.J. Coleman. Most fans don't care who starts, they just want Jonathan Crompton on the bench with a clipboard. Many fans don't even care enough to show up. Other than Stephens, what I'm most interested to see? The attendance. Me? I'll be there in Neyland Stadium Saturday night. Abandoning one's team is cowardly. I'm a student, I'm supposed to go to football games. This certainly doesn't hurt...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Front row at Neyland Stadium is still front row at Neyland Stadium..."][/caption]

Those of you forking out the $$ to watch it on PPV, look for me! I'll be in orange. Seriously though, this NIU team isn't UAB. The Huskies got beat at Minnesota by a TD with 22 seconds left, lost by three at Western Michigan (ask Iowa about the Broncos), and have scored 85 points their last two games behind a pretty strong rushing attack. Just sayin'...


Tonight: Screw that JV League clash between Pitt and USF, the game to keep your eye on is Oregon State at Utah. The Utes try to keep their BCS hopes alive by hosting the team that beat USC last week. Methinks Utah wins...

The NEW Weekly Duke Update: Oh, what the hell. Duke is 3-1. Go Devils! Something positive for Vol fans: a former coach who's done a great deal of things for Tennessee, gets his second head coaching chance at Duke, and has already having success (three wins at Duke = success). Why not pay attention? Coach Cut and Company play at Georgia Tech Saturday.

If you like Big Ten football: I feel sorry for you, er, I mean you can watch Illinois at Michigan (3:30, ABC) and later Ohio State at Wisconsin. Please Badgers, get the Buckeyes completely out of the picture...

You Pac-10 types: Arizona State is at Cal, USC tries their luck at home against Oregon's other team (Go Ducks!), Stanford plays at Notre Dame, and UCLA might actually win another game - they play Washington State, who's given up 66 and 63 points in their two league losses...

A pair of Big 12 games to eye: Texas Tech finally starts their season when they travel to play at Kansas State, who sucks because they lost to a JV League team (Louisville). Oklahoma State's still undefeated, and they host Texas A&M. And Saturday night, Bo Pelini and Nebraska gets chance #2 at winning a big home game, when Missouri visits. My friends hate on me because I'm fully on the Tigers' bandwagon (hey, I almost went there), but they're really good. Chase Daniel is really good. Nebraska won't stop that offense. Mizzou rolls.


Images Courtesy of: Phil Sandlin / AP (Daylife) John Raoux / AP (Daylife)

On Remote: More of the Same

Welcome This "New" Feature to Gate 21

After a few warmup weeks and people actually reading these weekend previews, we have souped it up a little bit, giving it a neat little banner (thanks again to Lawvol for the excellent work) and it's own special title: "On Remote," or what football you can look forward to this weekend.

Also, this post will normally be on Thursdays, like in the past. It's just that lawvol's Open Letter yesterday was such a great work that I felt it should stay up for a day. And that's about the only difference you're going to see in the post. We're still focusing mainly on the SEC, and the couple big national games this weekend as well.

More big SEC games on this weekend, and hopefully they are as quality as the LSU-Auburn game was last weekend as opposed to what I witnessed in Neyland Stadium last Saturday afternoon.

Also, I'd like to offer a quick thanks to the Oregon State Beavers for beating "mighty" USC. All that talent, and they can't go through the Pac-10 unbeaten. Seriously, to have the run of talent they've had, to have just one national title? Granted they're still in it because it's September, but last night didn't help them in the eyes of us down here in God's Country...

What's on my remote this weekend? Well, last Saturday night there a double feature with the aforementioned "Tiger Bowl" and Georgia's physical whipping of Arizona State (yes, we pulled out an extra TV in our apartment to watch the game. This weekend I'll be in Auburn, so who knows how much other football I'll be watching.

That doesn't mean I can't help you all out - here's my attempt...

SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

Ole Miss at Florida (11:30, RayCom): An intriguing matchup to start the day off in the SEC. The Rebels won their last visit to the Swamp, but Jevan Snead is no Eli Manning. It should be interesting to see how the Rebels respond after losing to Vanderbilt in a game they probably should have won (statistically they dominated minus the turnovers).

The Gators face Ole Miss and Arkansas before they host LSU in two weeks. I still think the Gators are the team to beat in the East, and while Auburn won in the Swamp this time last year, Ole Miss isn't good enough to pull it out. They'll stick around and put up a fight, but the Gators are the better team and at home.

Tennessee at Auburn (3:30, CBS): Amidst the sad state of the football program, the Vols - and myself in a couple hours - head down to Auburn to face a good team coming off a physically tough, late home loss to LSU. The Auburn defense showed again the ability to score, but LSU's big offensive line and Charles Scott wore them down late, so there's something to think about. Offensively, the Tigers showed signs of improvements from the Mississippi State debacle.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="And you thought the Florida defense was really good..."][/caption]

Honestly, I have no idea how Tennessee is going to score on Auburn. And don't think for a moment that Auburn will come out flat, as they are occasionally prone to do at home to inferior teams (see Mississippi State last year and Georgia 2006) - Tennessee's not very good, but we're still Tennessee. I'll be there cheering on my Vols during these dark days, but let me be honest: I'm not expecting a win. Who knows, maybe Phil and the boys pull something out of their you-know-whats and Tennessee beats Auburn.

Arkansas at Texas (3:30, ABC): After getting steamrolled by Alabama, Arkansas travels to Texas. Not good news, and the Hogs are probably going to get pounded. I don't think many would argue against saying Arkansas might be the worst team in the SEC this year (some Tennessee fans might say otherwise...). Arkansas is going to become a player under Bobby Petrino - just not this year.

Western Kentucky at Kentucky (7:00): We all know what happened the last time UK hosted a Sun Belt team - they won by a yard - literally. While MTSU is probably better than the Toppers, I just don't see UK having the offense to blow people out. After Saturday night, both Kentucky and Vanderbilt are going to be 4-0...what?!?

UAB at South Carolina (7:00): Another tuneup for the Gamecocks, who struggled against Wofford last weekend. The Chickens go to Ole Miss and Kentucky the next two weeks. Does Carolina score more on UAB's horrid defense than Tennessee?

Mississippi State at LSU (7:30, ESPN2): See, I told you people LSU was the West's best team. That talent is sick, and once Jarrett Lee calmed down, looked pretty good. Like I said, simply adequate QB play and watch out for these Tigers. That's what happens when you have the best offensive and defensive lines in the SEC. I have pledged never to call Les Miles "dumb" or "stupid" ever again after the guts he showed last week. LSU wins by a bunch - maybe a shutout?

Alabama at Georgia (7:45, ESPN): This is the Daddy of Saturday's games. I've accepted the fact that Alabama is really good this year, and Georgia looked really good at Arizona State last week. What have I noticed with these two teams? They are both really physical football teams. Physical football teams playing each other = quality game for football fans (see LSU-Auburn).

Alabama can win this game, but they're really gonna have to play well. UGA decided they weren't going to need the blackout antics to beat Tennessee, so they decided on using their little ploy this week. J.P. Wilson will have to play a very good game to beat UGA. I think Georgia is better in the passing game and just slightly better on defense and they're at home, I think they get the win.


Virginia at Duke (12:00, ESPNU): I miss the discipline of David Cutcliffe's offense. This is one of Duke's very winnable games, as UVA lost their starting QB. Potentially after Saturday: Duke 3-1, Tennessee 1-3...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="201" caption="Duke could be 3-1 with a win at home over Virginia Saturday"][/caption]

Fresno State at UCLA (3:30, ABC): This is going to once again show us how inexcusably bad that loss to UCLA was when Fresno pounds the Bruins - Arizona Arizona ARIZONA beat UCLA by 3 TDs last week...

Colorado vs. Florida State in Jacksonville (3:30, ABC): I said Lawvol was foolish for ranking the Buffaloes in his Top 25. Guess I was wrong. I know it was just a JV League team in WVU the Buffs beat, but this should tell us more about Colorado - and the depth of the Big 12. FSU had 4 more turnovers than points - at home - against Wake Forest last week.

TCU at Oklahoma (7:00, FSN?): Remember, TCU beat OU in Norman in 2005, and the Frogs are pretty good this year. The top of the MWC - BYU, Utah, and TCU - is very, very strong. TCU played Texas hard for three quarters last year, but they're better this year, and they can give the Sooners a test. But at home, and the mere fact it's in the regular season and not a BCS Bowl has me liking OU's chances...

Virginia Tech at Nebraska (8:00, ABC): Another chance for a big non-conference win for the Big 12. For the Huskers, it's a two-week stretch of home games against VT and next week Mighty Mizzou (my second favorite team...) comes visiting. Personally, I think Nebraska pounds VT, who just hasn't been very good offensively this year, even with the redshirt coming off Tyrod Taylor. They scored 24 points on Furman for goodness sakes.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="The first big games of the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska are Saturday against Virginia Tech and next week against Missouri - both in Lincoln"][/caption]

Northern Games: Only if you're into that sort of thing. A couple of Big Ten showdowns - Wisconsin at Michigan (3:30, ABC) and Illinois at Penn State (8:00, ABC) - and "mighty" Notre Dame hosts Pur-don't (win big games...EVER). Don't sleep on 4-0 Minnesota beating the struggling Buckeyes either...

Enjoy it while you can, because it's flying by!

Images Courtesy of: xx • xx • xx

Flashback: The Great Games — The 1996 Citrus Bowl


The Great Games |

1995-96 CompUSA Citrus Bowl

(1 January 1996)

Tennessee Football vs. FB-OhioState[1]

Tennessee 20 Ohio State 14

Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium

Continuing on with 1995, after beating Bama soundly and ending the 10-year drought against the Crimson Tide, the Tennessee Volunteers finished out their regular season at 10-1. Their only loss coming at the hands of the Florida Gators in a 62-37 drubbing which tarnishes the 1995 team’s otherwise exemplary record. Tennessee finished the season ranked 4th, but in the days of the so-called Bowl Alliance, the "premier" bowls were reserved only for conference champions, thus, Tennessee received a bid to the "first outside the money" CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl to take on the similarly situated Ohio State Buckeyes, who lost their last game of the season against arch-rival Michigan, and with it the Big 11 10 title, and ended the seasons ranked ... uhh ... 4th also.

1996 Florida Citrus Bowl

Cover from the Official 1996 Citrus Bowl Program. Ohio State later sued the bowl committee for omitting "THE" (in all caps and 72 pt font) from their name -- the matter was ultimately resolved in a settlement whereby Ohio State received a case of oranges and an autographed photo of Mickey Mouse.

The fact of the matter remains, no matter what either school would claim publicly, neither Tennessee nor Ohio State wanted to be in Orlando on New Year’s Day. Both had completed 1-loss seasons, and both came within a half of playing for the National Championship or, at a minimum, playing in one of the top-tier Alliance Bowls. Ohio State wanted to be in Pasadena and Tennessee in New Orleans or Tempe. Regardless of what they wanted, they were set to play one another in a game which -- in my book -- ranks as one of the best bowl games I’ve ever watched in person or on television.

Ohio State came in smarting from the late season wrench Michigan had thrown into their "destiny" to play in the Rose Bowl. Despite this failing, Ohio State running back Eddie George had won the Heisman Trophy only weeks before the game in Orlando -- which made them feel a whole lot better about having their entire season implode in Ann Arbor -- as it did so regularly under then coach John Cooper.

Tennessee on the other hand, found itself on the outside looking in as Florida waltzed into a date with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl. In retrospect, however, Tennessee is probably glad it didn’t make the trip to Tempe, since Florida took it the hard-way in a 62-24 slobberknocking by Nebraska, which led Steve Spurrier to ask in a halftime interview, "Can someone ask that scary man with no facial expressions and his corn-fed boys to stop hurting us. Please... "** Still, at the time Tennessee was highly disappointed at being left out of the big one, and all they had gotten to make them feel better was a few free passes to Disney World courtesy of the bowl committee.

By the time the teams, fans, alums, bands, and hangers-on arrived in Orlando, both had several weeks simmer and let the bowl slight fester.

One thing that became immediately apparent to me when I arrived in Orlando was that many Ohio State fans had very little respect for Tennessee. Now this is not meant as an indictment of the entirety of the Buckeye Nation, but at the time it seemed that Ohio State not only felt that they had been slighted in terms of bowls, but also in terms of opponents. In the interest of full disclosure, it is worth mentioning that my better half is an Ohio State graduate and -- when not playing Tennessee -- I pull for the Buckeyes. Still, at the time, in all of my interactions with Buckeye fans during the run-up to the New Years Day game, it seemed that Ohio State was assuming that they would simply show-up and beat Tennessee handily.

In all honesty, at the time, I thought they might be right...

Tennessee had turned the early-season disappointment of getting absolutely slaughtered in the second-half at Gainesville versus the Gators (which is right near the top of my all-time least favorite games), into something really special. Still, there was a lot of uncertainty about how the Vols speed would match up with the strength and running ability of the Buckeyes (where have I heard that one before?). While I was never one to open doubt that team, in my mind, I felt there was a distinct possibility that Tennessee could lose ... and badly.

There was so much going on that week, in preparation for the game, that I didn't have too much time to worry about it ...

If you’ve never been to a game, you really should go, at least once. They can be one hell of a lot of fun, and are wonderful experiences. I must say, despite the misgivings surrounding the 1996 Citrus Bowl, it is (and remains) one of the best run bowls anywhere. Regardless of whether Tennessee and Ohio State thought they deserved to go elsewhere, the City of Orlando really knows how to host events, and they do a bang-up job when it comes to the Citrus Bowl (now known as the CapitalOne Bowl). There are more events, parades, parties, pep-rallies, and so forth than you could possibly attend (unless you actually have to play Rocky Top till you’re blue in the face at each one, that is). In the days leading up to the game, I had a blast ...

... at least that’s what everyone tells me.

At any rate, after several beautiful sunny days in the high 70’s, New Year’s Day arrived, and the weather that day -- more or less -- reflected the physical and mental states of many who had "Given Their All for Tennessee" in the New Year’s Eve Debauchery category. It was foul. The temperature had dropped, and it rained incessantly throughout the 12 hours leading up to the game. By the time I arrived at the Citrus Bowl, along with 350 of my dear friends (the Pride of the Southland Marching Band) it had already been determined that the bands would not be permitted to perform their pre-game shows as planned, because the field -- just like those New Year’s partiers -- just wasn’t up to it.

So, there we sat -- all 70,000 football fans, clad in Orange or Red Ponchos -- in the rain, waiting for the mud to start flying...

The game started and Ohio State scored first, taking a 7-point lead over the Vols, in the first quarter, who were really unable to get things going on the offensive side of the ball. During this time, every time the Buckeyes had the ball all that could be heard was a constant chant from the Buckeyes of "Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die!!!" which, got old real fast for Tennessee fans. I also thought that the other 10 guys on offense for Ohio State -- out there busting their hump as a team -- were probably getting tired of it as well.

Then, in the second quarter, Ohio State drove down inside the 5, and looked as if they might add to their lead, putting Tennessee even farther behind. The Tennessee defense, however, held, and Ohio State was faced with 4 and goal. Rather than kick the field goal, the Buckeyes chose to try and run it in on the legs of "Ed-die" and put the game out of reach for the Vols. When the snap came, however, it was Tennessee’s Bill Duff who grabbed the spotlight -- and the momentum in the game -- as he clotheslined "Ed-die" a good yard behind the line of scrimmage and trounced him down to the grass.

At that moment, the entire complexion of the game shifted, and Tennessee began to stretch its legs...

Soon thereafter, Tennessee was on the board with as Jay Graham rumbled 69 yards to knot the score at 7. Peyton Manning added to that in the third-quarter, and Jeff Hall sealed the deal with two field goals in the fourth. Here’s John Ward (along with Fred Thompson) with the highlights:

As for "Ed-die," the Heisman trophy winner was held to a season-low 89 yards rushing, and was effectively stopped from the second quarter on. In an altogether more humorous note, after the Tennessee defense stopped him on the 2 yard line, the crowds shifted and it was the Tennessee fans who started chanting "Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die!!!" which ended up being even louder than the Ohio State fans, and far more exuberant.

To their credit, however, the Buckeyes bowed their backs and fought to the very last. In the end, however, it was Tennessee’s tenacity on defense which won the day, as they fought down to the wire to keep the Buckeyes from finding the endzone again, and potentially stealing the game away. Until the final second was off the clock, the game was never a sure thing for either team.

Final Score Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14.


The win over Ohio State was one of the hardest fought victories against long odds that I ever personally witnessed the Vols record. Finishing the season 11-1, propelled the Vols to final ranking of No. 3 in the AP Poll and a No. 2 ranking in the final coaches poll -- ahead of Florida. That final ranking made the Citrus Bowl seem like quite a prize indeed, and looked far better than the beating that the Gators took in the desert of Arizona.

After all, Orange juice tastes much better than Cactus juice ...

-- Go Figure …

** The quote from Steve Spurrier is complete bullshit, but I would have given real money to hear him say that.
Images Courtesy of: • The VIB
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