Posts Tagged ‘Nick Saban’

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 8 — The Kickoff Edition

Gate 21 is proud to host this week’s Roundtable!

It’s Time…

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by … ummm … oh, yeah, it’s our week.  We here at the Gate are proud to host the 2009 kickoff edition of the Big Orange Roundtable as we all get ready to tee it up and kick it down for the 112th season of Tennessee Volunteers Football.

With that lovely prospect in mind, let’s get down to business:

Week 8

1) (From HSH)  We’ve talked through the past month or so about just about everything we could talk about regarding this Tennessee team: the quarterbacks, offensive line, freshman, Eric Berry, finding healthy wide receivers, freshman again, etc. So the simple question is this: what do you expect or what specifically are you looking for from the Vols against Western Kentucky this Saturday?

bullet HSH: First things first, Western Kentucky is not going to be anything close to resembling a quality football team.  They were recently a power in 1-AA, but this is their first full year in 1-A, and have the potential to be one of the worst teams to come to Neyland Stadium in a while (yes, I’m including Wyoming).  They went just 2-10 last year (the wins were Eastern Kentucky and Murray State) and return just 12 starters from that team.

So if Tennessee hangs 60 points on the Hilltoppers, oh, well it was just Western Kentucky, right?  Not exactly.  I want to see Tennessee score lots of points Saturday afternoon.  I expect Lane Kiffin will want to pound the rock with the running backs.  I want to see a confident Jonathan Crompton that doesn’t make any mistakes and crisply runs the offense.

Defensively, I want to see which freshmen make an early impact in their first games, and how they handle playing for real.  On both sides, I want to see swagger—OK, it’s WKU, but we could be playing my high school’s team and I would still want to see our players have a wealth of confidence in themselves and their coaches that creates said swagger.

bullet Lawvol: I expect and hope to see a few things.  First, I am not exactly expecting grandeur for this first game of the 2009 season, but what I am expecting to see is poise and purpose.  I am hoping that this team brings their attitude—one which was sorely missing last season—and refuses to play down to the level of their opponent which they should beat under almost any circumstance.

Let’s be honest, Western Kentucky went 2-10 last season which made even the Vols’ 5-7 campaign seem decent.  Prior to 2008, however, Western Kentucky had a streak of 12 straight winning seasons, and look to be on the upswing.  That said, The Vols have got to play with a little spark and bring their best game to their opponent—regardless of the quality of that opponent.  The Vols have to play their game and not let it be dictated to them by their opponent.

Most of all, I am looking to see a team that is glad to be on the field playing once more.  I hope that we begin to see the development of the new Kiffin system and hopefully get a huge relief when the quarterback play is surprisingly crisp and effective.  This is a confidence game which is only a good thing if you perform in a manner that inspires confidence

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2009 SEC Preview: Auburn

2009 SEC Football Previews | Gate 21

QUICK NOTE: Before I begin with the last of the SEC previews, one thing I want to point out. If you hadn’t noticed, lawvol has added an extra bullet (“2009 SEC Football Previews”) to the widget just to the right counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the beginning of the football season. If you click on it, the widget flips over and gives you links to each of these previews that have run here at the Gate over the last week. So it’s a quick link if you need to refer back to a specific preview, in case you need to check something or come back and call me a fool as South Carolina and Arkansas prepare to play for the SEC title. Anyways, now on to the final preview…

Prior to the 2004 season, Tommy Tuberville hired Al Borges to run his offense at Auburn. It’s not that Auburn’s offense was necessarily broken, but Borges – with the obvious help of having Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Jason Campbell, Courtney Taylor and others – was essential in Auburn’s 13-0 season 2004.

Auburn was 33-5 with Borges running the offense, but things went downhill after Auburn lost those three NFL first-rounders – Auburn’s scoring average went from 32 ppg in 2004 and 2005 to 25 in 2006 and 24 in 2007. In addition, Brandon Cox was outstanding his first year as a starter in 2005, but by the time he graduated after 2007, there were probably a fair share of Auburn fans glad to see him depart.

Then Tuberville decided to hire Troy’s offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. It worked out in his first go-round, a 23-20 overtime win over Clemson in the 2007 Chick-fil-a Bowl.

But that was as good as it got. Franklin’s offense never caught on, rumors abounded of him clashing with players and fellow coaches at practice, and Tuberville canned him mid-season, after Auburn lost to Vanderbilt.

That loss in Nashville – where Auburn led 13-0 at halftime – and the offensive coaching issues sent the Tigers into a tailspin: their only win the remainder of the year was over Tennessee-Martin. The offense was the obvious culprit, as Auburn averaged only 17 points a game last year, scoring more than 22 points three times (UL Monroe, Southern Miss and UTM).

Rumors swirled about Tuberville’s job, and he eventually resigned after ten years on the Plains. Auburn then hired Gene Chizik, much to the anger of their own fanbase and the comedic relief of everybody else. But Chizik’s quietly gone about hiring a solid staff and trying to raise Auburn’s recruiting profile to compete with Nick Saban and Alabama. So things are a little brighter than they were a few months ago – how will that translate on the field for the Tigers this fall?

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2009 SEC Preview: Alabama

2009 SEC Football Previews | Gate 21

Whereas previously previewed Georgia fell short of preseason expectations last year, Alabama certainly did just the opposite. The Tide spanked Clemson in the season opener in Atlanta in front of the entire nation, embarrassed Georgia with the “blackout” and College GameDay visiting Athens. In fact the Tide rolled (I know, I know…) all the way to #1 in the country in early November.

After emphatically breaking Auburn’s six-game Iron Bowl win streak (36-nothing in Tuscaloosa), Alabama found themselves leading Florida 20-17 entering the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship Game.

The final five quarters went so unlike the first 12 games for Alabama. Florida controlled the fourth quarter and scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives en route to a 31-20 win; then heavy underdog Utah came out on fire, stunning the Tide to the tune of a 21-0 lead after a quarter and a 31-17 Sugar Bowl win.

Despite a disappointing ending, Alabama was clearly a year ahead of what everybody expected of them. This year Alabama is one of the favorites to win the SEC West and one of the main contenders to the mighty Gators. Can Alabama keep the momentum going?

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2009 SEC Preview: Arkansas

2009 SEC Football Previews | Gate 21

Raise your hand if you had Arkansas – in their first year after losing Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and their top six tacklers – winning five games last year.

If you aren’t an optimistic fan in a Hawg hat and your hand’s up, you’re lying.

The first five games of the Bobby Petrino era in Fayetteville were bleak. The Razorbacks needed minor miracles to beat I-AA Western Illinois (Arkansas converted a late fourth and ten and scored with 1:49 left) and UL Monroe (down 24-6 in the third quarter, Arkansas rallied and got another late fourth down conversion) before getting blasted at home by Alabama (49-14), at Texas (52-10) and at home against Florida (38-7).

Arkansas then went to Auburn and stunned the Tigers, before falling by a combined three points to Kentucky and Ole Miss. After losses to South Carolina and Mississippi State, Arkansas got the type of win that can jumpstart a program.

Down 30-14 early in the second half, much-maligned senior Casey Dick came off the bench and led the comeback, throwing this TD pass to London Crawford with under 30 seconds left for the win and a wave of offseason optimism.

But how much noise can the Razorbacks make in a top-heavy SEC West with a difficult schedule?

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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 Blazer Chronicles: A “Quotetastic” Look at the SEC

Well, after failing to get my Oklahoma State preview up in time for the game, and given the quick end to the BasketVols‘ run in the NCAA Tournament, I really haven’t had a lot to offer these past few days.  Of course, when you set the bar very low—which has always been the policy of Gate 21—it takes extra effort to fail in grand style.  I guess I am running behind in my running behind…

In the meantime, here’s a little something that is worth giving a look.  I’m a bit behind in getting this up, but this is pretty funny if you ask me (which I realize you didn’t).

Here is a pretty hilarious look at the various coaches of the SEC in a way that I don’t think I have ever seen before.  As always, this comes courtesy of VolzRChamps and, with a Tennessee All-Sports Update.

The Blazer Chronicles: A “Quotetastic” Look at the SEC

That Bobby Johnson quote is simply priceless…

– So it goes …About Lawvol

Video Courtesy of: VolzRChamps / You TubeBlazer Chronicles
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