Posts Tagged ‘Rose Bowl’
Through 20 August 2009
Stromectol For Sale, Well, it’s been almost nine months since last I posted a BlogPoll ballot, and let me tell you that it feels mighty good to be back in the saddle again. This does not, however, mean that I have suddenly gained any sense or am any more reliable.
As a general rule, I consider preseason ballots to be dubious at best. They are based upon little more than rumor and innuendo. There is little to no basis for selecting one team over the other. Thus, as Hooper has pointed out, this is little more than a turkey shoot. That said, here’s my preseason Top 25 for everyone to attack:
My Ballot for the Week
Explanations after the jump...
Comments, Explanations, and Excuses
So, how did I approached my preseason selections? If nothing else, there is a slight method to my madness. Here are the high-points:
First of all, I am not going to tell you that I can irrefutably defend the precise ranking of every team in my Top 25. Given there are still wide-ranging differences of opinion as to the rankings in November, it stands to reason that there is even less certainty in August. I have no fancy system of metrics which uses the slope of a line tangent to the parabolic curve (bet you didn’t think I even knew what a derivative was—Ha!) of the passes thrown by the quarterback to divine how that team will perform over the course of the season. I do, however, have a spreadsheet in Excel with many exciting and stimulating colors which sometimes cause me to lose focus and think of the rainbow on the front of a box of Lucky Charms.
There is a fair amount of “gut-factor” included in my rankings especially at this point in the season. That is, I attempt to look at the various teams objectively in the first instance, but I still often have little more than instinct, a bit of pocket fuzz, and a note from my mother with which to defend my ultimate choices. It’s not rocket science but it is also far from exact. You have been warned.
You have to play somebody:
At this early stage, I do place a heavy emphasis on strength of schedule and on overall chances each team winning all of its games. Given the fact that half of the teams in my Top 25 play one another over the course of the season, it is fair to assume that I did not find many teams that I felt were likely to accomplish this task. Still, playing a quality schedule with some likelihood of actually winning most of the games on that schedule goes a long way with me in the preseason. Thus, this poll is more relative in that each team is judged—to some extent—by the teams it plays and my half-cocked conclusions about how those contests will be decided. In other words, any team needs help at this point in time…
…except for a select few.
My top three selections—the Florida Gators (#1), Oklahoma Sooners (#2), and USC Trojans (#3)—are in a class all their own in my mind. Some may doubt me on this, especially when it comes to Oklahoma. I think it is altogether possible for each of these three teams to win all of their games and run the tables. I know that this is not likely, but I do think it is possible. The ordering of these teams is based upon the following key considerations, assumptions, and delusions on my part:
I believe that Oklahoma will win over the Texas Longhorns (#4) due to Mack Brown’s epic struggle to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory in another exciting installment of the Red River Classic. The Big XII is not the SEC, but the Big XII is a solid conference—this matters.
USC will mop up every single team they play with the exception of the California Golden Bears (#8), whom I predict they will barely beat. USC has also shown a nasty habit of playing down to their opponents over the past three-to-five years and thus I think they are slightly more likely to lose a game than Florida or Oklahoma.
Florida defeated the the Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason scrimmage last week** and is a 73 point favorite over their first opponent, Charleston Southern.
Struggling with those “outside the money”:
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I struggled with ranking a number of teams. In particular, I had a hard time with (and am still not completely satisfied with) the following:
The Ole Miss Rebels (#6) and the Alabama Crimson Tide (#7) were a tough call for me. Ole Miss comes in with an extremely experienced team. Thanks in no small part to Ed Orgeron who recruited the lights out for Rebels while head coach, the Right Reverend Houston Nutt has an impressive stable of talent. What’s more, the Rebels improved every week last year and managed to knock off the mighty Gators in an upset of prodigious importance. Alabama, on the other hand, has a stellar defense but only five returners on offense which raises questions in my mind. This, along with the fact that Ole Miss avoids playing Florida and Georgia, gives the Rebels the advantage. Ultimately, these two teams will likely battle it out to determine the SEC West champion in Oxford in early October.
I have questions about both the Penn State Nittany Lions (#5) and the Texas Longhorns (#4) which are essentially the same—namely, coaching. Joe Paterno’s age is a factor, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Having played in the very first college football game ever played, in 1875,** Joe is on the older side of completely indeterminate and it has been obvious that he is not truly running the program fully, but rather is simply along for the ride. That said, the White-out brigade has a fairly weak schedule and has a lot of defensive power, enough, I think, to overcome the Joe Pa factor.
Mack Brown, get Stromectol, Buy Stromectol without prescription, on the other hand is not particularly old and in many ways seems to be playing out a storyline which is somewhat similar to that experienced by another team in orange around 2001 (I’ll give you a hint: it starts with a “T” ends with an “e” and has “ennesse” in the middle). Mack Brown is a fabulous recruiter, but does “less with more” with almost amazing regularity. In all honesty, my Stromectol experience, Stromectol brand name, I would say he is the 3rd or 4th best coach in the Big XII. Thus, I am a little suspicious of the Longhorns chances of breakout success this year. Still, online buy Stromectol without a prescription, Online buying Stromectol, Texas has a ton of talent and has the ability to win a lot of games, therefore they are still in my Top 5. I just personally feel that Oklahoma and Bob Stoops get the best of him this year.
The California Golden Bears (#8) are not flashy, Stromectol natural, Stromectol forum, but they are good and they are efficient. With top 10 offensive and defensive lines, the Bears look to own the line of scrimmage—which is always a huge advantage. All of this said, order Stromectol online overnight delivery no prescription, Stromectol results, their schedule is a bit on the weak side on the whole, but they do face the Trojans of USC early in the season. While I am not willing to say that they win that game, effects of Stromectol, Is Stromectol safe, they definitely have a chance. If they do, then they should be able to coast home to win the PAC-10, canada, mexico, india. Stromectol reviews, I considered dropping them a few spots, but ultimately felt that there is a ton of potential for Cal, Stromectol pictures, Buying Stromectol online over the counter, and decided they deserved to be in my Top 10.
The Illinois Illini (#17) are another team I had real struggles with. Last year the Illini finished at 5-7 and generally underperformed. That said, they have a lot of great talent and proved in 2007—when they went to the Rose Bowl—that they can win. I think they lose to Penn State at home and probably to the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Stromectol price, Stromectol mg, but aside from that they have the ability to win the rest if they can just find a bit of consistency.
The LSU Tigers (#12) are really tough for me to assess at present. LSU had a strong core unit in 2008, but simply gave up too many big plays and lacked consistency. I continue to believe that the Tigers are an extremely tough team and have the ability to compete with any team in the country, kjøpe Stromectol på nett, köpa Stromectol online, Where can i cheapest Stromectol online, the question remains, will they? With games against Florida, cheap Stromectol no rx, Stromectol dose, Ole Miss, and Alabama, Stromectol dangers, Stromectol wiki, I don’t see them being a contender for the SEC West, but stranger things have happened, fast shipping Stromectol. Stromectol blogs, The Georgia Bulldogs (#11) are similarly difficult to size up. Last year everyone in the world felt that Georgia would win the SEC and likely play for a BCS Championship. Obviously, that did not happen. This year their schedule is still tough, herbal Stromectol, Stromectol street price, but not nearly as daunting as in 2008. They also return their defensive core, but will be breaking in a new quarterback and will sorely miss phenom Knowshon Moreno. I think the Dawgs have a chance at the SEC East, real brand Stromectol online, Stromectol without a prescription, but they are going to have to find some consistency and prove that they can score. Still, I like the Dawgs chances of mixing things up.
Having taken the time to consider my feeble attempt at ranking the powers in college football, Stromectol schedule, Stromectol steet value, 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, no prescription Stromectol online, Order Stromectol online c.o.d, you can also check out how other bloggers voted and see how your team fared across the Blogosphere.
And that’s the way it is (Godspeed, Walter Cronkite)...
** Disclaimer: As if it were not completely obvious, Stromectol interactions, Stromectol coupon, I made these parts up, but you believed it for a second, Stromectol price, coupon, Stromectol images, didn’t you?
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Well, as Joel pointed out, the News Sentinel’s Dave Hooker recently came out with his Top 10 games in Tennessee football history. It is an interesting list, but (like Joel) I’m not so certain I agree with all of the games on Hooker's list.
Given the fact that I am still making my way through my "Great Games" series, it seems appropriate for me to chime in with my thoughts on this. At the risk of rendering some of my future posts in this series futile (not that they aren’t already), here is my top 10 games in Tennessee football history (with comparison to Dave Hooker’s ranking):
Gate 21’s Top 10 All-Time
Tennessee Football Games
No. 10: 1989 - Tennessee vs. UCLA
The Rose Bowl | Dave Hooker Rank: Unranked
I know that some will question this one, but this game still stands out to me as one of the best. I toyed with ranking the 1985 Auburn win at No. 10, but I have to go with the Vols 1989 trip to Pasadena to take on the Bruins. This game was early in the season, and at that point UCLA was highly touted. Tennessee had been beaten in both their prior trips to the Rose Bowl to play the Bruins (1975 and 1967), and many thought they would repeat that trend as the Vols came off of their worst season in recent memory, and a close call in their season-opener versus Colorado State. The Vols, however, stepped-up to the challenge and proved that their 5 and 6 record for 1988 was only a bump in the road as they came out gunning for the No. 6-ranked Bruins. The Vols completely shutdown the UCLA offense with their own brand of SEC defense, en route to a 24 - 6 victory. That game set the stage for the rest of the season -- one which included 10 more wins and only a single loss. The Vols would go on to win an SEC Championship, beat Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl that year, and end with a No 5 ranking.
Still, by my mind, it all started in California...
No. 9: 1999 Fiesta Bowl - Florida State vs. Tennessee
Sun Devil Stadium | Dave Hooker Rank: No. 1
Dave Hooker had this game as No. 1, but I cannot in good conscience give it that distinction. While the 1999 Fiesta Bowl did give Tennessee its first Consensus National Championship since 1951, the game itself was not nearly as spectacular as others that season.
First of all, both Tennessee and Florida State played very sloppily throughout the game as a result of the more than 4-week layoff leading up to the contest. Second -- in fairness to Florida State -- they were playing with a back-up quarterback, Marcus Outzen, who (to my knowledge) never started another game after the championship, due to the injury to Chris Weinke.
Finally, the game was exciting, but probably only if you were a Tennessee or Florida State fan. The reason for this is that the two teams were extremely closely matched at most positions. All of that said, I have such amazing memories of this game and of finally seeing another championship for the Big Orange, that I have to include it in the Top 10, regardless of its flaws.
After all, a championship is a very special thing...
No. 8: 1939 - Alabama vs. Tennessee
Shields-Watkins Field | Dave Hooker Rank: Unranked
Obviously, I did not attend or watch this game. Still, the legendary status of this game lingers even today -- as does pretty much everything about the 1939 squad. I know this is hard to imagine in the modern era, but the 1939 squad not only went undefeated, but they also completed the entire regular season without being scored upon. Think about it this way, from the third game of the 1938 season until the conclusion of the 1939 season, Tennessee played 71 consecutive quarters without allowing a single point -- a record which stands to this day. The 1939 game against Alabama was but one of the legendary battles of this era between, then, Col. Robert Neyland’s (he would be promoted to the rank of Brigadier General during World War II) Vols and the Crimson Tide. In the minds of some, however, this is the game that truly cemented the rivalry and led to the designation "The Third Saturday in October."
Led by Johnny Butler and George Cafego, Neyland’s Vols managed to out-run, out-block, and out-wit the Tide in a 21-0 victory. The "feather in the cap" for the day came on Johnny Butler’s 56-yard run to the endzone in the 2nd-quarter. This was the last Tennessee-Alabama game that Neyland would coach until his return from military service in 1947.
No. 8: 1992 - Florida vs. Tennessee
Neyland Stadium | Dave Hooker Rank: Unranked
For all the reasons I described in my post on this game, I really feel this was an extremely important game in the history of the program. Ignoring all of the side issues surrounding this contest -- the Faxgate affair, Johnny Majors' heart problems, the deluge of water that fell during the game, etc., I really feel this was a watershed game (no pun intended). First of all, it was the first of real battles between Tennessee and Florida during the Steve Spurrier era. Second, it was the first conference home game ever coached by Phillip Fulmer.
By my mind, this is the game that ushered Tennessee football into the modern era, and set the stage for all of the excitement during the 1990’s.
No. 7: 1996 Comp USA Citrus Bowl - Tennessee vs. Ohio State
Citrus Bowl Stadium | Dave Hooker Rank: Unranked
Some might think this game an odd choice, but as I made clear in my article on this game, it really was one of the best games for Tennessee in the history of the program. Tennessee and Ohio State both came in ranked 4th (albeit in different polls) and both were disappointed that they did not manage to make it to a top-tier bowl. Both teams had a chip on their shoulder as they battled throughout a rain-soaked game. Tennessee held Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George to a season low, and fought to the end to win the day. This win, propelled Tennessee to a No. 3 final ranking -- putting them ahead of the Florida Gators who had given the Vols their only loss of the season.
This game established the momentum of the program for the seasons to follow. In my opinion, this game was a key step toward a national championship.
No. 5: 1959 - LSU vs. Tennessee
Shields-Watkins Field | Dave Hooker Rank: No. 6
I agree with Dave Hooker that the win against Billy Cannon and the LSU Tigers ranks among the all-time greatest games. No one thought Tennessee really had a chance in that game, and -- on paper -- they were right. Billy Cannon was the man-beast running back of his day, and was fearsome for his ability to shred defenses. On most days, when the 1959 Tigers played they put on a clinic. The iron wall of orange-clad defenders , however, shut LSU down and did a little teaching of their own. After fumbling the ball on their own 2-yard line, and giving the Tigers an easy six points, the Vol defense found a way to save the game. Their goal-line stop as the Tigers tried for the 2-point conversion probably ranks as one of the all-time greatest defensive plays in Tennessee history (See stop-frame image, right).
Here’s former Voice of the Vols George Mooney with the call.
(click play to hear audio)
When it was all said-and-done, the Vols came out on top in a 14-13 thriller.
No. 4: 1982 - Alabama vs. Tennessee
Neyland Stadium | Dave Hooker Rank: Unranked
This game was the final step in Johnny Majors’ rehabilitation of the Tennessee program from the doldrums of the late 1970’s. Before that win, the Vols had not beaten Alabama in 11 deplorably long years. After more than a decade, Tennessee finally managed to beat the Tide in the 35-28 Victory. The fact that it occurred during the waning days of the 1982 World’s Fair made it all the more special. This also marked then end of the Bear Bryant era, at least as far as Tennessee was concerned, as Bryant would never again coach a game in Neyland Stadium -- passing away in 1983.
This game single-handedly returned Tennessee to its position as a year-in-year-out contender in the SEC, and re-asserted Tennessee’s tradition of winning.
Before this game, Tennessee was a second-tier team in the minds of most, that changed on "The Third Saturday in October," 1982.
No. 3: 1986 Sugar Bowl - Tennessee vs. Miami
Louisiana Superdome | Dave Hooker Rank: No. 5
Ahh, the Sugar Vols. No one thought the 1985-86 Tennessee squad really had a chance against the No. 2 ranked Miami Hurricanes. The Vols, however, decided to make everyone remember them as they pounded Vinny Testaverde and the Hurricanes on both sides of the ball. While this game was played in a neutral venue -- the Superdome -- it really amounted to being played in "Neyland Stadium South" as the Big Orange faithful traveled by the thousands to cheer on their underdog Vols. This game single handedly elevated Tennessee to a "national" status as Tennessee destroyed Miami 35-7, in the Big Easy.
Here’s John Ward calling "yet another" great play by Tennessee -- namely Chris White’s 4th-quarter interception for a touchdown.
[audio:/Sugar Vols 01.mp3]
(click play to hear audio)
No. 2: 1991 - Tennessee vs. Notre Dame
Notre Dame Stadium | Dave Hooker Rank: No. 7
There really isn’t much that needs to be said the game referred to simply as "The Miracle at South Bend." It still stands as the single most significant non-conference regular-season game the Vols ever played. While some would point to the victories over Penn State in 1971 and 1972, those were played in Neyland Stadium, which gave the Vols the huge benefit of a home crowd. In 1991, however, the Vols had to go on the road and play the No. 5 team in the country. The reality is that Tennessee was beaten in this game by the end of the first-half. The fact that the team and the coaching staff never gave up and kept fighting stands as a testament to the 1991 squad’s character. It still stands as the greatest comeback in Tennessee football history, and serves as a monument to Winston Churchill’s adage "Never, Never, Never Give Up!"
Furthermore, the final play of the game as called by John Ward stands as one of the greatest (albeit somewhat botched) calls of his storied career.
(click play to hear audio)Don't you just love John Ward?
No. 1: 1998 - Florida vs. Tennessee
Neyland Stadium | Dave Hooker Rank: No. 2
Having just written about this game (reliving it in my mind along with the voices in my head) I still come to the conclusion that there has never been a more exhilarating and exciting game played at Neyland Stadium -- at least not in the modern era. This game was an absolute defensive slugfest from start to finish, and after the game was over, I was physically and mentally exhausted -- I cannot imagine what the players felt like. While I do have the 1999 Fiesta Bowl listed in my Top 10 as well (No. 9) in my opinion this game was the high-water mark for the 1998 team. This was the game that defined the team and the season. Winning the game against Florida completely changed the mindset of everyone in Orange Nation -- suddenly we all believed that a championship was possible.
Thus, even though you don’t get a trophy for winning a home game during the regular season, in my opinion, this was the Vols’ finest hour.
Well, there’s my list. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong (as I so often am)...