Posts Tagged ‘SEC Championship’
Image by Tennessee Journalist via Flickr
Lipitor For Sale, 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.
This season wasn’t always pretty, it wasn’t always simple, and it definitely wasn’t always easy, but somehow the Vols managed to find a way to do what it took to return the Big Orange back to national relevance and back to the conversation of contenders in SEC East. Along the way, they took a few shots to the head. They experienced more than their share of adversity. Versus both the Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide—who are both undefeated and will meet in the SEC Championship Game this coming Saturday—they went down swinging, losing to the two teams by a combined total of twelve points.
Now, the Vols sit and wait, hoping that their new look and strong performance this season will earn them a shot in a solid bowl—hopefully the New Years Day Outback Bowl.
At any rate, the Vols have exceeded the expectations of many and along the way made football fun for Tennessee fans once more. Obviously, there remains much room for improvement, but for now the Vols have earned the right to take a moment and reflect on a job well done.
Hats off to the Vols and the Tennessee Coaching staff for an outstanding and exciting regular season!
The good news is that the season isn’t over, not yet…
Hardesty Image Courtesy of: Tennessee Journalist || Statement on Fair Use
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It’s Official, I’m a Blowhard!
All of the Roundtable bloggers agreed on this one point in their answers to this week's questions as posed by yours truly. What’d they expect from a lawyer?
Anyway, aside from that revelation, here’s what Ye Mystic Knights of the Roundtable had to say in response to my ridiculous inquiries:
1) Thus far we’ve made a number of predictions for the 2008 Vols. Now, let’s take the next step: What are your pre-season predictions for each of Tennessee’s regular season games this year (along with any explanations you feel are needed)?
Fulmer’s Belly with acronym madness, Loser With Socks (with the exception of calling Auburn a tossup), and the SouthEastern Sports Blog took the hard line by making it clear that they cannot pick against Tennessee. I can completely relate with this and fully concur in Will thoughts:
For one, I think the vast majority of us in Vol Nation still believe that Tennessee is good enough to win every game they play.
* * * * *
The phrase I’ve used most often in the two-plus years of this blog’s existence is some form of "The SEC is good enough that anybody can beat everybody. And Tennessee is still good enough to beat anybody every single week."
* * * * *
... so what you’re most likely to get from me every week is something like "How the Vols can win this week" instead of "Will the Vols win this week?" throughout the year.
I like that kind of optimism, and in reality that is exactly what I will be doing each week. That said, the rest of the Roundtablers generally agreed that the Vols would go 10-2 this season (with the exception of YMSWWC who picked the Vols to go 9-3) generally agreed on the games where Tennessee was most likely to fall a bit short, here’s how they fell:
So, there you have it. Hopefully, Will, Jai, and Jon are right, and Tennessee does go undefeated...
2) Gameday routines, we all have them. What are your gameday rituals, especially those that are completely irrational, grounded in baseless superstition, or otherwise defy explanation?
Well, the answers here were as varied as they were interesting.
Will from SouthEastern Sports Blog bemoaned one of my least favorite parts of gamedays at Tennessee -- traffic. Despite his angst, however, he waxed sentimental on us all as he talked of anticipating Bobby Denton’s proclamation of "It’s Football Time in Tennessee!!!" before watching pre-game warm-ups. More disturbingly, he mentioned something about having a hog’s head stowed somewhere in his parent’s basement. Yuck!
Doug at the Power T apparently spends his gamedays working as both a chef and a maid -- tying every act on a gameday to either cooking or laundry. The All-knowing MoonDog watches objectively, but shows clear signs of inner turmoil in his admission that "after a Vols’ win, I’m less inclined to take a trip to the Memphis Zoo and work over the baby seals."
For Thomas over at YMSWWC, gamedays take on a religious connotation, and his invocation of the football gods includes true ritual:
For home games I get up at 3:30 AM and slash the tires of my neighbors’ car since they are Bama fans. If it’s a road game then I want good karma that day so I only scratch the fender of the car. Then I retire back to bed. Around 7:00 AM I get back up a sacrifice a live cow on the alter of Smokey.
Meanwhile, Joel at RTT, told the tale of "summoning the oracle" known as Jackson the Mule -- widely known for his sports prognosticating skill -- through the clever use of apples, body paint, and pizza. I thought that sort of thing was illegal in Tennessee?
I live deep in the heart of Dixie, where the temps range upwards in 80s during the fall. I typically like to mow my lawn on College Football Saturdays but I do it a bit differently. As I mow, weedeat and edge, I wear a full Tennessee Football Uniform (home or away Jersey depending on the schedule), replete with a helmet (with a ‘T’), shoulder pads,receiver gloves black cleats and a tinted Oakley face shield. ... This way I can become one with the current players and the Ghosts of Tennessee past that have had a hand in the rise of the mighty Vols to gridiron glory.
3) Crompton vs. Tebow? Discuss…
Apparently, I just missed the boat on this one. My goal with this question was to compare the two running quarterbacks and get thoughts on how they stack up against one another.
Perhaps I should have used more than four words to pose this question...
Anyway, the answers to this one were ... well ... interesting.
Joel, in trying to figure out what the question was even about, had this to say:
Perhaps you mean "with sharp implements," in which case my first inclination is to trust Tebow over Crompton because Crompton, being a more rural-type guy is probably more used to wethering goats than preparing young men for, well, lives as young men. Then again, you could view Crompton as more "thorough" in that regard, so perhaps he’s got the edge. Heh. Edge.
Perhaps you mean "in tights and a headband, shirtless," in which case I hereby resign from the Roundtable and unsubscribe from your newsletter.
Hmmmm... that last one is an image I could have lived my whole life without.
The rest were pretty much in the same vein -- including an impressive answer in song from Loser With Socks -- but all seemed to conclude that I was a moron for asking this question before we’ve even really had a chance to see Crompton play.
Mea culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa...
4) Will the Vols manage to make it to the SEC Championship Game again this season - either outright, or through the backdoor? Why or why not?
The real question is: will we be ahead of Florida? Sadly, I think because SO much weight is put on preseason polls, it will be hard to jump ahead of them, even though we have the harder schedule. So, no, I think we will be a few plays short of winning the East, and thusly, a few plays short of winning the SEC. The SEC East winner will undoubtedly win the entire SEC.
Fulmer’s Belly rode the fence saying:
As long as the team gels as a cohesive unit, the SECCG is within reach. Lose another one however, and fans will grumble like mofos.
On the other hand, SESB asked pointedly, "So really ... why not?" Cincy Vol agreed, based upon talent and the Vols’ "under the radar" pre-season rankings. Loser With Socks, however, takes the cake in explaining why the Vols will not only make it to the SEC Championship Game, but will win it:
The Vols in the Championship again, It’s because it’s what we love. It is who we were born to be. And here you sit, thinking. Well, Tennessee Football is not for thinkers. We are players and hitters. We are the doers. And that’s what we need to do. We don’t need to think. We need to win. We need speed. We need to go out there, and you need to run like hell. We need to fire it up. We need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos, and we need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra! And then, when the fear rises up in our belly, we use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years. And it is good. And we use it. And we ride it; we ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then we win...
I really don’t know what you say in response to that...
5) Of all the coaches in the SEC who do you currently consider to be the best? Why?
Well, I was in the definite minority on this one, picking Sly Croom of Mississippi State. I know that’s a surprise to everyone.
MoonDog took Mark Richt, due to the fact he has really turned the program around at Georgia, and has consistently found his way into BCS Bowls. Joel, despite feeling dirty for having done so, chose The "Ole’ Ball Coach," Steve Spurrier. Thomas the Terrible took Tommy Tubberville (what amazing alliteration)
I’m the Wes Mantooth to his Ron Burgundy. He just deserves respect, no matter how much I hate him. (And oh do I hate him) He pulled in a national championship and has put the beat on people in the SEC and around the country. The guy is good.
Jai Eugene, along with Jon at Fulmer’s Belly picked the Great Punkin. Jai noted "Fulmer’s masterful play calling, rock hard discipline policy, on the field demeanor, and grasp of the english language during press conferences," as being the deciding factors in his mind. While Jon as part of his acronym-ical approach to things had this to say:
This isn’t even an question for us. Of course it’s Fulmer. It doesn’t even compare. Just look at his accolades. The best winning percentage, the biggest coat size, the most desserts eaten. Little can take away from our coach’s awesomeness. Except stupid Urban and Steve of course.
So there you have it folks. We’ve learned that you should never pick against the home team, that demon cobras need wrestling, and that -- no matter what -- we all feel good about this season.
Oh yeah, we’ve also learned that I will never be given the chance to write the questions again...
Well, as expected, there have been a few surprises in the Tournament so far. I being busy re-modeling my garage have been a bit slow to comment on these (as if anyone cared...). Be that as it may, here are my observations...
• Kentucky Consistency: Despite managing to make something out of nothing, Billy Clyde and the boys in blue have proven in the NCAA Tournament that they still possess the ability down the stretch to demonstrate the quality which helped pave their way to an 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament: the ability to suck the tubes hard when they really have to.
In fairness, however, the Vanderbilt Commodores also proved that -- when forced to play on a normally configured basketball floor -- they blow.
That’s the last time I take either of them as a longshot in my bracket...
• Pac-10 Power: I don’t claim to keep up with the Pac-10 in anything, but I was under the impression that UCLA, Stanford, and USC were supposed to be simply amazing teams which made their opponents quiver in fear, little children run for their mother, and grown men crap their pants. Apparently, Kansas State didn’t get the memo, and Marquette and Texas A&M all but disregarded it.
News Flash, UCLA is beatable...
• Bulldog Blowout: Despite veritable orgy of wins over the last week leading up to the NCAA Tournament, the Georgia Bulldogs did not achieve the ridiculous and manage to amass more wins in the post-season than they did during the SEC regular season. Nice run, however for the Dawgs, but now the party is over..
So could someone please tell Dennis Felton that Wade Houston called and wants his moustache back?
• The Kevin O’Neill Chronicles: After coaching the Arizona Wildcats all season while Lute Olsen "found" himself (despite the fact that Olsen has to be approaching 70 -- or at least looks like it) Kevin O’Neill again gets the shaft as Olsen made it clear that he will now resume his role as head coach. I guess Olsen is done chasing skirt, and can get back to doing his job. I don’t get why Olsen needed a whole season off because of a divorce -- Bruce Pearl has actually improved his record during his divorce, and Pat Summitt hasn't been too shabby during hers either.
Given Tennessee’s experience with O’Neill and his refusal to put up with the Big Dickey’s bullshit (did I say "bullshit?" I meant "bullshit."), I’d say it’s a safe bet that O’Neill is gonzo, and that right soon. As the only Pre-Pearl / Post-DeVoe coach the BasketVols ever had that was worth a damn, I wish him well. Speaking of which, the SEC schools that are thinking of trading up on their coach could do a lot worse than giving the old "Revco Kicker" a look.
I guess Lute Olsen and the Big Dickey have one thing in common ... now O’Neill thinks they are both two-faced jackasses...
• Dookus Go Homeus: Dook took it in the teeth, exactly as I didn’t predict. Oh well, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and UConn already screwed my bracket enough to make Dook’s loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers a game of little consequence. I just hate it that the Belmont Bruins couldn’t pull it out the night before -- I was so hoping that the Bruins would give it to Coach Kryezq?r2gxmzrfeykzwGkeeei the hard way, and lay it on the "regal" ACC. Hats off to West Virginia for finishing the job.
As for the boys of Belmont, I know moral victories are like french-kissing your sister (fun at first, but then just damn nasty) but Belmont obviously has a really hot sister. No shame in taking Dook down to the wire, even if you came up one point short. Thankfully, Joel over at Rocky Top Talk didn’t have a coronary or toss his cookies on his keyboard during the 70-71 loss by Belmont...
... if Joel had quit posting due to death or a broken computer I’d have had one less great resource to plagiarize.• UConn Sucks: But of course I think everyone already knew that...
• In Case You’re Keeping Score: Finally, just to show -- like Eliot Spitzer -- I am accountable to the people, my bracket is completely shot to hell.
More to come, on the BasketVols, and on everyone else once the rest of the Sweet 16 are confirmed...
Images Courtesy of: Loser With Socks, SportsCrack, Georgia Sports Blog, and WildcatsMania
Ahh, the Joys of the NCAA Tournament Selection Process...
A few links worth looking at from across the blogosphere...
- A great discussion on the competition ala Print Media vs. Bloggers -- World According to MoonDog
- An open letter to Ashley Alexandra "Kristen" Dupre and a Little Celebration at the Dawgs winning the SEC Tournament -- Hey Jenny Slater
- Pat Summitt loves putting the screws to Geno Auriema for using ESPN’s front-office as a recruiting tool -- ESPN (HT to Loser With Socks)
- A bevy of thoughts from the monkey house on the NCAA Bracket and Tennessee’s fortunes: The Bruce Ball Blog Part 1 & Part Deux, Spirit of the Hill, Rocky Top Talk, Fulmer’s Belly, Third Saturday in Blogtober, The Power T, The Tennessean, and everyone GoVolsXtra could find
In the unlikely event that anyone cares, here’s my bracket (at least the one I’m claiming publicly, that is):
Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh it up...
- A podcast on getting to know the American University Eagles -- Rocky Top Talk
- An addictive time waster on learning how not to fly a helicopter -- Fulmer’s Belly
- Awww, Florida has to go to the NIT -- Orange and Blue Hue
- WVU’s Noel Devine claims that his misdemeanor battery is a mistake (it wasn’t him, it was the one-armed man) -- Wizard of Odds
- Something Reeks in Ann Arbor -- Get the Picture
- A Little Saint Patrick’s Day Wish for You All -- Kissing Suzy Kolber
- Why some people think that Bob Costas is a Douchebag -- Epic Carnival
- Ahh yes, the joys of Rivalry, Buckeyes Rejoice at the Emasculation of Mee-shee-gun -- Eleven Warriors
- Another Reason to Love CraigsList: "To the Guy Doing My Wife..." -- CraigsList (HT Deuce of Davenport)
- A real find ... The Application for Admission to Duke’s Flopping Camp -- Brahsome
- And finally, A few ESPN highlights of everyone’s favorite grandpa, Bobby Knight -- Awful Announcing
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSfDbmh93VU[/youtube]For more Bobby Knight clips, check out Gate 21’s videos over on the right sidebar... (yeah, that’s right, over there >>>>)
Image Courtesy of: LOL Jocks
Well, the final brackets are out...
Despite having the No. 1 RPI and Strength of Schedule Rating, the BasketVols were not awarded a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. As Fulmer’s Belly, the Bruce Ball Blog, and 3rd Saturday in Blogtober all pointed out, that sucks. There really isn’t much more to be said about it, and at this point complaining further is -- essentially -- pointless. It ticks me off, but there’s nothing to be done about it now. I suppose we got one-upped by the "regal" basketball schools. Still as the blogs above point out, along with my man Basilio, any other school with Tennessee’s resume this season would have been a lock. There’s only one thing to do now...
...make them all regret passing us over.
Anyway, you can get a look at the full bracket here, and feel free to print it out to use for your office pool, for writing your grocery list, or for papering a bird cage...
2008 NCAA Tournament Bracket
For those of you out there who have nothing better to do, feel free to join in Rocky Top Talk’s ESPN Tournament Bracket Challenge along with a whole bunch of Tennessee bloggers and other members of the nuthouse. You can learn how by sliding over to RTT and reading Joel’s remarkably well-written instructions on joining in the fun.
Once I’ve had a chance to digest the whole thing, I’ll be posting my bracket so everyone in the blogsphere will be able to make fun of how bad I am at picking winners...
On a completely different note, I'd like to congratulate the Georgia Bulldogs and head coach Dennis Felton on winning the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs showed a lot of heart in managing to bring home the Tournament crown. Best wishes to the Dawgs in the NCAA Tournament.
Somewhat to my surprise, the South Carolina Gamecocks managed to Defeat the LSU Tigers 77 - 73 in the opening round of the SEC Tournament in Atlanta today. Despite getting absolutely hammered by the BasketVols just days ago, the Thunder Chickens managed to get it turned around and (at least by my estimation) upset the Tigers, and thus set the stage for a re-match with Tennessee.
South Carolina (13-17, 5-11 SEC) is, no doubt, just itching to get a little revenge against the Vols for the 89 - 56 pounding they took at the Tommy Bowl this past Sunday. There is no question that the men in Garnet will bring their game full-force to try and de-throne the SEC Champion Vols, and give South Carolina coach Dave Odom at least one more game as their skipper.
Be that as it may, I predict the Vols still win by double-figures. After a brutal home-stretch to end the regular season, the BasketVols have had several days to rest and have plenty of reasons to give it their all -- namely the chance at an SEC Tournament Championship, and the possibility of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I am quite sure that Bruce and the Barbarians will be raring to go, looking for their 29th win on the season.
The game is set to tipoff tomorrow (14 March 2008) at 1:00 pm on Raycom Sports. For those of you who -- like me -- live in ACC Country, or elsewhere, the Vol Network Broadcast will be available through UTSports.com and on XM Channel 199.
Until the game gets going, you can enjoy this video of Jenn Sterger, on the phenomenon that is the 2008 Tennessee BasketVols.
Well, the powers that be have selected the SEC Basketball Post-season awards, and the BasketVols are well represented in the final list.
Chris Lofton and Tyler Smith both were selected as members of the 8-man All-SEC First team, and JaJuan Smith was selected to the All-SEC Second team. JaJuan Smith also was selected for the SEC All-Defensive team. J.P. Prince was selected as the SEC Sixth-man of the Year.
In addition to these player accolades, Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl was selected as co-Coach of the Year with Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillespie. While I understand that Gillespie managed to transform a potentially disastrous season into a reasonably successful one, the Kentucky Wildcats are still a "bubble" team, and in my opinion his sharing the coach of the year honors with Pearl is ridiculous. The BasketVols have had a phenomenal season, and a number of their wins were the direct result of Pearl’s fabulous efforts on the sidelines. Be that as it may, the voters chose both. Either way, Coach Pearl has earned the accolade, and deserves a huge amount of credit for building on his past successes and propelling the Vols to the forefront of the world of College Basketball.
The Orange Nation is proud of all of the award winners, and of the team as a whole. One of the great things about this team -- which I’ve blathered on about all season -- is that they are truly a team, not just a collection of individuals. Hats off to all of the BasketVols!Now let’s get ready to get going in the Georgia Dome!