Posts Tagged ‘Shout Outs’

Clay Travis’ “On Rocky Top”: Beautiful Agony

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

On Rocky Top After living through the unmitigated disaster that was the 2008 football season for the Tennessee Volunteers, I was not so sure I was prepared to take a stroll with Clay Travis down memory lane via his new book “On Rocky Top.”  The 2008 season was the most gut-wrenching experience of my sports-watching life, one which Travis himself likened to having your arm amputated without laudanum.  It was truly painful and not merely because the Vols lost seven games.  Losing comes with competition, I can handle losing.  Watching an entire program, an entire fanbase, an entire state devolve into a constant state of turmoil, however, was the part that made it an experience that I was more than ready to forget.  Even  after nine months of good vibrations—buoyed up by the hopes and energy of new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin and his band of invincibles—assuming that I was prepared to join Travis’ on his retrospective journey through the 2008 season, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to make that trip into the past.

I suppose, I was just ready to move on.

When first I saw that Clay Travis had written a book on the Vols 2008 football campaign, my reaction was that he picked one hell of a bad year to write about Tennessee.  I knew Clay was a fine writer, having read his work for CBS, Fanhouse, and his book Dixieland Delight.  Still, I remember thinking to myself “Man, that really stinks for Clay—all that work to write a book about a 5-7 season.” After all, who wants to read about a team that loses, and loses a lot?

You do.

Clay Travis’ new book “On Rocky Top” is one of the best sports books I have read in a long time.

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Shoutin’ Out: Lawvol speads a little love…

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

Seeing as I am currently loaded up with more projects than I can keep up with (more on that in the near future), I thought now would be as good a time as any to send out a few “messages of love” to those across the web who are deserving.

Thus, I bring you a few points of interest worth exploring (along with a few links sandwiched in between):

First of all, there are a few new additions to the Vol-logosphere which require a quick mention:

Vol Junkies

Vol Junkies has been around for a while now, and has a great looking site which does a fine job commenting on the exact same thing the rest of us orange-wearing bloggers do, except—unlike yours truly—the man in charge over there actually has some idea of what he is about.  Furthermore, half of the site appears to be on fire (just go visit, you’ll see what I mean) Be it football, basketball, or politics, if it’s orange, VJ has it.  You can check it all out at:

Bleeding Orange

Bleeding Orange is another new Vol-log led by the eponymous Tennessy Vol who speaks from within the confines of the University of Tennessee (yeah, he’s a student).  He has only been around a short while, but has nonetheless put together some really good stuff which is worth giving a look, take for instance his recent breakdown on the Vols recruiting class.   You can check it all out at:

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A Whole New Look for Sports Videos:

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

image In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a great new video resource available on the web over at which has assembled one of the best and most varied collection of sports videos on the web.  What’s even better is that all of the videos are classified by team and sport—making it much easier to find what you’re looking for.  What’s more, if you take the 30 seconds required to become a registered user (registration is free by the way), you have the ability to affiliate with your favorite teams.  Thus, registered users get a profile page  which automatically displays all the videos associated with their team.  In my case—surprise, surprise—that would be Tennessee.  All of the major teams across the nation have their own FanDome categorized by sport.  Tennessee has both a Football FanDome and a Basketball FanDome.

The video upload process is amazingly simple, allowing you to upload from your own computer or from other sites such as YouTube.  To top it all off, the folks over at FanDome have created a series of video widgets which show all the latest content for a given team.  You can check out their widget over in the right sidebar here at the Gate (that’s this way  for those of you who are directionally challenged).  Thankfully, all of the content on display is embeddable, linkable, etc., just like this little clip:

The content is as varied and, at the same time, well-organized as I’ve seen on any of the various video sites across the web.  FanDome has really done a nice job in putting together its virtual smorgasbord of sports video.  If you like YouTube and the like at all, FanDome really is worth checking out.

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

**Disclosure: While both Gate 21 and feature hyperlinks to one another, neither site, their editors, nor their webmasters receive any payment or other compensation of any type or kind in return for those links.  Furthermore, neither Gate 21 nor lawvol received any compensation for this review, which was neither requested nor solicited by  This “Shout Out” represents the actual opinion of the author (for what that is worth) and was in no way influenced by any other person.

Taking the BlogPoll to a New Level

As I indicated last week, Gate 21 has been given the chance this year to participate in the College Football BlogPoll — a clear sign of the lack of good judgment on the part of the BlogPoll brain trust.

I posted my preliminary ballot late last week with my meager attempt to quantify the merits of the various teams from across the country as we sit at the brink of a new season.

Since then, however, Joel at RTT has taken the BlogPoll to a whole new level through the creation of an algorithm-based analytical computer model which quantifies the ranking of the teams based upon a list of indicators.

Owing to the fact that I can hardly add or subtract (which guided my choice of professions) I am not entirely sure that I understand his new ranking model completely.  Still, it is truly impressive and is really worth giving a look if you are a fan of stats.  Needless to say, it makes my method of assigning rankings — based largely on the clever use of chalk, a tape measure, and a set of lawn darts — look … well … very “quaint.”

Man, and I remember the days when I used to just be able to say “That team looks good…”

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

Image Courtesy of: Just Jay It!

Shoutin’ Out: Phil Steele’s College Football Previews

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

secregional08[1]Well, I just got my copy of Phil Steele’s 2008 SEC Football Preview Magazine, to go along with the “big” magazine — which covers the entire landscape of college football — that came out a month or so ago. Once again, Phil doesn’t disappoint.

All I can say is this: if you ever consider buying a single preview / analysis magazine for college football, make sure that Phil Steele’s is the one you buy…

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that Phil’s magazine is necessarily as “pretty” or even as easy to read as some of the other preview magazines out there, because it isn’t. Phil’s magazines, however, have more information, more breakdowns, more analysis, and more of everything that really matters in the world of college football, than any other publication available. If you want to see what Phil’s breakdowns are like, just visit his website. For more than a decade, Phil has consistently published the absolute best college football preview resource available anywhere. I don’t even look at the others anymore.

seccover[1]Even better, Phil’s magazines are very reasonably priced, and can be bought in bundles for a substantial discount from his website (all 5 regional magazines for only $29.95 with no shipping charges). They are also available at various bookstores, grocery chains, and other locations where magazines are sold across the country. No matter how you purchase one, they are — in Phil’s words — “jampacked with information,” and if you buy any preview magazine, you get his NFL and Fantasy Football Guide for free, and he even pays the shipping.

So, if you are a fan of preview magazines or simply want to have a single resource which has pretty much all of the information you could possibly want on college football, check out Phil Steele’s publications. They simply are the best that can be had.

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

** Disclosure: While Gate 21 features a hyperlink to Phil, neither this site, any parent companies, editors, nor webmasters receive any payment or other compensation of any type or kind in return such links. Furthermore, neither Gate 21 nor lawvol received any compensation for this review, which was neither requested nor solicited by Phil Steele Publications or Phil This “Shout Out” represents the actual opinion of the author (for what that is worth) and was in no way influenced by any other person.
Images Courtesy of:

Lawvol: Dead or Moved to Georgia?

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

Actually, I suppose this is more like screaming madly as you run around in circles…

Well, in case you haven’t noticed (and you probably haven’t) it’s been pretty quiet here at Gate 21 lately — brisk as the tomb. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am in the midst of a breakneck stretch here in which other obligations have forced me to step back briefly from this my temple of wasted time.

Anyway, given the fact that I will be moving tomorrow, I anticipate that there will be nothing new here on Gate 21 until next week (unless I get really lucky and find that I have inadvertently packed my clone in a box which the movers thoughtlessly carted off). Not that any of you actually care, but I am hoping to be back open for business full time at some point during the first week of June July.

Be that as it may — if you would be interested in contributing here at Gate 21, please feel free to email me at any time. Much as I am loathe to finally admit it, I suppose that I am now actively seeking more writers for the site, regardless of your stripes (yes, I might even let Florida fans contribute … sigh).

In the meantime, if you are looking for a little sports-blog action, you might try checking out a few of my personal favorites (a/k/a blogs that I regularly read):

(in no particular order)

And just to show that I’m not completely fixated on Tennessee (which everyone knows is a damn lie) here are a few non-Tennessee affiliated blogs I read

All of these blogs actually have some idea of what they are about, and occasionally get around to actually posting an article or two.

Anyway, hope to return to my typical level of low-quality and poor taste in the near future…

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

Shoutin’ Out: Rocky Top Talk

Shoutin Out  | Gate 21

Keepin’ this summertime “love train” going on down the tracks, here’s another shout out to one of the best blogs around — the inimitable Rocky Top Talk

Rocky Top Talk

Rocky Top Talk (or “RTT” as it is often referred to) is pretty much the best of the best in the world of Vol-blogs when it comes to substance and community. RTT really has no match when it comes to serious coverage of everything related to the Tennessee Volunteers.

RTT is constantly updated with news and notes, and has more “breakdown” information than pretty much anybody out there. It has some great regular features, including Blogmaster General Joel’s daily Talking Points, the Animated BlogPolls during football season, and some great stat-ist-ification. In addition to its content, RTT has the best community interaction anywhere in Vol-blog-land — allowing readers and fans to post their own Fanposts and Fanshots, as well as participate in polls, live-blogs, and more. Pretty much, Rocky Top talk has it all, and makes Gate 21 look like the BasketVols under Wade Houston (sigh).

To top it all off, as of this morning, RTT has a new look as it just completed a total facelift from top to bottom — with added features and a really sharp new theme.

So slide on over to Rocky Top Talk and give it a look…

– Go Figure …

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