This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by Your Mother Slept With Wilt Chamberlain
Back in the Saddle
Here are my mindless thoughts for the week
(Questions in Sort-o-Teal-like color)
1) One former VOL made the brave choice to testify against some Bammers and has to enter witness protection with a whole new identity, but that also gives him 4 more years of eligibility. Which VOL would you pick and why?
John Henderson: I’d take Big John Henderson mainly because he was such a force on defense. I loved watching him play and — as far as I am concerned he could continue doing it until the end of time. As an interior lineman — a position that some seem to think is less important than the so-called “skill” positions — he managed to always make his presence felt. Oh yeah, there was also that Outland Trophy thing he won in 2000 — minor point. His pre-game warmup routine is pretty intimidating too:
My Runners Up Would Include:
Al Wilson: One of the best leaders Tennessee ever had on a team. A tenacious tackler who never quits is always a huge boost to a team. When that same player also happens to be a great motivator and one of the most outspoken members of your squad, then their stock rises even higher. One of the all-time greats from Tennessee.
George “Bad News” Cafego: Another one of the all-time greats from Tennessee, but from a decidedly more distant era. As a halfback and a punter under General Neyland, Cafego was a two-time All-American (1938, 39). Cafego was an integral part of the Vols squad which went 71 consecutive quarters without allowing a single point — which is … well … completely inexplicable. On top of all that he is just one of the damn scariest looking men I think I’ve ever seen in my life.
2) Alabama has been given the death penalty and is forced to leave the SEC, at the same time South Carolina decides it can win a lot more in the Sunbelt conference and bolts the SEC. Two teams have to take their place who would you like to see take their place?
For me this one is difficult. My gut tells me I should go with somebody like Florida State, but I’m going to go with my heart. Still, I don’t know that I can limit it to just two teams, so I’ll give you a short list, and let the president of each school battle for the right to re-join the conference in a no-holds barred death match on pay-per-view — the current member schools of the SEC would get to split the revenue, of course:
- Georgia Tech: The Jackets were a charter member of the SEC, and were obviously high as a kite on something when they decided to leave. I’m sure they would be more than happy to re-join the fold. This would make the SEC East all the more interesting, and would add further respectability in that Tech is traditionally a winning team. Furthermore they have tradition, and a good location. Also, anything which yanks the chain of the ACC is fine by me.
- Appalachian State: I know, I know, the Mountaineers aren’t even a Division I Bowl Series team at present … but I believe they could be. With all of their titles in the last few years, and their victory over Mee-che-gunn this would be a great way to get an up-and-coming program which already has nationwide name recognition. After all, they are already better than Vanderbilt most years.
- Marshall: Tennessee has regularly scheduled the Thundering Herd over the last few years, so at least then we could count beating them as a conference win. The other advantage is that the addition of Marshall to the SEC would propel the Herd to the forefront of sports in West Virginia — further marginalizing West Virginia University’s claim to anything other than … well … coal. Besides, the SEC doesn’t have any green teams — I like green.
- Kansas: Mark Mangino has done a great job of turning the Kansas program around. That paired with their basketball program make them a likely candidate in my book.
- Oregon: They win a lot. The road trips would be a royal pain, but it would advance the conference. Furthermore, with the Ducks in the conference, no one could ever say anything about any other team’s uniforms being ugly.
- Florida State: Yeah, yeah, I said that I wasn’t going to include the Seminoles, but I just can’t leave them out. They have won to many games and had too much success to ignore them. They would be a major draw for the SEC. Again, bringing the Noles into the fold would further erode the ACC to the point that it would again look like the Big East with more arrogant fans.
Now as for what teams ended up in what division? Well, that’s a discussion for another day…
3) What will be the toughest road game to win and why?
Well, my natural inclination would be to say the Auburn Tigers, which are essentially loaded, and extremely well coached. I do believe that the War Tigles Eagers … uh … Auburn is beatable — I just don’t really think that the Vols are the team to do it.
Since I’m already on record predicting a loss versus Auburn, I’ll remove that game from contention for this question. Thus, I’d have to say that Tennessee’s 11 October match up against the Georgia Bulldogs will be the toughest challenge for the Vols on the road this season — at least in terms of wins.
I am both a believer and a doubter when it comes to Georgia this season. I do believe the hype, and think they have both the talent and experience to to start “kickin’ ass and takin’ names” this year. They are loaded.
On the other hand, Georgia hardly has the most forgiving schedule. In fact by my mind, Georgia has one of the top 3 toughest schedules in the country — if not the toughest (as MoonDog previously concluded). It will be very difficult for Georgia to finish the season unscathed.
The Dawgs also have a 20+ year-old habit of being completely incapable of consistently beating the Vols — even when they ought to give them the backside of their hand. I mean no disrespect by this and freely acknowledge that much of this trend occurred during the eras of Jim Donnan and Ray Goff — which are not particularly well remembered in the minds of many of the Georgia faithful. Still, the Dawgs are 12-5 versus the Vols since 1989.
Along these same lines, the Dawgs have been notoriously inconsistent for more than a generation — a fact made abundantly clear by their having played in only 3 SEC Championship Games since its inception in 1992.
For these reasons, I think the Vols can beat Georgia this year — but it won’t be easy…
I am expecting that the Big Orange will be unpredictable on offense (and not in a good way) at least through the Florida game, and likely through Northern Illinois. This is largely a due to the changes at both quarterback and offensive coordinator. In short, it will take them some time to get comfortable with their new look.
The Georgia game, however, does not roll around until October — a bit later than in some years past — which is essentially the midpoint of the season. Tennessee will have had time to settle in to their offense and will have faced several high quality opponents. Thus, I think the Orange will be moving purposefully toward a mid-to-late season peak (as they so often — and so frustratingly — do).
I think the keys to this game are — predictably — going to be offensive consistency and efficiency, paired with a strong performance by the defensive line. Obviously, there are some real questions in both of these areas, which make it as likely that the Vols will run from the field screaming like little girls, as it does they will make it all click.
This is one of those games where the home crowd really may have the ability to substantially influence the outcome of the game. I just hope that all the Dawg faithful are too drunk to realize this fact. If Tennessee can find a way to take the crowd out of it, then they have a real chance.
In the end, I may be very wrong on this one, but I feel the Vols win this one — albeit in a nail-biter. To do that, however, Tennessee will have to come prepared to face Georgia’s worst, and will have to put any early-season stumbling behind them.
4) Could have the great Coach Fulmer handled himself better at the SEC media event when he was asked about the subpoena instead of asking what subpoena?
No. As a lawyer, the worst thing you can have a client do is publicly acknowledge they were served when either: 1) they weren’t served or 2) you want to be able to challenge service despite the fact that the papers ended-up in their hands.
From a non-lawyer perspective, I still stand by the Great Punkin — if he hadn’t gotten the subpoena or hadn’t had the chance to look at the crap some process server flung at him while he was trying to get out of the car, then he was being honest. Despite the fact that everybody in the room at the time already had a copy of the subpoena — everyone but Fulmer, that is — if he hadn’t gotten yet, then he hadn’t gotten it yet.
Furthermore, in case I didn’t make myself clear, the unprofessional ambulance chasers that Wendell Smith hired to represent him are morons. If they walked into a courtroom in the region where I practice, they’d probably also be sanctioned.
The Rest of the Roundtable:
Having wasted your time on my largely meaningless and insignificant thoughts for this week, go check out what the other roundtablers (who actually know what they are talking about) have to say (in no particular order):
- 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
- World According to MoonDog
- Fulmer’s Belly
- Loser With Socks
- The Power T
- Rocky Top Talk
- SouthEastern Sports Blog
- The View From the Hill
Now that you’ve read all of that, don’t you actually feel dumber?