This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: Fulmer’s Belly
The Off-Season is a Conspiracy
This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Fulmer’s Belly who has offered questions of real substance — questions which seek insight and analysis. That pretty much means I’ll be bringing up the rear. Thus, it would probably be best if you just skipped my responses and clicked on the links to the other roundtablers below.
If you are nonetheless determined to waste your time reading my prattling — losing moments of your life, your lunch, and perhaps your will to live — here are my thoughts for the week
(Questions in Sort-o-Teal-like color)
1) Knock on wood before answering this question, but let’s assume that Jonathan Crompton goes out with a season ending injury in the 1st half of the first game of the season. Should we just pack it up and wait until next season, or is there a glimmer of hope in any of the young backups?
First of all, I don’t want to hear any more of this Communist “injury” talk. I’m having questions about your loyalty …
That said, assuming the awful were to happen, I agree with the collective brain trust, that losing a single player does not mean that it is time to give up on the 2008 season. Even the loss of a quarterback doesn’t necessarily spell disaster.
If you remember, back in 1994 the Vols lost starting senior quarterback Jerry Colquitt on the seventh play of the season versus UCLA. The only other quarterbacks on the squad that year were two true freshmen — Branndon Stewart and some guy named Manning.
Of course, despite his stellar career at Tennessee, even Peyton only managed a 8-4 (SEC 5-3) season. Still, there was a lot of fight left in the 1994 Vols after the loss of Colquitt.
Similarly, we wouldn’t currently have any idea what Jonathan Crompton is capable of had it not been for him standing in for Erik Ainge during the 2006 season.
I feel certain that the Vols would manage to finish strong and do everyone proud without Crompton, after all — on paper — neither B.J. Coleman nor Nick Stephens are exactly slouches. Furthermore, unlike Manning in 1994, both have had some time to actually learn the offense.
Bearing all of that in mind, I think the loss of Crompton early in the season would likely result in losses at both Florida and Auburn simply due to the need for the new quarterback to get up to speed.
So, I guess my answer is that the Vols would be “okay” but would probably not put up numbers for the record book.
2) Does Erik Ainge have a future in the NFL?
With no disrespect to Ainge, I have never really seen him as a successful NFL quarterback. I simply don’t think that Ainge has the flexibility that a quarterback is required to demonstrate to combat the defenses of the NFL. He is a reasonably solid pocket passer, but has limited mobility — which is not necessarily a killer with most teams in the NFL. He does, however, have the good sense to get rid of the ball when there is no one to throw to — a fact borne out by the NCAA record of only 4 sacks over the course of the season.
In the end, after getting injured versus Notre Dame, Ainge never really seemed to have the spark that made him seem so great during his freshman year. After that point, Ainge seemed to be a basically an average above-average quarterback. He was efficient, he was capable, he was reliable — he was not exceptional. Unfortunately, that exceptional ability is usually required to compete in NFL.
3) Why in the hell did you decide to blog about Tennessee football? Aren’t there already enough Tennessee blogs?
Well, that’s a tough question to answer considering that I more or less started the Gate on a whim. I had previously tried a little blogging on other more “serious” topics, but none of those ever amounted to anything because they required intelligent thought and at least a limited amount of skill. Thus, I started this little project mainly because I figured it would be a good way to waste time, besides it was cheaper than drugs.
As for why I blog about Tennessee? Well, the reality is that Tennessee is the only team I really follow in any meaningful way. I also live in the bowels of ACC country, which is … well … sickening, and blogging about Tennessee and the SEC helps control the nausea.
I suppose I could start a blog on animal husbandry, navel lint, or really stupid things I’ve done in life. I suppose I could even write one of those “life blogs” where I tell the entire world about my daily life, but I am really a boring person and who the hell really cares how many times I went to the bathroom today and all of the people I’d like to kill.
I have no intention of ever trying to be a “stats” guy because I can barely add — that is why I am a lawyer. I also have no desire to try and be a “traditional” sports writer. First of all, I live nearly seven hours from the home of the team I write about, which makes it a little difficult for me to actually report on a game I didn’t even attend. Besides that’s what all the mainstream media types already have a near monopoly on. Thus, all I can really do is offer my own peculiar observations on the world of sports from an orange-tinted perspective and make fun of the more humorous side of the sports world.
Oh, and when I can’t think of anything worth writing, I’ve found that posting juvenile, semi-offensive, poorly doctored, photos will often suffice.
On a personal note, if I had a chance to breathe lately, at least I would have been able to post a little something of substance every now and then. I really hate it when my job interferes with my asinine hobbies. That part is frustrating — almost as frustrating as Tennessee’s 2005 football season … but not quite. I suppose in the perfect world I’d be able to spend all my days writing for this rag so everyone could ignore it.
In the end, I suppose the main reason I write is because I am a lawyer and, by default, a blowhard who likes to hear himself talk (or write as the case may be). I guess I write about sports because I really lack any real ability to write about anything of real substance. It’s funny, I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’m still not sure what I am doing.
I’m sure both of my readers would agree …
4) If you could be one player in one game in Tennessee history, which player and which game would you pick? Why?
This is a tough one. There are so many great choices which would be on my short-list. Here are a few (in no particular order)
- Dale Jones vs. Miami — 1985
- Condredge Holloway vs. Clemson — 1974
- Peyton Manning vs. Alabama — 1995
- Al Wilson vs. Florida — 1998
- Peerless Price vs. Florida State — 1998
- Heath Shuler vs. Florida — 1992
- George Cafego vs. Anybody — 1938/39
These are but a few — this one is just too tough to call.
5) Which is your favorite rivalry and why? (Not necessarily limited to Tennessee teams)?
Well, I pretty much said it all about this one a few weeks back when it comes to Tennessee rivalries.
I hate to lose to Alabama, I absolutely loathe Florida.
For me, the key to a true rivalry is respect. I have no respect for Florida, so — predictably — it’s Bama for me.
In terms of other rivalries … umm … I would probably list the following:
- The Chicago Cubs vs. Cold Hard Reality;
- The Philadelphia Eagles vs. The Eagles Hoodlums Fans;
- The People of the State of Florida vs. All Current and Former Members of the University of Miami Football Team, and John Doe, co-conspirator, et. al, Criminal Docket No. 07 CVS…;
- Ron Artest vs. the Crowd.
Yeah, I know, not much in terms of effort on my part…
Bonus) Who will win the national title this year? And by how many points will Tennessee win?
Two answers — my hope, and my head:
- Hope: Tennessee 28 - USC 14
- Head: Florida 21 - Clemson (Yeah that’s right, Clemson) 10
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
- MoonDog Sports
- Fulmer’s Belly
- Loser With Socks
- Rocky Top Talk
- SouthEastern Sports Blog
- The View From the Hill
Well, now wasn’t that fun…