Where all is not lost...
Nick Stephens: 1-0
That really says a lot, and says all you want to hear. Because there wasn't much pretty about it.
I was at a wedding reception here in VA last night, so I only saw the last seven minutes because I'm not disciplined enough for the TiVo. But even in only hearing about Stephens' biggest plays and while watching him take what could've been a crucial sack before Daniel Lincoln missed another disturbingly easy field goal...I still like the way this kid looks.
It's his presence more than anything else. He doesn't look nervous. He doesn't look consistently ineffective. He looks like a quarterback. And granted, you need to go Between the Hedges go get a more full understanding of what Stephens (and, by proxy, this offense) might be able to do, but there was just enough on display Saturday night to give you a presence to believe in next week.
The direction of the season comes to its crossroads once more against Georgia. Tennessee has been at their absolute best for the last six quarters against the Dawgs. Will we be in store for something similar next week?
Quick Thoughts on Titans-Ravens
I did finally get to see the Titans, many thanks to my CBS affiliate in Roanoke. Jeff might have more to say here later, but it's a jarring thing to watch this Vols team for five weeks, then watch the Titans today. Because they're just similar enough to be heartbreaking.
Kerry Collins has become the ultimate game manager. He's good enough that Heimerdinger and the boys could turn the passing game a little loose in the second half, looking especially sharp on the two second half scoring drives. And let's just say that I've never been happier to have Bo Scaife on my fantasy team than after his seven catch performance today - Collins goes to him more than half of the time.
Chris "Will's still sorry about all that" Johnson had a tough day against a tough Ravens' D, but this kid runs unlike anyone I've ever cheered for. He's both explosive and fast, if that makes sense. That combination to this degree, potentially, I haven't seen in a running back in Knoxville or Nashville since Chuck Webb, and even he wasn't quite this way. Hopefully, this kid keeps getting better...because his potentially is amazing.
And boy, it was good to see the Titans and the Ravens get after each other again. And they did get after each other - the Titans even got after themselves a little bit, and Cortland Finnegan's willingness to take on Keith Bulluck, who looks like he could destroy him with a thought, might make me love him even more if he didn't cost us 30 yards in penalties - but that was one of the fastest and most punishing defensive football games I've seen in awhile.
The Titans have a manager at quarterback, with sparse talent on offense and a defense that won't quit. They're 5-0.
Maybe the Vols can learn something here.
WWE No Mercy - Live Blog TONIGHT
At 8:00 PM EST, we'll start bringing you live match-by-match coverage of tonight's No Mercy PPV event. On the docket for this evening:
- Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (World Championship - Ladder Match)
- Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy (WWE Championship)
- Big Show vs. Undertaker
- Batista vs. JBL (#1 Contender's Match)
- Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry (ECW Championship)
- Rey Mysterio vs. Kane
- Beth Phoenix vs. Candice Michelle (Women's Championship)
This could be the night that Hardy finally wins his first title, and there's some other decent stuff on board...but every penny should find its worth in the ladder match. Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels, two of the best in-ring performers in WWE history and who've been carrying the best ongoing feud in wrestling in the last several years since April, collide in their first ladder match against each other.
This will be Michaels' first ladder match since 2002 - he's the originator of the match from way back in 1994 against Razor Ramon (where the title belt is suspended 15 feet above the ring, first man to climb the ladder and retrieve it wins). He and Jericho have already put together some epic contests. And since HBK has always been my favorite wrestler, this might be the last chance to see him compete for what would be his fifth world title, should he win.
There's good drama across the board here, so we hope you'll join us tonight.