The shaken, not stirred edition...
Tennessee Football: Decision '08
This season has been a weekly, and now a daily practice in madness. There's a 99% chance that the Vols aren't going to hire anybody until the calendar hits December and all the active coaches finish their current regular seasons...but that's not stopping me nor anyone else from checking half a dozen websites first thing in the morning just to make sure no midnight deals were done, and then combing the message boards - something I absolutely hate doing - for any piece of information. So while I continue to dive deeper into the heart of insanity, here's today's mindless coaching search update:
- John Adams wants to lead you down the road to irrationality the quickest, by comparing anyone - in this case Cincinnati's Brian Kelly - to Bruce Pearl.
- From earlier this week...two of the most insightful Tennessee Football minds on the web both are in the post-development stages of a man-crush on Mike Leach: Joel at Rocky Top Talk gives a thorough breakdown, as always, of why Leach would be good here. And he links to Clay Travis, Vol fan and author of Dixieland Delight, who also supports Leach. Both reads are worthy of your time. And allow me to contribute to the madness: I'd be happy to fall in love with Mike Leach and buy a pirate hat...if he retains John Chavis as defensive coordinator. Crazy? Well, what's not these days?
- Speaking of decisions and madness, Jim Bob Cooter's Fightin' JVs took it to (previously undefeated) Hargrave last night, 37-21. Under center for the attack was BJ Coleman, who went 22 of 31 for 325 yards and 2 TDs. You can read the News-Sentinel's account here, or check out Oskie at Third Saturday for a better breakdown of the current quarterback situation.
As always...more to follow.
Tennessee Basketball: 08-09 Tip-Off
With an off week tomorrow on the gridiron, Bruce Pearl is here to save the day. The Vols begin Year Four of the Pearl Administration tomorrow night at Thompson-Boling, against Chattanooga. And allow us to take this time to wholeheartedly endorse The BruceBall Blog, the very best site devoted purely to Tennessee Basketball. Check out their preview of tomorrow's game, then head over for the real kicker: The Top 25 Moments of the Bruce Pearl Era, which is an exceptional piece of work.
Does the nation really believe in the 9-0 Titans?
I'm happy to be insulated here in southwest Virginia, spending more time with Mike Keith than CBS, and just living in the moment. In a true story that gets funnier every week, in the lobby of our fantasy football draft back in August, I said I thought the Vols would go 12-0 and the Titans would go 4-12. At that point, we were in love with the idea of the Clawfense, and the Vince Young-led first team offense in Nashville had scored zero touchdowns in their preseason games. Sorry Clawfense: it wasn't you, it was the thought of you.
So now the Titans are 9-0 and at Jacksonville this week. The AFC South is almost assuredly theirs, and when their schedule breaks easier after the next two weeks (at Jacksonville Sunday, the Jets in Nashville next week...then followed by at Detroit on Thanksgiving, Cleveland in Nashville, and at Houston before finishing with Pittsburgh and Indy)...they should be able to at least secure a first round bye, if not home field advantage.
But it's exactly this kind of looking ahead that I've/we've avoided thus far, and should continue to do so. If someone starts asking if the Titans can go 16-0, you punch them in the face, because they're probably a Colts fan. The question is not 16-0. The question for the nation at large, and maybe for the Titans people as well, is still just how good this team is exactly. You've seen them win a multitude of ways, including last week when the Bears refused to let them run...and they won anyway. You've seen them do it all with Kerry Collins, who's now getting into some MVP conversations (again, don't listen). This team has proven that they can win and do so against some of the NFL's best. Now, is this a team that can sustain this success and keep finding ways to win in January?
The questions go to Jacksonville this week...and let's keep trying to stay in the present, and the rest of those answers will come.
The Celtics and Lakers are partying like it's 1987
The full-strength and my-are-they-deep Lakers are 7-0, the NBA's last remaining unbeaten, with four of their wins coming by more than 15 points. They've embarassed Houston and beat the Hornets, and with the Spurs struggling they're done everything to clearly establish themselves as the West's best team right now.
Meanwhile, Boston is 8-1 (with an inexplicable loss at Indiana), but they've been carving teams up in a different, more emotionally painful way. They beat LeBron on opening night. They also won at Houston, and this week have beaten the AI-enhanced Pistons, came back from the dead to stun Toronto...and just when previously-undefeated Atlanta was getting chippy, The Truth came out to drain a fallaway with 0.5 on the clock for the 103-102 win. On PTI yesterday they debated whether or not Paul Pierce was the most clutch player in the NBA right now...I'll let you figure that one out, but nonetheless Boston is beating everyone in their path even with the bullseye on their back.
The Lakers and Celtics are clearly the two best teams in the NBA. Again. We'll just spend the next six months waiting for it to be official. But in a world where the Vols are 3-7 and Kerry Collins and Kurt Warner might be your two leading MVP candidates, it's nice that some things still work exactly the way they're supposed to.
He's not for everybody, but he is for me. Ladies and gentlemen, Kenny Mayne (with an assist from Scott Van Pelt):