Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 10, 2013

OH GOOD GRIEF: Will miss Jim, Frank’s football discussions

By Ed Greif
Sports editor

CROSSVILLE — I have a couple of housekeeping things to talk about before I discuss the final BCS poll and the upcoming bowl games.

First of all, my long-time colleague Jim Butler wrote his final "All in the Game" column last Friday. I will miss his and Frank Gale's back and forth discussions about Tennessee and Vanderbilt sports, especially football. Jim has retired and living in Celina.

Jim will be cheering for his Vanderbilt team as they play in the Compass Bowl in Birmingham, AL, Jan. 4.

Secondly,three Lady Jet soccer players earned All-District honors this year. Jennifer Hedgecoth was first team, while Brianna Taylor and Brooke Golden were second team. Thanks to Jeremy  Conner for suppling this information.

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The outcome of last weekend's games went a long way in determining the BCS championship game combatants and the pairings of the 34 other bowl games.

The Florida State Seminoles defeated Duke for the ACC championship, while Auburn won the SEC title game over Missouri to set up a potentially high-scoring BSC title game Jan. 9 in Pasadena, CA at the Rose Bowl.

Florida State went to the first three BCS title games, losing to Tennessee in 1998, and the 'Noles will be playing in the last BCS game, as a four-team playoff format takes over next year.

The Rose Bowl game with Michigan State, which won the Big 10 title over Ohio State, which had a 24-game winning streak snapped. Michigan State plays Stanford, who beat Arizona State for the Pac-12 title.

The SEC earned some interesting matchups in this year's bowls.

The Ole Miss Rebels will play the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Music City Bowl Dec. 3, while Mississippi State will make a short trip from Starkville to Memphis to play Rice in the Liberty Bowl Dec. 31.

Geogia tankles with Nebraska in the Gator Bowl Jan. 1, while the Old Ball Coach Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina team play Wisconsin Jan. 1 in the Capital One Bowl.

LSU battles Iowa in the Outback Bowl, while the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 has Alabama playing Oklahoma. SEC runner-up Missouri battles former Big 12 foe Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl Jan. 3.

Vanderbilt plays Houston in the Compass Bowl in Birmingham Jan. 4.

Nine of Tennessee's 2014 opponents are bowl eligible with a combined record of 80-30 this season. Six of those are SEC opponents, including SEC runner-up Missouri.

Utah State is playing MAC runner-up Northern Illinois in the Poinesettia Bowl, while  Arkansas State is playing Ball State in the GoDaddy.com bowl.

Two of the other 2014 opponents, Florida and Kentucky, are also setting at home this year, while Chattanooga finished 8-4 and shared the SoCon championship is the final 2014 foe.

The Mocs have played the Volunteers over the years and have a 35-2-2 mark against Chattanooga; however, the Mocs posted a 14-6 win in Knoxville on Nov. 5, 1958.

MTSU takes on Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl; however. Navy takes on its rival Army this Saturday, while David Cutcliffe's Duke Blue Devils face Johnny Football and the Texas A&M Aggies in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

What a way for the BCS to end its final season.

If the playoff format was in place today, Florida State would have played Michigan State and Auburn would have played Alabama in a rematch of their Iron Bowl contest. The two winners would have played for the national title.

Which three bowl games will be used for those three games and how will the rotation work out? That question and many others will be answered next year by the committee.

Stay tuned.

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The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner will be announced Saturday from these six finalists — Jameis Winston, Florida State; Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; A.J. McCarron, Alabama; Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner; Tre Mason, Auburn; and Andre Williams, Boston College.

Winston is the heavy favorite, as he as quarterbacked the 13-0 Seminoles into the national championship game against Mason and the Auburn Tigers.

Vanderbilt's outstanding wide receiver Jordan Matthews should have been a strong candidate. He led the SEC in catches, including a single season mark of 107 and receiving yards of 1,334, in route to smashing almost all major SEC career receiving records. He will be one of top receivers picked in the 2014 NFL draft and was named as first team All-SEC.

Matthews and his Vanderbilt teammates are heading to the Compass Bowl in Birmingham, AL, Jan. 4 at noon to face Houston. This is one of the last two bowl games before the BCS title game on Jan. 6.

(Ed Greif is the Chronicle sports editor and his column appears regularly.)