It is now time for us all to try and keep our emotions in check as it's only about 12 hours until kickoff as I put these random thoughts to paper.

Hopefully, the Commodores will get off to a really good start by plucking the tailfeathers of Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks. I really do feel a big upset coming on.

It's hard to get a feel for the game Friday night as that other team from Tennessee takes on N.C. State. I feel the Volunteers may be overlooking the Wolfpack and looking ahead to their big encounter with Georgia State. That one should be a real barnburner.

I will have to give some credit to Coach Derek Dooley for refusing to let Da'Rick Rogers continue to cause problems. Now I've got to hope that the immature young man doesn't cause a bunch of grief for Watson Brown and the Golden Eagles. It seems that Rogers should be ready for professional football as he has already shown signs of the 'prima donna' attitude.

If you didn't see the U.S. Championship game of the LLWS you missed some of the most exciting moments that the sports world will see this year or any year. To surrender 10 runs, including the game tying run in the last inning and be able to hold their heads up and come back with nine more runs is one tremendous accomplishment for the Goodlettsville kids. I think they made all of us redneck hillbillies proud with their play and the way they handled themselves.

Let me see if I understand the Lance Armstrong situation correctly. He won seven times at the largest bicycle race in the world, passing drug tests all the while. Now, years later someone accuses him of violating the drug policy and they take his medals. Just what good were the tests that he passed? Anyway, he seems to have won the much larger battle by defeating cancer. I still consider him a winner and a champion.

I watched some high school football on TV this past weekend and saw the Elder kid from Ensworth put on a show. He is being recruited by several schools including Vanderbilt and Tennessee. I hope the good guys get him and he puts on the black and gold. The kid may also need a good education to go along with his football and basketball skills.

Let's all have another good week and enjoy the beautiful weather because it'll be cold before we know it.

Go Jets!  Go Panthers!  Go USA!

(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)

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