Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 6, 2012

All in the Game: Close isn't close enough

By Jim Butler
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — There was a time, and not too very long ago, when we Vanderbilt fans could be somewhat pleased with a close loss to a good team. Those days are no more, and I was really disappointed with the loss to South Carolina; though, certainly not to the degree that most Tennessee fans get when dealing with a defeat.

Though I was disappointed, I do feel that the Commodores played well and the season will, no doubt, be a success. Heck, if the officials had called that blatant pass interference violation near the end of the game who knows what might have happened? Anyway, it wasn't called and my team lost and now it is on to another weekend and the battle of two really good academic teams as Vandy travels to take on a good Northwestern squad. The Wildcats staged a last-minute comeback to grab a road win at Syracuse.

I didn't get to see any of the Tennessee game as I was visiting north of the Mason-Dixon line and they don't tend to show every move that the Big Orange folks make up there.

From my limited reading about the game against a less than quality ACC opponent, I gather that the Vols played fairly well and earned a much needed victory for their embattled coach. This weekend should really tell us something about the team as they host Georgia State in a make-or-break game.

Of course, there are other sports that take place at Vanderbilt, and former standout Commodore golfer Brandt Snedeker has been chosen by American captain Davis Love III to be a part of this year's Ryder Cup team. In my usual humble opinion, that event is as good as golf gets.

Back to football and we must give Nick Saban the credit he is due as much as it hurts. His Crimson Tide made the maize and blue team look like B-team.

If Lane Kiffin's Trojans were to play Alabama, just who would the Tennessee fans root for? 'Bama's impressive win pushed them past USC in the polls just as it should have. That could change this weekend, though as the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky come to town. I'll bet that Ronnie Pugh and Bob Wilson are really worried about this one.

It looks like Da'Rick Rogers is going to help the Golden Eagles as he caught a touchdown pass in the win over Hampton. Hopefully, he can keep his nose clean there and not be a detriment to the team.

Well, we fans of the Commodores and Blue Raiders will just have to put last week's losses behind us and cheer our teams to a win this weekend. Last week is history and we must all look forward and press on.

I was saddened to read of the tragic death of Rick Davis. He was a huge driving force in the success of girls' softball in Cumberland County and I was fortunate to be able to deal with him in that arena. My condolences to his family.

Y'all have another good week and keep things in their proper perspective as you enjoy the games, win or lose.

Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!

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