Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

September 12, 2013

All in the Game: It gets a lot tougher now

CROSSVILLE — Though Vanderbilt totally dominated the outmanned Governors of Austin Peay, Coach James Franklin, much to the chagrin of Frank Gale, chose not to try and run up a score. Vandy manages to beat the Volunteers twice in eight years and the bright orange columnist wants to diss the coach, Tsk, tsk.

Though the Commodores had everything well in hand from the outset, they still didn't play up to the adjusted standards that I have established for them.

Jordan Matthews had another solid outing and he is a real playmaker for Vandy. They will have to turn things up several notches starting this weekend, as they travel to take on Coach Steve Spurrier, Mr. Clowney and a talented (South Carolina) squad that will be up in arms after the loss at Georgia. Vandy normally gives the Gamecocks a run for their money and I hope they can do some good things Saturday. The 'Dores will have to control multi-dimensional quarterback Connor Shaw who gave them fits last year.

Allegations have been levelled at Coach Franklin regarding the heinous actions of some former players, and I certainly hope that they are untrue. However, if they prove to be factual, then he needs to be gone and banned from coaching forever. Time will tell, but I believe that he is smarter than that and has more character.

I forced myself to take a little time away from my busy schedule to look in on the Tennessee versus Western Kentucky contest, and the final margin wasn't indicative of the real battle that took place. Tennessee was surely the better team, but five turnovers in six plays has to be a record. That switched the momentum in a hurry, but (Bobby) Petrino's bunch came back well and some of us even thought they would make it really close. It was a good win and another brick in place for Butch Jones.

The Volunteers are also gonna have to step on the accelerator this weekend or the speedy Ducks will run away from them. That game will be worth watching, just to see what the Oregon uniforms look like. The Ducks haven't been tested yet so this might be a good one.

The Alabama and Texas A&M battle should round out my Saturday games, and I've got to root for the Crimson Tide. My Crimson (Tide) buddy, Ronnie Pugh, answered my query about how to keep the raccoons out of my sweet corn. He said that after it happened to him he just quit planting corn and it never happened again. Thanks, Ronnie.

I expect the Tide to really roll in this one on their way to a third consecutive national title.

I've been trying to keep up with the soap opera they call NASCAR all week and, in this humble writer's opinion, they are letting that sport continue to go downhill. I'm surprised that they didn't find a way to get Jeff Gordon into the chase. I've always liked Gordon as a driver but it seems that that team puts most of the energy into the Jimmie Johnson car. Anyway, it just doesn't seem as exciting as when the Allisons, Richard Petty, Cale Yarbrough and Fireball Roberts went at it.

Well, be we black and gold or orange, we need to pull for upsets this weekend. May we all come out winners. It's gonna be fun to watch.

Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!

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

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