Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 21, 2012

All in the Game: My toughest column

By Jim Butler
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — I certainly didn't think that this would be the case, but the win by the Commodores of Vanderbilt over the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday night is tougher to write about than I would think.

I could attack this project in a way that would be somewhat demeaning or debasing to the losing squad and their followers, but that would be like what I've felt for so long being on the other end of a somewhat lopsided score. That would make all you folks think that I was being deceitful when I say that it is just a game. Well, it is just a game and I will have to admit that it feels darn good to be on this side every once in a while, and I will savor this one for some time.

On this particular night, my team was much the better team and earned this victory with some very good plays, which makes me extremely proud. At the same time, the win doesn't make me want to make fun of or ridicule the other team because they lost.

Frank Gale said that basically I was living under false hope because Vandy had played inferior competition. Maybe that let Vanderbilt save enough energy to pull this one off in a big way. If that is the case, then so be it. My team won this one, and although it has been a while since the last one, it still counts. Vandy's current streak is longer than Tennessee's.

It isn't my turn to say, "Just wait until next year."

The best thing about this one for me is the fact that orange wasn't the dominant color in the stands. That says something to me about the direction the program is headed and I hope that continues.

The entire weekend was one of football surprises, and the Crimson Tide re-entered the fray for a national title. Will any Vol fans root for Lane Kiffin's squad to stop Notre Dame? I sort of would like to see Alabama take on the Irish in the big one. I don't think that it would be close. I also didn't think Kansas State would get drilled or that Oregon would lose at home to Stanford. It is a somewhat unpredictable year.

I guess the biggest question around these parts now is just who will be Derek Dooley's successor. The latest that I heard today was that Jon Gruden had signed a contract that would pay him $50 million over eight years. I certainly hope that things haven't gotten that far out of hand.

Well, it is the season of being thankful, and there are so many things that each of us need to give thanks for. I am really pleased with the most recent Vandy victory, but it is just such a small part of the big picture.

You keep rooting for yours, and I will be hoping for a totally unexpected six-game winning streak to end the 'Dores regular season.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!

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