Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 1, 2012

ALL IN THE GAME: The games just get more meaningful

By Jim Butler
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — This will be a really big weekend for the Vanderbilt Commodores as they travel to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. This is probably a must-win game for them to make it to a second consecutive bowl game. Conceivably they could win all four of their remaining games and probably should, but that is not the way that things usually happen for Vandy.

Three of the games are on the road and the other is against Tennessee, who has shown signs of being a fairly good team. If they are ever going to put it all together, it will be against my team. If that happens then so be it.

In Vandy's last game against a cupcake opponent, they started off so slowly that probably most teams would have beaten them. They drew six flags in the first 17 plays against a totally outmanned bunch of Minutemen from Massachusetts.

Tennessee played valiantly against Spurrier and the Gamecocks but they still have problems closing the deal. They were hurt early on by a bad call and a no-call, the type of things that normally happen to the Commodores. When you're in a losing mode and on the road in the SEC, that will happen with some frequency.

Hopefully South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore will be able to overcome what was a terrible looking injury. It was definitely a clean hit but he was just caught in a bad position.

This weekend should be somewhat easier for the Volunteers as they take on the Trojans of Troy. UT must be very careful though, because Troy is capable of some very good football.

Just how badly did the loss in Columbia hurt Derek Dooley's chances at remaining the Vol's coach? One true Volunteer fan confided to me that he thought they should let the coach go and loosen the purse strings to secure a really topnotch coach. He feels that would pay big dividends and, in fact, pay for itself, much as the Saban deal at Alabama has done. The longer the wait the tougher it will be, as the Tennessee job is not as appealing as it once was, and it continues to lose its luster. Tennessee may not be able to afford a big name coach like James Franklin.

The Detroit Tigers pulled a quick disappearing act, didn't they? That sweep totally caught me by surprise but, when it comes to games, we just don't know and it is just a game.

It appears that the Georgia Bulldogs will sneak into the SEC East title again. The Gators looked very inept in that contest and I never did think they were deserving of their high ranking. Their quarterback is just not ready yet.

Someone please tell me that Notre Dame will not make it to the big one. I almost got sick listening to Brent Musburger as he espoused their greatness in their win over Oklahoma and he is trying to promote their linebacker Manti T'eo (that's close) to the Heisman. I had to turn away from that telecast.

I want to offer my belated congratulations to Stone Memorial head basketball coach Neil Capps. He is certainly deserving and has all the essentials for being successful — integrity, a great work ethic and knowledge of the game. Good luck Coach Capps.

I hope that each of you received all treats and no tricks. Get ready for the weekend and I'll let you know if Jon Gruden calls to let me know about the Tennessee coaching job.

Go Jets! Go Panthers! Go USA!

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