Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 5, 2013

ALL IN THE GAME: This is not the start I expected

By Jim Butler
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — The game was certainly exciting and, at times, it seemed that either team was going to dominate. It was one of those games that seemed whoever had the ball last would win. I guess that was the case as Mississippi was the beneficiary of a poorly thrown ball to end the game.

There were some good signs for the Commodores in the loss. Number one is the fact that Jordan Matthews is truly a very talented receiver, and Vandy's running game also showed signs of being very good. The weakest part I noticed was the secondary, and Ole Miss took advantage there. This was the season's first outing, though, and I'll just have to take on my Scarlett O'Hara attitude of next Saturday being another day.

Let me humble myself now and give Mr. Gale's Volunteers and new coach Butch Jones some credit. They were impressive in their debut against Austin Peay. I do believe that they scored on every possession in the first half. I didn't listen to much of the contest, but I'm assuming that they played probably everyone in the second half. Hopefully, Vanderbilt will fare just as well against the Governors.

I was impressed with the Gamecocks' performance against North Carolina, but I was disappointed by a couple of the other SEC teams. Georgia's loss (to Clemson) truly surprised me and, although Alabama had a win, they weren't as dominant as I thought they would be. Both teams were playing class opposition though.

On another front, I've already had enough of Johnny Manziel and his attitude. I was glad to see Coach Sumlin handle the situation like he did.

In the battle for Kentucky that was staged in Tennessee, Bobby Petrino won the battle of new coaches over Mr. Stoops, and I look for the Hilltoppers to be a force to be reckoned with sooner, rather than later. This week in Knoxville will say a lot about this. I expect the Vols to win this one as it's a little early in the new coach's tenure for an upset this big.

The MTSU Blue Raiders got off to a good start with an impressive win over Western Carolina, and if their quarterback heals quickly, they should have a good season. Coach Watson Brown and the Golden Eagles started with a win, and their schedule is really tough this weekend with a trip to Wisconsin. They will certainly take on all comers.

I guess that Jane Way, chairwoman of the Peyton Manning Adoration Club, is looking forward to this season, as the Broncos are picked to do some great things. We'll know right away, as they take on the Ravens, who derailed them in last season's playoffs.

Well, good luck to all and I'll try to "anchor down," as was suggested to me by Volunteer fan Jack Napier in an e-mail. I still have high hopes for this year and my grin has already returned. I received great health news in a recent trip to the doctor and the worst thing that happened to me this year was the loss of my sweet corn to the raccoons. How do I keep this from happening in years to come? If you know the answer to this let me know at vandyzmyhorse@yahoo.com.

Have a great week and holler for yours, while I yell for mine.

Go Jets! Go Panthers! Go USA!

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