Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

January 26, 2012

ALL IN THE GAME: Consistency would help both teams

CROSSVILLE — Of course I'm talking about the Vanderbilt and Tennessee basketball squads. They either play really well or very badly. Sure, I'm tickled with the absolute thrashing that the Commodores put on the Vols this week, but I'm just as disappointed at how my team blew a big lead in the loss to Mississippi State.

I'm sure that Frank Gale and the dwindling throng of Tennessee supporters feel the same way about dropping from a superior performance against UConn to a mistake-filled, lackluster performance in Nashville. I realize that home court is one important factor, but it shouldn't matter that much. Maybe both teams will achieve some consistent level of play before tournament time, which will be here before we know it.

I think that I share the mixed feelings of a lot of people regarding the legacy of Joe Paterno.

He was certainly among the great college football coaches and that's easily shown by his record number of wins. His positive effect on a large number of young athletes is also very evident. All this considered, it appears that his place in football lore will always be dominated by that one big mistake that he apparently made.

I say apparently because we don't know for sure just what was related to him by his assistant coach regarding the Jerry Sandusky incident in the locker room. It definitely appears that he dropped the ball short of the goal line, but I think all of us are aware that he would not have those tragic things happen to the young men that suffered.

I think I'm gonna remember him most for the positive things he did and I'm certainly no Penn State fan. Heck, I even remember rooting for the Vols several years ago when they defeated the Nittany Lions. I haven't done that on many occasions.

It seems to be a certainty that Peyton Manning will not remain with the Indianapolis Colts in light of the injury problems that he faces. More importantly, he may not be able to play again for any team. Still, he must be regarded as one of the more important players to his team in the history of the sport. Whatever the circumstances I'm sure that he will handle the situation with class as he always has.

Many have mentioned the possibility of Manning coming back to Knoxville to coach the Vols. Surely he knows better than to try that. Remember the great loyalty shown to former UT great Johnny Majors. Right?

Now, we need to get ready to watch little brother Eli try and put a whooping on the Tom Brady-led Patriots. I hope that is the case anyway. I just dread the hours of pre-game hoopla. Maybe this year's commercials will make it worthwhile.

I hope that my buddy Ed Greif has time to watch the game. This time of year is tough on the Chronicle sports editor as he has to keep tabs on basketball at two high schools as well as all the elementary action. There aren't too many that could handle all those chores. Good luck with it Ed.

Well, have another great week, get out and support the local basketball teams and keep smiling, win or lose.

Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!

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

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