By Jim Butler
Of course, when you reach my age, it is always good to see another year on the horizon and, from my very biased Vanderbilt point, this past one was wonderful. Their bowl date is swiftly approaching and a ninth win would be an almost unheard of event on West End in Nashville.
It's a little slow now in the sports world, unless you're into professional basketball, and I am not a big fan, but I'm glad that there are those who love it just as much as I care about college football.
The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be controlling the headlines in that arena though they are having a tough year by their standards. I'm sure the Yorks, Brett and Michael, will help them get out of the slump that they are in. Though I don't care much for the games, the players are probably the best athletes of any. I just wish they had to play by the same rules today that the likes of Jerry West, Gale Goodrich and Oscar Robertson had to. Dribble the ball and three steps without dribbling is illegal. I guess we all have to complain about something.
I was surprised when the Notre Dame linebacker didn't win the Heisman, especially after he had won so many of the other awards. I guess that his coach being named Coach of the Year made up for that. Roll Tide!
I watched as the unranked Butler University Bulldogs beat Indiana on the Hoosiers' home floor and that was a pleasant surprise. Sorry Kris Burk, but stuff happens. I wonder when the Butler coach will have to start shaving. He is one young looking head coach.
My favorite professional football team, the Chicago Bears are slip-sliding away and that's hard to understand, but the pro game has, for the past several years, been totally unpredictable. I truly do wonder sometimes about that game. The odds makers must really know what they are doing.
With all the coaching changes this next year in college football, it should be very interesting. The Tennessee situation will certainly be the most interesting in this area. I read that Justin Hunter is leaving for the next level and it is anticipated that Bray and Patterson will do the same. Patterson will surely be a hot commodity and we all know that Bray has the arm if he can get his head to match.
Frank Gale, I must say that I have enjoyed you having to spend your writing time this past season trying to make chicken soup out of chicken feathers, as I have had to do for so many years now. I doubt that you will ever garner as many years experience at that as I have. At least, there weren't quite as many refrains of "Rocky Top" this year, as I have had to endure in the past. I have always detested the fact that the UT song shared state song honors with "The Tennessee Waltz."
I hope that each and every one of you have a glorious Christmas and that Santa is good to you all. We all love sports and the recreational value that they provide and we must continue to realize that it is just games.
Go Jets! Go Panthers! Go USA!
(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)