By Jim Butler
Well, once again, it won't be a long trip for the Vanderbilt Commodores, but they will be in a bowl game and that can't be said for all. This team continued to improve all year and hopefully that will carry over into the game against North Carolina State.
Coach James Franklin was rewarded with a raise and an extension, so he should be in a really good mood. Vandy has had short spurts of success before, but they didn't last for long. I firmly believe that we Commodore fans are in for a good run.
The coaching merry-go-round continues and even I am anxious to see who lands in Knoxville to lead the Volunteers. It is fairly evident that Arkansas has made a big mistake by hiring the Bielema fellow from Wisconsin. He had a good record while using players recruited by Barry Alvarez, but his ship was starting to sink, and I think the Razorbacks just sent him a lifeboat.
Auburn has done much better with the rehiring of Gus Malzahn. He definitely has it going offensively and his style makes recruiting somewhat easier. The Kentucky hire is a complete mystery to me, so I don't have a very qualified opinion, as I do in the other cases.
It is not the hiring process that intrigues me so much with coaches, but rather the firing. That seems to be when all the money changes hands.
I don't know if many of you were able to watch the high school football finals, but if you missed the Gordonsville game, you missed a dandy. It wasn't just good from a game standpoint, but just a feel-good story all around. That small community near Carthage literally closed down and most of the residents made the journey to Cookeville for the game. They completely filled one side of TTU's stadium and the population isn't that large. The team pulled out a win in the final stages to put the icing on the cake. It was a chapter from the good old days.
The Titans continue their free fall in the NFL and it's hard to find a good part to their game. There seems to be no strong points at all and the outlook doesn't seem so promising. I'm going to go and see them play the Jets on a Monday night. At least maybe I'll get to see Tebow. Surely, when his ribs are healed, Rex Ryan will give him a chance. The coach has nothing to lose and all Tebow does is win games. It may not be pretty, but who cares.
Hoss and Frank, you all keep searching for that magic coach and the money to pay him with.
Everybody have a great week and enjoy this holiday season.
Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!
(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)