Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tennessee 35, Georgia 14

And it wasn't that close.

My only consolation is that I don't live in Nashville anymore. During the six years that I lived there Georgia never beat Tennessee and that was hard to deal with. Thankfully, UGA went 5-1 against Vanderbilt during those same years.

My preseason pick for this game had Tennessee winning 31-28. Frankly, though, had I revised my pick in the week leading up to the game, I would have said that Georgia would win. Tennessee had not played well this year, particularly on defense, and Georgia seemed to be building some momentum.

As it turned out, though, the Volunteers put a nasty orange stomping on the Dawgs in front of a rocking Neyland Stadium and a national television audience. The Vols jumped out to a quick lead which they built to 28-0 at the half and the game was pretty much over.

I suspect that this was a game in which psychology worked in UT's favor. They really needed to prove themselves and they were really tired of being beaten by UGA in Knoxville (it had happened three straight times). Also, while I had hoped that the Dawgs' good win on the road at Tuscaloosa earlier this year would prepare them for the hostile atmosphere on the banks of the Tennessee River, their youth and inexperience really showed.

No excuses should be offered, though; the fact is that the Dawgs got whipped in every phase of the game. In the first half it looked like a college team against a high school team. Tennessee seemed to be able to do just about anything they wanted to do.

Let's hope that Georgia can recover quickly so they don't get upset at Vandy next week.

There was some news out of the UGA football program last week that was much more troubling than the loss to UT. It was reported that Georgia ranks dead last among the SEC teams in the number of football players that graduate. Dead last! You expect them and everybody else to rank behind Vanderbilt, which graduates over 90% of its players, but to finish behind everybody else is truly embarassing. Given that we're talking about college football, it seems to me that some serious attention should be given to this issue.

Scores this week that brought a smile to my face: LSU 28, Florida 24 and Illinois 31, Wisconsin 26. Florida now has two losses and while they are not out of the SEC title race, they will not get the opportunity to play for the national championship again. While I know that Illinois is dreaming of a Rose Bowl berth, I'm hoping for an Outback Bowl pairing of Florida and Illinois so that Ron Zook, now coach at Illinois after getting run out of Gainesville, will have the chance for some revenge.

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