Archives for posts with tag: Tennessee

PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM-

As the regular season winds down, another is just beginning to fire up–literally.  The coaching carousel has already been in motion for a few weeks and hit full stride this past weekend with name schools pink-slipping their program architects.  While the Pac- 12 caught the biggest fish in Chip Kelly, nowhere was the coaching carousel spinning faster than in the SEC.  Arkansas fired Bret Beilema before he could leave the field after the Razorbacks lost to Missouri.  Texas A&M joined in the mix by firing Kevin Sumlin, although the school showed restraint and waited at least until after he had left the field.  Florida and Tennessee jumped on the carousel early by giving their coaches walking papers during the season.  It’s worked out for the Gators, who landed former assistant and current Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.  You can’t say the same for the Volunteers, who had to back off from hiring Greg Schiano amidst massive protests.  And Mullen’s departure from Starkville-not the easiest place to win-means there will be six SEC schools with first-year head coaches in 2018.  And that doesn’t count Ole Miss, who took the interim tag off of Matt Luke.

Fantasy Field– losses by Alabama and Miami turned the bracket of 8 upside-down:

#1 Clemson (ACC)-#8 USC (Pac-12)

#4 Auburn (SEC)-#7 Miami (wildcard-3)

#3 Wisconsin (Big Ten)-#5 Alabama (wildcard-1)

#2 Oklahoma (Big 12)-#6 Georgia (wildcard-2) 

Naturally the automatic berths would not be set until Championship Weekend…with windows of opportunity for Ohio State, TCU and Stanford to play their  way in.  While Clemson or Oklahoma could conceivably still make the field after losing in the ACC or Big 12 title game, the Georgia-Auburn loser and likely Wisconsin if they fail to win the Big Ten title would be on the outside looking in.  Meaningful games in December instead of conference title games as window dressing.  Novel concept.

Alma Mater Update- the season ends with a 42-14 loss at home to Boston College.  A second straight 4-8 campaign that this year came against one of the toughest schedules in the nation.  I’m ready for hoops.  And wings. Hopefully with an 8-to-4 drummie to flat ratio.

Navy (6-5, 4-4 AAC) began the area action over the weekend by losing to Houston 24-14.  Instead of like the last two years where this determined the West Division champ, this tilt was merely an appetizer for some interesting games (UCF-South Florida-WOW).  Midshipman Medals:  D.J. Palmore tallied 8 tackles to lead the defense that held the Cougars to 3 for 13 on third down.  Malcolm Perry ran for 82 yards and a touchdown.  Owen White averaged over 40 yards per punt and landed a pair of kicks inside the 20 with no touchbacks.  Midshipman Miscues:  the offense sputtered after halftime, converting 1 of 7 third downs while gaining just 69 yards on 30 carries.  Pass protection allowed three sacks on 11 drop-backs.  Steven Dunbar ripped the Mids’ secondary for 8 catches and 142 yards.  Next: December 9th against 8-3 Army.  Only the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is up for grabs.

 

Virginia Tech (9-3, 5-3 ACC) kept the Commonwealth Cup for a 14th straight year by blanking Virginia (6-6, 3-5) 10-0.  For those scoring at home, that’s back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back wins over the Cavaliers.  “Friends” was still on TV showing first-run episodes when UVa last prevailed in what has become an annual hour of agony.

Hokie Highlights: the offensive line helped churn out over 202 yards on the ground while not allowing a sack.  Tremaine Edmunds tallies 9 tackles and two sacks to help the defense hold the Cavaliers to 4-15 on third down.  Hokie Humblings: a shutout on the road against an in-state rival?  They get a pass for putting just 10 points on the board.

Cavalier Congrats: Micah Kiser (19 tackles) and Quin Blanding (17 stops) continue to be the bright spots on a UVa defense that was much-improved this fall.  Lester Coleman averaged 43.9 yards per punt.  Cavalier Concerns: the running game allowed four sacks and on 16 other registered runs gained just 20 yards.  On a night that the Hokies had just a pair of scoring drives, UVa didn’t cross midfield until late in the 2nd quarter and didn’t convert a 3rd down in the second half.

 

Maryland (4-8, 2-7 Big Ten) saw its season come to a close with a 66-3 loss to #10 Penn State.  The Nittany Lions scored on four of their first five possessions to take control before scoring on their first three drives of the second half.  According to coach DJ Durkin, “the Texas game feels like eight years ago”.  Terrapin Triumphs: DJ Moore catches 8 passes for 100 yards, breaking the single-season record set by Geroy Simon in 1994 while also passing the 1,000-yard mark for the year.  Senior Jermaine Carter wrapped up his career with 11 tackles.  Terrapin Troubles: third down was a black mark all year as the team ranked last in getting off the field on defense and moving the chains on offense–and against Penn State they converted 1 of 15 attempts while allowing the Nittany Lions to 11 of 17 money downs.  Trace McSorley carved up the Terps defense to the tune of 205 yards in the first half.  They also fumbled four times-losing two of them that the Nittany Lions turned into touchdowns.

PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

CBS and FOX have shared the sports broadcasting stage for almost 25 years…as the upstart network actually replace the old guard when they outbid  them for the NFC package in 1993.  While fears of having Homer Simpson giving scores or the cast of “Beverly Hills, 90210” in the announcing booth with Summerall & Madden never came to fruition, FOX has experimented and brought how sports are presented on TV into this century.  And while CBS has kept pace, the old “Tiffany Network” still represents tradition.  Case in point- Saturday’s college schedule saw two thrilling games.  The team of Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson announced the nationally televised Florida-Tennessee tilt while the high-octane duo of Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt called the USC-Texas game.  Both games provided plenty of thrills and chills…and the Nessler-Danielson duo presented a national game with a finishing crescendo while Johnson-Klatt gave viewers a high-wire act with multiple exclamation points.  How do you like your eggs?  Evenly cooked with the right accents on the right parts?  Or flame-broiled with every twist and turn highlighted beyond belief?  Thank goodness there’s room for both approaches…and the games are good enough that both are needed.

In other news:  while I stated that Saturday was the perfect day for chores/apple-picking/antiquing, many will refer to the fantastic finish of Florida-Tennessee.  And that’s exactly what was fantastic:  a fourth quarter where 37 of the game’s 46 points were scored.  Before that?  Two teams that were conscious objectors to sustained offense…and proof that the SEC East may the least again this year (despite multiple hot messes in Alabama’s fiefdom).  And what is it with the Vols and crazy endings?  Seven of the school’s nine losses since the 2014 season ended have been one-possession affairs.

 

Alma Mater Update- the Orange bounce back from a loss to directional Middle Tennessee to rout Central Michigan 48-17.  Eric Dungey threw for 279 yards while running for 105 more…while the defense pitched a shutout in the second half.  The 2-1 start now means instead of emotionally checking out on the 2017 season, we’re in for the duration.  The trip to nationally-ranked LSU.  The five-game gauntlet against ACC foes that are currently 11-2.  The looming November 25th game against Boston College when a trip to a fourth-tier bowl hangs in the balance.  Break out the wings…

 

#16 Virginia Tech (3-0) looked like it was doomed to repeat its traditional September stumble when they fell behind East Carolina 17-7 in the first quarter…only to score the games final 57 points in a 64-17 win.  Gone are the ghosts of Pirates past…as coach Justin Fuente’s team is 3-0 for the first time since 2011.  Hokie Highlights:  Josh Jackson threw for 372 yards and five touchdowns-while finding Cam Phillips for 14 catches, 189 yards and three scores.   Travon McMillan (72 yards on 11 carries) led a ground game that gained a season-high 287 yards.  The defense tallied three takeaways while holding ECU to 4 of 15 on third down.  Joey Slye made all three of his field goal attempts…and special teams blocked a Pirates’ attempt.  Hokie Humblings:  hold on, we have to find an issue with something in a 64-17 rout?  Tough room.  Next:  Saturday against 2-1 Old Dominion.

 

Virginia (2-1) equaled its victory total from 2016 by crushing Connecticut 38-18 after scoring the game’s first 31 points.  Let the record show that this is a Huskies team still finding its feet under first-year coach Randy Edsall.  And while previous years have seen September promise evaporate in the blink of an eye (or an interception returned for a TD), there have been enough positive signs over the first three games that the next nine games won’t be a disaster.  We think.  Cavalier Congrats:  Kurt Benkert threw for a school-record 455 yards while three of his receivers (Olamide Zaccheus, Doni Dowling and Andre Levrone) reached the century mark.  The running game averaged 5.5 yards per carry behind Jordan Ellis (95 yards on 20 carries) and the offense converted 7 of 12 third downs.  Micah Kiser tallied 15 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery for a defense that notched two takeaways in the first half and pitched a shutout for the game’s first 44 minutes.  Lester Coleman punted just once but posted a 51-yarder.  Cavalier Concerns:  two more explosive plays allowed by the defense for scores-this week a 30-yard run and a 60-yard pass.  UVa was fortunate to recover all three of its fumbles against the Huskies.  Nine penalties for 109 yards will give the coaches plenty of “teaching moments” in film review.  Next:  Friday at 2-1 Boise State.