By Jim Butler
This past weekend of SEC football in no way went the way I thought it would.
First of all, there was the upset in Tuscaloosa that I don't think anyone outside of Aggieland thought was possible, especially Bob Wilson and Ronnie Pugh. I thought the Tide would end the season with a spotless record, and that this would just be the beginning of a real Alabama dynasty. Hopefully they aren't calling for Nick Saban's head over this one.
The Volunteer's home loss to Missouri was another great big surprise, especially after beginning the way they did. It seemed that they could pick up a long gain any time they wanted. Derek Dooley certainly didn't do himself any favors with his time management and overtime decision making. Who will be next to call the shots for the Orange?
Another surprising event was the close win accomplished by the Gators as they hosted UL Lafayette. Florida has been in a tumble since making it to number two in the country. They just aren't very good.
Vanderbilt's comeback from 17 points down was my most pleasant suprise of the weekend. This is the kind of thing that just doesn't happen for the Commodores, especially on the road against an SEC opponent. Am I proud of them even though they play, according to Mr. Gale, a much easier schedule than the mighty Orange? Oh yes, I am!
Of course, this is the big weekend for my 'Dores as they host Tennessee. A bad sign for me is the fact that Vandy is favored and I don't understand how when the only people they've beaten have been much weaker than UT's opponents.
Oh well, it is just a game, and though it would be an immense thrill for me to see another Vanderbilt win over the Vols, my future doesn't depend on the outcome. I keep the thrill of a victory with me much longer than the sting of a loss. It is much the same as having a taste in your mouth. If it's a good taste you want it to linger. If it is bad then you rinse it away. Really it's a very simple principle and it is guaranteed to work.
Tennesseans did well in baseball this year as both Cy Young awards went to locals. Murfreesboro native and former Vanderbilt star David Price claimed the American League award and another Tennessee native and former Voluntee, R.A. Dickey, claimed the National League prize. We can all be proud and they both seem to be young men of great character.
Well, let's all gather round the flat screens and root for our favorite on Saturday evening. I'll scream for mine and you certainly have the right to yell for yours. One team will score more points than the other, and that's not life or death. It's just a game.
Have a great week.
Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!
(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)