The Auburn Tigers are 1-7. The 1 win coming against the only so called “cupcake” on their schedule which in retrospect wasn’t much of a cupcake at all, Louisiana-Monroe. Without the 3-point overtime nail biting victory, the Auburn Tigers would be looking at a winless season heading into the New Mexico State game this Saturday. Auburn’s other non-conference early season foe was Clemson which they lost, 26-19. So it is not like Auburn lost to a true cupcake in their run to a 1-7 season thus far. But fans in Auburn, Alabama, 160 miles away from Tuscaloosa do not care about the integrity of scheduling non-cupcakes and not getting wins. Hindsight is 20-20, but Gene Chizik would have been better off scheduling the famous “Sisters of Mercy” to start the season instead of Clemson. At least he would have 2 wins by now instead of 1. But that didn’t happen and Auburn has only one win.

Texas A&M gave Auburn it’s 7th loss last Saturday as Johnny Manziel aka “Johnny Goode” aka “Johnny Football” passed for 260 yards and rushed for 90 yards while passing and running for a combined 5 touchdowns in a 63-21 beat down of the Tigers. Auburn hasn’t lost a game that bad since 1917. People in Auburn want Chizik fired immediately. But there is at least one financial restraint hindering or at least slowing down the process. Gene Chizik’s buyout drops from 10 million to 7.5 million on December 1st. Now you say that is only one month away. Well remember that Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas may also be looking for new head coaches. And that is just in the SEC. The market is good right now for new head football coaches heading into next year. Aubun will need to make sure to balance their holdout until Chizik’s buyout is reduced with judging the landscape of the coaching market in football. There will be good jobs available and there may not be enough good (‘good’ being the key word) head coaches to obtain all of the jobs. Auburn will want to make sure they land a good head coach to the right the ship.

Many times while watching the NFL Draft we hear the name of a college football player being drafted in the first round and we ask ourselves “Who?”. The fact is that there are so many college football players out there, it is impossible to know who all of the good ones are. We have created a list of what we think are ten of the best college football players in 2012 that most people don’t know about.

1. Jonathan Cooper – Senior Guard UNC

Link: http://www.goheels.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=3350&ATCLID=205497721

2. David Amerson – Junior Cornerback NC State

Link: http://www.gopack.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/amerson_david00.html

3. Chris Borland – Junior Linebacker Wisconsin

Link: http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/borland_chris00.html

4. Duke Williams – Senior Cornerback Nevada University

Link: http://www.nevadawolfpack.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/williams_duke00.html

5. Johnthan Banks – Senior Cornerback Mississippi State

Link: http://www.hailstate.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=90891&SPID=10997&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=16800&ATCLID=204766787&Q_SEASON=2012

6. Keenan Allen – Junior Wide Receiver California

Link: http://www.calbears.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/allen_keenan00.html

7. Marquess Wilson – Junior Wide Receiver Washington State

Link: http://www.wsucougars.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/wilson_marquess00.html

8. Shayne Skov – Senior Linebacker Stanford

Link: http://www.gostanford.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/skov_shayne00.html

9. Star Lotulelei – Senior Defensive Tackle Utah

Link: http://utahutes.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/lotulelei_star00.html

10. Terrane Williams – Senior Wide Receiver Baylor

Link: http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/williams_terrance00.html

It is not a secret that Derek Dooley is on the hot seat in Knoxville, TN. Now with the Tennessee Vols losers of three straight SEC games talks of replacing Dooley are becoming louder each week. Inside information is now starting to leak out from within the headquarters of the Tennessee Vols athletic department. For the most loyal and in-tuned fan, this may not be new news. But to everyone else, here is what is starting to leak out concerning Derek Dooley’s future as the University of Tennessee’s Head Football Coach.

The word is that Derek Dooley’s firing may come as soon as early next week. Even if he beats South Carolina this weekend, he could still be fired Monday or Tuesday next week. There has apparently already been discussions with Monday Night Football commentator Jon Gruden to replace Dooley as UT’s next head coach. Jon Gruden is a former NFL Head Coach with the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee from 1986 to 1987. Whether or not Dooley is allowed to coach the rest of the season is still unknown. Tennessee may decide to go the Ohio State route & announce a new coach while allowing the current coach to finish the season. Apparently it seems that the prospect of going 7-5 will not be enough to save Derek Dooley’s job.

Tonight the St. Louis Cardinals (88-74) defeated the Atlanta Braves (94-68) 6-3 in the first of two 1-Game Playoff games that will kickoff the 2012 MLB Playoff Season. The win sends the Cards to DC to play the Washington Nationals in the next round. The loss sends the Braves home. Let me first vent that how after playing 162 games, Major League Baseball feels compelled to ask a team with 6 more wins then another team to play that team in a one-game winner take all playoff game is crazy. But that is not the subject of this article.

The Atlanta Braves were losing in the 8th inning 6-3. Runners were on first and second. There was one out. Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves hit a pop up to shallow left. Two Cardinals fielders got their signals crossed and the ball dropped in between them for what would appeared to be a single. The Atlanta Braves crowd went crazy because they believed that they had the bases loaded with only one out. But left umpire Sam Holbrook called Simmons out under the infield fly rule. The crowd went crazy again but this time they were pissed. After watching the play again, it appears the Braves fans had a great reason to be angry.

(Video of the Play) – Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4Z5MIaISrU

MLB.com defines an Infield Fly as this: An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare “Infield Fly” for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly, if Fair.” ( http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/definition_terms_2.jsp )

Once you watch the play you will see two things that will tell you that this was not an infield fly. The term “ordinary effort” would not be how I would have described the Cardinals infielder running (about 20 paces) and then back peddling to get into position to catch the ball. Whenever the infielder and the outfielder are that close to each other and the outfielder is playing in his normal position, the infielder definitely had to use more than just an ordinary effort to get there. The second thing is if you play the tape at the 1:43 mark, you will notice how long it takes for the left umpire to declare the ball an infield fly. The rules states that the umpire should immediately declare an infield fly when such a case occurs. The ball in this case was almost to the ground before the umpire raises his hand. Perhaps he was a replacement umpire.

It is definitely going to be a tough night for the Atlanta Braves and their fans. This play if called correctly might have brought them back in the game. But the Braves can blame more than a blown call for their loss tonight. The 3 errors they had certainly didn’t help. Hopefully, the 2012 MLB Playoffs will go on without such a controversial play as this. Baseball can’t afford another scene like what happened at Turner Field tonight.

There was 3:27 remaining on the clock in the 3rd quarter. The Tennessee Vols were up 20-13 on the Florida Gators. The crowd was into it. Florida had the ball 80 yards away from the end zone. Trey Burton would run right and then down the sidelines 80 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. It was Florida’s first touchdown in the second half and it all went downhill for UT from there as the Gators would go on to win for the 8th straight time 37-20. Florida scored the last 24 points of the game. They did this by capitalizing on major defensive miscues by the Vols.

On the play Trey Burton scored, there were multiple errors committed by the Vols defense. (Going into Jaws mode…first..cue up the YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ehSrSdjYWo) Let’s look at the tape. The Gators were in the shotgun with the strong side of the formation on the left (2 wide receivers, 1 tight end to the left). The lone receiver on the weakside of the formation goes in motion towards the strong side. Here is the 1st key error. The defensive back checking the receiver in motion tells the free safety to check him as he takes the free safety’s spot. This idea is ok by the DB but when Trey Burton fakes the hand off and runs through the line, the DB (now playing the role of free safety) takes a horrible angle towards Burton to make the tackle. No way Burton should beat him to the sidelines.

How did Burton get through the line untouched you ask? Check out the weak side outside linebacker (UT plays a 3-4 scheme, 3 down linemen, 4 linebackers). He basically gets whipped. He saw the play moving initially away from him and did not pick-up the left guard pulling down the line for the trap block towards him. What he was supposed to do was to attack the pulling guard creating a pile up making it hard for the fullback to find a hole to lead Burton through. The fullback was untouched all the way to the second level! That is absolutely unacceptable! The 2 middle linebackers pretty much had no chance as you see the weak side middle linebacker trying to fight through 2 blockers to cover the gaping hole left for Burton to go through. *Play the YouTube video if you haven’t played it yet* Finally, the poor angle by the defensive back allows Burton to run down the sidelines for the score. This was one of many situations where Florida took advantage of errors made by the Tennessee Vols.

So what happens now for the UT Vols. Where do they go from here? Of course they will say that there are many more games left on the schedule to play and there is still plenty to play for. But talks of Dooley’s replacement have already begun and a date with their lovely friends from the south (#5 Georgia Bulldogs) is looming in 2 weeks. Things could get ugly quick if Dooley doesn’t right the ship fast. A dominating performance against 1-2 Akron is a must. Next is the locker room. Dooley cannot lose control of the locker room. Despite what everyone else is saying, if Dooley wins the locker room, he may win his job. After that, a 7-win season. While this won’t guarantee his job, a 6-win season will guarantee his firing. A win over a ranked opponent would be nice. Derek Dooley is 1-8 against SEC opponents and 0 for against ranked opponents.

Yes we’ve only played 3 games in the 2012 season. But like I said in my previous article, the Florida one was crucial. The fallout is already being felt in Knoxville. Dooley has put the blinders on and find a way to do what he has not been able to do since his arrival at UT. Win a big game. I imagine by Halloween we’ll know if Derek Dooley will be the Tennessee Vols coach next year.

Who is going to win the Super Bowl? The question that is asked at the beginning of every NFL football season. Everyone has an opinion and perhaps the 2nd week of the season isn’t exactly the best time to pick who will win the Super Bowl but its always a fun thing to do. And of course…..my pick is right.

I’ll start in the AFC first. After watching 1 week of regular season football, I am confident to say that here is how the top 6 will finish in the AFC.

1. Baltimore, 2. New England, 3. Denver, 4. Houston, 5. San Diego, 6. Pittsburgh. Business as usual huh. Here is how the Wild Card will go. In a rematch, Denver beats the Steelers in Denver & Houston beats San Diego. Next is the Divisional Playoff. And look what we have….Manning vs Brady 10 (or at least it seems like this will be the 10th time these 2 QB’s would have met in the Playoffs). In this edition of the rivalry, Manning goes into New England with his new team and his new defense and beats Brady and the Pats. The next game is Houston at Baltimore. Baltimore in a blowout. Houston is just happy to be there. Finally, we have the AFC Championship Game. Denver at Baltimore. Baltimore does not let last year repeat itself and on this year, they get the job done. Baltimore wins and represents the AFC.

Now comes the hard part….the NFC. The Saints, Giants, and Packers all lost in week 1. But here is how they will finish.

1. San Francisco, 2. New Orleans, 3. Dallas, 4. Green Bay, 5. NY Giants, 6. Atlanta. Where is Detroit you ask? Their division is just simply too tough for them to get out of there alive. Now the Wild Card…Dallas blows out Atlanta & Green Bay defeats the Giants in OT. The Divisional Round will end with Dallas going to New Orleans only to see Romo have his usual playoff bad game. Saints over Dallas. Green Bay is on a mission after getting revenge on the Giants. They travel to the Bay area and take care of business against the 49ers. NFC Championship Game: Green Bay vs New Orleans. I have to go with Green Bay here. Home field advantage this time does not help New Orleans and Rogers leads the Packers back to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl: Baltimore vs Green Bay

Baltimore’s defense steps up its game and holds Rogers at bay while Joe Flacco gets the monkey off his back. Baltimroe Ravens are the Super Bowl Champions. Ray Lewis retires. haha

Gameday is coming to Knoxville and so are the Gators. Tennessee plays Florida on September 15 in their annual showdown Saturday. While this game will not be shown on CBS like normal, it still is as big as ever. The importance of the outcome of this game is biggest for Tennessee’s Head Coach, Derek Dooley.

Derek Dooley’s on the hot seat. For anyone living in the Volunteer state this isn’t new news. Everyone knows this is the third year of his deal and the year of no excuses. So far this year Dooley has past the “Third Year, What Have You Done For Me Now” test with flying colors. But now comes the game that is circled on the calendar every year. The game that folks in Knoxville haven’t celebrated afterwards since 2004. The game that can potentially be seen as the beginning of the end of the Derek Dooley era in Knoxville or be what solidifies him as Tennessee’s Head Coach for years to come.

Derek Dooley

If Derek Dooley beats Florida in Neyland Stadium, he will get a cotract extension. Look at the schedule. The win will make UT 3-0 with Akron coming to town, 4-0. Next is the meat & potatoes of the campaign. This portion includes a game at Georgia, at Mississippi State, home to Bama, and finally at South Carolina. Worse case scenario, UT is 4-4. But more than likely UT should come out of this stretch 5-3. The final leg is Troy, Missouri, at Vandy, and home to Kentucky. 3 of 4 wins here making the 2012 Tennessee Vols record 8-4. An 8-4 record with a win over Florida means Dooley’s back for a few more years. (Like it or not…..some in Knoxville still might not want him back)If Dooley loses Saturday, who knows what mayhem could come from this. A less than impressive Florida team coming into Knoxville lead by the un-predictable Jeff Driskel who has to constantly worry if Jacoby Brissett will replace at any point. Florida’s vulnerable and definitely beatable. They rank 107th in the nation in passing and 42nd in rushing. Their resume includes a 13 point victory over Bowling Green and a 3 point victory over a Texas A&M squad replacing NFL first round draft pick Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Tennessee has the better athletes, the better players, the better team. But will they have the better coach? We’ll know a lot after Saturday.