Pardon the brief delay on this week’s Big Orange Roundtable Roundup. The members abandoned their self-absorbed musings to don their arms and take up posts against crazed, subpoena-wielding rogue Alabama boosters. Parasites, the NCAA likes to call them.
Anyway, the crisis has been averted for now, and we have reconvened. This week's report:
1. For some inexplicable reason, Phillip Fulmer invites Urban Meyer, Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Tommy Tuberville over to his palatial estate for a dinner party. At 2:00 a.m. the next morning, The Papa discovers that Smokey IX has been murdered. Who did it, with what, and where? Think Clue. You know, Mr. Mustard in the parlor with the candlestick?
Like any good mystery, everybody’s got their theory. Was it, as 3rd Saturday in Blogtober believes, Les Miles, outside the bathroom, with the bowling ball he keeps under his hat? The Power T agrees on the suspect, but would presumably quibble with the bowling ball theory in light of the fact that Miles had served up Smokey’s head on a platter. Bowling balls, like Miles himself, aren’t quite sharp enough to accomplish that. In fact, Tidefanintn thinks that Miles’ mental acuity acquits him altogether:
Les Miles, though prone to fits of rage, lacks the focus to mastermind something like that. Now, if someone else was there first and basically sharpened the knife and placed the weapon in his hand, then he might have accidentally killed Smokey, but it wouldn’t have been as the result of anything he did willfully.
I find that statement particularly hilarious because of the inference that Miles accidentally won the national championship last year.
So if it wasn’t Les Miles, could it have been, as I theorized, Tommy Tuberville, in a fit of jealous rage, in the trophy room with the crystal football? No, says Crimson Daddy, because Tuberville, an avid duck hunter, is bound to be a canine lover.
Okay, then, what about Mark Richt? Yes, says YMSWWC, Richt with poisoned Chinese dog food and a Herschel Walker video. He certainly had motive, agrees Southeastern Sports Blog and Fulmer’s Belly, who, incidentally, answered every question this week with nothing but more questions. Belly, don’t you know that it’s really difficult to weave together a roundtable roundup from nothing but answers that are questions? Do you want to be banished from the table? Don’t you realize this is serious stuff?
Anyway, where was I?
Oh, yeah. Crimson Daddy says it can’t be Richt because he’s a fellow dawg. Pretty flimsy theory if you ask me. Dude's obviously never heard of Michael Vick.
Okay, then, what about Nick Saban? No, again from Crimson Daddy. "Saban doesn’t have time for dogs or their crap." And you can forget about Spurrier, too, he says, because he and Smokey had been seen enjoying a fun game of fetch the visor just before dinner.
Meyer, then. It must be Meyer, who, according to Moondog, sent Smokey to that "big checkerboard in the sky" because he’d "sniffed out 10 pounds of marijuana Meyer heisted from the Gainesville Greenhouse/Starbucks" and was about to get him busted, which would seriously interfere with Meyer’s goal of being the first coach to recruit a Sherpa from Nepal. Nice theory, says Crimson Daddy, but if Meyer did it, it had to be that "[h]e challenged Smokey to a point and stare competition and Smokey died from exhaustion."
Ooh, twists! Loser with Socks proposed some bizarre conspiracy theory involving Chris Fowler, Lou Holtz, and Charles Woodson, and Gate 21 says the rest of us are all wrong because everybody has an alibi:
. . . . Mark Richt claimed to be admiring himself in the mirror in his favorite bright red thong. Tubberville said he was adding another coat of shellac to his hair before retiring for the night. Saban claimed to be counting all the money he had fleeced from Alabama donors in his room. Meyer stated that he was siting with his legs crossed offering a burnt offering before his statue of Tim Tebow. Les Miles had been carefully placing his hat in its protective case for the night. Finally, Spurrier claimed that he had been on the phone with a local sports-talk show under the pseudonym "Homer from Sequatchie County."
Fortunately, Saban’s travel webcam saved the day, and ultimately, the authorities discovered Ed Orgeron hiding in the bushes, "pretending to be a Maple tree":
"I say, I say, I say, it war an assidunt. I’s was a jest a’chomin heah to talk to dis heah fine group ah koaches whahn I come up-pon da little puppah. I’s was ah jest a talkin’ to heam and a scrahathin’ heahs eaahs whan alla-da-suddin’ heah just collapsas. I say, I say I dohn’t know whaht heppened!"
Turns out that Smokey had merely passed out from an overdose of Oregeron’s hot air.
That’s a relief. A brain-damaged mascot's better than a dead one, I always say.
2. Who between Eric Berry for the defense and Gerald Jones for the Clawfense will have the biggest impact for the Vols in 2008?
Hmm. I thought this one would be more difficult, but I was the only blogger who thought that Jones might actually have a bigger impact for the Vols this year than would Berry.
Really, though, the arguments for Berry are most-compelling.
"Berry is a holy terror on the defense side of the ball." – Gate 21
"While some writers have said Berry is the best defensive back UT has had since Deon Grant, I’d go one step even further: He’s a combination of Deon Grant and Fred White, as in, ‘he can cover like Grant and hit like White.’" – 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
For this kid to do what he did as a true freshman on a defense that needed him to make every single one of those plays...he screams Dale Carter, he even runs like him off interceptions. Jones had some big play moments, but Eric Berry did this:
- Started every game as a true freshman
- Finished second all-time in SEC history for INT return yardage in a season
- INT return 96 yards for a TD at Florida
- 12 tackles, fumble recovery and an INT vs South Carolina
- 2 INTs returned a combined 98 yards vs Arkansas
- 14 tackles at Kentucky
- Fumble recovery that set up a go-ahead TD vs LSU...
- ...followed by an INT on the very next possession
- Forced fumble on the opening drive against Wisconsin
- Attempted murder on Tyler Donovan
Oh, and in something not even resembling a response to the question, Fulmer’s Belly simply asks, "Will there actually be Claws in the Clawfense? Wouldn’t that be cool?"
3. You devise a way to harness the Lost island's temporal displacement properties. The island will allow you to change one thing, but one thing only, in the history of the Tennessee Volunteer football program. What do you change? By the way, Ben warns that if you try to say "2005" or any other entire season, the mysterious clicking black smoke will sound its wailing siren, shoot from the earth, grab you by the ankles, and pound you to a pulp against a palm tree. So change only one thing. Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing.
Well, first it appears that Fulmer’s Belly is as obsessed with Lost as I am:
Do you think that’s what happened is the island went into the past? Or maybe even the future? Do you think the producers or the writers even know what’s happening on that d*** island? What happened with the polar bear? What about Libby being at the mental institution? Why does Walt keep aging? Are there no other actors who could play the part of the younger kid? Is that why Gary Coleman and Emmanuelle Lewis had careers back in the day? Do I digress too much?
Uh, yes, but keep it up. Please.
Look, we all love our program, and it’s worth noting the merit of Loser with Socks’ appeal to all Vol fans to just stop being so spoiled, but let’s face it, we all have certain bad memories that we wish we could erase.
YMSWWC, who, incidentally hates Lost and presumably wishes I would have rephrased this question, would like to change the 2002 Alabama game that snapped our seven game win streak over the Tide, thank you very much. The Power T rolls the dice and chooses to change the 2004 SEC Championship Game in hopes that it would forestall The Season of Which We Do Not Speak. I wanted to undo the hobnail boot and restore Travis Stephens' epic 62-yard touchdown run to its rightful place as one of the most dramatic plays in Tennessee football history, and Gate 21 wanted to blow up the lab so that the diabolical Randy Sanders Experiment could never have been hatched.
Moondog rebukes me for the "longest question asked thus far," but gets back in my good graces for wanting to erase Corey Anderson’s fumble at the end of the 2005 Alabama game. You know, this one:
Yeah, that never happened.
The big winner here, though, was the 2001 SEC Championship Game. Ghost of Neyland from 3rd Saturday in Blogtober, who calls the day after this game as, "sports-wise, the worse day of my life," traces his hatred of Nick Saban back to this game. For good reason, too, as it deprived Ghost of the opportunity to experience two national championships in four years of school. Southeastern Sports Blog says, "If I could change one thing, one play, I'd go back to the 4th quarter of that game, and tell Donte' Stallworth to put both hands on the football and watch for the strip."
Yeah, there’s not much worse than having a trip to the national championship game in your hands and fumbling it away.
4. What about the future? What is your worst fear for this upcoming season, the turn of events that would send you into a blind rage?
Boy, we’re an anxious bunch. We’re worried about everything from the defensive front four to injuries to a lack of effort to Randy Sanders redux. We’re afraid of losing to Alabama again, we really don’t want to lose back to back games against Florida and Auburn, and we certainly don’t want to go 6-6.
Fulmer’s Belly? Is it football season yet?
Not yet. But we’re close.
I now pass the sword, pointy side first, to Gate 21 who will be next week’s host.