Tennessee-South Carolina post-game awards:
Best anomaly: The Vols (1) lost the time of possession battle, (2) had six fewer first downs than the Gamecocks, and (3) had 70 fewer total yards of offense than did SC, yet they won the game.
Best Jumping Frenchmen of Maine impersonation: The Volunteer coaching staff, all of whom synchronized a conniption to call a timeout when backup QB Jonathan Crompton, in the game for an injured Erik Ainge, started to audible at the line of scrimmage after a time out with the game on the line.
Worst silicon conspiracy: Exhibit A: Tennessee's only loss this season is to Florida, who was No.
2 7 [ED You gotta love the fact-checking masses in the blogosphere.] at the time and is currently No. 4 in the BCS. Exhibit B: Tennessee thumped Cal in its first game of the season. Exhibit C: Southern Cal, after several weeks of flirting with a loss, finally gave in this week to unranked Oregon State. Exhibit D: Tennessee is ahead of both Cal and Southern Cal in the human polls, but is behind both in the BCS due to computers that are born, raised, and currently residing in a mansion on the West Coast. I'm just saying.
Best providential hat trick: Tennessee's first touchdown came when cornerback Jonathan Wade jarred SC receiver Mike West just after he made a reception, causing the ball to pop loose in the air. UT's Marvin Mitchell caught it and ran to the end zone. On the next drive, a Syvelle Newton pass into the end zone was tipped by both UT linebacker Ryan Karl and Gamecock tailback Cory Boyd before Wade came down with the interception. Shortly thereafter, an Ainge pass into the end zone was tipped by one or two SC defenders before UT receiver Bret Smith came down with it for a touchdown.
Best right angle: UT's second punt of the second half, which Britton Colquitt booted 57 yards. Pretty good distance, but amazing for the fact that it hit the ground at the one yard line. Astounding for the further fact that when it hit, it bounced ninety degrees to the right and rolled out of bounds without either going into the end zone or bouncing backwards.
Worst recurring nightmare: Steve Spurrier. Steve Superior. Darth Visor. The Evil Genius. The Ol' Ball Coach. The dude drew up a fifteen-yard pass play from QB Syvelle Newton to Noah Whiteside that completely befuddled every single member of the Volunteer defense, all of whom may as well have been on the concourse getting a corndog. Wide open does not even begin to describe it.
Best late hit: UT associate strength and conditioning coach Roderick Moore in the Georgia game two weeks ago. Moore, 6'5" and 330 pounds, "was just walking down the sideline" when Georgia safety Tra Battle ran into him and collapsed into a heap. See for yourself:
It wasn't the kind of "late hit" you're thinking of, of course. I'm just a few weeks late noticing it.