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Rocky Top Talking Points: Fulmer Cup, rankings, Gameday, critics, and more

  • So far, it's pretty quiet on the Fulmer Cup, front. The absence of off-the-field incidents isn't nearly as newsworthy as the alternative, but I like it much more, so I'm talking about it. Way to go, guys.
  • Athlon's preseason magazine is apparently out (I haven't seen it yet) and reportedly ranks Tennessee 20th. Lindy's is out (mine's sitting right here) and has Tennessee ranked No. 7 in the nation. It also names Jonathan Hefney a first-team All-American and Britton Colquitt a second-team All-American. The Tennessean has Tennessee finishing third in the SEC East behind Florida and Georgia, respectively. We have problems, no doubt, but you have to wonder about the QB experience factor. The more experienced quarterback usually wins. But the more experienced signal-caller may usually have somebody to throw to, too. How do you think the Vols will fare in the East this year? I'm leaning toward first, but that's subject to change. Florida's talent is nightmarish, and Richt basically owns us and lets us out on leave every few years. By the way, The Tennessean has Saban and Alabama finishing fourth (fourth!) in the West.
  • ESPN Gameday may be headed to Berkley for the season-opener between the Vols and the Golden Bears.
  • Center Josh McNeil has been named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. The Rimington is given to college football's most outstanding center. Speaking of McNeil, he has the following quote on his Facebook profile:
    It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

    Strong stuff from Theodore Roosevelt, talking about citizenship at the University of Paris in 1910. The concept is becoming part of my developing mission statement for Rocky Top Talk. I'll most likely mention it again later this summer in a post of its own, but I wanted to throw it out there now. I'm hoping to keep it in mind with everything I write here. If it means I get criticized for being too homerish or too easy on the team or a coach, so be it. I'm a fan, and I will support the actual doers of deeds in Orange.

  • ESPN's Bruce Feldman recently had a piece on Brandon Warren, who you will recall is trying to transfer from Florida State to Tennessee. The latest, from GoVolsXtra, is that he's enrolled at Pellissippi State and will apply this week for fall admission to Tennessee. Once admitted, Tennessee can file a hardship waiver request on Warren's behalf. The majority opinion as to why FSU decided not to grant Warren a release from his letter of intent is that Warren steered former teammate Rae Sykes to Tennessee during Sykes' official visit to Tallahassee. But here's the thing. Don't schools try to hook up recruits with players from their hometown precisely because they think they'll be more influential than some stranger with which they have nothing in common? Florida State should not be shocked that Warren influenced Sykes' decision on where to attend college -- that's what they wanted. They just didn't know that Warren regretted his decision to play at FSU. And whose fault is that?
  • I've posted fast, fast, fast No. 17 in Tennessee's class of 2007, and Nos. 16 and 15 are in the can ready to go live Tuesday and Wednesday morning. That should give me enough time to have Nos. 14 and 13 Thursday and Friday, so we should have one up every day this week. I see that CFAJ has something in the queue as well, so be sure to stop back regularly this week.
  • The Men's golf team recently placed fifth at regionals and is advancing to the NCAA Championships. Meanwhile, the men's track team won the SEC outdoor championship and moved up to sixth in the polls, and the Volunteer baseball team just beat the Gators to clinch a trip to the SEC Tournament.
  • Speaking of baseball, don't miss Corn Nation's interview with Baseball America's Aaron Fitt.

Until later, then.