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LINKS: Fulmer and/or Blackburn Reportedly Finalists For Tennessee Athletic Director Job

Maybe they just really love the chase? Plus bracketology, NFL Combine invites, and more: it’s your Thursday links!

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee-Press Conference Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Morning folks. First up:
While the Vols’ single-point loss to Georgia over the weekend didn’t prevent them from just squeaking onto the list of the sixty-eight teams in the NCAA Committee's first official rankings of the season, this week sure hasn’t done Tennessee any favors: in addition to Tuesday’s Valentine’s Day Massacre at Rupp, former Vol opponents South Carolina (vs. Arkansas), Georgia Tech (vs. Miami), Kansas State (vs. Iowa State) and Presbyterian (vs. UNC-Asheville) all lost, which isn’t exactly helpful. The Vols currently stand at #46 in RPI; Bracket Matrix (as of late Wednesday) lists Tennessee at #3 amongst the first four out, in on 37 of 112 brackets.

We have no idea what this means in any practical sense other than a lot of cancelled Spring Break keggers, but Butch Jones released his spring practice schedule yesterday, which will run a brief 4 12 weeks, as compared to the 6-week schedule he’s used in the past. This year’s Orange and White game will be April 22nd.

Six Vols- Derek Barnett, Josh Dobbs, Alvin Kamara, Josh Malone, Cam Sutton, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin - have been invited to this year’s NFL combine, the most since 2014-15. Barnett and Kamara are both widely-seen as first-round picks. Corey Vereen and Jason Croom were both somewhat suprising omissions, though it’s possible both might find places in the league; 38 players not invited were drafted last year. The combine will be televised on the NFL network March 3rd-6th, if you like watching windsprints and/or hate your life.

This is nice: the Tennessee North Atlanta Alumni Chapter will name their annual scholarship after Josh Dobbs.

During the board’s discussion, Ideker said Dobbs’ athletic performance at UT wasn’t even one of the top three factors in honoring him. The board focused on Dobbs’ success in the classroom, his community service and his embodiment of UT’s Torchbearer creed to light a path for others.

“After the discussion somebody said, ‘You know, we haven’t even mentioned a damn thing about football’ and he had 87 touchdowns, beat Florida for the first time in 11 years, had the Hail Mary to beat Georgia and had three straight bowl wins,” Ideker said. “That was all just a platform for him to positively represent the university.”

If you’d like to contribute, you can donate here; the Chapter is also holding a golf tournament on April 24 at the Alpharetta Athletic Club, with Dobbs as guest host.

So Beverly Davenport officially assumed her duties as new Tennessee Chancellor yesterday, saying she planned to hire a new Athletic Director “as quickly as we can do it,” though she didn’t mention a target date. Now, earlier this week 247 reported David Blackburn and Phillip Fulmer were the two finalists to replace the retiring Dave Hart- and in fact may both be hired in some capacity (though apparently Blackburn is not interested in a subordinate role, and would only consider the full Athletic Director position). So juuuuust to recap, this search has:

... and will reach exactly the same conclusion as every caller to every sports radio call-in show in the state. Round of applause everybody! Great job.

Happy Thursday!