By Steve Williams

The food menu for New Year’s Day is still the same, but the TV menu has certainly changed over the years.

I look forward to having black-eyed peas and cornbread tomorrow, with maybe some greens and fried potatoes on the side.

They say, particularly here in the South, that black-eyed peas are supposed to bring you good luck. But that’s not why I eat them. I just like them and eat them often throughout the year.

But as I enjoy this tasty dish, I won’t be seeing those traditional college football bowl games like I did growing up in the 1960s and ’70s – the Cotton, Sugar, Rose and Orange bowls. They were the “big four” on New Year’s Day until the Fiesta Bowl came along in 1971.

This season’s Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl have already been played as the hosts of the College Football Playoff semifinal games. You probably watched Notre Dame go against Clemson in the Cotton Bowl Saturday afternoon, followed by the Orange Bowl Saturday night matching Alabama and Oklahoma.

The semifinal winners will play in the 2019 CFP championship game Monday night, Jan. 7, in Santa Clara, Calif.

This New Year’s Day lineup includes (I refuse to mention the sponsoring companies) the Outback, Citrus, Fiesta, Rose and Sugar bowls.

It’s still a full day of football, and actually even more games than we had back in the day. But it’s just not quite the same for us old-timers.

At least the black-eyed peas are as good as ever!


WAIT A MINUTE: When I heard reports that the University of Tennessee might be considering hiring the Atlanta Falcons’ Steve Sarkisian as its new offensive coordinator, a red flag went up.

Wasn’t he the coach who once had an alcohol drinking problem at Southern Cal? I did some checking and sure enough found out he was that guy.

If Sarkisian is indeed on deck for the job, I wish Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt would reconsider.

As I write this, word is the Falcons are expected to clean house after their final game and that includes the removal of their offensive coordinator, Sarkisian, who previously was fired as head coach at USC in 2015 after reports came out he had an alcohol drinking problem.

In between his jobs at Southern Cal and Atlanta, Sarkisian was on the Alabama staff as an analyst in 2016 when Pruitt was the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator.

“You can have him,” more than one Atlanta Falcon fan might say about Sarkisian.

And for good reason.

Under Sarkisian, Atlanta’s offensive point production fell off significantly in 2017, dropping from a NFL-best 33.8 points per game in 2016 to 22.1 points. This season, the Falcons are averaging 25.3 points, which ranks 11th in the league.

Sarkisian may check off many of the boxes Pruitt wants in an offensive coordinator – he’s a former QB coach, an experienced play-caller and a former college head coach who likes a pro-style offense with a downhill running game – but is he the most deserving?

I don’t think so. Sarkisian has had his chances in big-time college football, and things didn’t work out. There are plenty of other offensive-minded coaches out there that have paid their dues and deserve a first chance to move up.

Pruitt only needs to look at his own situation. UT AD Phillip Fulmer gave him that first chance to be a head coach in big-time college football because he had paid his dues and been successful. In this case, I think it would be best for Tennessee football if Pruitt were to follow Fulmer’s approach.


URBAN UPDATE: It’s unbelievable that Urban Meyer, who will step down as head football coach at Ohio State after the Rose Bowl, will be co-teaching a “character and leadership” course at Ohio State’s College of Business next year. But it’s been announced he will do just that plus work with Athletic Director Gene Smith “in some capacity.”

Meyer was suspended the first three games of the 2018 season for lying to reporters at the Big Ten Conference Media Days about his knowledge of repeated domestic violence allegations against his former assistant coach Zach Smith. He had hired Smith at Florida and Ohio State.

I sure would like to be a fly on the wall when a student asks Meyer about that.