By Steve Williams

About this time every year, after the last football game of the season has been played, we hear fans moaning about the long wait ahead until next season.

It’s a depressing time for many. You would think they had been sentenced to only cold and darkness, bread and water, for the next seven months.

Be sure and keep a close eye on Bubba over the next few days. Smuggle all sharp objects out of his man cave, if you can. Call often.

Seriously, when you get right down to it, football fans are shortchanged on the sports calendar. Their season can be over in a little over three months, and they only get to watch their favorite team play once a week. At best, if you measure the season from Kickoff Classic to Super Bowl, the football fan who is interested in both the colleges and pros has five months of games to enjoy.

The NBA, counting playoffs, plays eight months out of the year, and major league baseball lasts for seven months. Including college play, baseball is actually played nine months out of the year, from February through October.

After the Super Bowl, football fans do get a National Signing Day, a NFL Draft, a college spring game, Media Days in August and several NFL preseason exhibition games.

If that’s not enough, there’s also the Arena Football League and the Lingerie League, which this year has been rebranded as the Legends League. (Yes, guys, they’re still wearing lingerie).

If you really get the shakes, there’s some other pro and semi-pro leagues out there, too, like the Lone Star Football League. Before going to that extreme, though, I’d suggest watching the Miracle at South Bend or the replay of the 1986 Sugar Bowl, anything prior to 2009, if you know what I mean.

With National Signing Day this week, I recently heard an interesting comment from Butch Jones, new Tennessee head football coach. He said, in this day and age, for many college football recruits, making a “commitment” equates to making a hotel “reservation.”

Unfortunately, he’s right. For years, I’ve questioned why the media continues to list recruits under the heading “commitments,” after they publicly announce their college choice, since the term has been misused so often.

Hopefully, UT recruit MarQuez North, a 4-star wide receiver from Charlotte, who last week committed to sign with the Vols, knows the true meaning of the word commitment.


SEYMOUR GIRLS basketball team could be standing in the way of Grainger County wrapping up a perfect regular season record this Friday night. The Grainger High team out of Rutledge is 26-0 heading into a home game against Chuckey-Doak this Tuesday. If the Lady Grizzlies get past that one, they’ll only have Seymour left to conquer to claim perfection.

Seymour lost at Grainger 69-46 earlier this season. The Lady Eagles will have the home-court advantage this time, with the regular season finale set to tip off at 6:30.

The Grainger girls, whose list of victims include Gibbs and Halls out of Knox County, narrowly kept their streak going last week with a 47-45 win at Pigeon Forge.

The weight of a long win streak always seems to get heavier with each victory. If you like the action and drama of girls high school basketball, this might be a good one to check out.


THERE’LL BE plenty of excitement at Karns Middle School this week with the annual Knox County Middle School basketball tournament. With Saturday’s snow, the tourney schedule had to be revised. Quarterfinal games will be played today and Tuesday, the semifinals on Thursday and the consolation and championship games on Saturday.

Powell’s boys and Northwest’s girls won regular season titles and are the No. 1 seeds.

Powell topped the boys’ league standings with a 13-0 record, followed by Bearden 12-1, Farragut 10-3 and Karns 9-4. Northwest also was 13-0 in the final girls’ standings, ahead of West Valley 12-1, Farragut 11-2 and Powell 10-3.


THE LADY VOLS were able to joke a little last week about their ongoing injury issues. After sophomore forward Cierra Burrdick (fractured hand) returned to action and was replaced by sophomore post Isabella Harrison (knee surgery) on the injury shelf, Burrdick cracked, “I don’t think Izzy is as mobile as I am, so she’s going to have to learn to step up her cheerleading skills after her surgery.”

Tennessee remained in first place in the SEC heading into Sunday’s game at Missouri. The regular season title could come down to the final game against Kentucky in Lexington on March 3. Hopefully, Harrison and all the Lady Vols will be playing basketball instead of cheerleading by then.