By Steve Williams

Bobbie Fisher, who operates my favorite booth at the Expo Center Flea Market with her husband John, told me she would be rooting for Jeremy Pruitt and Alabama in the upcoming College Football Playoffs.

And I quickly told her I would be, too, as I’m sure a lot of Tennessee fans will be doing.

Pruitt, of course, is finishing out his commitment to the Alabama program, and particularly the players, in his job as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator. As soon as Alabama is eliminated or wins the national championship, he will head back to Knoxville and resume his duties as the University of Tennessee’s new head coach.

I don’t mind at all that Pruitt is coaching at Alabama to season’s end. What he’s doing is a reflection of his character. He’s been with those Alabama players all season and they deserve to finish what they started together. I’m sure he would do the same for Tennessee.

Not long after leaving the Fishers’ booth, another vendor caught my eye. A Crimson Tide fan wearing an Alabama ball cap, even though he was from Crossville.

We got to talking about Coach Pruitt, and he said, “You know, it won’t be long before Tennessee fans start chanting, “Roll Vols.”

I said that’s not going to happen, but a lot of us Tennessee fans do like what we’ve seen and heard so far from Coach Pruitt.

And the better Alabama does, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, and the more TV exposure Coach Pruitt gets in semifinal game against Clemson and then possibly in the title game, the better that is for Tennessee.

With our Vols on the outside looking in, many of us thought we were going to have to go through another long bowl season without a rooting interest. But with Coach Pruitt still in the running, we have interest.

Go Bama! Well, I’ll go that far.


BOWL CONTEST: I’m 4-4 in mine through the first eight games. No, I haven’t been flipping a coin, though it does look that way.

Football bowl contests aren’t as popular as March Madness basketball brackets, but I like to participate mainly so I’ll have a team to pull for if I am watching one of the 41 bowl games.


COMING UP: I’ll be pulling for David Cutcliffe and Duke against Northern Illinois in today’s Quick Lane Bowl. Speaking of Lane, what about Florida Atlantic’s 50-3 romp past Akron and the 10-year contract Kiffin now has with the Owls?

Missouri will be the first SEC team to take the field when the Tigers play Texas Wednesday in the Texas Bowl. Kentucky in the Music City Bowl Friday against Northwestern also will be worth a peek.

I think the 12:30 appetizer on New Year’s Day between unbeaten Central Florida and Auburn is intriguing. It’s too bad we don’t have an eight-team playoff bracket. The Black Knights and War Eagles would be in it, plus USC and Ohio State who will battle in the Cotton Bowl Friday.