By Steve Williams
This and that:
Last Friday afternoon’s unseasonably warmer weather, with the temperature in the 60s, came just in time for Tennessee’s baseball season opener against Memphis.
It reminded me of how often hot summer days in late August suddenly give way to cooler temps and low humidity just in time for football openers.
It’s also just more proof that Mother Nature is often a sports fan. It’s Old Man Winter who’s not.
TOO MUCH: I had to finally turn my radio off last Friday. One local radio sports talk show was talking about the Peyton Manning “mooning” of 20 years ago for the third day in a row. It just goes to show you sports talk hosts at radio stations with sports talk 24/7 often have too much time air time to fill. They can sometimes be too repetitious, even for the most avid sports fan.
I wish these stations would air some classic broadcasts of past UT football and basketball games – like George Mooney’s call of the 1965 “Rosebonnet Bowl,” a regular season football thriller between Dewey Warren and the Vols versus UCLA or a replay of John Ward’s description of Ray Mears’ Vols wrapping up the SEC basketball championship with that double-overtime win at Mississippi State in 1967. I still remember lying in the living room floor, listening to the game.
GOOD NEWS: I did hear about some positivity before I turned off the radio: UT basketball player Kyle Alexander, a well-spoken freshman from Canada who continues to get better and better, bought a blanket for a homeless person to help that person stay warm … Josh Dobbs, UT quarterback, conducted a passing camp for legislators in Nashville at UT Day. (I have a feeling they’re much better at passing laws and bills) … The football Vols are a 14 to 1 pick to win the national title next season. I believe they said only three or four other teams have better chances … Tobias Harris, former one-and-done UT basketball player, was traded to the Detroit Pistons but still kept his speaking engagement with a youth group in Orlando before packing his bags and leaving … Defensive lineman Jerod Mayo, so tough he once played with only one arm for Tennessee because his other arm was injured, retired from the NFL. He had been a captain for the New England Patriots seven out of the past eight seasons.
GOOD IDEA: For a long time, I’ve thought UT should find a way to add gymnastics as one of its sports for women. And I’m even more convinced now, after watching Auburn compete against Alabama in that sport recently on the SEC TV network. The exciting atmosphere included cheerleaders and a good crowd. On this particular night, homestanding Auburn defeated its arch-rival for the first time since 1979. Gymnastics is such a great spectator sport.
NFL ODDS: Looking ahead to 2016 season, some oddsmakers have the Patriots a 7 to 1 favorite to win the Super Bowl. Current champion Denver was seventh on the list at 12-1. Eric Berry and the Chiefs are 20-1. Others include the Falcons at 40-1, the Titans at 66-1 and the Browns anywhere from 150-1 to 200-1.
TOURNEY TIME: High school district basketball tournaments started last week and the region tourneys will be starting soon for Division 1 teams. Top teams that avoid Old Man Upset will make it to Murphy Center in Murfreesboro March 9-12.
If you get a chance, check out some of the action. Sports drama doesn’t get any better than an elimination game going down to the wire.