Posted on: October 8, 2010 3:19 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 5:15 pm

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 6

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.


Main Course - #2 Ohio State vs. Indiana - Noon - ESPN

You know what the real problem is with the ACC and Big East being so awful/mediocre this year?  It really leaves the early menu of games leaving a lot to be desired.  I mean, I have Ohio State and Indiana as the morning's best option.

Think about that for a second.  Ohio State and Indiana.  A game which hasn't seen the Hoosiers get within more than 19 points of the Buckeyes in every meeting since 2002 -- though the teams didn't meet in 2007 or 2008.  The good news for Indiana is that the 19-point loss came last season, with Ben Chappell at quarterback.

The Hoosiers offense has been very impressive this season, but the Buckeyes will be by far their biggest test six weeks into the year.  Considering that we can't be sure just how healthy Terrelle Pryor is, and the struggles the Buckeyes had in Champaign last week, this game could prove to be more interesting than you'd think.

Side Orders: Should that game go the blowout route, your other options Saturday morning would be the ACC fare of North Carolina State and Boston College.   One is a team looking to rebound from its first loss, the other is a team that is having its three quarterbacks pick a number between 1-10 to see who gets to start.  If you prefer something else, you can watch Georgia and Tennessee fight to see which school's season is more far gone than the other.  It's a must win for Mark Richt, because a loss to Tennessee at home would only send him to the hospital with third-degree burns on his backside.


Main Course - #19 South Carolina vs #1 Alabama - 3:30pm - CBS

If there's one thing I think we can all be certain at this point of the college football season it's that Alabama is the best team in the country.  There's a bit of a gap between them and Ohio State and Oregon, but after the Ducks, things drop off quite a bit.  That being said, going in to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks shouldn't be a cakewalk for the Tide.

What I think will be the key to this one is if Marcus Lattimore can do anything against the Alabama defense.  While the Alabama defense is barely giving up nine points a game, they are allowing an average of 101 yards per game on the ground. 

Though even if the Gamecocks do get a ground game going, they still have to stop Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, which no one has done to this point ('Bama is averaging 230 yards a game rushing).  Considering the Gamecocks allow 128.3 yards a contest on the ground, I'm not sure they're up for the challenge either.

Side Orders:
Listen, if people are taking this Michigan/Michigan State game so seriously that they're willing to die in order to see it, maybe you can take a few hours of your Saturday and do the same.  There is never a bad time to watch Denard Robinson play football, as he is without question the most dangerous one-man show in the sport right now.  If that's not good enough for you, check out Arkansas and Texas A&M.   One team has a quarterback who lives up to the hype, and the other has a quarterback who lives up to the hype on one series and then proceeds to get that hype lodged in his throat, suffocating himself and his team.  See if you can tell which one is which.


Main Course - #14 Florida vs. #12 LSU - 7:30pm - ESPN

This game will be interesting for plenty of reasons, but perhaps none more so than the battles between the fans in the seats.  Watch as LSU and Florida fans argue about which team's offensive coordinator is going to drive some student to the top of the nearest bell tower with a sniper rifle sooner.  Then watch the other fan base tell them that if their offensive coordinator climbed up that same tower he'd only manage to fall out before getting a single shot off.

Then watch both fan bases fall into each other's arms in tears, unified in despair.  Then they'd smile when both agreeing that if it were Les Miles atop that tower, he'd kill 40 people before going to trial and being found not guilty on some technicality.

Side Orders: Though the rivalry between Florida State and Miami has lost some of its luster the last few years, the fact is both teams come into this game ranked and looking to stay on top of their respective divisions in the ACC.  Or you can watch Stanford try to run its win streak over USC to three games in Palo Alto as Ed Orgeron yells incoherently from home thanks to that staph infection in his leg.

Late Night Snack

The Washington Huskies look to build on any momentum they picked up by beating USC on the road last week against an Arizona State team that couldn't headbutt its way to a victory against Oregon State.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 1:16 pm

Matt Simms has 'mastered how to take a sack'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

They say practice makes perfect, and if that is indeed the case, then it's no surprise that Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms feels he's really good at one particular aspect of his job.  Simms has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the SEC, 18 times in five games, which means the Tennessee offensive line is allowing 3.6 sacks a game.

Which is good enough to rank them 117 out of 120 FBS schools.

The offensive line shouldn't worry about it, though, because Simms is pretty good at taking them.  In fact, he thinks he's "mastered" the art of getting leveled by a blitzing linebacker.

"I know it sounds weird, but I really think I've kind of mastered how to take a sack and just protect my body and protect the football," said Simms on Wednesday. "Really, most people would think you try to tense up and kind of ball up your muscle, but really you kind of relax and let your body go, really to be honest, and not try to brace yourself by putting your hand out or bracing the fall."

Which, in a way, just about sums up the entire Volunteers season for Tennessee fans.  Just relax and welcome the deathblow.

Simms in on pace to be sacked 43 times this season, and that doesn't include the countless hits he's taking after getting rid of the ball.  On Saturday against LSU I saw about eight pass plays in a row in which Simms either ended up being sacked or knocked on his butt.  At that rate he'll be a full-fledged sack swami by November.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 5, 2010 12:10 pm

Vince Dooley won't be attending Georgia/Tennessee

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Vince Dooley spent 25 seasons roaming the sidelines at Georgia before becoming the school's athletic director, and has seen many games played at Sanford Stadium.  He will not be spending his Saturday in Athens this week, however, when his son Derek Dooley brings the Volunteer's to town.  The elder Dooley has gone to three of his son's first five games with Tennessee -- though he didn't attend the latest Les Miles magic trick -- but this one just doesn't feel right.

While his wife, Barbara, will likely be attending the game Vince is content to sit at home on the couch and watch it on television.

"They've got those high-tech TV cameras, and they can find you, but I'm going to be at home. I'm going to pull for my son, but I'm not going to pull for him at Sanford Stadium," Dooley said Monday. "I spent 40 years at the school, so that's the last thing I'm going to do."

The conflict of interest is obvious, so it's hard to blame Dooley for not wanting to attend the game in person.  Plus, by staying home and watching on television he's afforded the opportunity to change the channel.  Who wants to watch a four-hour funeral?
Posted on: October 2, 2010 7:07 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 8:22 pm

Christmas comes early for Les Miles

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You can always count on one thing when watching a college football game that features a team coached by Les Miles.   There's going to be some game clock mismanagement and probably an insane ending to the game to go with it.  We got just that on Saturday in Baton Rouge.

Tennessee had a 14-10 lead on LSU in the final minutes of the game, with LSU driving.  With a minute and a half left in the game the Tigers faced a 4th and 9, and being down by four, had to go for it.  Of course, being LSU, they had to pick up a delay of game penalty first.  Still, somehow Jarrett Lee fired a pass through three Tennessee defenders and into the arms of Terrence Tolliver for a first down.

Then the crazy started.

LSU had the ball at the Tennessee two-yard line in the final seconds, facing a second and goal.  Les Miles then sent Jordan Jefferson in for Lee so that Jefferson could run a quarterback draw.  Jefferson was tackled at the one-yard line, and since LSU had no timeouts left, the Tigers had to scramble back to the line.

Which, for some reason known to nobody but Les Miles, was when the Tigers starting sending in substitutions.  That head scratcher was then met with Tennessee sending in substitutions, with the clock winding down all the while.  So, eventually, LSU snapped the ball with a second left on the clock, but the snap was low and Jefferson couldn't corral it.  So Tennessee jumped on the ball and the celebration started for Derek Dooley and his boys.

A celebration that didn't last very long, for there was a penalty flag on the field.  Remember all those inexplicable substitutions?  Yes, well, it turns out Tennessee sent out one too many and had 12 men on the field.

LSU got one more play, untimed, and Stevan Ridley got in the end zone.  LSU won, and somehow Les Miles will still be employed tomorrow morning.

Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:24 pm

LSU and Tennessee tied 7-7 at halftime

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I start this post off with that highlight of Jordan Jefferson 's 83-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter because since then this game has been a whole lot of ugly.  LSU has 216 yards of offense in the first half, but once you remove Jefferson's run from that total, it becomes a lot less impressive.  Instead it's been more of the same things we saw against West Virginia last week.

The Tigers have turned the ball over twice, and when they weren't turning it over they were spending their time dropping snaps, passes, or just plain overthrowing receivers by 20 yards.  In other words, Jordan Jefferson is putting the entire repertoire on display this afternoon.

Why Les Miles and Gary Crowton do anything other than hand the ball to Stevan Ridley, I'll never know.

The good news for LSU is that its defense is still its defense.  Tennessee managed to score a touchdown late in the first quarter, but the majority of the time the Vols have been peeling Matt Simms off the ground.  The LSU defensive line is manhandling Tennessee's offensive line, and they're making Simms pay just about every time he drops back to pass.

Posted on: October 1, 2010 3:49 pm

The Saturday Meal Plan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Saturday in the bathroom.


Main Course - Clemson vs. #16 Miami - Noon - ESPN2

Okay, so once again breakfast has a lot of weak sauce in it this week, but we promise you that lunch and dinner are going to be a lot better.  Just remember what your mom used to tell you: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  So eat this up because you're going to need it to help prepare you for the rest of the day.

Just beware that while the Miami looks good using too much Jacory Harris in it can cause indigestion.

Side Orders: This morning we offer some sides that should fill you up, but will probably leave you hating yourself for eating it later.  There's Ohio State steamrolling Illinois, and our "Ninth Place in the SEC" special, Mississippi and Kentucky.   If you already hate yourself, try some of the Minnesota and Northwestern.


Main Course - #8 Oklahoma vs. #21 Texas - 3:30pm - ABC

Now that you've choked down your breakfast we can reward you with the real food for the day.  We're offering our Red River Rivalry this afternoon which is chock full of red meat deliciousness.   Just remember that the Longhorn can be somewhat tough and inconsistent. 

Texas has a lot on their plate this week, as they are coming off a rather embarrassing loss at home to UCLA last week, and a similar performance against Oklahoma this weekend could destroy the rest of their season. 

Side Orders: If you're not sure you can handle all the beef in our main course we do offer plenty of other options this afternoon.  There's Michigan State hosting Wisconsin in a game that will give us a better idea of what either team is really about this season.  There's also North Carolina State and Virginia Tech, or if offenses that set the game of football back 80 years are more your style, there's always LSU and Tennessee.   My advice is to just watch Patrick Peterson in that game.


Main Course - #1 Alabama vs. #7 Florida - 8pm - CBS

We didn't lead you astray with our Alabama and Arkansas last week, and we promise you that this week's Florabama won't disappoint either.  Alabama has already faced it's first real test of the season, but this week they are the test.  Florida is 4-0 but didn't wow any of the critics until last week's Trey Burton-centric dismantling of Kentucky.

If the Gators can manage to get past the Tide they'll officially be back in the national championship picture.

Side Orders: It's not a bad night when your second choice features another two top ten teams.  If fowl is more your taste, then try the Oregon and Stanford.   The Pac-10 doesn't have a championship game, yet, but this game basically is just that.  Two high-scoring offenses finally get to test two defenses that have proven sturdy thus far.  If you prefer something a bit more old-fashioned we're also offering Iowa and Penn State.

Late Night Snacks

Nevada and Colin Kaepernick are two things you'll probably be hearing about quite a bit in the coming weeks, as they're essentially the last thing standing between Boise State and an undefeated season.  So why not check them out when they travel to Vegas to take on UNLV?
Posted on: September 25, 2010 3:25 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 4:06 pm

UAB giving Tennessee all it can handle

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Things are a bit rocky on Rocky Top this afternoon as the Tennessee Volunteers currently find themselves in a 23-23 tie against the UAB Blazers at Neyland Stadium.  As bad as that is, it could be a lot worse.

UAB kicker Josh Zaun has missed four field goals on the afternoon.  That's right, four.  If Zaun had only made one of his attempts UAB would currently be leading.  In fact, aside from Zaun's performance, the Blazers have been dominating this game.  The Blazers have outgained the Vols 470-220 and Tennessee's offense has done nothing but punt during the second half.

They are zero for 10 on third down.

There's still eight minutes to go in the game so the outcome is clearly up in the air, but the way that the Vols have played in the second half, don't be surprised at all of the Blazers leave Neyland with a win.

UPDATE : This game has headed to overtime.  Tennessee will have the ball first.

UPDATE: The sixth try is the charm for kicker Josh Zaun as he finally makes a field goal to tie the game at 26-26 and force a second overtime.

FINAL: Tennessee wins 32-29 in double overtime thanks to Matt Simms finding Denarius Moore on the Vols' first play following a UAB field goal.  Upset averted.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 22, 2010 1:46 pm

Lane Kiffin responds to Fulmer's comments

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last Saturday former Tennessee head coach and current CBS analyst Phillip Fulmer appeared on College Football Today and said some things about another former Tennessee coach, and current USC head honcho, Lane Kiffin.   More specifically Fulmer said that he's glad Kiffin is gone and called him "arrogant."   Well, Kiffin appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday and responded to Fulmer's comments.
"I was disappointed with that, Dan, and the reason I say that is because he never met me," Kiffin said. "And I've reached out a number of times to him, through people at the university, through people in the community. ... And he always declined to do that. And so I think that was the hard part to hear that said about somebody you had the opportunity to meet but never met. But just like I said from the day when I got there, I have great respect for Coach Fulmer and what he did there and the great run that he had. And to me he deserves to be a hall of fame coach."
Kiffin also went on to answer a question about whether he'd consider bringing the Trojans to Knoxville to play the Vols and said that he already tried to make it happen in Atlanta at the Chik-Fil-A Bowl next year, but was rebuffed.  He then said he'll keep trying and would like to schedule a home-and-home, saying that Neyland Stadium was "one of the greatest stadiums in America and the game-day atmosphere there is awesome. I would love to bring our team there for our players and our fans to experience that."

Good luck with that, Lane.  Something tells me that Tennessee won't be welcoming you back to Knoxville any time soon.  If they did, it'd likely be some kind of trap and I'm not sure you'd get out alive.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com