It’s football time in Tennessee! Well, almost. The 2019 college football season officially started with two games on Saturday, August 24th, (Miami vs. Florida and Arizona at Hawaii). The Vols will open this Saturday with Georgia State in Neyland Stadium at 3:30pm on ESPNU.
The last four National Championships have had alternating wins between Alabama and Clemson. Those past four National Champions were also all ranked number one in the AP top 25 preseason rankings. (Dear sports gods, please end that streak.) The number one ranked team in the CFP rankings on week 14 has not been the National Champion. I love excel, so here is a visual of the pattern: (See 1st excel image, scroll up)
All we can do is pray that the AP preseason poll gets it wrong! I’m so over hearing about Mr. Sunshine (QB Trevor Lawrence) and Yabba Dabba Doo Swinny (my college roommate, Courtney, hates Clemson and always called Dabo that). The real Sunshine (from Remember the Titans) went to the University of South Carolina. This kid is a total sellout for going to Clemson with that nickname and for growing up a Tennessee fan.
Speaking of sellout, it’s spelled: C-L-E-M-S-O-N-’S S-C-H-E-D-U-L-E. Clemson is starting the season ranked number one and their cupcake schedule is a joke. They should easily be back playing for the ACC title and make it back to the college football play-off (insert eye roll). Gosh, I’d love to see Texas A&M whoop Clemson on September 7th. Last year, the Tigers only won by two points and A&M was by far the toughest team they faced all regular season. Imagine if Clemson had to play Alabama and Georgia every year along with another SEC west team just to get to the conference championship game! No way would they be as full of themselves as they are now. Yes, Clemson has pulled off winning a big game each season, but could they win big games every week in the SEC, I don’t think so!
You can argue that Swinny is a heck of a coach. Clemson currently sits at number nine in 24/7’s 2019 College Football Talent Composite list. This list ranks teams based on how the kids were ranked coming out of high school in terms of five stars, four stars, and three stars. The more “stars”, the higher you rank. Take a look: (see 2nd excel image, scroll up)
This is where you can give Swinny some credit. His highest ranking (#6) was in 2018 and they won the National Championship. Clemson still consistently ranks in the top 13 with talented kids so it’s not like they are getting total scrubs. But the more I look at this chart, the more I start to question how the “stars” are assigned to players. Tennessee went 9-4 in 2015 and 2016. Went 4-8 in 2017 and 5-7 in 2018. Either these kids were overrated coming out of high school or Butch Jones should be behind bars for having Alvin Kamara as the backup. Probably more of the latter, but Tennessee has to play both Alabama and Georgia EVERY YEAR and throw in LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M in the SEC west cycle and Oklahoma and you have one tough schedule year after year. Clemson only has to play Florida State every year and have just recently added either Auburn or A&M to their weak schedule.
But let’s talk about the real orange team in college football; pantone 151 The University of Tennessee. The last decade has been a roller coaster of emotions for Rocky Top. Lane Kiffin was basically a one-night stand, Derek Dooley was flat out embarrassing, and Butch Jones is the best conman in college football. Jeremy Pruitt is our present and I think the future looks bright knowing that we now have a coach who can manage a game. Pruitt got a pass for last year’s 5-7 season due to the mess he inherited and his first year as a head coach. We would love to see a New Year’s six game, but then we would be talking about miracles instead of wishes. (Love those SEC Shorts videos!) As Jeremy Pruitt starts his second season as the Vols head coach, I’m rooting for the “stars” to align in Knoxville.