Sunday, November 25, 2007

A game for the ages

Yesterday my in-laws hosted a family football party for the Tennessee-Kentucky football game that also doubled as a Thanksgiving celebration for part of the family who weren't able to be together Thursday. We all enjoyed some turkey on the rotisserie, dressing, broccoli casserole, bourbon and rum pecan pie, a few drinks, and one of the greatest college football games of the season-in fact one of the greatest I believe I have ever seen. In my mind, only Tennessee's six-overtime thriller over Arkansas a few years back, and Ohio State's dramatic double-overtime triumph over Miami in the 2002 National Championship Game could possibly top it.

For much of the game, it really looked like the Vols were in control, but in the second half Kentucky both outscored and simply outplayed Tennessee. The Wildcats' field goal to tie the game at 31 at the end of the 4th Quarter would send it to overtime and what would become a five-hour marathon. At one point, Kentucky had the chance to win it after the Vols failed to score, but when the Wildcats' Lones Sieber lined up for the game-winning field goal during the second overtime, Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams came through with a desperation block. Fittingly, the game ended after Kentucky failed to convert on a two-point conversion (two-pointers are mandatory after the second overtime in college football) after a touchdown at the end of the fourth overtime.

From the sound of everyone present, you would have thought we were there in Lexington-we certainly had our own little Vol Nation at that party. I've been to many a football party and had many a good time at one, but I don't think I've experienced or seen such exuberance as I did at the end of yesterday's game.

In recent years, the Tennessee-Kentucky rivalry has been a game that is easy to blow off. It has become so lopsided in Tennessee's favor that it is hard to call it a rivalry anymore. That all changed this year. Tennessee won, but nobody (and I mean nobody) gave up-it was a game for the ages.

For Tennessee, it is on to Atlanta next week for the SEC Championship Game against mighty LSU.

While you're at it, look out for Ohio State. Missouri beat Kansas yesterday and will play Oklahoma next week in the Big 12 Championship Game. Should Oklahoma upset Mizzou (a real possibility), or Pittsburgh upset West Virginia next week, that would place the Buckeyes back in the top two, and they could be playing for the National Championship.



At Sunday, November 25, 2007 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...


That was a classic, indeed. I don't know what it is about the SEC and overtime, but our beloved football conference has, by far, the most unbelievable overtime games anywhere. The Arkansas/LSU game on Friday, which finished 50-48 in 3 OT, was just as good as UT/UK.

With that said, my gut says that the BCS title game will either be West Virginia vs Ohio State or West Virginia vs Missouri. After WVU just destroyed a very good UConn team 66-21 and after Pitt got hammered at home yesterday, I just can't see Pitt beating the Mountaineers. For Missouri, they're a little bit healthier and are playing much better (I think) than when they first played Oklahoma this year. That first meeting was in Norman, and Missouri led in the 4th quarter. I won't write off Oklahoma -- they're very capable of winning -- but if I had to choose now, I'd pick Missouri to win the Big 12.

If Missouri and West Virginia both lose, then the three possible opponents for OSU in the title game would be Oklahoma and either LSU and/or Virginia Tech (if one or both win their conference championship). The big question is, of course, how far LSU will drop from #1. Whichever of those three is highest ranked after today will have the best shot at sneaking in if WVU and Missouri slip up next week.

One team who will definitely be rooting for Pitt and Oklahoma is Illinois. If OSU ends up in the BCS title game, the Illini will almost certainly replace OSU in the Rose Bowl to play USC. Unbelievable -- the Zooker may just have the Illini in the Rose for the first time in FOREVER.

By the way, I might be up for a show tonight late...will let you know later, if you're up for it.


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