So, it turns out that Andy Staples ($$) is a Tennessee Truther.
This is why I’ve always advocated a simpler way to decide who is No. 4 and who is No. 5. The best way is to kidnap the head coach of the No. 1 team, take him to an undisclosed location and administer a truth serum. Then ask that coach one question: Who would you rather play?
So in this case an unmarked van would roll up on Kirby Smart in Athens. A bag would be placed over his head — he’s a former All-SEC safety, so our hired goons are getting elbowed in the face for sure — and the next thing he’d see are the CFP committee members. The needle would go in, and NC State athletic director Boo Corrigan would ask the magic question.
Corrigan: Kirby, would you prefer to play Tennessee or USC?
Smart: Give me the Trojans.
Corrigan: Vols it is.
Based on what, exactly, pray tell? Not the game that Seth Emerson ($$) and I watched.
Tennessee on a neutral field — if Atlanta can be called that — still could be interesting. But what we saw in Athens was about more than just the home-field advantage; it was a reminder about the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s. There’s some revisionist history going on about the Georgia-Tennessee game, but Georgia had a 24-6 lead at halftime — it should’ve been 28-6 if not for overthinking the clock in the final minute — and total yards were lopsided. Then the rain hit, and Kirby Smart decided to play for the win, not the style points.
This was predictable. The further we get from the game, the more the case is made in some quarters that it wasn’t the blowout it really was. But even without the rain, if Georgia punches in that touchdown at the end of the half, or if Arian Smith hauls in that deep ball in the fourth quarter, you’re talking about a final score of 31-13 or even 34-13, which seems a lot different than 27-13.
Even that understates things. The Vols were outclassed on both lines of scrimmage and if there’s one eternal truth about SEC football, it’s that you can’t lose the lines of scrimmage and still win the game, neutral field or otherwise.