Sep 23 2010

Rocky Top

Rocky Top you’ll always be
Home sweet home to me
Good ole Rocky Top, Wooooooo
Rocky Top, Tennessee.

I have to say Rocky Top is a pretty cool song that can definitely get stuck in your head.  Like when you take a trip to a Tennessee Vols football game which me and a few buddies did this past Saturday.  There was no NC State football game, since we played on Thursday night, so this sounded like a great idea.  We had a Florida grad with us so he was going to root on the Gators, but I was going to watch some SEC football, check out Neyland Stadium, and experience Tennessee football & it’s traditions.

I had been to Tennessee several times before, but never for a football game.  Neyland Stadium is a wonderful setting to watch college football.  It sits right on the banks of the Tennessee River where the Vol Navy gathers on gamedays.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to experience the Vol Navy firsthand, but it is one of the coolest things in college football so I might have to work on a return trip so I can be an honorary member for a day.  Neyland is the 3rd largest college football stadium in the country behind Michigan Stadium (109,901) and Beaver Stadium (107,282) with a listed capacity of 102,459.  Saturday 102,455 people were there to watch the Vols enter the stadium by running through the T.  It’s nuances like this that makes college football the great sport that it is.

Running Through the T

With the stadium right in the middle of campus, the tailgating was scattered.  We met up and tailgated with some family.  They weren’t my family, but they became my family for the day.  We were in a quaint, friendly parking deck about a block off Cumberland Ave.  When we first arrived I wasn’t thrilled about tailgating in a deck, but being out of the sun was extremely nice on this scorching hot day so it worked out perfectly.  We had several TVs right around us that were showing all the games going on so we had plenty to watch.  We also had plenty to eat with a great spread that included sausage balls, spinach dip, brownies, pepperoni rolls, and maybe the best beef brisket I’ve ever eaten.  It was so tender and the sauce was absolute money.  I’m still hoping to get that recipe so I can add it to my Carter-Finley tailgating rotation.

There were a lot of extra curricular activities going on around the tailgate too so it was far from being a dull day.  We had a Knoxville policeman bring over some applie pie moonshine (no lie).  The same policeman even roughed me up and put me in some orange handcuffs.  Of course, it was all just for fun.  I also got a chance to hear some interesting stories from a retired Secret Service agent and see a lady pull down her pants and show her underwear which read “Hey You, Call Me.”  I’m pretty sure the message wasn’t for me because I never got her number.  She was the retired Secret Service agent’s wife anyway so probably best to leave that alone or risk disappearing off the face of the earth or something.  All in all it was a very fun, interesting day.

Don’t worry, this has not turned into a Tennessee Vols football blog.  I’ll be back talking NC State football tomorrow.  We do play Tennessee in Atlanta for the 2012 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic so in addition to a fun trip I was trying to do some recon work.  Not really, but that sounded good.  Maybe I’ll try to do this once a year.  I’d love to visit LSU, Georgia, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, Texas A&M, USC, Penn State, Oregon, Nebraska, and Auburn so we’ll see.

Feb 3 2010

Wishing Upon Some Stars

Well 2010 National Signing Day has come and gone.  It was a pretty routine day around the Murphy Center.  No surprises, good or bad.  My take: there are a few guys that really impress me, but overall it’s a lot of average.  I will admit it’s a little crazy ranking the classes 7 months before these guys ever play their first game, but if you think the rankings don’t matter then you’re a little naive.

There’s a bunch of different recruiting services that release rankings, so I averaged the rankings from Rivals, Scout, and ESPN to come up with a consensus ranking.  Let’s look at the consensus Top 10 classes in order:  Florida, Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, USC (sorry Cock fans … this is the real USC), LSU, UCLA, Florida State, and Penn State.  That list reads like a Who’s Who of college football programs.  It includes the last seven national champions and eight of them show up in the top 14 on the Top 25 College Programs of the Decade list put together by my buddies over at Frumpzilla (one of my college roomies and half my fantasy football league keep that site running so show them some love).  It’s a lot easier to win when you have the best players so let’s all just agree that the rankings do matter.

Speaking of rankings let’s get back to the Wolfpack’s class.  The recruiting gurus have it as the 6th or 7th best class … in the ACC.  I guess that is better than where we’ve finished in the actual league standings during the TOB era.  I just expect better than that, especially with our passionate fan base and the best facilities in the ACC (per ESPN).  We did get a few guys that I’m really excited about (shown in the picture below) including one BIG time pickup, literally.

The six guys I'm most excited about.

The jewel of the class is OL Rob Crisp (6’7″ 299lb.) out of Raleigh.  He was rated one of the best players, regardless of position, in the country and should man the LT spot for the next four years.  Two others that have me excited are DB’s David Amerson and Dontae Johnson.  Hopefully they can step in immediately next year and help solve the massive problems we had in the secondary this past year.  The final three I can’t wait to see in the Red and White are WR’s Tony Creecy and Bryan Underwood, and RB Mustafa Greene.  You can never have too many speedy playmakers and I think these three will fit that mold for the Pack.  I’m sure there will be a really good player or two come out of the rest of the class, but these are the six that have me looking to the future with hope and anticipation.

To these six and all the other new Wolfpackers (click here for bios) … welcome to the family!  You made the best decision of your life (I’m not biased at all).  To TOB, take a day to do your honey do’s, then start working on next year’s class.  GO PACK!