2012 was a really weird year in sports, but there were a few things worthy of mentioning, both good and bad. Here goes:
Worst collapse of a supposedly good team: (Tie) Southern Cal’s 2012 football team that was tabbed pre-season number one, only to finish the season outside the top 25. And the New York Yankees anemic offensive performance in the Major League Baseball post-season.
Best performance of a supposedly washed-up NFL quarterback: Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. Peyton missed the entire 2011 season after four separate neck surgeries, was released by the Indianapolis Colts, signed as a free agent by the Broncos, and the rest they say is history. He should be a lock for an unprecedented fifth NFL Most Valuable Player Award.
Worst college coaching performance of 2012 by a head coach: Derek Dooley of Tennessee.
Worst college coaching performance by an assistant coach: Sal Sunseri, Dooley’s Defensive Coordinator at Tennessee.
Worst handling of a legendary coach stepping down: Tennessee’s debacle of Lady Vols’ Coach Pat Summitt’s resignation. Regardless of what actually happened, the fact that there were too many differing stories made U.T. look really bad.
Best possible two-team match up for the BCS National Championship: Alabama versus Notre Dame. College football’s two most storied programs meeting for the title is almost too good to be true.
Best news for college football teams who still like to play defense: Alabama and Notre Dame are meeting for the National Championship.
Best possible news about a playoff to determine a BCS Champion: In 2014, four teams will be selected to play for the national title.
Worst possible news about a playoff to determine a BCS Champion: We still must wait until 2014 to see it.
Best win for the UTC Lady Mocs’ basketball program: The season opening win over the Tennessee Lady Vols. Needless to say it’s also the biggest win in the program’s storied history.
Worst news regarding scheduling for women’s college softball: Still no meeting between UTC and the Tennessee Lady Vols. This really should be corrected. Fast pitch softball in our area needs a big boost and an annual meeting or two between these two schools would provide it.
Worst Major League Baseball Playoff change: The early wild-card playoff round is a one game, winner goes on and loser goes home. Every round should at least be a best two out of three situation. (How about two out of three, then three out of five, then four out of seven?) You don’t play 162 regular season games just to make the playoffs and play a one and done scenario. Just ask the Atlanta Braves.)
Worst ending to a once admired athlete’s career: Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace following the release of his full involvement in doping and illegal steroid use while participating in the Tour De France.
Best “Local Sports Story” of 2012: UTC’s Steven Fox winning the 2012 U.S. Amateur Golf Title.
Best “Making the best out your current situation” performance of 2012: New Tennessee Head Football Coach Butch Jones, while appearing to be the Vols’ fourth choice behind Jon Gruden, Charlie Strong and Kevin Gundy, has said all the right things so far as he tries to bring together the Vols disheveled fan base. (Actually he may be as good as any one of those above mentioned, including Gruden, who never really considered the job anyway.)
Best wishes for 2013: Mine to all of you! Happy New Year!
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).