In light of all the major upsets last weekend in the Southeastern Conference, I have composed a list of “What Ifs” for this season. These scenarios are based upon the results so far in the SEC, as well as what could happen between now and the end of the season.
- What if…….Missouri and Auburn meet in this year’s SEC Championship Game? It will happen if the two teams win out. Auburn is 3-1 in the league, but they still have to play at Tennessee, at Arkansas and at home against Georgia before hosting unbeaten top-ranked Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Four wins in those four games places the Tigers back in Atlanta versus the SEC East champ. Missouri looks to be a lock in the East. The Tigers are unbeaten in league play; in fact their lead is two full games over South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Only South Carolina has a realistic shot to catch Missouri, and those two teams square off this Saturday in Columbus, Missouri.
- What if…….Pig Howard holds on to the football as he crossed the goal line in overtime against Georgia? Tennessee would be 2-1 now in SEC play and all by themselves in second place behind Missouri. Howard fumbled the ball through the end zone, resulting in a touchback. The Vols were not able to score a point in overtime number one, and the Bulldogs kicked the winning field goal on their first overtime possession.
- What if…….U.T. Coach Butch Jones had started Justin Worley at quarterback instead of freshman Nate Peterman when the Vols played at Florida? Would Tennessee have been able to beat the Gators, since Peterman’s rash of turnovers led to at least two Florida touchdowns? You never know.
- What if…….The Georgia Bulldogs had not suffered the major rash of injuries they did? They would still have lost to Missouri, but I believe they would have beaten Vanderbilt and would currently be 4-1 in the SEC and just a game behind Mizzou.
- What if…….Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel had not gotten involved in the “pay for autographs” scandal over the summer? Would he be having a better year and still on top of the Heisman Trophy sweepstakes? Would he still be heckled as much around the SEC when the Aggies come to play? I don’t think so. He may still win the Heisman, but the Aggies won’t be playing for an SEC Championship in 2013.
- What if…….Alabama loses to LSU or Auburn? Does that mean the SEC streak of seven national championships in a row comes to a screeching halt? It very likely will as long as at least two other teams in the country remain unbeaten. (Keep your eyes on Missouri. If the Tigers win out and win the SEC Championship Game, they could very well be playing for all the marbles.)
- What if…….Vanderbilt didn’t have the rule that live mascots are not allowed inside the Commodores stadium? Would UGA’s presence have made a difference in the outcome of the game last weekend? (By the way, why is that rule in place? I didn’t know until halftime that UGA wasn’t there. I also wonder if any other college football program has a similar rule. I doubt it; Vandy is the only school I know without an athletic department or even an athletic director.)
A few what ifs, really gives football fans nothing at all, except perhaps some speculation. In the words of former UTC Head Football Coach, the late Joe Morrison, “If wishes, buts and what ifs were toys, candy and nuts, we’d all have a nice Christmas!”
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).