Randy Smith: Nothing Better Than Blood Rivalries

Tuesday, December 03, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Being a long-time follower of Tennessee football and with the current state of the Volunteer program, it was really nice to watch all the great rivalry games this past weekend. Georgia and Georgia Tech went into overtime before the Bulldogs prevailed. Ohio State edged Michigan 42-41 in a super contest and Duke eased past North Carolina, sending Coach David Cutcliff’s team to the ACC Championship Game.

Then there was the “Iron Bowl.” The game between Auburn and Alabama was played this year down on the plains at Auburn. In case you missed it, the Tigers scored twice in the last 34 seconds of the game to claim an amazing 34-28 win. Since it’s doubtful that anyone who reads this doesn’t know anything about the way the game ended, I won’t go into much detail, but boy did Coach Nick Saban and his coaching staff make a huge mistake. The Crimson Tide coaches fought to get one second put back on the clock to give ‘Bama a shot at a 57-yard field goal; that, after the Tide’s regular kicker had missed three tries from much less distance earlier in the game. In addition to attempting a nearly impossible field goal in a 28-28 tie ball game, Coach Saban inserted a redshirt freshman kicker to give it a try.  His kick was a bit short, but the game didn’t end when the officials signaled it was no good. Chris Davis caught the ball nine yards deep in his end zone and never stopped running until he had gone the distance, untouched for the game-winning touchdown. Rather than take a knee and play overtime, Saban decided to go for it all with a single second left. The decision has been one of the hottest topics on sports talk shows and around water coolers in a long time. In fact, I have even heard some distraught Tide fans call for Saban’s firing. There have been some reports of fights and even shootings among the Alabama fan base. Alabama versus Auburn is more than just a football game. It’s a blood rivalry.

In my long tenure of covering sports, I have always said the two most heated rivalries were Alabama-Auburn and in Major League Baseball, the Yankees versus the Red Sox. All others pale in comparison. In the state of Alabama, a broken home is one that has at least one fan of both schools living under the same roof. Business partnerships have been dissolved over ‘Bama-Auburn conflicts, and in Alabama, a mixed marriage is not a union between people of different races, but a marriage between a Tide fan and an Auburn fan.

While Alabama fans are still in a state of shock over the “Iron Bowl,” and Auburn fans are still celebrating, Tennessee fans can take heart over a few different things as we face a third straight season without a bowl trip. First, the Vols’ thrilling upset win over South Carolina kept the Gamecocks out of the SEC Championship Game. Secondly, Coach Butch Jones is assembling one of the very best recruiting classes in school history; certainly the best in more than a decade. And thirdly, Tennessee won two SEC games in 2013, which doubled the league win total from a year ago. The Vols can invite the Florida Gators to watch the SEC Championship and all the bowl games with them, as the 5-7 Gators are also home for the holidays.

As a T-shirt proudly proclaimed this weekend, “Don’t forget to set your clocks back one second tonight; it’s daylight Saban’s time.”

Blood rivalries…you gotta love ‘em.    

rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

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).


Moran Wins 46th PGA Tennessee Professional Championship

MORAN CAPTURES 46th PGA TENNESSEE PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP KNOXVILLE – Scott Moran of Knoxville, TN, winner of the Tennessee Section PGA Professional Championship, Aug. 18-20 at Holston Hills Country Club will lead six Section PGA Professionals to compete in the 48th PGA Professional National Championship, June 21-24, 2015, at The Philadelphia Cricket Club.  Moran turned ... (click for more)

Lookouts Hanging Tough As Season Nears End

Although they have an up-hill climb to make the playoffs, the Lookouts are not quitters. Currently tied for second in the SL North Division, the Lookouts are 3.0 games behind the Tennessee Smokies. The Smokies and Lookouts will end the season with a five-game series at AT&T Field beginning August 28. Chattanooga beat the Barons in their series finale by a score of 6-4 ... (click for more)

Boy, 16, To Face Murder Charges In Criminal Court On Triple Lookout Valley Slayings

A Lookout Valley youth who was 15 at the time of his alleged involvement in a massacre in the valley will stand trial as an adult. Jacob Allison, who is now 16, was taken by the sheriff's office to the Hamilton County Jail after a transfer hearing in Juvenile Court on Friday morning. Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw said under state law he has jurisdiction over rehabilitation ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House? - And Response

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)