Randy Smith: Cautiously Optimistic About Football Season

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Last year at this time we were being quarantined, socially distanced and worried about everyone's future. Our country and the world was being ravaged by COVID-19 and a cure or vaccine was a long way from becoming a reality. We had already lost the NCAA Basketball tournaments as well as all spring sports. Major League Baseball wouldn't begin its 2020 season until mid-July and, as far as football season was concerned, no one knew exactly if we would have a season or not. 

Since then however, close to 70 percent of Americans have been vaccinated and it looks like things will almost return to normal this fall.

Our country is opening up with Major League stadiums returning to full capacity and there is more excitement than usual about the upcoming college football season. With that being said, pre-season football magazines are hitting the shelves and they're being gobbled up by die-hard fans from all schools. 

Buying and reading those pre-season books at the end of June has become a tradition in my family. just last weekend I purchased the annual Athlon's SEC Preview and, while it's the 2021 version, it could have been a year or two old. Alabama is the pre-season number one team, while Clemson is second. That's the way it's been for several years now. In the last decade we've crowned Alabama national champion five times with Clemson winning it all twice. LSU, Ohio State and Florida State have won the other three. 

I have always saved some of the magazines for beach reading in July and that will be the case in a couple of weeks. I also haven't heard about the annual SEC Media Days for this year but in 2020 things were done virtually. I really hope that those virtual events will soon be a thing of the past because there is nothing like hearing those SEC coaches cry and poor-mouth their way through dozens of interviews in person. It is also a time to renew old friendships among media members. Some of the busiest and best times I've ever had were when I was covering the SEC Media Days in Birmingham and, since the event moved to Atlanta a few years ago, I would love to go back one more time. 

As for the Tennessee Volunteers and being "cautiously optimistic" about their chances for 2021, Athlon has predicted the Vols will finish 6-6 overall and 2-6 in the SEC. They also predicted the Big Orange will face Michigan in the Music City Bowl. Athlon may have forgotten about the NCAA investigation into the Tennessee program. Remember, bags of cash allegedly being delivered to players in McDonald's bags? I don't know when the NCAA's hammer will drop but when it does, it won't be pretty. And that's something that doesn't give fans cause to be "cautiously optimistic."

 ----

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Double-A South Standings/Results

Three Lee Golfers Named GCAA All-American Scholars

Randy Smith: SEC West Preview


Double-A South Standings/Results (as of games of 8/1/21) North Division Team W L PCT GB Birmingham (CWS) ... (click for more)

Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars for NCAA Divisions II have been announced by the GCAA and three Lee players earned the prestigious honor. Senior Evan Spence, junior Dustin DeMersseman, ... (click for more)

I'm hesitant to make my SEC predictions because of the COVID resurgence, especially in the southern part of the country. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has already stated that if a team has a COVID ... (click for more)



Sports

Double-A South Standings/Results

Double-A South Standings/Results (as of games of 8/1/21) North Division Team W L PCT GB Birmingham (CWS) 42 35 .545 - Chattanooga (CIN) 39 36 .520 2.0 Rocket City (LAA) 37 ... (click for more)

Three Lee Golfers Named GCAA All-American Scholars

Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars for NCAA Divisions II have been announced by the GCAA and three Lee players earned the prestigious honor. Senior Evan Spence, junior Dustin DeMersseman, and sophomore Beck Burnette all garnered the award which highlights players who excel both in the classroom and on the course. All three players were instrumental in guiding the Flames ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Mayor Kelly Unveils 42.6% Truck Driver Pay Hikes To Fill 32 Empty Positions And Restore Recycling Services

Mayor Tim Kelly on Tuesday announced a plan to resume recycling services in the next 60 days, unveiling a pay hike for drivers in the upcoming budget that will be retroactive for both new and existing drivers. The temporary service interruption was announced on July 29 after he said the number of empty CDL driver positions spiked to 32, and several concurrent absences created ... (click for more)

Walden Rezoning, Intended To Clear Way For Grocery Complex, Violated Land Use Regulations And The Law, Bradley County Judge Rules

A Bradley County judge has found that Walden officials’ 2019 decision to rezone a piece of property so it could be used for a grocery store complex was “illegal, arbitrary and capricious.” Consequently, Judge J. Michael Sharp said in a decision released Monday, the ordinance is declared invalid. The judge denied a request from landowner/developer/attorney John Anderson to ... (click for more)

Opinion

Big Dogs At The City Get Most Of The Salary Money

The current crisis concerning recycling is nothing more than too much pork in the high end paychecks. The top 31 combined salaries in the city of Chattanooga amounts to $3,750,000 per year. That's right folks, millions. The average pay for these people is $121,000 coming from our hard-earned tax dollars. The average income of the citizens of Chattanooga is $26,200 per year based ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Liberty Above Mandates

It is no secret I’ve been on the COVID vaccine bandwagon since the very get-go. Due to my compromised immune system and my age (72) I am one of those at-risk people and I got my first shot the first minute I could; around Valentine’s Day. Since then, I’ve used my opinion pulpit to push the vaccine as hard as possible because I am totally convinced it saves lives. Therefore, this ... (click for more)