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Darren Epps

Stories by Darren

New directors to be sworn in at TVA Thursday

Four new board members join utility

Four new board members join TVA

  • Oct. 5th, 2010  |
  • By By Dave Flessner
  • Comment  |

Abilene Christian University boasts a quality football program. The Wildcats averaged 52.3 points per game last season, scored 93 points in a playoff win and finished the season with one loss. It was a good year.

Almost every time I think of Detroit, I remember two lines from the ridiculous film “Kentucky Fried Movie,” which will absolutely cost you 20 IQ points if you watch it (bringing me down to a robust 58).

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — So Lane Kiffin walked to the podium at Monday’s Big Orange Caravan stop and said he would get in a battle of wits with Urban Meyer, but he never attacks an unarmed person.

College football fans rarely get their way.

Ed Orgeron held a six-hour recruiting meeting last Monday. I know this because Lane Kiffin posted the news on his Twitter account.

Cody Pope, maybe the next starting right tackle for the University of Tennessee, is a new favorite for the “five minutes with” feature. He didn’t mention until the end that he was hurrying to attend a WWE event at Thompson-Boling Arena. But Pope isn’t your average player. He’s also a 300-pound, lifelong vegetarian. The amusing Pope discussed his eating habits, his basketball career and WWE during a Tuesday phone conversation.

John Calipari. Anthony Grant. Mark Fox.

Five minutes? We could go an hour and 55 minutes with ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. I’m not even kidding. That’s how long Kiper’s call lasted the other day. In our second and final installment, Kiper discussed Nick Saban’s efforts to keep Andre Smith’s NFL draft stock high, compared Percy Harvin to Reggie Bush and explained why Michael Oher isn’t a top-10 pick.

So I was sitting in my mother’s basement the other day, poring over baseball projections for the upcoming season and really nerding it up as I ate a bowl of Kix. You’ve really got to enjoy this time of year — the NCAA tournament is the best three weeks in sports, baseball is about to start, we’ve got our college football fix and I’m almost certain hockey is going on.

Sports can really make you feel old. You put a 30-year-old businessman or woman in a room full of CEOs, and he/she is a prodigy. But a star athlete who turns 30 is declining. He’s almost finished. Athletes age so fast. Joe Cox seems like he’s been at Georgia forever. LaDainian Tomlinson seems like he was just a young star. Now, he’s getting mail from the AARP.

Mel Kiper Jr. asks a lot of questions about college football prospects. But here’s a question about Mel: Could his hair fit into a football helmet? Kiper, the longtime NFL draft analyst for ESPN, answered questions in a call last week about Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and prospects moving up and down his board.

No. 12 a Tide QB

McElroy competing to be a new Namath

One day, Greg McElroy hopes, he can point to the player wearing No. 12 and starting at quarterback for the University of Alabama and feel overcome with pride. McElroy always loved Joe Namath — he admired him since the day he made the guarantee before Super Bowl III. Namath, of course, wore No. 12 for Alabama.

Mention John Calipari’s name, and I think of the following:

The Southeastern Conference discovered a method to remain relevant during the NCAA tournament: Just start firing and hiring coaches. Take that, Big East.

he floor for this year’s Final Four, which more closely resembles an elaborate painting than a basketball court, is on tour this week. It stopped at Michigan’s state capitol and the University of Michigan before settling at Ford Field on Wednesday afternoon.

It’s Sweet 16 time in college basketball. Let’s take a look at the Southeastern Conference teams still in the field:

Sometimes you have to root for the story. Sometimes, when the home team isn’t playing and you’re wondering which unfamiliar team to support, you have to search a little harder and look at the individuals.

If someone wearing light blue approaches you with ticket information for today’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament games here in Chattanooga, be friendly. They’re North Carolina’s basketball players, and they’re about to play a game.

Just some quick thoughts on the NCAA men’s tournament games, because I missed most of them due to the women’s news conferences:

NCAA tournament blog

NCAA tournament hits full speed

12:15: You’re looking live into my apartment, and we’re getting started with LSU-Butler called by Jim Nantz and...Clark Kellogg! Normally, Nantz would be joined by a curmudgeon that even the strongest anti-depressants would fail against. But Billy Packer has other interests — according to Wikipedia, he hired a psychic to find the weapon in the O.J. murder case and plays golf courses in reverse, from green to tee. It’s on Wikipedia, so you know it’s true.

You’ll see plenty of college basketball analyst Seth Davis on CBS over the next three weeks, and that’s a positive. He never shows any bias, he’s doesn’t talk down to the viewer and he’s funny — Davis used to perform stand-up comedy in New York City clubs. Davis, who likes Wake Forest in the Final Four, talked about the NCAA tournament during a call Sunday night.

They knew. They all knew, from Auburn, Ala., to Gainesville, Fla., to Columbia, S.C. Three SEC basketball coaches watched the NCAA tournament selection show, and before CBS even unveiled the final region to anxious bubble teams, Jeff Lebo, Billy Donovan and Darrin Horn mentally surrendered to the NIT.

Pat Summitt took the microphone, orange and white confetti scattered around her feet, and made a bold proclamation after her 1,000th career victory last month.

The greatest three weeks in sports gives us 65 games to follow and can suddenly transform us into fans of schools we never realized even had a basketball team. A look at each region, highlighted by top seeds Pittsburgh, Louisville, Connecticut and North Carolina.

Before you immerse yourself in the NCAA basketball tournament and start filling out your bracket, let’s take a look at the questions facing each Southeastern Conference football team as spring practices get fully under way. Maybe one day we’ll be filling out college football brackets.

One free throw off the back iron by an obscure Austin Peay player named Bob Thomas in 1987 transformed Rick Pitino from a solid college basketball coach into the man stalking the sideline for the New York Knicks. That’s how it works in college basketball during March. One shot during this thrilling month can change your entire career.

Up with Downey

Gamecocks point guard is SEC’s top player

Charlie Creme is the Joe Lunardi of women’s basketball, offering his predictions and projections for the 64-team women’s basketball field on ESPN.com. He currently slots Tennessee’s Lady Vols as a 6 seed in Bowling Green, Ky. Creme talked about Tennessee, the Chattanooga sub-regional and Georgia during a call Monday.

Here’s what you should know: John Shulman cares about what you say. He pays attention, maybe too much attention.

You know, I’m really tired of reading and hearing that the NCAA selection committee should show favoritism to Davidson because Stephen Curry is polished, clean-cut, devoid of tattoos and would be great for ratings.

It’s an honor to see the best here at McKenzie Arena, a Davidson player who can drain 3-pointers and inspire chants from the red-clad crowd.

A woman rests her head on her hand, white hair peeking through her fingers, and closes her eyes.

Williams has work to do

ASU freshman from Howard aims ‘to be more focused’

Sixteen months ago, the Howard School held a reception to honor Catherine Williams, its first girl to sign a full Division I scholarship in nearly 30 years. She signed with Appalachian State, and the coaching staff there used words like “warrior” to describe the Howard star.

That sound you heard tonight was the bubbles bursting for two SEC schools.

Random trivia about ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas: He’s a member of the Screen Actors Guild and appeared in an episode of the TV show “The White Shadow,” in addition to a role in the movie “I Come in Peace.” But the former Duke star and assistant coach is better known for his college basketball opinions, and he shared them during a phone conversation Monday.

We’re passionate about college football because every moment matters. We love college basketball because of March, the month that borrows football’s significance and adds an extra touch of drama: a playoff system.

Saying Georgia should hire Virginia Commonwealth’s Anthony Grant or Bob Knight or the top available coaching candidate, of course, is very easy. Georgia basketball fans, since they are fans, are right to assume a big name wants to coach in Athens and revive the program.

Time for a college football fix with South Carolina starting the SEC spring practice schedule Tuesday. We’re ranking the SEC programs over the last 10 seasons (1999-2008) based on titles, overall record, miserable seasons and general fan sentiment:

So let’s say you’re an Auburn fan. Your wife is giving birth to your second son. Your first son is named Buckminster Fuller, so it’s been very well established that you can be a little creative with the name. Like, you know, any name in the world.

Ole Miss guard Terrico White summed up Georgia’s basketball season in two simple sentences after last Saturday’s game in Oxford.

Sometimes a boy comes into your life and you can sense his purpose, almost see his future. Like the time Billy Napier, then the young son of longtime Murray County High School coach Bill Napier, met former Furman quarterback Tim Sorrells.

How good is Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks? Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said his team “held” Meeks to 21 points in their first meeting. Meeks, who ranks fourth in NCAA Division I in scoring, is averaging 27.9 points in SEC games, prompting UK coach Billy Gillispie to say, “I haven’t been part of anything like this.” Meeks discussed his high school days, the Tennessee performance and why he brushes his teeth before every game.

The NCAA selection committee might have an opportunity to fill an arena for the women’s national tournament in a sluggish economy. The selection committee might have an opportunity to take advantage of a once-in-a-generation occurrence.

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