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Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) runs for a gain against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

Weekend winners

Texas A&M. Yes, we could start with the Florida Kyles — Trask has earned a Heisman invite; Pitts has earned a top-12 NFL draft spot — but we'll give that honor to the inhabitants of Kyle Field. The Aggies are rolling, and they beat the Gators, who smoked Georgia on Saturday, earlier this year, and appear to be a win over Auburn from being 9-1 with that lone loss being to Alabama. Does a 9-1, non-divisional winner Texas A&M bunch get a playoff spot. (While we're here, you know the rules. Here's Paschall's must-read SEC wrap column from today's TFP.)

Notre Dame, BYU, Cincinnati. The playoff party crashers all won — the last two convincingly, and the Irish over an opponent you may have head of — and an did so in an eye-opening fashion. Side note: Man, lots of the national talking heads are having kittens at Notre Dame's students storming the field. OK. Whatever. Still, anyone who believed there were only a smidge over 11,000 people there Saturday night, well, I want those folks doing my taxes.

Our Intimidator Pool swimmers. We posted it late Friday, but all seven left floating — that's according to my records, if you have something different, speak now or forever tread water — all rolled this weekend. Well, they all survived, because the Steelers had a lot of folks holding their breath Sunday. Here's what we had: Steelers — Fat Vader, Brent R., Shawn W.; Packers — Ted P, Jason G; Chiefs — Chris O.; Titans — Todd C.

Dave Chappelle. He hosted SNL, and reminded me why I love truly great stand-up. There's a magic in the rhythm and flow. There's poetry in the exact and precise word choice. And for Chappelle, the fertile grounds of society as we know, were plowed with a rapier wit that was pointed in all directions. It was great commentary, and it made me cry. Actually it made me cry for two reasons: There were tears of laughter of course. There also were tears of the shrinking number of folks who are given the chance or have the Chutzpah to even try to poke fun at everyone.

Tua. The Dolphins rookie QB was bad in his debut, but Sunday against Arizona he was Alabama Tua, the guy who was everyone's No. 1 (before Joe Burrow went all Joey Football last year) and shaped the "Tank for Tua" logic. Good for him.

Hugh Freeze. You better get ready for the Hugh Freeze conversation, because it's coming to a struggling program near you. (More on UT in a moment.) But Hugh has Liberty unbeaten and rolling after a dramatic win at Virginia Tech as a two-TD underdog.

New Orleans. Fully stocked again — Michael Thomas is a dude friends — the Saints looked great Sunday night and hammered the Bucs. Are the Saints the NFC's best team?

 

Weekend losers

Tyner leadership. When TFP sports editor and prep sports guru Stephen Hargis took to the Twitter and broke the news that Wayne Turner was asked to resign, I was floored. Floored. What a rotten decision and an embarrassing power play that is nothing short of a disgrace.

Man my picks just stink. STEA-Ink. College went 2-3 and had a Cal-Washington Corona cancellation. My NFL picks went 2-4. Egad.  

ESPN radio (national). Hey, I get it and the pandemic is hitting everyone's wallet in ways that are life-changing. But the reality is this: The 'new' lineup is, well, I will bite my tongue on that for a variety of reasons, but far and away the best show in their national lineup is the Dan Le Batard Show. It's not close, and I don't think it's close between Le Batard's show and any other show on any network anywhere — local, national, international, intergalactic, you name it. So what do the bigwigs do to the best property on their radio air waves? They cut it from 3 hours to 2, they lay-off Chris Cote, who is one of the producers on the show, and starting tomorrow, they are moving the TV simulcast from ESPN News to ESPN+.    

Monday Night Football. GER-ross. Jets-Pats? No thanks, and that's coming from someone who almost always watches almost every sports broadcast. (And ESPN is paying billions for that.

Coach Khaki. Wow, Michigan lost to Indiana for their first time since 1987 — or before I could vote. What's happening with Jim Harbaugh?

 

What happened?

OK, insert your random UT joke here.

It can be a reference to the third-quarter woes.

It could be wondering what Harrison Bailey has done off the field to be in the Big Orange Doghouse.

It could be pointing out that Jeremy Pruitt's mask protocol is as broken as his staff's in-game adjustments.

There's fertile ground there.

But the two main sticking points that must be addressed in my mind are specific and over-arching general.

The micro is why in the name of Hickory Dickory Dock how can the staff mismanage the clock and the game situation and not kick the field goal down two scores with less than four minutes to play. Someone please offer an explanation, because Jeremy Pruitt sure couldn't after the game.

In fact, he sounded a lot like Butch Jones, and yes, I meant that every bit as insulting as it came across.

"We weren't close enough, didn't feel like," Pruitt said in his postgame Zoom.

WHAT?!?!?! Sorry for screaming, but WHAT?!?!?!

The Vols were at the 25, which means a 42- or 43-yard try. Brent Cimaglia made a 48-yarder in the second quarter. He hit a 50-yarder in the first quarter.

Say what again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo5jnBJvGUs

Inexplicable to be honest. Unforgivable for a head coach to put his team in a position to lose like that. Borderline fireable for cause if you ask me.
Seriously.

Which leads us to the macro: Midway through year 3 of Pruitt's regime, where are these Vols?

Are they the 13th program in the 14-team SEC, ahead of Vandy and looking eye-to-eye with Missouri and Arkansas? Never mind that both of those teams have first-year coaches or a fraction of the tradition over the last 25 years that UT has.

Forget the uniforms and logos for a second: Is there a program in the league that would swap coaching staffs in general and head coaches in particular with UT right now?

I'll wait for your answer.

And I offer this knowing that this side of Pruitt breaking laws or something, he's not getting fired. Not in the fiscal times we are facing and especially with that inexplicable extension Phil Fulmer gave him before the season.

One final thought: Saturday night was a worse job by Pruitt than the Georgia State loss in my opinion, and I didn't think it could get worse for a program as proud as UT than the loss to Georgia State.  
     
 

This and that

— Curious to get Press Row cohost David Paschall's view on the Bulldogs meltdown Saturday in the "Planet's Most Grand Fresh-Air Libations Gathering." Yeah, Florida is legit offensively, and Kyle Trask has made himself millions in the last two month. Also, Kirby Smart's indignation and pre-emptive hostility in the postgame news Zoom was at best awkward and in a lot of ways seemed misplaced and whiny.

— Speaking of postgame Zoomin' here's Mike Leach and referencing the brilliance of "Chickens are involved; pigs are committed."  

— We will write more about this week and what Augusta National means — especially now — as the sports world looks to the Masters. But we are having the Masterfully Mastering the Masterpiece that is the Masters contest. Send five golfers, top four scores count, low score win. Who's in?

— Offered without opinion as we wait to hear both sides — and hopefully see some video footage — but here's the story of LSU WR Koy Moore alleging that he was harassed and assaulted by police officers in Baton Rouge. He claimed he "could of lost his life" if he was not a football player.  

— Rest easy Alex Trebek.

— Are the Falcons winners or losers of the weekend? And how much of a difference does the head dude make, when Dan Quinn had the Falcons at bagel-and-5, and Raheem Morris — who is never going to be confused with Tomlin or Dungy — is 3-1 with this bunch?

— Congrats to Chase Elliott, who won the NASCAR season points title over the weekend.

—Speaking of ESPN radio and NASCAR, well, on Keyshawn, Jay-Will and Zubin this morning, they came back from a break playing "Won't Back Down" and Jay-Will asked Keyshawn if he liked the song. Keyshawn said no and that he didn't really like the music of "Richard Petty." I'll just leave that one there.

 

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers. Go.

On multiple choice Monday, let's go this way:

Which coach had the worst Saturday?

> Jeremy Pruitt

> Jim Harbaugh

> Kirby Smart

> James Franklin

As for today, Nov. 9, let's review.

Nightmare on Elm Street debuted on this day in 1984.

In honor of the Masters, Rushmore of American sports venues.

Go.

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