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Lots of business to tend to today, so no time like the present.

First, here's an A2 offering from someone you know about some new year's wishes for a lot of folks you may have heard of.

(Side note: Picks for all the bowl games to come shortly in the comments friends.)  
 
As promised, here are the scores for the Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success, Bowler Optional contest. Gang, check you numbers and if you have a different total than the one that's listed let me know ASAP. This will be the last list of all the entries. Next week we will update with the names of the folks still in contention for first and for last.

In the chase for the top and the bottom, two impressively strong runs to the front and the back by HGLIII and RTR19. The scores are listed after the first grading period with a max of 15 and then through the games that finished last night with a max of 52. We are through all the four-point games on the sheet that will count toward the contest.

HGLIII — 11/42 — 53 (On our bowl sheet, HGLIII went from the Camellia Bowl — Georgia State — to the Music City without a miss. That was 12 consecutive correct picks. Wow.)

Brent R — 13/38  — 51  
 
5-at-10 — 11/36 — 47 (and that's with my sheet being better than my actual picks since I got UCF and Houston in our contest but had to pay my entertainment broker when I went with my heart and backed Florida and Auburn)
 
J-Mac — 11/36 — 47
 
George A — 12/33 — 45
 
Louis P — 8/37 — 45 (with a contest best 7 of the 8 4-point games missing only UT)
 
Justin S — 7/38 — 45

Todd G — 7/37 — 44
 
Jeff N — 13/30 — 43
 
Todd D — 5/38 — 43

Brian E — 10/33 — 43
 
Frank G — 10/32 — 42
 
Drew C — 9/33 — 42
 
Chuck H — 9/32 — 41
 
Dawg7497 — 10/31 — 41
 
DaBigOrange — 12/29 — 41
 
Mike R — 8/33 — 41
 
Gary M — 7/34 — 41
 
Martin S — 10/30 — 40
 
Steve Ma — 10/30 — 40
 
Richard J — 9/31 — 40
 
Believe the Heupel — 8/31 — 39
 
Spy — 10/29 — 39
 
Jefe — 7/32 — 39

Matt H — 5/34 — 39
 
Patrick W — 7/31 — 38
 
KC — 11/27 — 38

Willie — 7/31 — 38
 
Chris Ba. — 6/32 — 38
 
Kevin C — 7/30 — 37
 
Jason T — 7/29 — 36
 
Border Bandit — 9/27 — 36
 
Bill H — 6/30 — 36

Danny — 5/31 — 36
 
Randy — 5/31 — 36
 
WarEagle1 — 4/32 — 36
 
Ronald M — 5/30 — 35
 
Jason C — 3/32 — 35
 
Tom P — 7/27 — 34

Jim L — 7/27 — 34
  
Michael P — 7/27 — 34
 
Chris Be. — 5/28 — 33
 
Alejandro — 10/23 — 33
 
Steve Mc — 11/22 — 33
 
Ernie — 7/25 — 32
 
JTC — 9/22 — 31
 
Chas — 3/28 — 31

Ted P — 5/25 — 30
 
Frank C — 4/26 — 30
 
Ted T — 10/18 — 28
 
Chris P — 8/20 — 28
 
Troy E — 7/21 — 28
 
Doug D — 7/20 — 27
 
Fat Vader — 9/18 — 27
 
DanC22 — 7/20 — 27
 
SportsFan — 7/19 — 26
 
Todd C — 3/22 — 25
 
RTR19 — 3/18 — 21

As for the Rushmores, let's move quickly.

Rushmore of last name Washington: George, Denzel, Martha and Freddie 'Boom Boom' Washington.

Rushmore of one-name American athletes of my lifetime: Shaq, Tiger, LeBron and Magic.

Rushmore of all-time NFL influencers — Pete Rozelle, Roone Arledge, Lamar Hunt and John Madden. (With apologies to Jim Brown, Lombardi, Halas and Don Coryell)

Rushmore of 'Fiesta' — Fiesta Bowl, Fiesta dip (try it, it's excellent; the packet is from Hidden Valley, I think, and you can use yogurt rather than sour cream and you'll save the calories without sacrificing flavor, so there's that), Ford Fiesta, and the Feast of Feast Fiesta.

To the mailbag

From a lot of you on social media and in emails - What did you think of the Music City Bowl?

Gang -

First, here's Paschall's coverage of the event because, well those are the rules.

My thoughts were many. And varied. And in some ways very diametrically opposed.

UT did not play well, and that's the worst Hendon Hooker has looked all season. And they still scored 45 points against a Big Ten team that has wins over two-top five opponents.

UT did not play well at all of defense, and I completely underestimated Jeff Brohm and Purdue. Side note: Jeff Brohm can flat coach his clipboard off.

The crowd was awesome. The atmosphere felt very Saturday in the fall through my TV screen.

I was very entertained by the game. As was my entertainment broker. (Side note: This is one of those games that turned into a world-class train in our corner of the world, and every picker I know backed the Vols. And ultimately paid dat man his money.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jUBbCgMWmE

As for the action, it's a bowl game. There's very little that matters or will carry over.

As for the UT complaints about the overwhelmingly lopsided number of flags on the Vols compared to the Boilermakers, well, UT's DBs hugged more than a room full of grandmothers.

But there were two major talking points from the action in Nashville.
First, UT fans have every reason to be up-in-arms about the 'fake injury' move that has become as commonplace as hearing "Rocky Top" when the Vols play these days.

Wow, on a very mild afternoon, there were more cramps Thursday than a mid-afternoon August practice in South Pitt. It slows the game, it's poor sportsmanship and it feels cheap.

And if the powers that be can move within hours after Kenny Pickett faked a slide and change the rules with a snap of their fingers and a sharpened pencil, then they can handle this. Whether it's substitution changes, forced timeouts, penalties, figure this out.

Second, replay is broken. Either fix it or scrap it. But when replay shows the UT running back clearly breaking the plane and the refs review it and still rule it not a TD, well, then why have replay at all if you're not going to overrun a TD in a tied game on fourth down in overtime.

From Sportsfan -

What's the downside if Coach Huepel goes off on the officiating in the Music City Bowl post game comments and refuses to pay any fine to the SEC and NCAA?

Sportsfan -

While it would certainly be warranted for UT coach Josh Heupel to unload both barrels on the replay booth, I think there are two reasons not to do this.

Now if he did do it and sat down to start his news conference with something along the lines of this:

CJH: "Well, that was a fun game, huh? Lots of points. Lots of big plays. Lots of mistakes, especially by us. We missed some tackles. We missed some open receivers. We missed some great chances.

"And we missed the memo that was handed out that apparently the entire officiating crew was made up of Purdue grads or parents of Purdue students. My goodness, this is still football, right? You can still hit people, right? Well apparently one side can, because did anyone see that play that had off-setting personal fouls on each team and the entire Purdue defensive line hit our guard? Yeah that's off-setting, if you mean off-setting our guy's spinal column.

"And fines? How about we try to get to a place where we can say the officiating is fine, huh?"

And how many UT boosters would be willing to write the check.

But, first, while coaches have to walk the difficult line between passionate and poised, when a coach loses it — like Dabo or Jimbo did on the sidelines in years past — he loses some of his ability to demand composure from their players, big picture.

As for Heupel and UT, the more focused picture should be UT swinging its sword to get the fake injury trends quashed. Because tempo is going to be a UT asset for as long as Heupel is on Rocky Top.

From Mike B

After having the college football playoffs on New Year's Eve a few years ago (and diminishing ratings), I thought those in charge decided to not play on New Year's Eve again.  But here we are looking at games again on New Year's Eve.  How come the change?  It seems playing on January 1, a Saturday,  this year would have been preferable.

Mike -

I thought the same thing when the ratings plummeted.

Not sure if they are expecting better numbers this year because of the COVID concerns or not.

But any and all changes are made for the TV calendar, not the fan. In truth, that's one of the worst changes, because I can remember when Jan. 1 was wall-to-wall games and we'd have multiple TVs set up for the festivities.

Now, and with all the games on ESPN and the ESPN family, making sure there is spaced out games covering all the slots is the goal.

But the ratings today and tonight will be interesting to watch.

From Chas

I respect that. Seems letting your words overload your rear end is a lifelong habit. Are you more circumspect when addressing the officer who just pulled you over?

Question for Friday: Will black-eyed peas and collards be on the Greeson table Saturday? Cornbread?

Chas -

Always respectful to officers, and mercifully, I think the last time I was pulled over was in Hawaii for speeding. With the kids in the car. Alas. Pricey ticket in Hawaii in case you're wondering.

As for the menu: Pork tenderloin that has been marinating since the Vols kicked off. I'll start cooking the black-eyed peas tonight. Glad to share the recipe if anyone's interested. As for the greens, well, yes. We're Southern by golly.

But we do Grits-and-greens at the 5-at-10 compound, and it's glorious.

Happy new year, friends.

some text
Jay Greeson
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