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AP photo by Wade Payne / Former Tennessee Volunteers football coach Jeremy Pruitt has threatened to file a lawsuit that claims widespread rules violations throughout the athletic department during his time in Knoxville.

More Orange-colored mess

So, we all know what happened Saturday night in Knoxville. It made a few of the papers.

It was not good, but it's not the first step toward nuclear winter either.

Side note: We have frequently debated cancel culture around these parts, and I believe that a) there is a difference between cancel culture and consequence culture, and b) cancel culture is a disservice to the idea of inclusion at its very core.

Those are my beliefs, but I also believe that the morality mob — especially from normally right-minded folks in my profession — who line up and sprint to see who can be the most outraged about low-hanging fruit like the trash tantrum released in K-Town Saturday night is also a negative trend in our overly divided days.

Anywell, where were we?

Oh, yeah, a different piece of garbage that is not a mustard bottle or a range ball continues to plague Knoxville long after he was shown the door.

The Jeremy Pruitt era, ladies and gentlemen, continues to skyrocket down the charts as quite possibly the worst tenure in the history of the SEC.

After a lackluster 16-19 showing on the field and an embarrassing country-bumpkin routine time after time in every avenue with a microphone in front of him now Pruitt is going full-blown extortionist.

(Side note: I'm more than a little country myself — somewhere on the other side of grits but short of hog jowls — and Bobby Bowden showed the world, the "Aw shucks" routine can work like gangbusters. But, unlike Bowden, who was a college football version of Sheriff Andy Taylor in that he was happy to let you think he was country dumb then outfox you and say "God bless," Pruitt was more Barney Fife, just minus the semblance of a single bullet.)

Here's the nitty-gritty on Pruitt's power play from TFP college football savant David Paschall, and it's not pretty.

Not pretty for Pruitt. Not pretty for UT. Not pretty for anyone involved or anyone who may be a fan of a prominent college football program anywhere across the country.

To recap. Pruitt was a fine DC who not many folks this side of Phil Fulmer thought was ready to be a head coach. UT hired Pruitt in desperation after Schiano Sunday and fired Pruitt in humiliation after he failed to be competitive (bagel-and-9 vs. Alabama, Georgia and Florida and all nine were by double digits) AND was caught with Level I and II recruiting violations that still hang over the program.

Pruitt was shown the door with cause, hence no settlement, which would have netted Pruitt $12 million-plus bucks.

And considering he's now lawyered up and threatening to air all of UT's dirty laundry, Pruitt will need every penny of whatever settlement he can piece together because, unless his daddy's looking for a DC at Marion County, this stunt all but ends Pruitt's chances of any future college coaching gig.

What a mess, this time just off the field.

But as far as Jeremy Pruitt is concerned, it's not really a surprise since almost everything he touched in Knoxville turned to hot garbage.

 

Deep breaths

Relax, Braves fans. Relax. It's just one game.

Yes, it was a blown three-run lead needing only six more outs to have an all-but-clinched 3-0 lead over the dangerous Dodgers in the NLCS.

Yes, it came against Luke Jackson, who has been the anchor, the lone surefire solution in a Braves bullpen that has bounced from bad to tolerable for most of the season.

Yes, it wasted another offensive clinic as the Braves batters produced 12 hits and coaxed six walks but managed only five runs despite seemingly having the population of Hixson on base last night.

And yes, it felt like it jolted a sleeping giant awake, as Cody Bellinger's three-run homer in a four-run eighth tied the game and everyone in Dodger blue came to life.

But it's one game. Just one game.

This Braves bunch is not the listless litany of Atlanta sports heartbreakers. I believe that.

I have to, and you should, too, because of what we've seen over the last two-plus months.

This Braves bunch was 52-55 and left for dead by almost everyone. Too hurt. Too limited. Too much Will Smith.

Then, poof, they flipped a switch, overhauled the outfield and played like the '27 Yankees since the middle of August.

One swing from a former MVP and one game — no matter how emotional — can't change what we know.

Right?

 

Prayers up

We all have varying opinions about announcers. The ones we love — "My God a freshman," "Toe meets leather and it's a high kick," "Touchdown, AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-burn" — and the ones we don't.

No matter the category in which you place Dick Vitale, there are a few things I know for certain about the man.

First, no one loves college basketball more than he does.

Second, very few people not named Bird and Magic helped college basketball grow to its apex more than Dickie V.

And, most importantly, there is not a single sports media megastar — and Dickie V is and always will be a megastar, friends — who is a nicer, more approachable and kinder person than Dick Vitale.

I offer that this morning as I say a prayer for the multiple months of chemo in the days ahead for Vitale, who revealed this week he has lymphoma, a rare form of cancer.

Cancer sucks. So, for Dickie V, who has helped raise hundreds of millions to fight cancer with the V Foundation, May God give you comfort and healing BAY-BEE.    

 

This and that

— OK, friends, need your help. The 5-at-10 bracket challenge is back, and this week we are looking for your nominations for which college football stadium has the best game-day atmosphere. Be a homer if you want — and yes, Vader's folks at Tiger Stadium in Red Stick put on a mighty fine show — or go off the board. Whatcha got, gang?

— Speaking of the Pruitt situation above, this is a program's worst nightmare, because there's no telling the rattling under the hoods at every major athletic department across the country. And an inside whistleblower could wreck everything. Wonder why LSU is paying the full tab for the rest of Ed Orgeron's contract? It's less painful than if Coach O started spilling the red beans and rice, friends.

— So WalletHub.com ranks a lot of stuff about cities. Like a whole bunch of stuff. And they email their rankings and findings out to various members of the media on a regular basis. I am one of those said various members of the media. Allegedly. Today's ranking was the best cities in the U.S. for soccer. No, soccer is not my cup of tea. Not even close. I'm a Bud Light-kinda fella; soccer is a fruity mixed drink with an umbrella in it. (Hi, Alejandro, and yes, it's the beautiful game. Allegedly.) Anywell, Chattanooga ranked 202 out of the 295 cities on the list, and while I'm far from an expert on the funny spelling of futbol, I do know Chattanooga and I think we got jobbed, to be honest. Heck, we're nine spots behind Cookeville, for Pete's sake. 

— Yes, it was a bummer for Braves country. Side note: Anyone know anyone who may have dabbled a bit with the FanDuel offering of a one-game parlay of Mookie Betts 2+ hits, Corey Seager 1+ hit, Trae Turner 1+ hit and the Dodgers on the money line that paid plus-489 (bet $100, win $489)? No? Nevermind.

— Speaking of the gaming side of sports, gang, if you are an online player you may already know this, but you can find a slew of free bets offered when new seasons start, like the NBA tipping off this week. If you have not played but are interested, you can find a bunch of gangbuster offers for new customers. (Side question: Do only old people say ''gangbusters?'' Asking for a friend.)

— Want to know who is going to sleep well the rest of the week? Harvey Lewis, a 45-year-old history teacher, that's who. According to Darren Rovell's Twitter, Lewis won the Big Dog ultra-marathon this weekend. The race makes all runners complete a 4.1-mile lap every hour until there's only the winner left. Lewis was said winner, starting the race Saturday night and ending a little more than 85 hours later as he was completing his 353rd mile. Buckets.

— OK, Alyssa Milano was arrested for protesting outside the White House for voting rights or something or other. Great. Or not. Personally, I couldn't care less what Sam from "Who's the Boss" or Chachi from "Happy Days" has to say about politics. Whatever. What caught my eye in the story was Milano was working with a group called "People for the American Way" which is almost assuredly translated to People for Their Version of the American Way. Again, whatever. Still, what caught my eye was the president of this group is a dude named Ben Jealous. Seriously. That's a tough name to grow up with, don't you think? 
 

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way.

Which child TV star went on to the best career in Hollywood?

Which college basketball TV announcer is your favorite — current or in history?

Braves fans only, which word would you use to describe your mood heading into Game 4?

Which word would you use to describe Jeremy Pruitt's lawsuit threats?

Sorry we were absent Tuesday, got covered up. JTC, for your True or False, I say false. At least for now. But the idea of stopping alcohol sales at halftime, especially on night games, is an interesting suggestion.

As for today, Oct. 20, let's review.

Kamala Harris is 57 today. Snoop Dogg is 50 today. Man, Snoop has gone from straight gangsta living to doing commercials with Martha Stewart. What a career arc, no?

Mickey Mantle would have been 90 today.

Keith Hernandez is 68 today. Rushmore of sports stars' TV cameos as themselves, because Hernandez's stint on "Seinfeld" was his best work since sharing the NL MVP in 1979.

Go, and remember the 5-at-10 bracket nominations and the mailbag, folks.

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