Randy Smith: Nothing Like Florida Week

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
As expected on Tuesday, the Florida Gators announced their SEC game with Tennessee will be played as scheduled Saturday at 3:30 in the Swamp.
I really never expected otherwise. There is no way the Gators would give up their home field advantage and face the hated Volunteers on a neutral field, no matter how much damage Hurricane Irma had done in Gainesville. Florida must think this is still a big SEC rivalry.

In terms of wins and losses, this really hasn't been a "real" rivalry in a long time. Back in the 1990s when the Vols and Gators dominated the SEC and were both among the top programs in all of college football, Florida still won much more often than Tennessee did. Fast forward to 2017 and the Vols are hoping to get a winning streak started over the Gators. The Vols won last year in Knoxville, snapping a ten game winning streak for Florida.

The Gators lead the all time series 26-20 but they have won 26 of the last 36 meetings. I always thought a rivalry was a series that was closely contested but in the case of Florida versus Tennessee that is not exactly the case.

Earlier this morning I watched a replay of the 1995 game in the Swamp; a game that with Peyton Manning, the Vols held a 30-14 lead in the first half, only to lose the game 62-37. Steve Spurrier was at his very best with his "fun and gun" offense as the Gators were in the midst of a five game winning streak. This game was still so painful to watch as when the Gators started rolling in the second half there was no stopping them.

Back in the 1990s the fans on both sides really got into Tennessee-Florida week. Restaurants all over the Volunteer state served Gator meat, prepared several different ways. The Vols were accused back then of choking against the Gators, or as then head coach Phillip Fulmer called it, "being all puckered up." Being "puckered up" isn't really something the present day Volunteers are faced with. They won last year and should have won two years ago in the Swamp. The 2017 game gives Tennessee a great chance to win because for the first time in many years, Florida is winless going into the Tennessee game. The Gators lost to Michigan in game one and last weeks game with Northern Colorado was cancelled due to Irma. In the one game the Gators have played, they were completely inept offensively. Now Florida is still very good defensively but I'm not really sure the Gators can score enough points to win.

Some pundits have predicted that Tennessee will win on Saturday. They do have a chance because Florida just isn't very good. I'm not so sure how good Tennessee is even though the Vols are 2-0 on the year, but unless they suddenly become "all puckered up" they will have a chance. I'll have my SEC picks for week number three tomorrow.   

* * *

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer.  His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for 30 years. He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga television for more than a quarter-century. In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith. They have five grandchildren, Coleman, Boone, Mattingly, DellaMae, and CoraLee.



Boykin, Carr Win Black Knight Wrestling Invite Titles

Seniors Scottie Boykin and Bryce Carr bounced back from losses in Friday’s dual against No. 8 Virginia Tech by posting impressive wins at the Black Knight Invite in West Point, N.Y., today.  The Mocs had 12 of their 15 entries place in the tournament hosted by Army West Point.   Boykin improved to 8-1 with two decision and an 8-0 major over Binghampton’s Mark Tracy ... (click for more)

2017 THSCAA All-State Soccer Teams

THSCAA All State DII A Forwards Livi Tanzer 9 St Georges Olivia Hoffman 12 CCS Maddy Stolnicki 12 ECS Caroline Betts 8 CPA Courtney Rabb 12 USN Holeh Heydari 12 USJ Faith Gober 11 DCA Midfielders Ruth Fitzgerald 12 St Georges Emma Bennett 11 St Georges Addie Henry 11 CCS Vayle McKay 12 CPA Emily ... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning; 1 Is Killed; 2 Victims Are Known Gang Members

Ladarius Cross, 28, Terrance Careathers, 26, and a juvenile were shot early Saturday morning. Cross was killed.   Chattanooga Police responded to a motor vehicle crash at 5:16 a.m. in the 1400 block of Roanoke Avenue.   Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police Officers located the single vehicle crash with two people suffering for apparent gunshot wounds. The driver, ... (click for more)

CSAS Teacher Who Was Once Reported Missing Facing DUI Charge

A teacher at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, who recently was reported missing and then was spotted, has now been arrested. John Albert Eaton, 44, was arrested Sunday in Red Bank on a DUI charge. He gave his address as 9580 Sweet Gum Lane, Soddy Daisy. Eaton's wife had reported him missing after she said he told her he was going to the school on a Sunday afternoon ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: America’s ‘Shush’ Fund

Michael Reagan, the son of one of our nation’s greatest presidents, wrote a wonderful op-ed piece on Sunday that explained why he believes the women who have stepped forward to allege they were once abused by Judge Roy Moore. He wrote that when he, a political consultant, is asked why the women waited 40 years to bring up the charges, “I tell them I didn’t reveal my sexual abuse ... (click for more)