Adams: SEC teams paid well to beat each other up

DESTIN, Fla. - The SEC spring meetings clearly are the most unrealistic event on the conference's annual calendar.

You can see it in the coaches' faces. Those aren't the same faces you see in competition.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt doesn't stare anybody down. Neither does Florida coach Urban Meyer.

Coaches meet and mingle as though they're at a family reunion. Rumor has it that Alabama coach Nick Saban even smiles, but I've got no credible source on that.

The conference is one big, happy family at a resort hotel for Memorial Day week, which is all about sharing.

Money didn't buy all of that happiness. But it helped.

The 12 SEC schools will share $127.2 million this year. That's more than the combined salary of Jimmy Sexton's SEC football-coaching clients.

This is a work trip for SEC coaches. But it's a different kind of work. Nobody loses at the end of the day. Nobody gets fired.

Then, everybody packs up their beach clothes and big smiles, and goes back to their real jobs, which entail heaping misery on the rest of their SEC family.

"You see all the grey hair," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said, pointing out a side effect of the competition.

"We beat each other up," he added. "But we're making a lot of money doing it."

He could be referring to the conference coaches or schools.

Nowhere is the competition more apparent than in football, where you could argue that winning the conference championship has become almost as difficult as winning a national title. To win the SEC, you must endure an eight-game schedule in the nation's toughest conference, then win a playoff game in the Georgia Dome. All you have to do to win a national title is beat Ohio State.

"The last two national championship games haven't been very close," Tuberville said in reference to Florida's and LSU's dominance against Ohio State in winning back-to-back SEC national titles.

But the SEC races have been as close as ever. You can expect more of the same this fall.

In talking to SEC football coaches last week, the majority opinion was the conference would be stronger this season than last when LSU and Georgia finished one-two in the final Associated Press poll, and conference teams won seven of nine bowl games.

That's not just coach-speak. The depth charts and preseason rankings bear it out. The top four teams in the SEC East - Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and South Carlolina - all should be improved. In fact, Georgia and Florida already have been picked to win the national championship by preseason magazines.

In the West, LSU has lost a number of key players from its national championship team but still has a wealth of talent returning. And title contender Auburn should be improved.

Also, a league chock full of proven coaches should be even better on the sidelines season with the addition of Bobby Petrino at Arkansas and with Houston Nutt replacing Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss.

"We'll have to continue to fight through (the conference competition)," Tuberville said. "Because we're going to tend to keep beating each other up."

And continue making each other rich.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 127

Michael1204 writes:

Way to try to slide in the Nick Saban comment about him not smiling to kiss up to our rears and get favorable responses to this article. You fail, John, you fail.

DavidPollacksNeckBrace writes:

Why so much hostility towards Adams. I don't agree with everything he writes but overall he tends to be be a pretty good columnist and is usually somewhat insightful.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

The best line in the whole article: "All you have to do to win a national title is beat Ohio State."

BOJ

volguy#211935 writes:

"You see all the grey hair," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said, pointing out a side effect of the competition.

Uh, that's spelled G-R-A-Y, not grey. It's a minor detail, but you would think someone with an LSU degree would know how to spell the word for the color gray. And, you would think that somebody would at least proofread his column before ink hits paper, or, in this case, before words hit the Internet.

sdye16#641965 writes:

Way to show what type of a degree you have Volguy. Both "gray" and "grey" are acceptable spellings of the word to describe that color.

GerryOP writes:

Actually volguy, either spelling is proper. But do not let facts, education (or your lack thereof), and knowledge detract from your mindless rants against Adams and the KNS.

Young man, you have a nice day....

VOLinATL writes:

I wish I had nothing better to do than worry about proofreading the KNS....

TheVolMan writes:

Wow, the Weenies are going after JA's spelling... and they're wrong! Some boycott, LOL...

Dawghater writes:

At least he has hair left

Bigger_Al writes:

Adams: "Coach Saban! Coach! Did you hear me on Finebaum's show trashing UT? I"m a celebrity on Alabama radio, just like you! Coach! Wanna go out for some hot dogs? Coach?"

BigOrangeJeff writes:

John Adams would give Saban a ride to the airport.

TommyJack writes:

volguy: 8:06 Not so fast my friend.
http://www.bernzilla.com/item.php?id=232

Pullingguard writes:

Where do all these salamanders hide during the day until they can post their quirky remarks and be negative on anything that Admas writes? Why don't you just quit reading his column, which will give you more time for the funny papers. Oh, John does not always give us the best, but it's that time of year, little to write about and less to talk about on sports, especially if you are a football zonie. Give the guy an A for effort.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Wonder how many coaches wore their muscle shirts at the beach? Do they still sell Ray-Bans?

Spelling! I stare at spell check in wonderment sometimes.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Coach Foolmore would like to wish everyone a great complacent summer from Jackson Hole, WY. We won the East last year, made some coaching staff changes, spring practice went well, and we have lots of starters returning. All is well, time to sit back and relax until fall practice.

Silent_Fulmer writes:

WOW! - The top four teams in the SEC East - Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and South Carlolina - all should be improved.

We won the East last year and should be improved! this is good news.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

I can't wait to be outscored in conference play again and try to win the East this year. I mean, that will happen 2 years in a row. That's how Foolmore planned it out all along last year.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

FYI of the day....Rick Neuheisel has a more recent conference championship as head coach than our beloved Coach Foolmore and he didn't coach for like 2 years at all and was an NFL assistant for 2 years. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

vols72, I'll let you know when we are done so you can eat the biscuit.

volroadwarrior writes:

I'll take getting out scored, but winning a championship any day of the week.

RJ_Vol writes:

Workin'. Is that a joke? Sometimes it's hard to tell on the bulletin board. If it isn't... Neuheisel had 51 NCAA violations(mostly recruiting) during 4 years as Colorado head coach - prior to his stay at Washington. The Buffs' were put on 2 years' probation. I'm not even going to discuss his stay at Washington.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Whackin'ItLikeHeck mentions Coach Fulmer's vacations in Jackson Hole in every third post. He's just sore that he can't afford to vacation there.

BOJ

Silent_Fulmer writes:

No, BOJ, I just think were all jealous that our football coach thinks he is an elitist and he thinks the fans are dumb enough to buy his "workinlikeheck" mentality.

imw8n4u writes:

I guess there's the proof that silent and workin are 1 and the same.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Neuheisel has a more recent conference title than Foolmore. LOL!!!!!

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Posted by Silent_Fulmer on June 2, 2008 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No, BOJ, I just think were all jealous that our football coach thinks he is an elitist and he thinks the fans are dumb enough to buy his "workinlikeheck" mentality.
__________________________________________________

Wow, now we are blessed with mind readers on GVX. Watch out Miss Cleo, Silent_Flatulence is after your job!!!

Thanks, though, for admitting that you're jealous of Coach Fulmer. That speaks volumes to the source of your hatred.

BOJ

BigOrangeVol writes:

Same tired, retread, droning and pedantic song – 726th verse. So perspicacious! It’s analogous to listening to some guy tell the same joke for 20 years because it’s the only one he can remember and he still thinks he’s clever. Such a pity.
Yawn.

Jerkin’ it’s time to finally get over your man-crush on John Terrill Majors! In 28 years as a head coach he had 1 National Championship and 3 SEC Titles; whoopty-freakin’-do! Only four of his teams in 28 years were ever ranked in the Top 10! But it’s his record that was so impressive… a 55.7 winning percentage and 12 losing seasons (43%) in his career. Even if you took out all of his losing season and only counted his BEST 14, his winning percentage was only 71.6 while Phillip has a 14 year 76.6%. Coach Fulmer has given us six teams ranked in the Top Ten final Poll and only once in 14 years were we NOT ranked in the final Top 25. He’s won 76% of his SEC games compared to Majors 57%. Can we improve? Obviously. Do I long for the days of those nostalgic 6-5 or 7-4 seasons… NEVER. Two double-digit win seasons in 16 years just doesn’t get me excited anymore.

I think I’ll change my screen name to DadgummitWereGonnaWorkHarder and use every article printed on the KNS to slam an arrogant, miserable, mean-spirited alcoholic that blamed all his failures on his players, assistants and changed coordinators more often than his underwear. I just long for the days losing to Bama 73% of the time, only beating Cow College 46% of the time, losing to Army, losing twice to Duke, losing 80% of the time to the Gators, losing 44-0 to UGA, losing three times to UK, four times to Ole Miss, losing three in a row to Miserable State, twice to Pitt, RUTGERS and my favorite all-time Majors gem…sitting there thru the entire game watching us get humiliated in the driving rain by Washington State 52-24 and being sick for a month afterwards because I was supporting the Vols come Hell or high water. Ahhh, those were the days. BTW, “working like heck” started with JTM not Fulmer!

BigOrangeJeff writes:

And Mark Twain has a more recent cognizant thought than Whackin'LikeHeck.

Yeah, Whackin', we saw that post in another thread, and it wasn't funny there, either. Nothing more patheric than a bad comedian laughing at his own jokes - especially when no one else is.

BOJ

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

vols72 speaking from his own personal experience. LOL!!!!!!

BOJ, you little conspiracy theorist you. Yeah, Jackson Hole, WY is a really expensive getaway. LOL!!!!!!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Who said I was longing for Majors? He has 3 SEC titles. Comparing his coaching career to what he took over at the powerhouse known at Iowa State to the mess he inherited at Pitt that was 1-10 before his arrival. Not to mention the lack of talent he inherited at Tennessee when he took over for Bill Battle. I mean Fulmer took over a program that had won 2 of the previous 3 SEC championships. I see how they were comparable situations. I forget that Fulmer has a losing records against every relevant coach in the SEC right now.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Hi, I'm Whackin'LikeHeck. LOL!!!!

I laugh at my own "jokes". LOL!!!!

My life is so pathetic, I have to tear down others to feel better about my miserable existence. LOL!!!!

The only value I find in my life is from the number of responses I get on this board. LOL!!!!

I'm a sad, strange, inadequate little man. LOL!!!!

I have to cherry-pick statistics in order to make my points. LOL!!!!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

BOJ, do you usually make a habit of responding to people and making up lame username variations of people who you claim to be are pathetic, little, and inadequate on the internet?

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Nothing against Majors, but didn't he sign something like 88 freshmen to schollys his first year at Pitt? By the time they were seniors, they had 150 on scholarships. They should have won the MNC. I believe the scholarship limits were put in place just for that reason.

BTW, how many SEC coaches did Majors have losing records against?

BOJ

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Whackin',
No, just those who really are pathetic and inadequate.

BOJ

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

BOJ admits he responds to people he thinks need to get a life. LOL!!!!!

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Where did I say to get a life? LOL!!!!

murrayvol writes:

Grey or gray? Small potato(e)s when your, yore, and you're are used here interchangably on a regular basis?

utclassof1992 writes:

Workin, you just keep on telling it like it is. Some of these weenies think that winning the East is just dandy. Kinda like the Special Olympics. You know, "Its alright, you tried". I remember real UT football, like the 90s. The last 7 years' team couldn't hold a candle to 1990-1999. This is what happens when mediocrity sets in and people forget excellence. Our idea of a West Coast offense is two crappy quarterbacks from the Left Coast. Knoxville John Adams is right!

utclassof1992 writes:

Of course, those of you who want to slam Majors don't remember that you wanted to hang him after better seasons than last year, 2003 or 2005. Fulmer is a POS. As a coach and as a person. Losing Rodney Garner and Cutcliffe exposed him.

Bigger_Al writes:

We were lucky to get Johnny to the stadium in any condition.

If you look at the data:
The '92 team was 5-3 with Johnny as Head Coach, with wins @LSU, Cincinnati, Memphis, UK, and @Vandy, And STUNNING losses to Arkansas and @South Carolina to go along with his 7th consecutive loss to Alabama.

The '92 team was 4-0 with Phil as Head Coach, with 3 wins as an underdog against Florida, @Georgia, and in the Hall of Fame/Outback bowl against Boston College to go with a SW La win.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Well, just as long as we don't "loose" any games.

We beat Richt and Lindy's says he at 79%+. He usually "looses" to us every year.

Man, if I can figure it out, I don't pay much attention to the "looses".

Free TDTN.

ncvol writes:

Go Vols....

rootin4volz writes:

Here's an idea, John...maybe we can have those SEC teams paid to beat YOU up.

utclassof1992 writes:

Johnny was also coming off major heart surgery and near death and had an offensive coordinator who had poisoned the well for him. And 2 years removed from a Sugar Bowl appearance in a season with the nation's toughest schedule. I hope Johnny lives to see Fat Boy fired.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Wonder if the Bruins have someone who can keep up with the days?

Probably not.

Free TDTN.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Wonder if the Bruins have someone who can keep up with the days?

Probably not.

Free TDTN.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Wonder if the Bruins have someone who can keep up with the days?

Probably not.

Free TDTN.

volguy#211935 writes:

For those who decided to take me on regarding my correction of John Adams' use of the word "grey" as opposed to "gray" in his column, you need to know that we're not talking dictionary usage here, but AP (Associated Press) Stylebook usage.

Here is the entry from the online version of AP Stylebook: "gray not grey. But: greyhound."

Soooooo, being that John Adams writes for a daily newspaper in Knoxville, AP Stylebook usage reigns supreme unless the KN-S has a superseding of this usage in its local stylebook, which is highly unlikely.

I also realize that it's a minor detail, as I mentioned in my original post, but I would hate for those of you who decided I was wrong to live out the rest of your lives being misdirected when it comes to the usage of "gray" and "grey" in a newspaper article. Remember, we're not talking about dictionary usage here.

And, by the way, GerryOP, thanks for calling me a young man. I haven't been called one of those in two or three decades!!!

Bigger_Al writes:

"Johnny was also coming off major heart surgery and near death"...

That's the problem I had with him coming back against his Dr.'s advice. He should have let UT win the East in the first year there was an East to win. He decided he would rather UT lose the East with him than win the East while he properly recovered.

vol_in_lsu_land writes:

It's very, very sad that we are still crying about Johnny Walker Red Majors' getting fired almost two decades after the fact.

Don't get me wrong, I was a fan of Johnny Majors. I am a young guy, 35. I've always said that my ideal for a US President was influenced by Ronald Reagan and my ideal for a football coach came from Johnny Majors...that's because these are the men I grew up looking up to as heroes.

But by the time I was 20 or so, when Majors was fired, I was old enough to not see him through the rose colored glasses of youth. He was a very flawed man with a huge ego. Same affliction that soooo many "living legends" suffer from. He did have a drinking problem and he WAS a mediocre coach. I still think it funny that the glory days that many of you yearn for came under the guidance of CPF, not CJM.

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