Tennessee Stat Book
A question often asked by Tennessee football fans: When will the Vols be capable of competing for a championship again?
Answer: Right now - thanks to a new ratings system to determine a Tennessee state champion for the college division (limited to FBS and FCS in-state teams).
My system isn't that different from the one employed by the BCS in that it's almost impossible to understand and relies on input from coaches, media-types, former coaches, former media-types and computers. The names of all voters and computer rankings will never be revealed.
In fact, anonymity is such a crucial component in my poll, I don't even know the names of the voters. They were selected by an anonymous party, who contacted me through another anonymous party.
But enough about the nuts and bolts of the rankings. Here's how the first Tennessee state college football top-five poll shakes out:
1. Tennessee (1-0): The Vols wowed the voters by dominating UT Martin in their season opener. In-state games remaining: Saturday night against Memphis, and Nov. 20 against Vanderbilt.
2. Memphis (1-0): The Tigers might be one of the worst teams in the country, but they're still in the running for the Tennessee state championship due to a 24-17 victory over Middle Tennessee State. In-state games remaining: tonight against Tennessee.
3. Chattanooga (1-0): Although the Mocs have yet to play a game against an in-state opponent, their courage to schedule Auburn apparently impressed the voters and computers. In-state games remaining: none.
4. Vanderbilt (0-0): Although the Commodores have yet to play a game against an in-state opponent, their victory over nearby Ole Miss obviously swayed some voters. In-state games remaining: Nov. 20 against Tennessee.
5. Middle Tennessee State (1-1): A 24-17 loss to second-ranked Memphis is all that stands between the Blue Raiders and an unbeaten season against Tennessee teams. In-state games remaining: none.
Others receiving votes: UT Martin, Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay and Tennessee State.
Tennessee 45, Memphis 17: Vols end their four-game losing streak and take another step toward a state championship.
Alabama 24, LSU 20: Both teams had an open date last week. You know what that means?
The Tide has had a chance to get healthy, and LSU coach Les Miles has had two weeks to get luckier.
Scary stat for the Tide: LSU is 14-3 when Miles has had at least two weeks to prepare (i.e., build up his luck) for an opponent.
Arkansas 34, South Carolina 31: The Gamecocks pass defense makes almost every quarterback look like Ryan Mallett. Imagine what the real Ryan Mallett will do.
Florida 30, Vanderbilt 13: Chris Rainey, who has gone more than a month without threatening to kill anyone, returned from his death-threat suspension to spark the Gators running game against Georgia. In a related development, the Commodores offense has been placed on suicide watch.
Georgia 48, Idaho State 10: Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has been criticized for giving the choke sign as Florida placekicker Chas Henry prepared for a game-winning field goal last week. It's unclear whether the choke sign was directed at Henry or the Bulldogs, who have lost 11 of the last 13 games against Florida.
Kentucky 55, Charleston Southern 7: Brilliant scheduling again has the Wildcats in the running for a bowl game. Two of the Wildcats' four victories have come against Akron and Western Kentucky, who are a combined 1-16.
Don't let the Buccaneers' 2-6 record fool you. They're worse than that, as evidenced by five consecutive double-digit losses to the likes of Stony Brook, VMI, Gardner-Webb, Liberty and Hawaii (66-7).
Ole Miss 45, Louisiana Lafayette 24: Rebel Black Bear is reportedly already on the mascot hot seat. Ole Miss is 0-3 on RBB's watch, which began Oct. 14.
Not even "Coach O" started out that badly.
Auburn 52, Chattanooga 17: Could B.J. Coleman be the best amateur quarterback on the field?
Top 25: Oregon 56, Washington 17; Boise State 44, Hawaii 20; TCU 27, Utah 20; Wisconsin 38, Purdue 14; Nebraska 45, Iowa State 20; Stanford 31, Arizona 27; Oklahoma 41, Texas A&M 30; Missouri 35, Texas Tech 27; Iowa 37, Indiana 20; Michigan State 37, Minnesota 14; Oklahoma State 38, Baylor 27; N.C. State 34, Clemson 31; Florida State 37, North Carolina 23.
Record 150-31 (.828) overall, 81-77 (.513) against the spread.