Tennessee's decision to honor former coach Phillip Fulmer at halftime of tonight's game qualifies as its shrewdest strategy of the football season. Fulmer, who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame later this year, brings back great Alabama memories for UT fans.
He won seven consecutive games against the Tide during one stretch. And even after he stopped beating 'Bama on a regular basis, he slammed the Tide again in his testimony to NCAA investigators.
UT should do more than honor Fulmer, though. It needs to extend the good-old-days theme with creative use of the JumboTron.
Rather than show replays from tonight's game, it should show replays from the 41-14 victory over Alabama in 1995.
Show Jay Graham running 75 yards for a touchdown, Peyton Manning and Joey Kent hooking up for an 80-yard touchdown, and UT intercepting three Alabama passes. That would beat an Eddie Lacy rerun through the UT defense.
Alabama 45, Tennessee 20: The defense gets most of the credit for the Tide's No. 1 ranking. But the biggest mismatch this evening could be SEC pass efficiency leader A.J. McCarron working against UT's deer-in-the-headlights defense.
LSU 30, Texas A&M 23: If I were voting for the Heisman Trophy today, Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel would be the first name on my ballot. He leads the conference in rushing, total offense, is tied for the lead in touchdowns and scoring, and has twice broken the conference single-game record for total offense.
He also has an offensive line that can hold its own against LSU's heralded defensive front. All Manziel lacks is a complementary defense.
South Carolina 24, Florida 23: The Gamecocks might be underdogs, but Gators coach Will Muschamp will feel like one, too, when he sees coach Steve Spurrier on the other sideline.
Spurrier has lost only one of nine games in which Muschamp was on the opposing team as either a coach or player. Muschamp's one victory against Spurrier came as a defensive coordinator at Auburn in Spurrier's second season as South Carolina's head coach.
Georgia 45, Kentucky 10: After a 1-5 start becomes a 1-6 start this evening, better days are ahead for the Wildcats. Their last four games are against FCS Samford and three SEC teams — Missouri, Vanderbilt, and UT — who have combined to win one conference game.
More good news for the Wildcats: the basketball team is practicing, and no one has beaten them to Bobby Petrino.
Vanderbilt 24, Auburn 20: There's a bright side to the Tigers' 1-5 season. It has provided us more quotes from former Auburn basketball player Charles Barkley.
In a Birmingham radio interview this week, Barkley lamented the state of Auburn football and said: "The three saddest days of my life were the day Elvis died, the day Michael Jackson died and the day Mike Shula got fired."
Mississippi State 38, Middle Tennessee State 23: Despite their 6-0 record, the Bulldogs shouldn't be overconfident against a Sun Belt Conference team. They had a tougher time beating Troy of the Sun Belt than they did in their three SEC games against Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Troy had 572 yards and 30 first downs in a 30-24 loss.
Top 25: West Virginia 42, Kansas State 37; Notre Dame 27, Brigham Young 17; Oregon State 37, Utah 24; Oklahoma 52, Kansas 14; Southern California 51, Colorado 13; Florida State 38, Miami 17; TCU 39, Texas Tech 37; Louisville 37, South Florida 23; Rutgers 30, Temple 23; Clemson 41, Virginia Tech 34; Stanford 31, Cal 27; Cincinnati 38, Toledo 34; Boise State 41, UNLV 13; Oklahoma State 42, Iowa State 38; Texas 40, Baylor 27.
Record: 114-23 (.832), 60-57 (.513) against the spread.