Coaches seldom address the virtue of coming close. As former coach Herm Edwards summed it up so eloquently for sound-bite purposes, "You play to win the game."
But that's coach-speak. The general populace can better appreciate a narrow defeat, especially when it's at the hand of a supposedly superior opponent.
That's why Tennessee has something to gain even in defeat against fifth-ranked Georgia this afternoon at Sanford Stadium.
In the Vols' last five games against opponents ranked eighth or higher, they have been outscored by an average of 34 points per game.
Georgia 34, Tennessee 24: Recent Georgia history tells us this won't be a blowout. The Bulldogs have won their first two SEC games this season by 21 points over Missouri and 45 against Vanderbilt.
But they haven't won three consecutive SEC games by 20 or more points since 1981.
Alabama 48, Ole Miss 17: What if the Tide didn't play its first team against the Rebels? Bama by 20.
What if the Tide didn't play its first team; Saban made Mike Shula interim head coach for the game; Eli Manning returned to quarterback the Rebels; and Saban started his daughter, Kristen, at nose tackle? Alabama by 14.
I just can't think of a scenario in which this could be a close game.
Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 30: The strategy on how to beat the Aggies is so simple a bankrupt coach should be able to figure it out. You spot them a double-digit lead, as Florida did three weeks ago and as the Razorbacks did last season, then wait for the Aggies to collapse in the face of prosperity.
On second thought, a bankrupt coach who blew a 21-point lead against Louisiana-Monroe probably isn't smart enough to figure it out, especially when his defense is as vulnerable as the one at John L. Smith's command.
South Carolina 30, Kentucky 14: Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw will enter the game with 20 consecutive pass completions. Kentucky will enter the game hopeful of keeping backup quarterback Morgan Newton on the bench.
Last Saturday, when Shaw was going 20-for-21 against Missouri, Newton couldn't have hit a parked 18-wheeler with a beer bottle against Florida in place when he filled in for injured Maxwell Smith.
LSU 48, Towson 6: It will be Tiger on Tiger at Tiger Stadium, which seems so much more compelling than Tiger on Knight.
Until the 1960s, Towson was known as the Knights. Towson student John Schuerholz, who later became general manager of the Atlanta Braves, didn't think the Knights were cool and called for a new mascot. So the Towson Knights became the Towson Tigers in 1962.
I can trust Wikipedia on that, right?
Missouri 30, Central Florida 23: SEC commissioner Mike Slive needs to have a talk with the Tigers. Their non-conference schedule includes games against Arizona State, UCF, and Syracuse.
It's an unwritten rule that SEC schools schedule at least two games against utterly helpless opponents. Maybe Slive needs to put it in writing for the new guys.
Top 25: West Virginia 56, Baylor 45; Ohio State 27, Michigan State 24; Clemson 42, Boston College 20; Florida State 45, South Florida 17; Oklahoma State 31, Texas 27; Louisville 27, Southern Mississippi 17; Oregon State 34, Arizona 31; Oregon 54, Washington State 20; TCU 38, SMU 14; Boise State 44, New Mexico 17; Nebraska 34, Wisconsin 23.
Record: 72-9 (.889), 31-34 (.477) against the spread.