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Posted: Thursday, August 27th, 2015, 7:13 PM
by Beano

WE’LL MISS RANDY MOORE: I came home Saturday -from what now seems like an even less important batting practice session than usual- to the sad news that Randy Moore had passed away at 63 years of age. My first thought was that is way too young for anyone let alone someone as widely respected as Randy. My second was of his earliest work with the Knoxville Journal in 1974 when I was a senior at Oak Ridge High School. I dabbled in sports journalism with the school paper in those years so I had a greater than passing interest in style of writing and –probably foolishly- what I thought I could draw from it concerning the scribe’s character. I immediately liked Randy through his work and years later after making his acquaintance I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that -at least in this instance- my first impressions had been dead on.

Randy –unlike recent editions of the football program and seemingly a lifetime of the basketball program he covered so effectively- was a consistent source of excellence. Raised in Greeneville, Tennessee he had a knowledge of University of Tennessee athletics history and tradition and a feel for the heartbeat of the Volunteer fanbase that few if any of his peers possessed. Though he didn't hide the fact that he was a Volunteer fan he never allowed it to slant his reporting. He was neither overprotective nor excessively critical. His work was as balanced, honest and fair as any I have had the privilege to enjoy in my 50+ years of Tennessee fandom. Those were rare attributes even 40 years ago in his chosen profession let alone in today’s “let’s be first even if we’re wrong” media world.

Randy exhibited the same solid character traits with people as he applied to his writing. I know because I was the fortunate recipient of his good will. When Tony first allowed me to cover Tennessee Football practices for him in the late 90s I had little training in the profession and probably less business attending/reporting on the practices I witnessed. I was a new face, who hadn’t paid his dues rubbing shoulders with those who had in a cliquish and competitive business. I was having fun while others were plying their trade. Randy Moore however treated me with respect and helped me through those early lost days as if I were his protégé. I have never –and will never- forget his kindness and I will miss him greatly for however many more Volunteer athletic events I am blessed to witness. Randy was taken from us far too early and with every day that passes it becomes more evident that this old world can’t afford to lose people of his ilk before their time. May God Bless Randy Moore and all who are better off today for knowing him.

VOL WIN DIFFICULTY RATING: With a little over a week before we have to start “taking em one at a time” here is one man’s opinion on Tennessee’s chance of winning games in the 2015 season from most to least likely:

1-WESTERN CAROLINA: The Vols catch the Catamounts napping as a sandwich opponent between juggernauts The Citadel and Presbyterian.

2-NORTH TEXAS STATE: As I said in my predictions blog “this ain’t 1975”. The Vols would beat this CUSA also-ran with Derek Dooley at the helm, a Sal Sunseiri directed defense, running the Clawfense.

3-BOWLING GREEN: The Falcon’s offense is anything but a doormat but their defense does throw out the end zone welcome mat.

4-VANDY: Bowling Green could probably beat the Commodores but Vandy plays at another level emotionally versus the Vols.

5-@ KENTUCKY: Attrition may not be as big a negative factor for the Cats at Halloween as it is at Thanksgiving but the results should be the same.

6-SOUTH CAROLINA: One of the few SEC programs in recent years that the Vols KNOW they can beat.

7-OKLAHOMA: The Sooners won’t be as bad as they were late in 2014 but hopefully not as good as they were early.

8-GEORGIA: The Dawgs are more talented than some that will appear later in my difficulty ratings but the Vols have been ever so close the last two seasons with a roster and QB inferior to this season’s.

9-ARKANSAS: The Hogs first true road game, Jonathan William’s unfortunate injury and the Vols defense versus a mostly one-dimensional offense hopefully slant the outcome in the Vols favor.

10-@MISSOURI: I’ve probably overstated the game’s difficulty but the contest is in Columbia and we’ve never seen the Vols beat the Tigers.

11-@FLORIDA: I’ve probably done the same here but the game is in Gainesville and it seems like we’ve never seen the Vols beat the Gators either

12-@ALABAMA: The Tide is the only team on the schedule that possesses the trifecta stranglehold; home field advantage, roster advantage and series history advantage.

IN A PERFECT WORLD: Randy Moore would still be with us.

EVEN IF IT ISN’T A PERFECT WORLD: The Vol Colonel is cancer free and that is cause for great celebration. The Big C IS NOT undefeated as VC is the latest to whip its ass. Despite my colorful language let me unashamedly say Praise God.

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