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Posted: Monday, January 8th, 2018, 9:07 AM • Permalink
Welcome to Monday!!!

I'm smiling today. Tennessee Football is making a comeback while we were up till 12:45 Sunday morning celebrating Tennessee Basketball's win over Kentucky with you! Was it worth it? Damn straight!!!

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Random musings and short shots as we grit our teeth and endure an Alabama-Georgia national championship game tonight:

THE BASKETBALL VOLS dominated Kentucky in the second half for a big win late Saturday at The Thom. How big? The respected now has the Vols as highest rated team in the league at 17th in the nation. Rick Barnes now has three home wins over the mouth breathers from the North, which will endear you to the Vol faithful who braved frigid temps to walk from the car to the arena for the late night game.

NEXT UP IS A TRIP to Nashville to play Vandy and UT has the confidence of having won at Memorial Gym last season. Second-year coach Bryce Drew's Commodore team is struggling at 6-9 overall, although help is on the way next year with two five-star recruits already signed.

THE UNDEFEATED LADY VOLS ran their record to 15-0 yesterday with an 86-73 win over Vandy. HC Holly Warlick has learned good recruiting makes her smarter and freshmen Anastasia Hayes, Rennia Davis and Evina Westbrook have been as good as advertised. The schedule gets much tougher the next four with road games at Texas A&M (#19), South Carolina (#4) and Notre Dame (#2) before coming home to play #5 Mississippi State on Jan. 21.

LOTS OF UT FOOTBALL NEWS over the weekend. HC Pruitt hired Craig Fitzgerald away from the Houston Texans for the Strength & Conditioning position and Drew Hughes from Florida for the Dir. of Personnel job that was originally going to go to Austin Thomas. Let's hope Fitzgerald has better results than predecessor Rock Gullickson, who also was recruited from the NFL.

THE VOLS STRUCK RECRUITING GOLD with the commitment of high four-star LB J.J. Peterson. The 6-2, 210-pounder is from the talent rich southern Georgia area and joins Shawn Shamburger and Ja'Quain Blakely as Vols from Moultrie, GA. 247 Sports ranks Peterson #44 in the nation while Rivals has him #68.

HIGHLY TOUTED TE Dominick Wood-Anderson will not be able to enroll for the spring semester and participate in spring practice but is expected in the summer. Otherwise, welcome to eight new Vols who are early enrollees this week. It will be interesting to see where four-star DL Greg Emerson is after sustaining a severe leg injury last summer and where the talented freshman from Jackson, TN fits in JP's defensive scheme. Midstate athlete Alontae Taylor will get a good look in the spring and new OL coach Will Friend is sure to be pushing Jerome Carvin in the weight room and on the spring practice field to see if the big kid from Cordova, TN can contribute as a true freshman. Also, it will be good to get highly-ranked punter Paxton Brooks in the program and on the field this spring.

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WE HEARD from our past two football head coaches the last few days. Butch Jones is underway with his image rehab effort and is throwing out fake news claims about how well his program did. Interesting that he is omitting his dreadful 1-4 record against a Florida program at the depth of its cycle and his program's humiliating 2-3 record against Vanderbilt. There has been talk of Jones getting into the picture at Arizona but we'll believe that when we see it.

DEREK DOOLEY will be back at Neyland Stadium on Nov. 17 as QB coach and OC of the Missouri Tigers. The Vegas futures line moved in Tennessee's direction with news of that hire.

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Kentucky was punchless Saturday night. If that wasn't Kentucky I would've almost felt badly for those kids. They were all time all time bad in the second half. Rick Barnes OWNED Calipari in that second half. OWNED HIM!!! Everything went right for the Vols. That's Cal's first trip on the road with this year’s glorified AAU program. Schofield and Williams can ball when they get that kind of whistle. And Barnes did a masterful job of dragging the refs into his mud with the Williams review and the subsequent scene. Tennessee ripped Kentucky apart after that. Great job Rick Barnes. He had serious energy in that game that was lacking in the Auburn game. Speaking of energy, is it me or is time up on Cal at Kentucky? There was zero energy around the Cats Saturday. And I mean their fans and the whole shooting match.

On Craig Fitzgerald. He's well respected. A Philly boy which is a bonus with me. A guy that's got a well rounded resume consisting of SEC experience at SC and top flight college experience as well. He went with Bill O'Brien from Penn State to Houston of the NFL several years back. He looks on paper to be a solid hire. He's not the sexy name that Scott Cochran and LSU's Tommy Moffitt are in that business but he seems like a solid hire. The Texans were a sure fire playoff team before QB Watson got hurt. So, there's that.

JJ Peterson is a shot heard round the world. Tennessee got a player of that ilk from the state of Georgia away from the power players in the SEC including Bama by pulling out ALL the stops!!! That program has been great to Tennessee in recent years and hopefully this continues. Look at any glory period of Tennessee football and you will find that Georgia products played a key role for Tennessee. Beleeee dat. Peterson is rangy, he has a frame to bulk up and is the type of linebacker that can play downhill. Mike Huguenin was promising me last week on the air that Pruitt would build a defense here at Tennessee that will fly around. Peterson is a wonderful step in that direction. Get out your brass knuckles, your tables, ladders and chairs. Tennessee recruiting is getting ready to get extreme!!! This should be a really great January.

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Byron Williams is a great teaching golf professional at Fairways & Greens plus a T-Club member here and an all around great guy. Byron heard our conversation about reworking UT schedules and has put some serious thought into how to restructure the SEC schedule to make things more (dare I say) fair and balanced. This is really interesting. We will be discussing this today.

The problem: 1. The conference divisions have always been unbalanced. The east was the strongest for a while. But lately the west is now the strongest.
2. Conference realignment causes problems. Some longtime rivalries would be in jeopardy with realignment.
3. The two best teams don't always play in the conference championship game.

The solution: Dissolve the divisions. Continue to play in an eight game conference schedule. Each team plays three permanent opponents, which will include their most important historic rivals. The remaining five conference games of the year will be rotated within a four-year/home-home span between the remaining 10 conference teams.

Methodology: First, Identify the Historic or geographically important rivalries that need to remain played every year.

Alabama: Auburn (in-state rival. Iron Bowl)
Tennessee (border state. Third Saturday in October)

Arkansas: Missouri (bordering states)
LSU (border rival, Golden Boot trophy)

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Auburn: Alabama (in-state rival. Iron Bowl)
Georgia (oldest series in the south)

Florida: Georgia (cocktail party)
Georgia: Auburn (oldest series in the south)
Florida (cocktail party)
South Carolina (border state)

Kentucky: Tennessee or Vanderbilt (border state)

LSU: Arkansas (border rival, Golden Boot trophy)
Texas A&M (border state)

Ole Miss: Miss State (in-state rival. Egg Bowl)

Miss State: Ole Miss (in-state rival. Egg Bowl)

Missouri: Arkansas (border state)

South Carolina: Georgia (border state)

Tennessee: Alabama (border state. Third Saturday in October)
Vanderbilt (in-state rival)

Texas A&M: LSU (border state)

Vanderbilt: Tennessee (in-state rival)

Second, fill in teams that make the most traditional, geographic and/or competitive sense. The three permanent opponents for each team would be as followed...

Alabama: Auburn
Mississippi (border state)

Arkansas: LSU
South Carolina (entered the SEC together)

Auburn: Alabama
Miss State (border State)

Florida: Georgia
Kentucky (both from SEC east)
Tennessee (both from SEC east)

Kentucky: Florida (both from SEC east)
Missouri (border state)
Vanderbilt (border state)

LSU: Arkansas
Texas A&M
Ole Miss (border state)

Ole Miss: Miss State
Alabama (border state)
LSU (border state)

Miss State: Ole Miss
Auburn (border state)
Texas A&M (geographic proximity)

Missouri: Arkansas
Kentucky (border state)
Texas A&M (entered the SEC together)

South Carolina: Georgia
Arkansas (entered the SEC together)
Vanderbilt (both from SEC east)

Tennessee: Alabama
Florida (both from SEC east)

Texas A&M: LSU
Miss State (geographic proximity)
Missouri (entered the SEC together)

Vanderbilt: Tennessee
Kentucky (border state)
South Carolina (both from SEC east)

Note: when picking three teams for each school, not all rivalries could be preserved. For example, LSU/Auburn and Tennessee/Kentucky. But in this system, these rivalries still will be played two out of every four years.

Next, seven of the 14 teams will be assigned to play two home games and one away game versus their permanent opponents in years one and three. The other seven will play two away games and one home game in years one and three. In years two and four they will switch.

The next step was to pick the first five teams of the remaining ten that each team would play in season one and two. And then the remaining five teams each team would face in season three and four. To make sure each team would play a balance schedule (a mix of traditionally strong and weak teams each year) each team was ranked 1 through 14 based on their historic conference and/or overall winning percentage. (Note: The rankings are not based solely on conference winning percentage because of the addition of four teams in recent history. That created too small of a sample size.) The rank is as follows

1. Alabama
2. Tennessee
3. Georgia
4. Florida
5. LSU
6. Auburn
7. Texas A&M
8. Arkansas
9. Ole Miss
10. Missouri
11. South Carolina
12. Miss State
13. Kentucky
14. Vanderbilt

Each team was in assigned five rotating opponents for years one and two, trying to maintain a balanced schedule. For example, in year one Alabama will play:

Home 6. Auburn (p)
7. Texas A&M
10. Missouri
11. South Carolina

Away 2. Tennessee (p)
5. LSU
9. Ole Miss (p)
14. Vanderbilt

In year two, they will play the same teams as in year one, but switch home/away.

In year three Alabama will play:

Home 3. Georgia
4. Florida
5. Auburn (p)
12. Miss State

Away 2. Tennessee (p)
8. Arkansas
9. Ole Miss (p)
13. Kentucky

In year four, they will play the same teams as in year three, but switch home/away.

The attached excel sheet (below) will have each teams schedule. (Year 2018 is designated as year one in the spreadsheet)

The Result: 1. A more balanced and fair schedule over time.
2. The championship game will host the two best teams.
3. Each four year player will play every school twice and visit every stadium in the SEC.

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A wild sports weekend leaves fans with plenty to discuss. Here are some of the topics that caught my attention.

1. Tennessee responded to their coach questioning their approach with a gutsy effort and picked off Kentucky. Winning the rebounding battle was a huge turnaround for the Vols.

2. The sequence involving the technicals assessed against Rick Barnes and John Calipari was great theater. That's the kind of passion that makes college basketball great.

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3. Kentucky simply does not have the type of overwhelming talent they have usually possessed under John Calipari. None of the players on this roster compare to the likes of John Wall or Anthony Davis.

4. Clemson is one of the major surprises of the early season. Brad Brownell is rapidly working himself off the hot seat.

5. Georgia is quietly putting together a solid postseason resume. Mark Fox has one of the best frontcourts in the SEC at his disposal.

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6. Seton Hall is poised to make some serious noise as the season progresses. The Pirates have a talented core with a wealth of experience.

7. Kansas showed they aren't going to relinquish the Big 12 title without a fight. The Jayhawks showed some serious tenacity in winning at TCU.

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8. The inept management of Arsene Wenger has reduced Arsenal to a punchline. Losing to Nottingham Forest is a nadir for the club.

9. Josh Richardson has become one of the go to players for the Heat. His hard work continues to pay massive dividends.

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Low IQ Football: The end of that Saints/Panthers game was moronic. On one hand you had veteran Saints Head Coach Sean Payton making the ill fated decision to go on 4th & 2 from midfield protecting a 5 point lead when his opponent is out of timeouts. You punt the ball there 100 out of 100 times in that situation. Well, the Saints went, Brees threw up a prayer after being flushed out and the ball was INTERCEPTED by the Panthers costing them 20 yards of field position. Only the ball wasn't intercepted, it actually fell incomplete but the NFL's screwed up replay rules couldn't correct the error. Then the Panthers go storming down the field only to stall after Cam Newton was called for intentional grounding. The officials completely missed that the intentional grounding calls for the obligatory 10 second run off and didn't catch it until reminded by the Saints bench. It was obscene how poorly handled the last few minutes of that game were all the way around.

The Guys Working That Saints/Panthers Game had a better day than this veteran NFL official. He's losing his whistle forever after Saturday's shaky performance in the Chiefs/Titans game. Link

Quickly: 1/6 of the games have been played in the SEC in hoops, now rank the teams. As Throaty said, the Vols are #1. And the Vols AREN'T #1 by a long shot but it begs the question, who is? A&M? If they're not buried? I can't figure it out. Is the SEC underrated? Is it overrated? I'll say this about the league, there are no gimmies and there is a bunch of bunched teams.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE: Cleveland Browns fans. Hardcore fans will not be fooled. The Haslams might do business nationally, but they've been exposed in two different regions. The parade over the weekend was all time great. Over 3,000 people turned out in the bitter cold and did a 0 around the Browns stadium in honor of their 0 wins with some of the most creative signs and floats ever seen. Eat your heart out Macy's. Link

Posted: Fri, Jan 19th, 1:48 AM
by Beano
Posted: Mon, Jan 15th, 11:03 PM
by Doink
National Champions!
Posted: Tue, Jan 9th, 12:24 AM
by Alison
Speechless: This is amazing. College football is completely out of control. This has to be a massive bubble. It's beyond the pale at this point. Link

Final Thought: Who do we cheer for tonight? Is structural integrity an acceptable answer at this point?

A New Direction At Here at we’re creating a series of programming with little to mostly zero commercial sponsorship. In other words, you will be digesting the following programs in coming days with almost no interruption. This is unprecedented in the history of my business. Nobody has ever done this. Here are the offerings coming your way.

Our Family Of Offerings:

‘X-Cast: A Recruiting Podcast’: Featuring Tony Basilio & ‘X’ where we discuss the latest moves, behind the scenes machinations and all the intrigue from the world of recruiting. This will hopefully be offered twice monthly with lengths varying. If this takes off perhaps we can even do some live offerings of this show. THIS IS BEING OFFERED COMMERCIAL FREE!!!

Posted: Fri, Jan 19th, 1:48 AM
by Beano
Posted: Mon, Jan 15th, 11:03 PM
by Doink
National Champions!
Posted: Tue, Jan 9th, 12:24 AM
by Alison
Fifth Quarter Fan Reaction: Back for season 4. Sponsored by Marcos Garza. This year with NO OTHER SPONSORS. This will be pure content for you. I’m taking a chance here but I know you will reward me for not bombarding you with messages Vol Network style. This program will run for at least 3 hours following Tennessee Football Games. We will have new visual presentation of this feature as well that we’re investing in. Thanks to Jayson Swain for helping me with the technical side of our visual presentation.

Southeastern Sunday Night: 7p to 9p on Sunday Nights airing on Periscope/Facebook Live and other platforms including your Tony Basilio Show App. This will be a regional program that aims to keep it real. We will tell the truth on us, them and all with you. This could be a lot of fun if you help me spread the word across the region. This hopefully will turn into a free for all that is free for all. ZERO SPONSORS. COMMERCIAL FREE OFFERING.

Vol-Scars: A podcast featuring Vol Historian Tom Mattingly and Eric S where we go back in time and commemorate the painful losses in UT football history that left a mark. These shows are extremely time intensive to put together. I’ve worked all summer on these offerings and am really proud of what we’ve compiled thus far. I think you’ll really enjoy this. COMMERCIAL FREE.

Gate Twenty Won: A podcast Featuring Vol Historian Tom Mattingly where we celebrate the greatest wins in UT history in time capsule form. These are a breath of fresh air and the type of programming I’m aiming to bring to you . COMMERCIAL FREE

Chill Cast: Tell Me A Story: A podcast where I grab folks from the sports world and our community and allow them to share their stories with us. This will be done in the spirit of the recent re-launch programs that I did. We’ll aim to go deeper here. Stay tuned. COMMERCIAL FREE.

Tennessee Basketball Overtime: Back for year 5! Immediately following Tennessee Basketball Games. A Tennessee Basketball Call-In show featuring ONLY ONE SPONSOR…GARZA LAW FIRM. Therefore we keep the conversation going without bombarding you Vol Network style. What a concept!!!!

Garza On The Law: A Podcast dealing with the legal issues that invade the sports world featuring the great Marcos Garza. We will go deeper here. I promise that you will find this interesting. Presented by Garza Law Firm.

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FAQ's Asked Of Tony Per Our Relaunch Announcement:

Q: Tony, you didn't say anything about your daily show yesterday. Will you continue to do this?

A: Absolutely. I'm looking forward to year #24 with you.

Q: Tony, you used the word 'subscribe'. What Am I subscribing too?

A: Great question. 'Subscribe' is a misnomer. What you actually are doing if you choose to help us monthly (and we need this for budgeting reasons) is actually acting as a patron. The goal is to keep the content (ALL CONTENT, from postgame offerings to various podcasts) free for all.

Posted: Fri, Jan 19th, 1:48 AM
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National Champions!
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Q: So, if I'm not subscribing and I'm already reading this, why give?

A: Because you value the content and our contribution to the market and you want to help us keep this stuff free for everybody.

Q: Are you going to beat us up for money all the time here?

A: Absolutely not. I will bring this up a few times heading into the football season as we attempt to meet our financial goals and create new programming. I'll also mention it in the post-game format as well as the regional programming. I will not however wear you out with this. Either you feel the need to help us or you don't. This is why I'm taking today to field some question I received after day one.

Q: What happens if this doesn't generate the revenue you're seeking?

A: We will scale back our online offerings accordingly. The blog itself could even disappear. I really don't want this to happen but will be forced to spend my time in the most profitable way necessary. That's why we're having the conversation. All my cards are on the table here.

Q: Where can I find these new podcasts, like that X-Cast?

A: Click on "Podcast" wherever you see it on the site, and it will take you to our Podcast page.

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