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Wed Tony Talking Points. It's Florida Baby!!!
Live Today at C&D Tire Maryville. Rusty Webb @ 12:30
Posted: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006, 9:32 AM • Permalink
Florida…Florida….Florida….Need I say more? Small Mike (AKA Tennessee Mike, Smalley Bahama, Corey Anderson Fan, Cosby Kid, King Jim, etc) decided to set the tone in a response to Dooley’s column in yesterday’s Gainesville Sun regarding how we’re all dealing with pent up animosity regarding the Gators. Small Mind (my name for him) brings it long and strong. Great job (SM)!!!!

Here’s a link to the piece:
Click here to open article in a new window!

Here’s Small Mike’s (Mind’s) response!!! Classis Smalley Bahama!

Dear Pat,

Nice homer column admiring UF's navel today. Are you really that delusional? As a Vol fan I can tell you why I don't like (but don't envy) UF (but not any more
or any less than the other 11 programs in the SEC)'s because UF has no class...from UF's obnoxious, drunk, yankee fans that want to fight and cuss at you after football games (only when UF wins of course) the Gainesville Police Department
(speaking of Barney Fife) harassing visiting fans and taking them to jail for having a beer on the sidewalk for not knowing any better about newly passed G'ville ordinances)...from Spurrier (probably the poorest sportsman and yet the best coach the league has seen in modern times...btw Spurrier is at USC now so our hatred for him doesn't come your way now either) rah rah writers like yourself that think UF is something it isn't. While I find your columns usually informed and somewhat come off as a
glorified writer for Gator Bait.

If you go back to the big six in the league (UF, UGA, UT, Bama, Auburn, LSU).... I would say all of them have more national and SEC titles than UF...they also
have just as big (or bigger) stadium and fan bases. Oh and here's a news flash. Billy Donovan is viewed as a mini Joe B. Hall. Great talent but his teams usually devolve at the end of the year into personal intra-team friction and early NCAA exits. Remember Joe B. won a national title at UK...and would you call him a great coach?

Urban Meyer isn't making opposing fans shake in their boots either....UGA, LSU, and Auburn have the best football programs in the league from 2000 forward (yes that hurts me to say as a UT fan).

So keep preaching to the choir about how much UF has on everybody else in the league. I'm sure the fans down there will believe your delusion. The rest of the league just thinks you are full of gator crap.

Cordially & Go Vols,

Tennessee Mike

Don’t get your bowels in an uproar is Tennessee gets beat tonight. The Vols, even with a loss leave Gainesville with a one game lead in the east at three games remaining. Home Sat with Arkansas, At Vandy and UK in Knoxville. Florida’s remaining schedule looks like this:
Wed Feb 22 Tennessee 8:00 PM (ET)
1 Sun Feb 26 at Alabama 4:00 PM (ET)
2 Wed Mar 1 Georgia 7:00 PM (ET)
3 Sun Mar 5 at Kentucky Noon (ET)

Tennessee will go no worse than 2-2. This means that Florida, a team that is 5-4 in it’s last 9 games coming into this evening must go 3-1. Should be interesting.

Want a great warm-up for tonight? ESPN2 has the episode of ‘The Season’ that features UT’s trip to Gainesville tonight at 7:30.

Remember: Keep those e-mails coming.
We’ve gotten so much great feedback. Most importantly, please spread the word on the site. We have a ton of great stuff planned including an archive site with some of my greatest hits through the years. Can anybody say Jackie Butler interview?

God Bless,

Tony B
The Vols (19-4, 10-2) are trying to bounce back from their first loss in a month after dropping a 92-79 decision at Alabama last Saturday. By winning tonight, they would wrap up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Division.
They last swept Florida during the 2000 season, which was also the last time the Vols entered the SEC tournament as the East's No. 1 seed.
The Gators (22-4, 8-4)
"I'm from Tennessee, and I hate to lose to Tennessee or Vanderbilt, so that makes it a special game for me," said Florida's Corey Brewer, a former Portland High star.
"It's a huge rivalry and we're playing for the SEC championship now, if you think about it. We're two games back. They're in the lead. We really need this win. And then they beat us already, so that just adds to it."
After starting the season 17-0, Florida is just 5-4 in its last nine games. Struggles in the final minutes of closely-contested games have plagued the Gators.
The Gators would like to be able to close out Lofton, who scorched them for 29 points the last time and made every clutch play.
In his last four games, Lofton is 29-of-41 from 3-point range.
"I would compare him to J.J. Redick with his ability to make tough shots night in and night out," Florida Coach Billy Donovan said.
"The thing about him is that he can get it off any time he wants to get it off, and at times, there's nothing defensively you can do about it."
Brewer would like that chance.
"I just hope I get to guard him this game. Let's put it that way," said Brewer, who wasn't on Lofton much in the first meeting

Bama loses to Ark 65-63 last night after blowing an 18 point second half lead!
A long 3-pointer from Ronald Steele, who scored a career-high 29 points, gave Alabama (15-10, 8-5 SEC) its biggest lead at 42-24 with 18:41 remaining.
However, no lead appeared safe, considering starting center Davidson, Jean Felix and Alonzo Gee each picked up their third fouls in the half's opening minutes.
The athletic Razorbacks (18-8, 7-6) began scoring on nearly every possession late in the game, and their trapping defense forced the Tide into 12 of its 17 turnovers on the night.
Arkansas finally tied the game 57-57 with 2:13 remaining on a Darian Townes shot in the lane.
The 6-foot-3 Steele, guarded closely by the 6-7 Brewer, drove past him into the lane but his short attempt was altered by 7-foot Razorback center Steven Hill. The miss fell into the hands of Evan Brock, whose rebound putback failed before time ran out.
"Ronnie Brewer did a good job taking away the 3," Steele said, "so I had to drive. I had a good look but didn't make the shot."
Although Alabama remained in second place in the SEC's Western Division, once-desperate Arkansas pulled within a game of the Tide and increased its chances at an NCAA bid.
"It was do-or-die," Brewer said. "They're ahead of us. We need to win marquee games."
Arkansas avenged a 78-75 loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 18, during which the Razorbacks blew their own lead of 13 points in the final 12 minutes.
In the rematch, Townes led five Arkansas players in double figures with 15 points.
Steele's career night was small consolation, however, as the Tide prepares to return home for a crucial SEC contest against No. 12-ranked Florida at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Tough Guy Award
Bama’s Robinson played with two fractures
Alabama cornerback Ramzee Robinson of Huntsville played the 2005 football season. with a fractured vertebrae and sustained a second fracture late in the season.
Despite the two fractures in his back, which had not been disclosed until Robinson discussed it on Monday, he played every defensive snap in the 13-10 Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech. Robinson, a Huntsville native, said he worked closely with the Crimson Tide medical and coaching staff and the decision was made to play with the injury.
But by the end of the season, it wasn't easy as Robinson pushed himself through agonizing pain.
"Oh, man, I was holding on," he said. "I was holding on for dear life toward the end. But I was so motivated. Nothing was slowing me down. As a team, we were doing so well and we had big goals."
To compound his back injury, Robinson tore a ligament in his right wrist during the Cotton Bowl and is expected to learn this week if it will require surgery.
Robinson, who will be a senior next season, described the back injury as "stress fractures." He said he sustained the initial injury last summer before the start of fall practice. He missed virtually all of preseason practice because of the back injury, which coach Mike Shula described at the time as "muscular" and the result of "spasms."
Robinson said he believes the second fracture occurred against LSU on Nov. 12, 2005. "The remedy to a bad back is bed rest," Robinson said. "But that's something I couldn't do. My competitive nature, I didn't care. I wanted to play regardless. I ended up playing and had a pretty good year and this is just the process that I have to go through as a result of playing with it."
That process includes wearing a cumbersome back brace that encloses virtually his entire torso. He's been wearing the brace since Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2 and will continue to wear it until April. Robinson said he hopes to be "100 percent" by the time he ditches the brace.
Mark Richt On The Money In College Sports:
Q: How much do you think college football has become more business than sports? You look around the landscape of college football and the type of money that is going into the facilities, is it alarming? Have the ideals been lost?
A: I fight real hard ... like for my contract, for example. The sad part of our business is it is usually the strength of your contract that will allow you to stay maybe one more year to prove you belong. Do I need the amount of money I'm getting? No. But when it comes time to provide stability for a staff and a program, the strength of your contract provides that stability. I don't need the contract to say that I want to be at Georgia. And I really believe that Georgia wants us here right now.
But we all know if things went bad and people decided they didn't want to watch us anymore ... there is probably a little crux where people decide, should we keep him or should we not? If the contract is strong, you have a better chance of staying. Take [Penn State's] Joe Paterno. The strength of his contract and the fact that he is Joe Paterno allowed him to weather a storm that not many guys would have weathered.
Unfortunately, it is part of the business. But after saying that, I make sure I do everything in my power to enrich the lives our players and help them grow into good men. That is what fires me up about being a coach.

Sims loses appeal, won't play in '06
Defensive Back Antonio Sims will not play football for Georgia this fall after his appeal of a semester-long university suspension was denied Tuesday.

Sims was suspended by the school for misuse of a parking pass, his subsequent failure to complete agreed-upon sanctions and his November DUI arrest.

" . . . The sanctions imposed by the panel are not unreasonably hard based upon the circumstances of the case," Patricia Daugherty, assistant vice president for student life, wrote to Sims on Tuesday in a letter obtained by the Journal-Constitution under open records laws.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sims will return to school in May and be part of the scout team this fall. He'll be allowed back on the varsity team in 2007 if he behaves in "the proper way," Richt said.

"He's paying a severe penalty as a student and as a result will pay a severe penalty as a student-athlete," Richt said in a statement.

Sims, who was to be a backup defensive back in 2006, has one more chance at remaining in school. He has five business days to appeal to President Michael Adams.

Knaus out 3 more races for cheating

Jimmie Johnson will not lose any Nextel Cup points for what his crew chief did.

Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, was suspended for three more races Tuesday, after being barred from the 500 for cheating during qualifying.

His Hendrick Motorsports team will not appeal the NASCAR ruling, General Manager Marshall Carlson said.

NASCAR also fined Knaus $25,000 and placed him on probation through Dec. 31 but did not dock Johnson any championship points. So Johnson remains atop the standings on the 185 points he earned in Sunday's win of the season opener.

"We pushed it a little too far," Knaus, a native of Rockford, Ill., said of NASCAR technical regulations. "We got caught with something NASCAR didn't like, they imposed a penalty on us, and we have to accept that."

Since winning the 500 with Knaus sitting home watching on television, Johnson has been barraged with questions in dozens of media interviews, and Knaus said he hated to put his driver through that.

"Of course I've apologized to Jimmie," Knaus said. "We're best friends. I said, 'Look, dude, I'm sorry. There's gonna be a little bit of grief to come along with it.'

"There should be grief for what happened during qualifying," Knaus said, "but there should be absolutely no grief for what happened for that Daytona 500 victory."

Between Feb. 12 when the irregularity was caught, and Sunday, "That car went through NASCAR inspections a multitude of times," Knaus said. "And it went through without a flaw."

The offense was a mechanism to change the angle of the car's rear window to create an aerodynamic advantage. NASCAR officials said the car was returned to correct configuration before it returned to the track.

Asked whether Johnson had known of the violation, Knaus said, "The drivers don't know what's going into these cars -- ever."

Johnson said the media tempest is abating.

"A lot of people are understanding that it was a qualifying infraction," Johnson said. "Yes, we were disqualified and our time was thrown out, but it was a week ago in qualifying and it had nothing to do with the Daytona 500."

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said no points were deducted because the parts involved in the infraction "were not illegal. They were just orchestrated in a way to have an illegal effect."

NASCAR's policy is to dock points when "purpose-built parts and pieces" are found, Pemberton said.

A year ago at Las Vegas, after a Johnson win, Knaus drew a two-race suspension for a chassis infraction -- inspectors found the bodywork too low -- but appealed the suspension and had it overturned.

After another Johnson win last September at Dover, Del., NASCAR officials confiscated custom-engineered shocks but issued no penalties. The parts weren't illegal because they were too innovative even to have been addressed in the rulebook. NASCAR actually congratulated Knaus on his ingenuity that time, but said they couldn't allow the shocks because they were too much of an advantage.

Asked whether Knaus' season-long probation meant that another offense as egregious as this latest one might get him banned for the year, Pemberton said, "We'd have to look in that direction."

But it would not be automatic. "We have to look at these things on a case-by-case basis," Pemberton said.

Under the current suspension, Knaus won't return to the tour until the weekend of March 26 at Bristol, Tenn.
Stanford 'Tree' goes out on a limb, boughs out
The Stanford Tree is a drunk.

Bode Miller and Ricky Williams were bad enough, but this? Truly, this shakes our sports foundation to, well, its roots.

Last week when Stanford was playing a men's basketball game at Cal, the mascot for the university's irreverent band was escorted off the court after erratic behavior (although I thought that was the only behavior the Tree knew). Unfortunately, the Tree failed a breath test (which must have been strange to see) -- and was ordered to, um, disembark.

Erin Lashnits, 23, was the Tree. A fifth-year biology student, Erin had previously talked of becoming an astronaut and walking on the moon. Now she may be remembered as Stanford's Potted Plant.

A new Tree was going to be chosen March 4 anyway. And Lashnits told The Stanford Daily, the school's student newspaper, that "the Tree's going to be as awesome as it ever was. The Tree will be the Tree forever and ever."

Now that's inspirational -- if she had just shut up right there. But she added:

"I'm so [expletive] burnt out. . . . I'm not that big of a sports fan."

One thing the Tree should never be is burnt out.
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