Showing 1 - 10 of 13 posts found matching keyword: tennessee

On Tuesday, November 2, the initial College Football Playoff rankings of the 2022 season were released, and the Tennessee Volunteers leapfrogged the Georgia Bulldogs, who were atop the Associated Press poll, to become the top-ranked football team in the country.

Then they played Georgia on a soggy Saturday afternoon in Athens.

Tenneessee 13, UGA 27

To be the best, you've got to beat the best, Vols. And you didn't. Final score: Tennessee 13, UGA 27. Honestly, it wasn't really even that close.

Driven in no small part by the chip on Bulldogs fans' shoulders, the game atmosphere was truly great, the best in years. The enthusastic fans were really into the game from long before kickoff, were only made more rabid when the refs stole a safety from Georgia in the second quarter, and somehow managed to get even more energetic when the rain started falling in the third quarter. What a bunch of damn good dawgs!

Reminder to future Walter: This is why you buy season tickets, to go to games like this one. Fantastic.

Thanks to friend James for keeping me company in the rain. I certainly enjoyed myself.

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For the second time this season, I will not be attending a UGA football home game. Making it to one out of three would be a pretty good success rate... if I had season tickets to baseball.

At least this time, I have a good excuse: family. Can't live with 'em; can't turn your back on 'em and pretend they don't exist. (Right, Trey?)

Good luck with Tennessee, Bulldogs. And enjoy the tickets enough for both of us, Matt.

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This weekend, Mom and I (and Audrey and July) traveled north to Copperhill, TN, where we watched the Great American Eclipse of 2017 from the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church.

We had intended to watch from McCaysville, GA, where my grandfather once considered buying a grocery store. The GA/TN state line bisects the town into McCaysville and Copperhill. Both were in the path of totality, and since the sun didn't care which side we were on, we didn't either.

If you didn't see the eclipse in totality, know that the first thing that happens as the sun disappears is that the temperature of the light gets wrong, like a failing fluorescent bulb. Gradually it gets darker (and cooler), until it looks (and feels) like twilight. Then the sun disappears, and you can take off your sun glasses and see some of the brighter stars.

Here are some pics I took of the process about 5 minutes apart. The final pic is during the blackout. (Note that Mom is looking at me, not the sun. The steeple shadow will give you an idea where in the sky the sun was.)

August 21, 2017, 2:24:10

August 21, 2017, 2:31:57

August 21, 2017, 2:35:01

(Also note that the light on the right side of the building in the third pic came from the two streetlights which switched on just before totality. Mom's not in that last pic because she had moved over here.)

I do not have a picture of eclipse itself. My camera wasn't up to the task. You can see plenty of better pics elsewhere. It's not like true night. Despite what you see in photographs, the sky never really goes black. It turns a beautiful shade of royal blue, and the sun's corona is clearly visible as a white halo.

Some call it "unbelievable" or "miraculous." I wouldn't use either word. But it is pretty cool looking. And it's certainly worth a look in person if you get a chance.

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Before the game started, I didn't think UGA was good enough this season to beat Tennessee. With one minute left to play, I hadn't changed my mind.

UT 34, UGA 31

Jacob Eason wasn't having the best game, but he had it when it mattered. When he launched the ball into the end zone from the 47 yard line, I thought there was no chance. (I said as much to friend Ken sitting next to me.) But freshman wide receiver Riley Ridley came down with it in the corner of the end zone and Sanford Stadium exploded. In 14 years of games, I don't think I've seen that level of elation.

After some terrible officiating (penalties called on replays? failing to replay incompletions?), terrible play calling (where'd the successful running game go in the second half? why did the offensive coordinator keep calling for an empty backfield when the offensive line couldn't protect Eason?), and terrible execution (drops? fumbles? SPECIAL TEAMS!), the Bulldogs were going to win the game, 31-28!

Tennessee had other plans. UGA's score left 10 seconds on the clock. It turned out to be 10 seconds too many.

After Georgia mangled yet another kickoff, Tennessee took possession with the ball on Georgia's 43 yard line and 4 seconds to play. Time enough only for one throw into the end zone for all the marbles . . . and Georgia's players watched as the Tennessee receiver came down with the ball.

Tennessee wins, 34-31.

Goddamn, that hurts.

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Well, that was closer than it should have been. Tennessee 32, UGA 35. Early in the 4th quarter, I marveled that the UGA defense had held an SEC opponent to 17 points. Then the Bulldogs reverted to form.

UT 32, UGA 35

There were plenty of celebrities at the game. Peyton Manning was reportedly present, and several PGA golfers and actress Chloë Grace Moretz were introduced to the crowd. However, the guest of honor was Vince Dooley, who took over as head coach 50 seasons ago. Vince looked good and pleased to be back on the field. At halftime, the band spelled his name, and he mugged for the cameras with his family, friends, and former players.

I've never met Dooley myself, but I did know a student who in 2002 decided to walk into his office as Athletic Director to meet him. He got as far as Dooley's secretary who told him that Mr. Dooley was far too busy to meet anyone who didn't have an appointment. However, before the student could leave the office, Dooley stepped out of his office and signed the student's hat on the spot. Dooley didn't have to do that, and I think it says a lot about why Georgians like the man.

Vince Dooley for Governor

To honor Dooley, the Bulldogs won by the skin on their canine teeth, surviving a game of terrible play by quarterback Hutson Mason (I begin to worry that he's not very good: a qb who only looks at one receiver from snap to throw will not win many games) and some bizarrely self-imposed wounds. For example, UGA sent 13 men on the field for a punt return in the 4th quarter. Coaches noticed the overage and removed one man. Tweet! Illegal participation. The 5-yard penalty didn't give Tennessee a first down, so they lined up to kick again. This time, Georgia over compensated, sending only 10 men out on the field. Ouch.

It wasn't just Georgia making boneheaded decisions. The weather forecast called for overcast skies, so naturally I chose to forego my sun hat for the game. Two words: sun burn. Sigh.

But we won in the end, and that's what counts. Bring on Vanderbilt!

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"Why haven't you posted the pics of the cemeteries yet," Mother asked me yesterday.

"Because I didn't think anyone else would care about that," I replied. "That's the sort of thing only I find interesting."

"You're the only one who finds anything interesting about your blog," she said.

She's right. So here are some pics I took of the Georgia and Chattanooga National Cemeteries last month.

Georgia National Cemetery, Canton, GA

The Georgia National Cemetery is on top of a mountain in Canton. It opened in 2006 and has plenty of room, though judging by the number of tombstones it has picked up in just the last 7 years, it sadly might be full before I'm dead. It is beautiful and quiet and would be a great space for a picnic if the Veterans Administration allowed that sort of thing.

Don't hop on Pop!

While I agree that cemeteries are not the place for littering (that's what the side of the highway is for), I think banning all "boisterous actions" takes it a bit far. I understand their reasoning, but I disagree. Maybe I'm an old-fashioned Victorian, but I think cemeteries should celebrate life, not death. I politely suggest that the VA should spend more time trying to heal the living and less time trying to police the dead.

Chattanooga National Cemetery

If the Georgia National Cemetery seems like a beautiful place, it's got nothing on the Chattanooga National Cemetery just a few hours up the road. It's 139 years older, and has its monuments encircling a picturesque hill that overlooks the surrounding region. Among many other, it is the final resting place of the 8 Union soldiers executed as spies for their participation in the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862. As final resting places go, this one is hard to beat.

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As I said, Mom and I went to Nashville, Tennessee, last week where we caught the UGA vs. Vanderbilt game. Do you know what is literally across the street from Vanderbilt Stadium? The Parthenon.

(Birds inserted digitally in post production)

I'd known that Nashville had their own Parthenon for awhile. (They always use it in establishing shots of Tennessee Titans games on television.) However, I was under the impression that it was kind of small. I didn't realize that it was a full-scale reproduction of the ancient Grecian monument until I saw it in person.

The man who founded Centennial Park was named John Thomas. What a dick.

Atlanta has nothing like Nashville's Centennial Park. Founded as part of the same 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition that saw the construction of Tennessee's Parthenon, the park is huge, filled with playgrounds, fields, monuments, ponds, cafes, sidewalks, trails.... You name it, it's got it. I tried to take a bad picture, really I did. Impossible.

It is impossible to take a bad picture here

But the highlight of the park isn't outdoors. No, it is the breathtaking gilded gold statue of Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon. This modern recreation is Alan LeQuire's best guess match to the long lost original. Look and be amazed!

That's one giant snake

No photos can do this amazing place justice. If you can swing the admission price — a whopping $6.00! — you owe it to yourself to drop in and pay your respects to a goddess.

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Mom and I traveled to Nashville to see UGA play Vanderbilt. Instead of a football game, we saw an epic tragedy. It was cold and rainy at kickoff, and the sun didn't come out in Nashville until it had set on the Bulldog's SEC Championship chances.

UGA 27, Vanderbilt 31

I could talk about the terrible targeting call that turned a failed Vandy fourth down conversion into a first down that finally broke the spirit of our staggering team. (Replay can overturn the ejection, but not the bad call itself? Who thought that was a good rule?) Or I could talk about the inability of our coaches to improve the failures that have defined them this season (Richt's special teams muffed a punt and a snap, Grantham's defense surrendered 31 points, Bobo's offense managed only a field goal in the second half, Tereshinki's conditioning resulted in a 6th player with a knee injury.) Or I could talk about Arron Murray failing to put it together with the pressure on again.

But what it all comes down to is the fact that Georgia lost 31-27, and is now all but mathematically eliminated from SEC contention. What was such a promising season is now wasted.

Heartbreaking. There is no other word.

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Day 5, the final day of my vacation, was all about energy. Specifically the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and its associated bus tour.

Shhh. Top secret.

Coop had found the Department of Energy's Public Bus Tour of Oak Ridge National Laboratories online and became determined that we should partake. A 3-hour tour of the Manhattan Project sites for the bargain price of only $5. How could I refuse?

A plaque makes it official

The AMSE itself isn't very entertaining. Its displays are text-heavy, so the experience is more like walking through a textbook than visiting bits of history. The bus tour picks up the pieces. The tour visits the Oak Ridge "Secret City" sites Y-12 National Security Complex, the X-10 graphite reactor, the abandoned Bethel Valley Church, and the site of the former K-25 gaseous diffusion plant. If that sounds kind of cool, it's because it is.

Look but don't touch

The highlight of the tour is X-10, the world's first nuclear reactor designed for continuous operation. The reactor was added to the National Registrar of Historic Landmarks in 1966, only three years after it was decommissioned. Hard to believe that a giant pile of inert carbon was instrumental in ending World War II.

You've come a long way, baby

It was purely by accident that Coop and I later in the day passed the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant south of Knoxville. It turns out that Watts Bar contains the most recent nuclear power generator to come online in the United States. From the country's oldest to newest reactors in one afternoon? What a vacation!

Find more info on the American Museum of Science and Energy at

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Today's Tennessee/UGA game was like none other I'd seen in Sanford Stadium, and not because the Pride of the Southland Marching Band only played "Rocky Top" 16 times. It started as expected with the Bulldogs jumping out to a huge lead against the rival Volunteers. By the end of the first quarter, the Dogs led 21-10 with the Vols only touchdown coming off an interception return.

Everything pointed to a rout in the making, so I felt comfortable to go to the concession stand to buy a pretzel and Coke. This took forever, as lines were long with carefree fans, and the first concession stand I went was sold-out of pretzels, forcing another wait in different, longer line. While I was queuing, I saw Todd Gurley score again on the closed-circuit television and figured we'd be going home from the game early. How wrong I was.

Tennessee 44, UGA 51

I returned to my seat in the nick of time to watch Georgia turn the ball over twice inside the 20-yard line, essentially giving Tennessee a tie going into halftime. Things didn't get much better in the second half as UGA just couldn't put Tennessee away. Georgia prevailed in the end with a couple of timely interceptions by Sanders Commings, but with 95 points in a very long game, this did not turn out to be the afternoon/evening that anyone in attendance had expected.

I should point out that I went to the game with Dad, a Georgia Tech graduate. Today Georgia Tech lost to Middle Tennessee State, 49-28, and the news of that final score surprised everyone who heard it. However, everyone didn't hear it at the same time. Throughout the game it was very amusing to hear exclamations from various people as they discovered the final score in the Tech loss, each new shout of discovery triggering a grimace from my father. Good times, good times.

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To be continued...


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