There is something amiss with the system when the University of Tennessee sends forth a press release announcing the football team will wear once-traditional school colors, white helmets, orange jerseys and white pants, for the game against Texas A&M.
What were we expecting, Nike green tops with purple and yellow stripes?
There will be several refreshing pauses during the Saturday game. The format for the SEC on CBS includes four breaks of two minutes and 20 seconds each per quarter. There will be a 3:25 break at the end of the first and third periods.
If you are keeping score at home, that means for every 15 minutes of football you will be treated to most of 13 minutes of commercials. Maybe you will see Peyton selling Bush’s beans.
ESPN advertising, in addition to halftime, provides 58 minutes of sales talk. Football is on the clock for 60 minutes.
Joe Milton III ranks sixth among SEC quarterbacks with 63.1 percent completions, 1,164 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions.
Squirrel White is the Vols’ leading receiver with 26 catches for 276 yards and zero touchdowns.
Do any of those numbers matter if Tennessee wins?
Factoids now available about former Clemson baseball Tiger Billy Amick, a highly regarded transfer to Tennessee: He is a big, strong 6-1 and 220. He was a very good hitter last season, .413 batting average, 17 doubles, 13 home runs and 63 RBIs.
He was not happy as designated hitter and occasional first baseman. He wanted to be a third baseman. Tennessee coach Tony Vitello thought that could be arranged. Amick said that was really important.
Clemson coach Erik Bakich added perspective: “Billy is an elite hitter and we didn’t want him to go. I think there are probably a lot of things that went into it for him personally, so I don’t want to speak for him.”
Amick is said to be a tough competitor. His dad, Lyndon, was a NASCAR driver.
Fun story from Tennessee basketball …
Four-star 6-6 wing Chase McCarty from Huntsville (Ala.) Westminster Christian last season, now IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, visited the Vols as a recruit.
He had trouble at meals. Laughter got in the way of eating. He said Rick Barnes was part of the problem.
“I didn’t realize Coach Barnes was that funny.”
McCarty said from watching Barnes on the sideline in TV games, he would never have guessed the coach had such a happy personality.
“We had lunch and dinner with him and it was great to see that other side of him. And he has some hilarious assistant coaches as well.”
Chase named Rod Clark.
“I just feel like they hire funny coaches. They all have this sense of humor that is unmatched. You can’t even eat your food because you’re laughing so much. They’re all great people, all great coaches. I can definitely see the vision that they have for me if I choose to go there.
“I had a really good time. It was great. I learned way more about their program and their style of play.”
Chase’s father, Kelly, played at Southern Mississippi, a few minutes in the NBA, several years in Israel and more years in Russia. He operates a training facility in Huntsville.
A regulation basketball is 29.5 inches in circumference. McCarty uses a 30.5-inch ball to practice three-point shots. That leaves less than an inch of clearance to fit through the rim. Off-season workouts were 300 hits.
“Basically, every shot has to be perfect or else it’s not going in,” McCarty said.
That was never a laughing matter.
Social event of season: I kept waiting to see if any happening would overtake the wedding of Vol for Life John Fulkerson, 26, and Courtney Brooks. They win.
They were married before an overflow audience of former Vols, current Vols, friends, relatives and affiliated basketball people of all ages. Even Grant Williams attended.
Fulkerson is forever to Vol fans because of his East Tennessee roots, humble personality, six seasons in college and fiercely determined style of play.
He is currently employed by the Stella Artois Leuven Bears, a Belgian professional basketball club.
Parting shot: Josh Heupel thinks Tennessee fans are part of the winning edge for his Volunteers.
CBS analyst Gary Danielson says the crowd could be a factor but no more so at Neyland Stadium than any other SEC venue.
“This is not a criticism … home-field advantage is about the same every week, whether you’re playing at Ole Miss or LSU or in The Swamp or at Georgia … for a football player, loud is loud.
“I don’t know if it makes any difference if there are 80,000 loud people or 100,000 loud people.”
Marvin West welcomes comments or questions from readers. His address is firstname.lastname@example.org