Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Liking the Tennessee, Florida rivalry

It's hard finding a good rivalry in sports today. Everyone is too nice, or pretending to be. That's why the constant shots University of Tennessee's Lane Kiffin and University of Florida' Urban Meyer are taking at each other are so refreshing.

It started when Kiffin was hired. Telling the Tennessee faithful that he was excited to sing "Rocky Top" all night long after beating Florida. Kiffin went on to accuse Meyer of a recruiting violation in front of media, even though he was wrong.

The latest episode is Meyer telling the press he kept his offense conservative in Florida's 24-14 victory over Tennessee because he didn't think the Volunteers were playing to win. Meyer also blamed the flu, and yes, he even brought up his fear of swine flu.

Kiffin said he played to win, it's just running the ball was how Tennessee was effective. Look at the stats from the previous two weeks, and it's easy to see where Kiffin is coming from. Vols' quarterback Jonathan Crompton is not reliable. Against UCLA he went 13-for-26 with three interceptions. His team probably wins if he doesn't play so poorly. So why not run the ball, when it was working so well against Florida.

The young Vols coach also made sure to take a shot at Meyer afterward. Kiffin told reporters "I guess we'll wait and after we're not excited about a performance, we'll tell you everybody was sick."

I'm all for sportsmanship. Taunting bothers me, and people being cry babies is really annoying. But neither is the case here. These are just two guys, and programs, that do not like each other. And we need more of that in sports.

It's a shame the teams only play once this year. If Tennessee improves and regains their spot as a top 25 program in the next couple years, this could be a very fun rivalry to watch.

The Times They Are A-Changin' - Bob Dylan

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