JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Jan. 8, 2017


Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Tyler Bray …

VOLS AD SEARCH: Tennessee has a new chancellor. They have the current Athletics Director Dave Hart packed and ready to go on to his next chosen field.

The AD vacancy should be filled sometime in the future. We hear they will form an in-house committee to go, along with hiring a professional search firm that recommends possible replacements.

That spells a lot of money spent, in my mind needlessly.

Everyone I talk to believes Hart’s replacement should be David Blackburn, currently Tennessee-Chattanooga’s AD and Vice-Chancellor since 2013.

Blackburn is a Tennessean, having grown up in Loudon. He graduated from Tennessee in 1990 with a B.S. degree in Education. He worked two decades in Tennessee’s Athletics Department, holding a variety of positions.

Blackburn is highly regarded not only at Tennessee Chattanooga, but also at Tennessee. He knows the inner and outer workings at Tennessee.

His football, women and men’s basketball programs have won Southern Conference titles. The 2015-16 season saw the Mocs become the first in the more than 100 years in the history of the Southern Conference to win football, men’s and women’s basketball titles for the second year in a row.

I could go on, but everyone knows football is the key sport on the Hill. Safe to say that Blackburn knows the pecking order there.

What appears to be a slam-dunk often doesn’t pan out because university mucky-mucks think they know everything about athletics and hire someone from outside that has half the credentials of someone under their nose.

Blackburn knows the football program is the front porch of the university.

Hart served as a gap-stop AD, had some ups, had some downs.

David Blackburn is the person for the job. Period.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Oh, my. Look who’s here. We’re talking about the National College Football Championship Finals Monday night.

All the voting, all the polls, all the positioning of teams and we end up with the same teams we wound up with last season.

It’s unbeaten Alabama and one-loss Clemson back in the same spots as last year.

It looks to me that Alabama is not quite as strong as last year’s team, especially in quality depth on the offensive line. They have a freshman quarterback.

How much of a distraction surrounding former Bama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has yet to be seen. Coach Nick Saban detests distractions and perhaps the insertion of Steve Sarkisian, promoted from a Football Analyst to Kiffin’s job (play calling) for this game will work out.

EIGHT BETTER THAN FOUR: I have no idea when the powers to be come to their senses and move from a four team College Football Championship bracket to an eight team format.

Getting the two same teams in the first two year’s finals doesn’t do it for me, nor do I think it does much for the majority of college football fans. It was obvious the selection committee set it up so that No. 2 seed Ohio State would meet Alabama in the championship game, which would have been a ratings bonanza.

Ah, but Ohio State laid an egg, perhaps the largest three egg omelet in ages, and got bounced in the first game.

SOONERS BLACK EYE: So Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was allowed to play in the Sooners’ Orange Bowl game. Coach Bob Stoops, the Oklahoma president and athletics director gave Mixon a slap on the wrist after Mixon, when the freshman cold-cocked an Oklahoma co-ed.

With a closed fist, Mixon broke four bones in her face in an Oklahoma bar. When the video went viral, it showed just how despicable and cowardly act of violence Mixon perpetuated on a helpless female.

Ah, but even after the video was seen publicly, Stoops had Mixon in the lineup. His team beat Auburn, 35-19. Mixon scored two touchdowns, ran 91 yards on 19 carries. He also caught five passes for 89 yards.

It was a joke for Mixon to play in the bowl game. Let him go to the NFL. That’s why he came to Oklahoma.

SHORT CUTS: Three rookies were in the 17 first time All Pro team. Included was Titans right tackle Jack Conklin, who was a Trader Jon Robinson draft pick. . . . Dallas RB Ezekial Elliott and Chiefs punt returner Tyreek Hill filled out the third. . . . Former Tennessee star Eric Berry was one of three players to be named first team All Pro for the third time. . . . Best name in the NFL? Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.Joe Biddle is a Sports Columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at

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