Tennessee to Top Miraculous Turnaround Season with Trip to Gator Bowl to face Indiana

It’s no secret that Tennessee got off to a rough start to the season in 2019, but in their last seven games, the tables turned. The last seven games saw the Vols go an unforeseen 6-1.

On Sunday, it was announced that Tennessee (7-5) would be heading to Jacksonville, Florida’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

Head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteers will face the Big Ten’s Indiana Hoosiers, who will come into the January 2, 2020 bowl game at (8-4).

The 2019 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl will be the 75th anniversary of one of college football’s most-storied, prized bowls.

The meeting between Indiana and Tennessee in Jacksonville, Florida, will be just the second all-time meeting between the two programs, with the only previous meeting coming in the 1987 Peach Bowl on January 2, 1988, with Tennessee coming away victorious 27-22.

This bowl appearance will be Tennessee’s 53rd postseason appearance all-time, which is sixth in college football history.

The Volunteers have been to six previous Gator Bowls, with this being their seventh appearance.

Tennessee’s in the Gator Bowl is 4-2, with their most recent trip to Jacksonville coming in 2015, when the Volunteers toppled the Iowa Hawkeyes by a final score of 45-28.

Prior to that, Tennessee beat Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1994, lost to Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1973, lost to Florida in the Gator Bowl in 1969, beat Syracuse in the Gator Bowl in 1966, and beat Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl of 1957.

Can the Vols make it 5-2 all-time in the storied Gator Bowl?

Find out January 2, 2020 at 6pm CT on ESPN.

Picture: (UTSports.com)

No Limits: 22 Years of Defying Odds, Overcoming Adversity

It’s hard to believe that in eight short days at 1:50 p.m., I will turn 22-years-old. What’s even crazier is the fact that many doctors and nurses doubted me to live a day outside of a hospital.

They never thought I had what it took to live a normal life. You see, when I was six weeks old, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but that’s not all that has come my way for 22 years.

Also early in life, I developed gangrene, had a stroke, and my small intestines ruptured. Nobody ever gave me a chance early on in life. Over the years, I’ve had numerous surgeries but none of that has slowed me down, or kept me from living my dream.

The only person that gave me a chance early on in life, when it looked like I was at the end of the road and everybody else was busy doubting me, was God.

He saw much greater things in me than I saw in myself at the time and gave me the strength and will to fight through it all and come out on top.

I could’ve given up, but I chose to keep fighting so that I could live to tell the story. One of my favorite quotes is from boxing great, Muhammed Ali, who said “Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

You see, I was an underdog for most of my early life, People doubted me, they said I’d never be able to do things that I do on a daily basis, they said I’d never make it outside of a hospital, but yet I’ve made it 22 years and counting. It hasn’t been easy, but it has definitely been worth it.

When you feel like you have nothing left, keep going, never give up. When people say you can’t or won’t do something, look them straight in the eye and say “Watch me.”

Pat Sullivan: The Definition of A Warrior

Most all of us know former Auburn quarterback and college football head coach Pat Sullivan as the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner.

But very few of us know that he’d had neck cancer since 2003, due to his addiction to smokeless tobacco.

There is no doubt that smokeless tobacco took its tole on the Auburn great. Very few of us know that he coached football at Samford University on a feeding tube. In April 2018, Sullivan said one “feeding” would get him to halftime and then it was time to repeat the feeding tube process.

Pat was on a feeding tube for seven months and then was allowed to get off of it and live a ‘normal’ life again. In an interview, Pat says “If you were told to jump off a bridge, you wouldn’t do it. That’s no different than using tobacco, don’t do it, never, ever, stop fighting.

Auburn and Alabama fans alike, will tell you, there was nobody quite like Pat Sullivan. Such a kind, courageous man.

Pat, even though you’re no longer here with us on earth, we’ll never forget you and the impact you left, not only on college football, but in the world we live in. You never gave up until your last breath.

You fought cancer for 16 long, painful years, now you can rest without pain.

Thank you for showing us what it’s like to be a warrior.

Deja Vu: An Iron Bowl for the Ages

Saturday night, felt like deja vu. I felt like I had seen it before. In fact, I had seen it before, six years to the date earlier when Auburn returned a last second field goal 109 yards to pay dirt.

Although this one was under different circumstances, it will still stand the test of time.

When Zakoby McClain took the football off of an Alabama receivers hands, and returned it 100 yards to the end zone, everything slowed down and I was taken back to 2013.

All I could think about was: “Wow, I wonder what Rod Bramblett is saying now. What would he say if he was still behind the microphone?”

It was absolutely insane. When I got home, I was discussing the game with my brother’s girlfriend, and we were talking about the pick-six. She said “I wonder how he caught that.” I replied, “He didn’t, Rod had a hand in this one.” Her voice got shaky and she replied “He was watching over us.”

Say what you want about the Iron Bowl but when it comes to historic moments, there is nothing like the Iron Bowl.

Picture: NBC Sports.

The Iron Bowl: A Rivalry Like None Other

We all know what the Iron Bowl is so there’s no need to explain it, but in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 83 years, I’ll explain what the Iron Bowl is.

It needs no introduction, it’s the one time a year where families can’t get along, friends become enemies and enemies become friends.

And it’s all because of one thing around the State of Alabama, bragging rights. People talk about this game 24/7, 365 and everybody across the state is tuned into the same game at the same time, every year.

It’s all the bad blood between these two bitter rivals that makes this game what it is. Not to mention the amount of memorable moments from this game that have stood the test of time.

Plays like, “The Kick Six”, “The Camback”, “Bo Over the Top” and Van Tiffin’s kick 34 years ago in 1985 among many, many others.

Teams often claim to have a better rivalry than Alabama, Auburn and the Iron Bowl, but the Iron Bowl is quite clearly the most-bitter, most-historic rivalry in the nation, and anybody from the South will tell you that same thing if you ask them.

Sure, there are rivalry games that have been played more than the Iron Bowl, but when it comes to historic moments, nothing comes close to touching the Iron Bowl.

These two teams simply hate each other, absolutely no love is lost, it’s the one game a year where you can throw everything including the kitchen sink out of the window as you travel down the road, so you can watch it shatter.

Over the past 83 years the Iron Bowl has emanated from several different places and cities around the state. Those places include, Birmingham’s Legion Field, Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl, Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, and Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

But something will be a little different this year, for the first time since 2002, the iconic golden voice of Rod Bramblett won’t be heard over the radio waves.

Instead, Rod’s best friend Andy Burcham will have the call alongside Stan White on the Auburn Sports Network.

This game is bound to have its own historic moments I’m sure, so prepare yourselves, we’ll have our hands full Saturday at 2:30pm CT in the 84th Iron Bowl. Picture: AL.com.

Ain’t No Smoggy Smoke on Rocky Top: Jeremy Pruitt guides Vols to remarkable turnaround, Vols Bowl Eligible for First Time Since 2016

It wasn’t probable or pretty but Tennessee (6-5) is headed to a bowl for the first time in three seasons.

Early on in the season, if you would’ve told me Tennessee would be bowl eligible on November 23rd, I would’ve had my doubts but hoped for the best.

After starting their season with a 1-4 mark, following losses to Georgia State, BYU, Florida and Georgia with their lone win being against a sub-par Chattanooga team, the future was looking bleak for the Volunteers.

Since then, Tennessee has gone 5-1 in their last six games, with their only loss coming at the hands of top-ranked Alabama and their wins coming over Mississippi State, South Carolina, the week after the Gamecocks shocked the nation by defeating #3 Georgia, UAB, Kentucky, and Missouri.

The Volunteers are on a four-game winning streak and they have a chance to finish the regular-season at (7-5) with a win vs. Vanderbilt next week.

Rocky Top you’ll always be home sweet home to me.

Picture: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Here’s to Seven Years of Living My Dream

It’s still so hard to believe that in less than three months, I will crank the speakers up and let my voice be heard at Bazemore Field in Wetumpka for the seventh year.

If you know me, you know how many hours I practiced announcing when I was little, it’s the only way that I could be around sports due to the fact that I didn’t play sports for long when I was a kid.

I played baseball until I was eight, because I broke my finger bunting a baseball when I was seven.

From that my moment on, I knew that the only way that I could see my dream flourish would be to pick up a microphone.

Over the past six years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of announcing for numerous then-future MLB draftees, announced in the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Playoffs, visited several colleges, and so much more.

In 2020, I plan on making many more new, unforgettable memories and sarcastic remarks, behind the microphone at Bazemore Field.

Here’s to seven years of living my dream, the best is yet to come.