JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Oct. 18, 2015

Football Sports Generic
(Graphic: WKRN)

Random ruminations wondering whatever happened to Scott Hunter…

TIGERS UPSET OLE MISS: Memphis had not beaten a ranked team since Nov. 9, 1996, when the Tigers upset No. 6 ranked Tennessee and Peyton Manning in the Liberty Bowl, 21-17.

They had lost 14 straight games against ranked teams until Saturday, when they defeated Ole Miss in convincing fashion,37-24.

The Tigers improved to 6-0, while dropping the Rebels to 5-2. Ole Miss led the series 48-10-2 before the loss.

The Liberty Bowl was on fire as Memphis fans roared their approval. Quarterback Paxton Lynch threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns. Ole Miss failed to score in the fourth quarter.

You have to admire the job Memphis Coach Justin Fuente has done since being hired in December, 2011. Memphis had won only five games total in the three years before Fuente was hired.

They finished ranked in the top 25 at the end of last season.

With three openings at South Carolina, Southern Cal and Maryland, someone better take a hard look at Fuente. He was on TCU Coach Gary Patterson’s staff from 2007-2011. The Tulsa native played his final two years at Murray State as a quarterback.

SPURRIER ON GAME DAY:  The ESPN Game Day gang welcomed guest picker Steve Spurrier, whose former team was playing Vanderbilt in Columbia, S.C.

The first game was Northwestern-Iowa. Spurrier picked Northwestern because of Coach Pat Fitzgerald, a friend. Nashville resident Kirk Herbstreit went along with Spurrier and both of them lost their first pick. Iowa won 40-10.

They both picked Ole Miss, but Spurrier warned them: Memphis is a good team and (Justin) Fuente has done a great job there. But he went with the SEC. That’s 0-2 former Head Ball Coach.

Spurrier said he liked LSU, but went with the Florida Gators, where he played and coached. He once interviewed for the LSU job, but was turned down. Hmmm.

Other Spurrier picks were Texas A&M and Utah. “They are an Under Armor team and (president) Kevin Plank would fire me if I didn’t pick them,’’ Spurrier said of Utah.

He went with Washington over Oregon and Florida State because they have had a “knack for winning the close ones.’’

The big pick was Michigan-Michigan State. Kirk wisely went with Michigan State.

Spurrier used the safety first formula when he picked Michigan. “I want to walk out of here today, so I’m picking Michigan.’’

Sparty won on a last second play, recovering a fumble and taking it in as time ran out. Michigan State has now won seven out of the last eight games.

VANDY OFFENSE STINKS:  Vanderbilt failed to beat a South Carolina team that was 2-4 and lost its head coach Steve Spurrier four days before the game.

There is not much hope they will win any of their SEC games, unless they can slip up at home Saturday against Missouri or Kentucky.

South Carolina scored nine points off five Vandy turnovers. Final score was 19-10. Turnovers killed them.

Quarterback Johnny McCrary is the worst at his position in the SEC. Against South Carolina, with a weak defense, McCrary completed only 21 of 42 passes. Three were intercepted. They gained only 177 yards in the air, with the longest reception 17 yards.

Take out the 47 points they scored on poor Austin Peay, the Commodores have scored 69 points in five other games. That is just over 13 points a game, enough to put everyone at Vanderbilt Stadium to sleep before halftime.

HUGE RECRUIT: If there has ever been a larger high school football recruit than John Krahn, I’d have to see the giant of a lineman for Kings High School in California.

Krahn is seven feet tall and weighs 440 pounds. Scouts say he is too big to play college football with that size.

He is now adopted a 3,000 calories a day routine.

HELP WANTED: With South Carolina, Southern Cal and Maryland seeking out new head coaches, some names are being thrown around.

Southern Cal may look at Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald who played at Northwestern but is unlikely to move to the West Coast.

Other candidates for that opening could be former Boise State and current Washington coach Chris Peterson, who was 92-12 at Boise State.

Look for schools to pursue Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham, Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin and Houston Coach Tom Herman, who is unlikely to jump ship. He was an offensive coordinator for three seasons at Ohio State and known as a top recruiter.

 BASEBALL SEMINAR: Mark your calendar for Dec. 19 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Airport on Briley Parkway/Elm Hill Pike.

You must register and pay before Dec. 11. Register online at

Former Belmont and Major League pitcher Jerry Bell (615-426-3535 with questions) and the Music City Dodgers are putting the seminar on. Cost is $65. Appropriate age is 13-18 and coaches are welcome.

Guest speaker is David Yeager, an assistant trainer for the Milwaukee Brewers.

BIG PLAY GETS MVP: When he played for the Titans, he was known as William “Big Play’’ Hayes. Now with the St. Louis Rams, Hayes was named the NFL Players Association’s MVP.

It recognizes players who are making a positive impact in their local cities. Hayes was honored for his outstanding commitment in the community in a different way.

On Oct. 14 Hayes kicked off his “Hanging with Hayes,’’ in advocating for homelessness awareness. He is not among the 71 percent of NFL players who are on Twitter. He prefers talking eye to eye.

A number of young people are battling homelessness and being disconnected. Hayes mentors them at Covenant House and shows them how they can design their own paths to independence.

NFL TRENDS: According to the Prediction Machine, since 2000, teams that have fired their coach during the season are 6-19 straight up and 8-17 against the spread in the first game.

The Dolphins, who visit the Titans Sunday, fit the criteria. The Titans are 2½ point favorites.

Carolina’s Cam Newton is 0-4 straight up and against the spread coming out of a bye week.

Former Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler (Bears) as a road dog with Chicago against NFC North teams is 2-7 against the spread.

Peyton Manning, as a road favorite with the Broncos, is 15-7 against the spread.

CORBIN HOT AGAIN: Baseball America has put Vanderbilt’s recruiting class at No. 1 in the country.

Coach Tim Corbin just keeps finding ways to get top talent at a private school with one of the highest tuition costs in the country.

So if Corbin gives a recruit a half-scholarship, his family sometimes has to pay as much as $40,000 a year unless the recruit qualifies for academic scholarship money.

This is Vanderbilt’s record fourth preseason top recruiting class.

SAM YOU AM:  ESPN’s Samantha (Sam) Ponder was the object of a sign hoisted by a college age young man wearing a Utah T-shirt.

It read: “Sam Ponder belongs in the kitchen.’’

Sam registered this response: “Dear “men.’’ Your insult makes no sense. The kitchen has pie. And Pizza. And wine.’’

Take that, jerk.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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