Frank Beamer Butch Jones

Frank Beamer, Butch Jones take in NASCAR at Bristol

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In mid-October, it was announced that Tennessee and Virginia Tech would play a 2016 football game at the famed Bristol Motor Speedway.  Two years ahead of that historic matchup, the two head coaches of the respective programs soaked in the atmosphere — and the rain — at the aptly-nicknamed Thunder Valley.

UT’s Butch Jones and Tech’s Frank Beamer served as the grand marshals for the Food City 500 NASCAR race in Bristol Sunday.  Additionally, the two head coaches, after the second of what could be a handful of rain delays, gave the command to the 43 drivers in the field to start their engines.

It wasn’t the best command ever given, but it certainly wasn’t the worst… or the most demeaning.  Here’s the video of the coaches doing their race thing, courtesy of the UT Sports YouTube channel:

The Vols-Hokies game, dubbed “The Battle at Bristol,” will be played Sept. 10, 2016 at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.  Each football program is expected to pull in more than $4 million for the game, which, in the 160,000-plus seat racing coliseum, could set an all-time attendance record for college football.

Additionally, and as a dyed-in-the-wool member of Junior Nation, I feel obliged to post a pick of the two head coaches conversing with Dale Earnhardt Jr. — a South Carolina Gamecocks football fan, by the way — during the rain delay:

Dale Earnhardt. Jr.

(Writer’s note: for all of your NASCAR and racing needs, head to MotorSportsTalk and/or follow them on Twitter.)

Malzahn not ready to name Sean White Auburn’s starter vs. Kentucky just yet

Sean White
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Auburn got back in the win column after two straight losses. While winning a game must have felt nice, head coach Gus Malzahn  is not prepared to say whether or not Sean White will be the team’s starting quarterback moving forward.

“I thought he competed; he did some good things,” Malzahn said after the game Saturday, per “We’ll take this thing week-to-week like we’ve been doing it. We’re starting to kind of get good answers to the questions that we needed.”

White replaced Jeremy Johnson at quarterback last week against Mississippi State. Johnson, a preseason Heisman favorite for some, struggled out of the gate of the season with six interceptions thrown and a lost fumble. That forced Malzahn to make a change at quarterback after a woeful performance against FCS Jacksonville State and a loss to LSU. White lost his first game as a starter against Mississippi State but the offense has been marginally better. White has yet to throw a touchdown pass in his first two starts.

Against San Jose State, White completed six of 10 pass attempts for 1087 yards. Auburn’s running game is what helped push the Tigers by the Spartans, with Peyton Barber scoring all five touchdowns in the 35-21 victory. Auburn’s next game is in two weeks against Kentucky, on Thursday, October 15 in Lexington.

Big changes in AP poll, but Ohio State still comfortable on top

Ezekiel Elliott, Cardale Jones

The Ohio State Buckeyes remain atop the AP Top 25 this week, but the Big 12’s top contenders have bumped Michigan State down two spots. No. 2 TCU picked up five first-place votes and managed to stay ahead of No. 3 Baylor despite the Bears getting 10 first-place votes.

No. 5 Utah picked up seven first-place votes and No. 9 Texas A&M received the last first-place vote available. The big mover in this week’s AP poll was No. 11 Florida, with the Gators jumping 14 spots in the poll after dismantling Ole Miss Saturday night. The Rebels dropped from No. 3 down to No. 14. No. 15 Notre Dame fell nine spots after losing at No. 6 Clemson. No. 19 Georgia also tumbled this week, down 11 spots after being blown out at home by Alabama. It was also a rough week for No. 20 UCLA, falling 13 spots after losing to Arizona State at home.

New teams in the AP poll this week include No. 22 Iowa, No. 24 Toledo and No. 25 Boise State. Iowa and Boise State also made appearances in the coaches poll earlier today, but Toledo did not. Memphis appears in the coach spill but is the third team in its own conference in the others receiving votes category, behind Houston and Temple. Memphis tied with division foe Navy in that category as well.

  1. Ohio State (38 first-place votes)
  2. TCU (5)
  3. Baylor (10)
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah (7)
  6. Clemson
  7. LSU
  8. Alabama
  9. Texas A&M (1)
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Florida
  12. Florida State
  13. Northwestern
  14. Ole Miss
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Stanford
  17. USC
  18. Michigan
  19. Georgia
  20. UCLA
  21. Oklahoma State
  22. Iowa
  23. Cal
  24. Toledo
  25. Boise State