Bogus balloting

It never ceases to amaze me how folks vote in the football polls. Six AP voters had California ahead of Tennessee last week. A non-AP voter, Tim Brando, CBS studio host for college football, had Cal No. 7 in his Sporting News poll; he left Tennessee out of his top 10.

Brando's explanation was simple: Cal is playing better than Tennessee.

But it's illogical. Tennessee didn't just beat Cal; the Vols had the Bears down 35-0 in the third quarter before clearing the bench. The final 18-point margin is misleading.

Tennessee has beaten two top 10 teams by 18 points. Cal has beaten one top 25 team. Tennessee plays in a tougher conference and its only defeat was by one point to an excellent Florida team. Cal was routed in its defeat.

There is no justification for ranking Cal ahead of Tennessee. None.

That's another reason we need a four-team playoff. Let's decide it on the field, not by some convoluted voting logic.

Brando said he doesn't put stock in head-to-head match-ups unless he is trying to decide whether a team is ranked one, two or three. Since when is that part of the criteria? Head-to-head games should be extremely important in determining any spot in the poll.

In the initial BCS standings, the Vols didn't make the top 10. Cal, somehow, was ahead of Tennessee, which was as low as 17th in one computer poll with a high of nine.

Not to worry. If Tennessee goes 11-1 and doesn't play in the SEC Championship game, the Vols are a lock to earn a BCS berth. If UT wins its last six games, it will be ranked in the top six in both the coaches' and Interactive polls and in the top eight of the BCS.

UT Baseball Recruiting Class Looks Strong

Tennessee's 2007 baseball recruiting class was ranked in the top 20 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball for the second consecutive year. And Rod Delmonico is on his way to another top-20 class.

The Vols have eight commitments, including three top-100 players and two high school All-Americans – outfielder Kentrail Davis and pitcher Sam Runion.

Davis, who is from Theodore, Ala., is ranked No. 21 in the nation by Perfect Game and the No. 8 best player at his position by PG-National. He is ranked No. 36 by Baseball American.

Runion, from Asheville, N.C., is ranked No. 39 in the nation by Perfect Game and No. 51 by Baseball America. He is the 17th best pitcher by PG-National.

Gary Bulman is a right-hand pitcher from Virginia Beach, Va. He is ranked No. 74 by Baseball American and No. 95 by Perfect Game.

Josh Liles is an outfielder/third baseman/catcher from Jackson, Tenn. He is ranked No. 157 by Baseball America and No. 178 by Perfect Game. He was the Tennessee Class A Player of the Year as a sophomore and set a state record by scoring 76 runs as a freshman.

Stephen Shultz is a third baseman from Walters State Community College who was drafted in the 15th round by the Atlanta Braves.

Dustin Black is a catcher from Cleveland State Community College who was drafted in the 15th round by Baltimore.

Tim Dennehy is a left-handed pitcher from Chandler-Gilbert Community College who was drafted in the 19th round by Cleveland in 2005 and in the 26th round by the Yankees in 2006.

Right-hand pitcher Dylan Hochevar, younger brother of former UT star pitcher Luke Hochevar, is from Wray, Colo.

Extra Points: Tennessee has had 26 touchdown drives this season compared to 19 all of last season. The Vols have scored a total of 27 touchdowns compared to 23 all of last year. … UT's Robert Meachem and Jayson Swain lead the nation in combined receiving yards per game but Alabama's D.J. Hall and Keith Brown are second. … UT has eight interceptions – all by defensive backs. Last year, UT defensive backs had seven interceptions. … UT is converting 59 percent on third down compared to 38 percent last year. … UT has scored 211 points this year compared to 205 all of last year. UT is averaging 35.2 points; UT averaged 18.6 points last year. … UT has thrown 15 touchdown passes this year compared to 11 all of last year. … In 23 red-zone penetrations, the Vols had 17 touchdowns and 21 scores.


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