How Tennessee’s opponents fared

Here’s the rundown on how Tennessee’s 12 opponents finished the season.

BOWLING GREEN: Finished 9-3, 7-1 MAC. Only losses were to Tennessee, Memphis and Toledo. Plays Northern Illinois for MAC championship. Quarterback Matt Johnson led the nation in total passing yards and was second with 41 TD passes. Coach Dino Babers is reportedly leaving for a Power 5 league job.
OKLAHOMA: Finished 11-1. Only loss to Texas. No. 3 in this week’s AP poll and almost certainly will make the College Football Playoffs. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is a surprise Heisman contender. Samaje Perine wasn’t much of a factor against the Vols but he’s passed the 3,000-yard rushing plateau and he’s only a sophomore.
WESTERN CAROLINA: Finished 7-4, 5-2 Southern Conference. Did not make the FCS playoff bracket.
FLORIDA: Finished 10-2, 7-1 SEC. Only losses were to LSU and Florida State. The offense has profoundly struggled in six games since quarterback Will Grier was supsended. Against Florida State, a safety saved the Gators from being shut out at Florida Field for the first time since 1988. Headed to the SEC championship game for the first time since 2009.
ARKANSAS: Finished 7-5, 5-3 SEC. Won five of the last six games for the program’s first SEC winning record since 2011. Alex Collins was the workhorse in the rushing game. He has 3,518 career yards and is 53 short of second place on the career chart.
GEORGIA: Finished 9-3, 5-3 SEC. Losses were to Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. The season changed when Nick Chubb was lost for the year on his first carry against the Vols on Oct. 10. Mark Richt was terminated on Sunday after 15 years.
ALABAMA: Finished 11-1, 7-1 SEC. Only loss was to Ole Miss. Derrick Henry broke the school single season rushing mark set by Trent Richardson. A prohibitive favorite to beat Florida in the SEC championship game and be the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.
KENTUCKY: Finished 5-7, 2-6 SEC. After a 4-1 start, the Wildcats lost six of their last seven, beating only Charlotte. In three years Mark Stoops is 4-20 in SEC play, the same as Joker Phillips was before being fired. Drew Barker finished the year as the starting quarterback, leading Patrick Towles to transfer.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Finished 3-9, 1-7 SEC. Steve Spurrier resigned in October. Interim coach Shawn Elliott beat Vanderbilt then lost the last five games. The Gamecocks will name a new head coach soon. One of their three wins was against North Carolina on opening day. The Tar Heels finished 11-1. The Gamecocks also beat winless Central Florida.
NORTH TEXAS: The Mean Green finished 1-12, beating only Texas-San Antonio. The program is looking for a new head coach to replace Dan McCarney, who was fired in October. The 24 points scored by Tennessee on Nov. 14 were the second-fewest allowed by North Texas. UTEP scored 20 in the finale.
MISSOURI: Finished 5-7, 1-7 SEC. Mizzou started the season ranked No. 24 and won its first three games. Then a loss to Kentucky was an ominous sign. The Tigers had their best defense since entering the SEC in 2012 but struggled to muster any kind of offense. Mizzou did not score a touchdown in four of eight SEC games. Gary Pinkel announced his resignation the week before a 19-8 loss to Tennessee.
VANDERBILT: Finished 4-8, 2-6 SEC. The Commodores beat Mizzou and Kentucky. A highlight was nearly beating Florida in The Swamp but the Gators prevailed 9-7. Derek Mason’s second season was a slight improvement over his first (0-8 SEC) but the offense is awful. Freshman quarterback Kyle Shurmur had some success against Tennessee, offering a glimmer of hope.

Vols barely kept streak alive in Columbia

Tennessee has the fourth-longest streak in FBS of avoiding being shut out. That streak nearly died two years ago when the Vols made their first trip to Missouri. Here’s the lowdown on the streak.

The Vols were last shut out on Sept. 17, 1994, 31-0, by No. 1 Florida in Neyland Stadium. Since then they have scored in 270 consecutive games.
Here’s where that number stands:
1. Florida 341 games
2. TCU 288 games
3. Air Force 279 games
4. Tennessee 270 games.

Since that shutout in 1994, there have been six games in which the Vols were saved by a lonely field goal. All six opponents were ranked at the time.

2014: No. 3 Ole Miss 34, Tennessee 3–Aaron Medley‘s 27-yard field goal in the second quarter.
2013: No. 10 Missouri 31, Tennessee 3–Michael Palardy‘s 51-yard field goal in the second quarter. It’s the longest by far of any of the six field goals in this shutout-preventing category.
2011: No. 14 South Carolina 14, Tennessee 3–Michael Palardy, from 22 yards on Tennessee’s opening drive.
2005: No. 5 Alabama 6, Tennessee 3–James Wilhoit from 32 yards. With 11:52 to play, this was the deepest into a game the Vols went without scoring. Later, Cory Anderson fumbled into the end zone on what would have been a game-winning touchdown.
2002: No. 20 Maryland 30, Tennessee 3–Alex Walls from 38 yards in the second quarter. An abysmal night in the Peach Bowl.
2002: No. 1 Miami 22, Tennessee–Alex Walls from 21 yards. This after Cedric Houston was caught from behind at the Miami 4 on a 74-yard run on UT’s first possession.

Vols-Gamecocks: Will it be another close one?

The Tennessee-South Carolina series has been one of most closely played rivalries in the SEC. It started that way when the Gamecocks joined the league in 1992 and was still that way last season when the Vols won in overtime.

Here’s a trip down memory lane, revisiting some of the nail-biter finishes:

1992: Mose Phillips made what would have been remembered as one of the greatest runs in UT history to score a late touchdown in Columbia in the inaugural SEC meeting of the Vols and Gamecocks. Only the Vols didn’t win the game, so Phillips’ weaving, tackle-breaking run fades into a second-tier memory. Phillips’ score closed Carolina’s lead to 24-23. The Vols went for the two-point conversion and the win (there was no overtime in 1992). Heath Shuler threw a short flare pass to James Stewart but Gamecock Hank Campbell tackled Stewart at the 3-yard line, preserving the upset. Later the following week, Tennessee announced Johnny Majors was out as head coach.

1998: This one wasn’t close but it’s worth mentioning. On the way to the national title, the Vols routed Carolina 49-14 in Columbia. Tee Martin completed 23 consecutive passes to set an NCAA single-game record that stood for years.

2000: The Vols trailed 14-7 but pulled it out on their final two possessions. Alex Walls kicked a field goal, then Travis Henry scored from the 1 with 26 seconds left and Tennessee won 17-14.

2002: Tennessee led 12-10 and lined up to kick a 22-yard field goal with 6:25 left. But realizing there were 12 men on the field, UT called timeout to avoid a penalty. Phillip Fulmer, given a chance to rethink his options, decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the 5. Casey Clausen not only got the first down but scored on a keeper. UT won 18-10.

2003: UT won 23-20, the first of three overtime wins over South Carolina. After a 17-17 tie, the Gamecocks kicked a field goal on their OT possession. Tennessee trumped it when Casey Clausen hit James Banks for a touchdown pass.

2005: South Carolina came to Neyland Stadium a 14-point underdog with a 12-year losing streak to Tennessee. But it had Steve Spurrier on the sideline for the first time. The Gamecocks won 16-15 with a late field goal. The following Monday, Randy Sanders resigned as offensive coordinator, falling on his sword as the scapegoat for a struggling Tennessee offense.

2007: Another overtime win 27-24, thanks to a Daniel Lincoln field goal of 27 yards. But first Lincoln had to hit a 48-yarder with 5 seconds to play to send the game to overtime. It was a mulligan. Lincoln’s first try from 43 yards missed but the Vols were flagged for a false start. Then Lincoln hit from 48. The win was a Launchpad for a 5-0 stretch run to reach the SEC championship game.

2009: Not close but worth a mention. Lane Kiffin suited the Vols in black jerseys for the first time since 1921 and the Vols upset the No. 21 Gamecocks 31-13.

2013: Butch Jones got his first marquee win when Michael Palardy hit a 19-yard field goal as time expired for a 23-21 win over the No. 11 Gamecocks.

2014: The Vols moved to 3-for-3 on OT wins over Carolina when Aaron Medley hit from 32 yards to break a 42-42 tie. But how the game got tied is one of the wildest finishes in UT history. The Vols trailed 42-28 with less than 5 minutes to play. Josh Dobbs scored on a keeper with 1:50 left, then hit Jason Croom with 11 seconds to play to knot the game at 42-all.

How do Vols rank among SEC career rushing leaders?

With Georgia headed to Neyland Stadium, we’re bound to see a couple of Herschel Walker references. He’s the SEC’s all-time rushing leader with 5,259 yards, accomplished in only three seasons.
With that in mind, I’d been wondering how Tennessee running backs stood up in the pantheon of great SEC rushers. Surprisingly, not that well.
The Vols have had as many great running backs as any other SEC program. For whatever reasons, they don’t rank statistically with the greats.

Travis Henry is Tennessee’s career rushing leader with 3,078 yards, UT’s only 3,000-yard gainer. He ranks 26th on the SEC career chart. Every school except Ole Miss has at least one back with more career yards than Henry. Deuce McAllister tops the Rebs with 3,060.

Arian Foster, UT’s No. 2 guy, ranks 35th. James Stewart, No. 3 for the Vols, ranks 39th, followed by Johnnie Jones at No. 41.

Henry is Tennessee’s all-time leader despite gaining only 4 yards as a freshman in 1997. Jamal Lewis was The Man then.

In Stewart’s case, he had to share carries with Charlie Garner (2,091 yards) and Aaron Hayden (2,061 yards). Garner, not Stewart, led the team in rushing in 1992 and 1993.

Below is a list of the SEC’s 41 leading rushers. It excludes expansion schools unless the runner played during the SEC era. Texas A&M, for example, has produced five 3,000-yard rushers but none since joining the SEC. Darren Lewis (1987-90) tops the Aggies with 5,012.
Missouri has three 3,000-yarders but none as an SEC member. Brad Smith, a quarterback, heads the Tigers with 4,289 yards. South Carolina’s all-time king, George Rogers, gained 5,204 in the 1980s. Arkansas had two other 3,000-yard men before entering the SEC.

1. Herschel Walker, Georgia, (1980-82)… 5,259
2. Darren McFadden, Arkansas (2005-07) …4,590
3. Kevin Faulk, LSU (1995-98) … 4,557
4. Bo Jackson, Auburn (1982-85) … 4,303
5. Errict Rhett, Florida (1990-93) … 4,163
6. Dalton Hilliard, LSU (1982-85) … 4,050
7. Charles Alexander, LSU (1975-78) … 4,035
8. Anthony Dixon, Miss. St., (2006-09) … 3,994
9. Emmitt Smith, Florida (1987-89) … 3,928
10. Sonny Collins, Kentucky (1972-75) … 3,835
11. Carnell Williams, Auburn (2001-04) … 3,831
12. Shaun Alexander, Alabama (1996-99) … 3,565
13. James Brooks, Auburn (1977-80) … 3,523
14. Bobby Humphrey, Alabama (1985-88) … 3,420
15. Joe Cribbs, Auburn (1976-79) … 3,368.
16. Moe Williams, Kentucky (1993-95) … 3,333
17. Todd Gurley, Georgia (2012-14) … 3,285
18. Kenneth Darby, Alabama (2003-06) … 3,329
19. TJ Yeldon, Alabama (2012-14) … 3,322
20. Ben Tate, Auburn (2006-09) … 3,321
21. Mark Ingram, Alabama (2008-10) … 3,261
22. Neal Anderson, Florida … 3,234
23. Garrison Heart, Georgia … 3,232
24. Jerrious Norwood, Miss. St. … 3,212
25. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt … 3,143
26. Trent Richardson, Alabama … 3,130
27. Travis Henry, Tennessee … 3,078
28. Fred Taylor, Florida … 3,075
29. Earnest Graham, Florida … 3,065
30. Deuce McAllister, Ole Miss … 3,060
31. Brandon Bennett, S. Carolina … 3,055
32. Cedric Cobbs, Arkansas … 3,018
33. Lars Tate, Georgia … 3,017
34. Rafael Little, Kentucky … 2,996
35. Arian Foster, Tennessee … 2,964
36. Felix Jones, Arkansas … 2,956
37. Tim Tebow, Florida … 2,947
38. Mark Higgs, Kentucky … 2,892
39. James Stewart, Tennessee … 2,890
40. Harvey Williams, LSU … 2,860
41. Johnnie Jones, Tennessee … 2,852

Vols-Hogs: Almost a great rivalry

Tennessee-Arkansas was almost a great rivalry. It had real possibilities.
There is a shared river border. The Vols and Razorbacks, among others, battle for the hearts and minds of Memphis.
The coaching tree is impossibly intertwined. Tennessee gave Arkansas John Barnhill, then took Bowden Wyatt and Doug Dickey. Johnny Majors sprung from Fayetteville to his first head-coaching job at Iowa State.
There were a couple of spirited bowl games, one in Memphis the other in Dallas.
And all that was before Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992.
For 11 years, from ‘92 to 2002, the Vols and Razorbacks were annual cross-divisional opponents. Unforgettable memories were forged.
In fact, an Arkansas quarterback generated what may be the most famous play in Tennessee history. For anyone who’s been floating on a raft in the South Pacific since 1998, I’m referring to Clint Stoerner’s fumble.
But then after an exhausting six-overtime ordeal in 2002 — the Vols won 41-38 — things changed.
The SEC fiddled with the scheduling format. Instead of neighbors battling across the backyard fence, Tennessee and Arkansas have become virtual strangers.
The Razorbacks are just another random Western Division school. They show up every now and then.
There were home-and-homes in 2006 and 2007. In the eight years since, there has been but one meeting. It’s one Tennessee would rather forget: a 49-7 rout in 2011.
Saturday, Arkansas returns to Neyland Stadium for the first time since 2007. Neyland Stadium is regarded by Arkansas fans with approximately the same affection that Tennessee fans hold for The Swamp. Bad things happen here.
Arkansas won its first visit, in 1992, but hasn’t won in six trips since.
Here’s a rundown of the almost-great rivalry:

1992: Arkansas, a 21-point underdog, stunned the 5-0, No. 4-ranked Vols 25-24 on a last-second field goal. It was the first of three consecutive losses that would the following month lead to the ouster of Johnny Majors.
Quote: “When you play like crap you end up with crappy results, and you feel like crap.” (UT lineman Brian Spivey)

1993: Heath Shuler led the Vols 28-14 in Little Rock.
Quote: “I hope they tear up a knee right here.” (Arkansas coach Danny Ford, overheard by a Jefferson Pilot sideline TV microphone in the final seconds.)

1994: UT won 38-21. It was Peyton Manning’s third start but Branndon Stewart played six possessions. Each threw an interception. The Vols had five turnovers, Arkansas six.
Quote: “Those two interceptions were dumb plays. They’re not rookies any more. … It’s October now. Now is the time for them to make better decisions.” (Phillip Fulmer)

1995: Joey Kent caught 13 Manning passes to tie a school record in a 49-31 Tennessee romp.
Quote: “I haven’t scored 31 points and lost very many times in my life.” (Danny Ford)

1996: The Vols dominated 55-14, one week after being stunned by Memphis.
Quote: “Practice was really tense all week and there were a lot of fights. There were about 100 pissed-off Volunteers going into this game. Everybody was on our butts, and the coaches, everybody was on their butts.’’ (DT Bill Duff)

1997: UT gutted out a 30-22 win in Little Rock over a 25-point underdog. Peyton Manning caught his first career pass, from tailback Jamal Lewis. No UT quarterback caught a pass since until Joshua Dobbs at Florida last Saturday.
Quote: “That was my first reception. Jamal kind of hung it out there. Maybe next time I’ll float one there to him.” (Manning)

1998: You know the story. Clint Stoerner. Fumble. Vols win 28-24. National title.
Quote: “Basically, I blew it. There’s nothing else to it. If I hold onto the ball, we win the ballgame. No question about it.” (Clint Stoerner)

1999: Same score as last year, 28-24, but Arkansas won. The Vols had risen to No. 2 in the BCS rankings but this one squelched their hopes of a return to the title game.
Quote: “This ruins everything we had planned for the rest of the season. It’s devastating. . . . It hurts worse than the Florida loss, actually.” (Tee Martin)

2000: Casey Clausen fired five TD passes in a 63-20 rout. The Vols led 35-0 after the first quarter.
Quote: “Arkansas commits to stopping the run and we didn’t make them pay the last two years. We did this year.” (Fulmer)

2001: Three days before the 9/11 attacks, Travis Stephens rushed for 206 yards and tied a school record with 41 carries in a 13-3 win in Fayetteville.
Quote: “We kept pounding the rock, as we like to say, and we finally got it broken.” (Fulmer)

2002: A 17-17 regulation tie went six overtimes before Jason Witten ended it with a 25-yard TD catch from Casey Clausen. The 41-38 thriller was the longest game in UT history.
Quote: “(Fulmer) said ‘Don’t ever question me for moving you to tight end’ or something like that. I’m not going to question him anymore.” (Jason Witten)

2006: Darren McFadden rushed for 181 yards and two TDs, and threw another TD pass out of the Wild-Hog formation in a 31-14 Arkansas win in Fayetteville.
Quote: “People just weren’t where they needed to be. With (McFadden taking direct snaps), offense is a different game.” (UT linebacker Ryan Karl)

2007: McFadden was on his way to a second consecutive Doak Walker Award but the Vols held him to 117 yards in a 34-13 UT win.
Quote: “I’m gonna be real with you, they whipped our (rears) last year. I feel like we returned the favor.” (UT’s Demonte Bolden)

2011: On a forgettable night in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks embarrassed the Vols 49-7, dropping Tennessee to 0-6 SEC for the first time ever.
Quote: “We’re getting a lot of scars this year. It’s like we’re in an advanced class of beat-down learning.” (Derek Dooley)

Remember when the Vols beat Florida?

Having listened to, read (and written) enough about Tennessee’s 10-year losing streak to Florida, I offer a chance to revisit some better memories. Since the Vols and Gators became annual rivals in 1990, Tennessee has six victories. Here is a review of each one.

UT No. 5; Florida No. 9
The winning plays: The Vols eked out a 7-3 lead at halftime in Neyland Stadium against Steve Spurrier’s first Florida team. Receiving the second-half kickoff, Dale Carter weaved his way 91 yards for a touchdown. The Gators never recovered. Before the third quarter ended, tight end Von Reeves threw a perfect spiral to Carl Pickens for a 47-yard touchdown and linebacker Reggie Ingram returned an interception 23 yards for a score.
The upshot: The Vols went on to be SEC champions and beat Virginia in the Sugar Bowl.
The quote: Spurrier: “There’s not much to say. We got whipped in every phase of the game.”

UT No. 14; Florida No. 4.
The winning plays: Tennessee was protecting a 17-7 lead in the third quarter when the sky opened and a deluge of biblical proportions swamped Neyland Stadium. Rather than rein in the offense, Heath Shuler threw a short flare pass to Moses Phillips and Phillips splashed 66 yards to the end zone. In short order, the Vols stuffed a Florida fake punt and scored again to go up 31-7. Then the rain gave way. The sun was peaking through by the final horn.
Upshot: The next morning Johnny Majors returned from medical leave after a second consecutive surprising SEC victory by interim head coach Phillip Fulmer.
The quote: UT defensive lineman Jeff Tullis on the downpour: “It was a gift from God.”

UT No. 6, Florida No. 2.
The winning plays: Al Wilson caused three Gator fumbles in the first half to thwart the Gators in what turned out to be the first overtime game in UT history. Tee Martin’s 14-yard scramble in overtime made up lost ground from a holding penalty and put Jeff Hall in range for a 41-yard field goal. When Florida’s Collins Cooper missed wide left from 32 yards, pandemonium reigned.
Upshot: The Neyland Stadium goal posts came down. By ending a five-year losing streak to Florida, the Vols cleared a huge hurdle on the road to a surprise national championship.
The quote: Phillip Fulmer: “I don’t know who played good and who didn’t play good, but we got the win. I don’t know what monkey everybody’s been talking about. I got that off my back.”

UT No. 5, Florida No. 2.
The winning plays: Travis Stephens rushed for 226 yards as the 17-point underdog Vols stunned Florida in The Swamp. The game was played on Dec. 1, rescheduled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Stephens broke a 68-yard run to the Florida 9, after which Jabari Davis scored to put UT up 34-26 with 8:30 to play. Florida scored with 1:10 left, but when the Gators went for two points, Buck Fitzgerald defended a pass in the end zone to save the victory.
Upshot: Tennessee won the SEC East and headed to Atlanta to face LSU in position to advance to the BCS national title game in Pasadena.
The quote: UT quarterback Casey Clausen, a Californian: “One more game to win then it’s home to the Rose Bowl.” Not exactly.

UT No. 12; Florida No. 17.
The winning plays: Trailing 3-0 as the first half played out, Casey Clausen lofted a Hail Mary pass to the Florida end zone as time expired. Mark Jones and a posse of Gators leaped for the ball. The deflection went to James Banks for a 48-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead.
Upshot: A second consecutive victory in The Swamp helped the Vols finish the East in a three-way tie at 6-2 with Florida and Georgia. The Bulldogs held the tiebreaker and went to the SEC Championship Game. The Vols went to the Peach Bowl.
The Quote: James Banks: “We practice that play every day in practice and it never works in practice. Never.”

UT No. 13, Florida No. 11.
The winning plays: UT scored with 3:25 left but kicker James Wilhoit missed the extra point for the first time in his career — he was 50-of-50 — to leave Florida clinging to a 28-27 lead. Neyland Stadium sat in shocked disbelief. But the defense forced a punt, Erik Ainge completed a couple of passes to Chris Hannon and spiked the ball with 6 seconds on the clock. Wilhoit went back on the field to attempt a 50-yard field goal. He made it. Vols win.
Upshot: Tennessee, losing only to Auburn, made the SEC Championship Game … where it lost again to Auburn.
The Quote: Phillip Fulmer: “I asked him, ‘James where are you good from?’ And he said, ‘I’m good from here.”’

Stripling, DeBord at prep football luncheon

Butch Jones couldn’t make the annual Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic kickoff luncheon Friday, so a couple of his top hands filled in, speaking briefly to room of barbecue-eating high school coaches. Not much in the way of revelations occurred, but I figure you’d want to hear what they had to say anyway. Football practice, after all, opens Tuesday.

D line coach Steve Stripling went first. He noted the Vols had the highest GPA in program history this spring with 52 Vols at 3.0 or better. He also mentioned that a sleep specialist visited with the team recently. He hit on several of Jones’ usual talking points — 64 percent of the roster in 2015 will have one year or less of college experience.

Expect to hear more about the 1-percent rule, as in get 1 percent better every day at practice. Stripling said that if the Vols’ D had gotten one more third-down stop per game they would have led the nation in third-down defense instead of ranking 14th.

Stripling introduced new offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, saying he is “a perfect mesh with our staff.”

DeBord, who replaced Mike Bajakian, talked about analyzing every run and every pass from 2014, with special attention to the Joshua Dobbs portion of the season. The idea was to figure out what the offense did well and retain it, and to figure out what it didn’t do well and decide whether to ditch it or figure out how to improve it.

The offense will look very much like 2014, with a few tweaks. The tempo will stay fast.

DeBord praised the offensive line’s spring work and said in Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara, UT has two of the best running backs in the nation. He feels good about tight end, singling out Ethan Wolf and Alex Ellis. DeBord would like a few more wide receivers because he plays to use a lot of them. He said the coaches will have to be careful in fall camp because a couple of receivers are “banged up,” one of them being Jason Croom.

Of Dobbs, DeBord couldn’t say enough good things. “When I heard he was an aerospace engineer major I didn’t know if he was going to fly planes or be an astronaut. I just knew that he was a heckuva lot smarter than I was.”

Dobbs, DeBord said, “is “everything you would ever want. Sometimes it’s almost too good to be true. This kid is unbelievable. For us to put our offense in his hands is outstanding.” Freshman quarterback Quinten Dormady had “a really great spring,” DeBord said.

And the winner was …

Due to vacation and another distraction or two I’m about a month late with my annual blog listing the winner of every NCAA-sponsored sport in the 2014-15 school year.

It was a rather modest year for the SEC with (only) five titles: two by Florida, one each from LSU, Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

Ohio State, Virginia and Oregon took honors with three titles each.

Without further commentary, here were your winners:

Football FBS: Ohio State
Football FCS: North Dakota State.
Men’s basketball: Duke.
Women’s basketball: Connecticut.
Baseball: Virginia.
Softball: Florida.
Men’s cross country: Colorado
Women’s cross country: Michigan State.
Men’s soccer: Virginia.
Women’s soccer: Florida State.
Bowling: Nebraska.
Fencing: Columbia.
Field hockey: Connecticut.
Men’s golf: LSU.
Women’s golf: Stanford.
Men’s gymnastics: Oklahoma.
Women’s gymnastics: Florida.
Men’s ice hockey: Providence.
Women’s ice hockey: Minnesota.
Men’s lacrosse: Denver.
Women’s lacrosse: Maryland.
Rifle: West Virginia.
Rowing: Ohio State.
Skiing: Colorado.
Men’s swim/dive: Texas.
Women’s swim/dive: California.
Men’s tennis: Virginia.
Women’s tennis: Vanderbilt.
Men’s indoor track: Oregon.
Women’s indoor track: Arkansas.
Men’s outdoor track: Oregon.
Women’s outdoor track: Oregon.
Men’s volleyball: Loyola of Chicago.
Women’s volleyball: Penn State.
Men’s water polo: UCLA.
Women’s water polo: Stanford.
Wrestling: Ohio State.

Charting the Billy Donovan era of SEC hoops

SEC men’s basketball will have a very different look when the 2015-16 season tips off. There are four new coaches and one significant former one who is missing.

Turnover in basketball coaching is expected in a 14-team league. But the last year or so have been something else. Bruce Pearl has one year on the job at Auburn and is already up to ninth place in seniority. Of the four departed coaches, Florida’s Billy Donovan is the only one who will be remembered in any significant manner. His 451 wins at an SEC school rank second only to Adolph Rupp. His 19 years at Florida rank fifth in SEC longevity behind Kentucky’s Rupp (42 years), Harry Rabenhorst of LSU (29), Dale Brown of LSU (25) and John Crisp of Alabama (20).

So here’s the seniority ranking for 2015-16:
Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt, 16 years (hired 1999)
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss, 9 years (hired 2006)
John Calipari, Kentucky, 6 years (hired 2009)
Mark Fox, Georgia, 6 years (hired 2009)
Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M, 4 years (hired 2011)
Mike Anderson, Arkansas, 4 years (hired 2011)
Johnny Jones, LSU, 3 years (hired 2012)
Frank Martin, South Carolina, 3 years (hired 2012)
Bruce Pearl, Auburn, 1 year (hired 2014)
Kim Anderson, Missouri, 1 year (hired 2014)
Ben Howland, Mississippi State (hired March 24, 2015)
Rick Barnes, Tennessee (hired March 31, 2015)
Avery Johnson, Alabama (hired April 7, 2015)
Michael White, Florida (hired May 7, 2015)

Here’s a look at how the SEC shook out during Donovan’s 19 seasons at Florida (1997-2015)

NCAA bids: Kentucky 17, Florida 14, Tennessee 11, Missouri 10, Arkansas 8, Vanderbilt 7, Ole Miss 7, Texas A&M 6, Georgia 6, LSU 6, Mississippi State 6, Alabama 6, South Carolina 3, Auburn 3.

SEC regular-season titles: Kentucky 6 plus 2 ties, Florida 4 plus 2 ties, LSU 2 plus a tie, Tennessee 1 plus a tie, Alabama 1, Mississippi State 1, Auburn 1, South Carolina 1, Vanderbilt 0, Ole Miss 0, Arkansas 0, Georgia 0, Missouri 0, Texas A&M 0. (Missouri and Texas A&M have been members for 3 years).

SEC tournament titles: Kentucky 9, Florida 4, Mississippi State 2, Ole Miss 1, Vanderbilt 1, Georgia 1, Arkansas 1.

Barnes is one of the SEC gang

Rick Barnes, Tennessee’s new coach, won’t need any introductions when the SEC men’s basketball coaches convene at the annual SEC spring meetings in Destin. He’s new but will feel like one of the gang. Which of his 13 new colleagues does he already know? It’s more which ones doesn’t he know.

John Calipari and I go way back,” Barnes said Wednesday at his introduction to the Big Orange Tipoff Club. “We’ve always been friends. He was one of the guys who called me and said, ‘You’ve got to come to Tennessee. It’s a great job.”’

Barnes met Cal around 1977 when they worked a camp at Pittsburgh. They’ve stayed in touch over the years.

Billy Donovan might not be around at Destin. Looks like he’s got one foot out the door at Florida to the NBA. But being a recent Providence College alum, Donovan was around when Barnes coached the Friars from 1988-94.

He knows new Mississippi State coach Ben Howland from Howland’s UCLA days. Barnes’ son was good friends with the nephew of LSU’s Johhny Jones. Barnes coached against South Carolina’s Frank Martin, Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy and Arkansas’ Mike Anderson when they were in the Big 12.

Years ago as a young assistant at Alabama, he tried to recruit hot prospect Andy Kennedy to Tuscaloosa. Speaking of Alabama, new coach Avery Johnson and Barnes crossed paths while Johnson was in Texas, playing for the San Antonio Spurs and coaching the Dallas Mavericks.

“I’ve known Bruce Pearl a long time,” Barnes said. Pearl beat Barnes 2 out of 3 as Tennessee’s coach.

He also said he’s coached against Georgia’s Mark Fox.