Crowley Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: He's Available, Tennessee

Crowley Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: He's Available, Tennessee


Crowley Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: He's Available, Tennessee


Crowley Sullivan is a 20-year sports-media veteran having spent ten years at ESPN as a producer, programmer, content creator, business developer, and brand manager.  He now serves as EVP, Planning/GM, Sports for MandtVR, a content creation platform that emphasizes Virtual Reality initiatives.

Bother Crowley at @CrowleySullivan

Thoughts & Prayers – Week 14


We’ll get to the white hot CFP debate shortly.

But first, an intervention is necessary.

The entire state of Tennessee seems to be going through a rough period.

And I don’t mean the period from its founding on June 1st, 1796 until now – I mean the last few weeks – and for the 15 or so years prior to the last few weeks.

The state of and the University of Tennessee need to enter a 12-step program of some sort.

I’ll help everyone at Rocky Top with the first step: admitting there is a problem.

Your entire situation is a circus.

It’s hard for any of us to admit that we aren’t the New York Yankees or the Rockefellers or Pennsylvania Railroad, circa 1895.

It’s even harder to admit that we’re not even Iowa.

Since this coaching transition has exactly gone well, I’m going to submit some persons for the University of Tennessee to consider hiring as its next head football coach. Here they are:

Henry Kissinger
Brilliant strategist.
Well-traveled – will help with recruiting.
Consensus builder.
Diverse professional experience presents potential for fresh approach.

Bob Newhart
Calming nature would bring stability.
Doesn’t appear to be linked in any way to child rape scandals.
Sports fan.

Gerry Faust
Strong faith.
Track record comparable to recent head coaches at Tennessee.

G. Gordon Liddy
Tough competitor.
Ability to assimilate to unusual environments.
Familiar with the need to get things done through unorthodox approaches.

Kevin Spacey
Good rapport with college-aged males.
Access to potential high-profile donors.
Strong public speaker.

Paul Finebaum
Rumored to have interest in the position.

Daniel Libeskind
His vision for – and ultimate creation of – the Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen speaks for itself.
Would introduce out-of-the-box thinking.
Criticism he’s received for alleged limited architectural vocabulary of edges, sharp angles, and tortured geometries have prepared him for the daily criticisms he’d be faced with in this role.

Don Shula
Proven winner.
Knows the words to “Rocky Top.”
Enjoys traveling and has a recognized work ethic (not afraid to roll up sleeves).

Walter “Tuck” Sullivan
My uncle.
Big sports fan.
Has been to Tennessee (I think).
Since retiring after 50+ years as a commodities trader and broker, now looking for something interesting to keep himself busy.

Rick Pitino
Proven winner.

Butch Jones
Knows the terrain.
Known commodity.
Minimal learning curve.


Beating Notre Dame on that glorious Saturday night a few weeks ago was nice.

The joint was rocking and everything was choice.

But The U couldn’t keep it tight for the games that mattered even more than that clash with the Irish.

The Canes managed to wake up in time to beat Virginia and then fell flat on their faces at Pitt.

When Dabo sticks it to The U, The Chain will have gone from being The Chain to being Jeffrey Leonard’s “One Flap Down.”


LSU won the BCS National Championship years ago with two losses.

That, really, is what led to the discussion of a playoff so that we wouldn’t have to debate how and why a team with two losses can wind up as a national championship team.

The season matters.

Games matter.

And when you lose two games while there are plenty of other teams that have lost less than two games, that should matter.

Great – Auburn beat Alabama.

If Mississippi State would have pulled out that win a couple of weeks ago against Alabama, should we have put them in the College Football Playoff?

Auburn was beating Coach O 20-0 earlier this season. Auburn lost that game.

Clemson beat Auburn early in the season – and important TV persons have said, “Yeah, but that was early in the season…”

So, now are games that are played “early in the season” meaningless?

Auburn is playing great football right now.

A lot of teams are playing great football right now.

But isn’t the whole point of the CFP to have the four teams that have played the greatest football over the course of the entire season?

If the Chicago Bears go on a tear in the last few weeks of the NFL season and win two or three games, should the Bears be granted a place in the NFL Playoffs because they will have played great football for the last few weeks of the season?

I heard one of the top faces of college football on the top network of the world say, “Auburn may have lost a couple of games earlier this season – but they’re playing the best football right now and that’s why I’d have them in the No. 1 spot right now.”

Pittsburgh just beat The U. Should they be in the CFP because they’re overcoming some poor play earlier in the season and really finding their footing?

And how come nobody thinks it should matter that in Week 11 Auburn played the ULM Warhawks?

Auburn beat the ULM Warhawks. But that victory doesn’t render the two losses irrelevant.

Auburn lost two games this season.

Do I need to say it six or seven more times?


So much angst and confusion and flummoxity over the unthinkable – Alabama lost a game.

Alabama is allowed to lose a game.

What Alabama isn’t allowed to do is play a real game against the Mercer Bears in late November.

It was almost endearing to listen to Saban lobby for his scrappy band of battlers.

Bama – just like Lauer, you’re gone.


To the folks who continue to insist that there should be an eight-team playoff, you now have it.

The CFP really starts this weekend.

This Saturday might be the biggest, most exciting single day of college football of all time.

SEC – when Georgia defeats Auburn, War Eagle will be gone like Planking.

Big Ten – it said right here in this space about ten weeks ago that the Badgers would be in the CFP and would win the whole shebang. When Wisconsin beats Ohio State, the pizza will be perfectly chilled, esophageal spasm season will be in full swing, and the Buckeyes will be gone like Chuck Rose.

Big 12 – Baker Mayfield in Atlanta 2018 will be like Jim McMahon in New Orleans 1986 and TCU will be gone like The Harlem Shake.

ACC – Dabo. The U is gone like Jimmy Breslin.

Pac 12 – kudos to the Pac 12 leadership team for their Friday night championship game scheduling. Gotta admire the way they just come right out and own the undercard status. The Pac 12 is gone like Tony Blundetto.


Everyone got to go on and on and on and on and on at the beginning of this charade so I get to go on and on and on and on now that there are actual, tangible results and not just theoretical nonsense.

Jim Harbaugh is the most overrated, overhyped coach in the history of college football.

His program – the one that was, by now, supposed to be running out of room in the trophy case for Big Ten Championship and CFP hardware – has regressed since he arrived in Ann Arbor.

If you go back and look at Harbaugh’s postgame press conferences after his losses, a phrase he repeats over and over again is, “Mistakes were made.”

This insinuates that the scheme was right all along – the players just didn’t execute properly.

I saw a headline to a UMAA blogger’s “piece” that said “2018 Will Really Be The First Year of The Harbaugh Era.”

At what point do his actual accomplishments over the three seasons as UMAA’s head coach actually matter more than all of the dreams dancing through everyone’s heads?

Can I start to say that I’m the best Major League Baseball shortstop simply because there is potential for that to be true?

Can I start to say that I’m an Oscar Award winning film director simply because there is, obviously, potential for that to be true?

There is the potential for me to become the greatest astronaut in the history of America’s space program. So, can I just go ahead and say that I am, indeed, the greatest astronaut in the history of America’s space program?

And, UMAAers – it’ll feel better to say it out loud rather than stubbornly trying to act as if wearing the same dirty underpants for a week straight is normal – he’s not really all that good, he’s not likable in any way, and you are already wondering what the hell you’re going to do to fix the situation.


I see that Arizona State is considering Herm Edwards as a possible new head coach for the Sun Devils.

I can see how that’d be a warm fit.


Here are some other men the Sun Devils should bring in for an interview:

Rich Kotite
Bruce Coslet
Suzanne Somers
Marion Campbell
Rod Rust
Les Steckel
Butch Jones

Good luck.


Shouldn’t Mississippi State just go ahead and hire Jim McElwain?

Shouldn’t Arkansas hire Kevin Sumlin?

Shouldn’t Texas A&M hire Bret Bielema?

Shouldn’t Missouri fire whoever their coach is and shouldn’t they hire Luke Matt/Matt Luke away from Mississippi?

Then, shouldn’t Mississippi either hire High Freeze back again or just hire whoever Missouri’s current coach is?

Then, when the Tennessee athletic director gets fired in a few weeks, shouldn’t Tennessee hire whoever the athletic director is at Mississippi?

Then, shouldn’t Mississippi hire the guy who is Tennessee’s athletic director right now?


Many people have come to refer to the bowl games as meaningless exhibitions.

Some out there have gone so far as to say that a bowl game victory doesn’t count as part of a team’s final record for a given season.

I like college football a lot.

I like watching college football games.

I don’t really see what’s wrong with me having a chance to watch a ton of college football games over the course of the next month.

So many haters like to find everything that’s wrong with the bowl games when, really, all they’re really whining about is our collective chance to watch more college football.

If Ohio State and Notre Dame square off in a bowl game, I’ll be watching that ballgame and thinking of it as more than a mid-March San Diego Padres intrasquad scrimmage.

And I bet Urban Meyer and Brian Kelly would want to win that game since the game would, actually, you know, count.

If Michigan State and LSU end up playing one another on New Year’s Day, I’ll skip the Real Housewives marathon on Bravo and tune in.

And if New Mexico State and UCLA face off in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, I’ll enjoy that ball game instead of taking in the New Jersey Pelicans vs Charlotte Bobcats NBA battle.

Relax, folks. There is more than enough to complain about out there.

The option of watching more college football games isn’t one of the things for all of us to complain about.

Settle in and enjoy the fun.

The last three months have been one hell of a teaser.

This weekend, the payoff kicks off before we’ll be left with a stretch of seven or eight months without any of this and maybe even some of the complainers will be wishing there was a Zaxby’s Lawn Mowing Machine & Swimming Pool Bowl to enjoy…

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