Friday, September 7, 2007

Predictions: NCAA Football


I was really close on the UT/Southern Miss score (Final: UT 39, Southern Miss 19). TCU laid an egg to thwart my upset prediction, losing at Texas 34-13.

The real story is the 598 yards of total offense that LSU laid to Va Tech. Under Les Miles, the Tigers have had a tendency to be fairly conservative, particularly in big games. That certainly wasn't the case Saturday night. Va Tech's defense looked awful, but give the credit to LSU. They have looked dominating in their two games.

**Original Post**

So I missed out on a football prediction post last week. I have to admit that its probably best, because I was sure the Vols would overcome Cal. Here's my shot at three games this week.

UT/Southern Mississippi

UT's talent level is clearly down on defense. However, the coaches have made a few changes and they should help some. What will really help is playing this Southern Miss team. Don't get me wrong, Southern Miss will be tough. They have a talented RB that was overlooked by most recruiters, and they always play tough against the best competition. However, Southern Miss is still not at the talent level of Tennessee.

I look for Tennessee's offense to keep with the "dink and dunk' approach for the most part, but I bet they took a few extra shots downfield. The defense should play better against this team.

Tennessee 34, Southern Miss 17

LSU/Va Tech

The Hokies go into Death Valley #9 in the country and looking to upset the #2 ranked Tigers. I'll keep this one short and sweet. It "ain't gonna happen". The Tigers are tough this year and aren't going to lose to lose to the Hokies with an 8:30 start in Death Valley.

LSU 24, Va Tech 14

Upset Pick of the Week: TCU

Texas comes limping into this weeks game ranked #7, but barely scraped by Arkansas State last week in a less than stellar showing. TCU comes into this game hungry and ranked #19 in the country. The Horned Frogs are always on the cusp of breaking into the big-time ranks. Key stat: The Horned Frogs are on a 5 game winning streak against Big 12 opponents. Look for them to make it six in a row Saturday night in Austin.


This is just a teaser, but keep an eye on this space over the next week. The Sausage is a busy guy and just can't keep up with the requests for information. In an effort to keep the information coming, Knoxville Unwrapped will occasionally feature a guest blogger or two. This should keep things interesting and the information flowing faster.

There are a lot of folks reading out there, but nobody commenting. (Well nobody except for Tyler taking a stab in the dark at who The Sausage is). We've got some readers from all over the US, particularly in the last few days. People are starting to find this corner of the blogosphere, so now is the time to speak up. So, jump on in . . . the water is nice.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Coker to provide spark?

Ok, don't get me wrong, LaMarcus Coker has the ability to be an explosive tailback. He has game-changing speed, and can stop and shift on a dime. However, we scored 31 points last week without him. 31 points should be enough to beat anyone on our schedule. Could he provide a spark? Sure, he could break off a long run and change a game.

The real spark is needed on defense, however. Can they put Coker in to rush the passer? How about finish a tackle? With some semblance of a pass rush and a better job of finishing tackles (22 missed against Cal), UT wins last week's game by two touchdowns. How about finding a spark on defense and keep scoring in the 30's? That should take care of things this week.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tyler Harber lies?

Most people know Tyler Harber's penchant for being unable to completely tell the truth. Here's an e-mail his boss sent out to several hundred people this afternoon:

From: Neil Newhouse []
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2007 2:58 PM
To: Neil Newhouse
Subject: FYI

You may have recently received information regarding former Public Opinion Strategies (POS) employee Tyler Harber and his recent move to Wilson Research Strategies.

In his recent promotional releases regarding his move and in recent e-mails that have been forwarded to us, Tyler considerably overstates his experience.

Imagine our surprise when Tyler claims credit for literally every single POS win in the 2006 election cycle, including Senate races, Governor’s races, Congressional races and down-ticket races in which Tyler had absolutely no involvement.

In fact, here’s how Tyler introduces himself:

"Last cycle, my research team helped manage the research and strategy for four winning US Senate races, six winning Republican Governors, 46 Members of Congress, as well as numerous down-ticket statewide and legislative winners."

The truth: Those victories required the hard work of six POS partners, four POS Vice-Presidents and roughly 25 other POS employees. Further, Tyler worked for POS for a little more than one year, and was neither the lead strategist nor the lead pollster on a single project.

We’ve been in touch with Tyler and have given him the opportunity to correct the record and he has failed to do so.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this email.

Neil Newhouse
Public Opinion Strategies
Phone 703.836.7655
Fax 703.836.8117

Public Opinion Strategies is pleased to have polled for more major winning campaigns and ballot issues than any other firm in the country in 2006. This follows our being recognized as having "scored the best win-loss record among the major polling and media firms in the 2004 election" and being named Pollster of the Year in 2002.

The real surprising part about this story is not the part about Tyler lying, he's done that time and time again. Besides, I've yet to meet a political consultant that doesn't take complete credit for much more than they should. The surprising part is the scathing e-mail from Neil Newhouse. Newhouse is a partner in POS, and one of the most respected pollsters in the Nation. What did this "trouble young man" do to get under his skin?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Lumpy out of control?!?!

As someone who has witnessed one of his temper tantrums first hand, it does not surprise me that Lumpy is rumored to have lost it Friday night on community activist Jamie Rowe. Brian Hornback has the scoop.

Jamie Rowe is a storm water activist from Fountain City. She has a beautiful farm on Tazwell Pike, and is none to crazy about all the development runoff in the area. Now, I must confess I'm not a fan of most of Ms. Rowe's stances. There is no doubt that the County has some storm water issues to deal with, however I tend to believe the problem lies with enforcement rather than problems with the codes. Despite my disagreement with her stances, there is no doubt that Ms. Rowe is a very mild-mannered, intelligent lady who is always polite, not to mention well prepared.

How many of those attributes can the "Lump from Powell" claim?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Restaurant Review: Koi Fusion

I had the opportunity to enjoy a few drinks and meal at Koi Fusion on Knoxville's Market Square on Saturday night. This was my second visit, but first for dinner. Here is my take:

Atmosphere: 4/5

The atmosphere at Koi has a very contemporary feel, with plenty of Asian flare. The interiour is cool and shadowy, with sleek lines. It feels like a hip downtown Asian joint. There is a patio which overlooks Market Square. It looks perfect for catching a concert or just people watching on the square. I'd give a higher score for atmosphere except for the annoying fact that the CD playing for background music skipped continuously throughout the night. I don't know if the staff was too busy to turn it off or just didn't notice, but it skipped for nearly half an hour.

Service: 3.5/5

There was a large group of us dining and the arrivals/departures were quite fluid. Our server did a good job of staying on top of who was who and what was what. He wasn't the friendliest guy in the world and didn't help with dinner recommendations, but covered the basics. On a side note we had a great conversation with the hostess who appeared to be hanging out post-shift. She was a bubbly personality that was great at the door.

Food: 2/5

I was very disappointed with the food. We started off with some pot stickers. They appeared to be pan-fried and were stuffed with a pork mix. They were served with a chili based sauce, and were delicious. Ms. Patty had a chicken dish (Mideria, if I recall). It appeared to be pan-fried and was topped with mozarella cheese and a mushroom. It was served with a vegetable medley similar to a stir-fry. I've been to some rubber chicken dinners in my life (politics of course), but this chicken had to take the cake. It was lacking on taste and even worse in consistency. It was similar to chewing on a baseball mitt.

I went with the Asian Grilled Pork Chop with vegetables. The vegetables were wonderfully flavored and prepared. However, I ran into the same problem as the chicken with my pork chop, although not to that extreme. It was better flavored, but still quite tough. Some of our companions had much better entrees. In particular, the Pad Thai looked and tasted (according to others) great.

Overall: 3.2/5

Overall it was a good time. The atmosphere is very nice and service was up to par. We had a drink a piece, plus a small order of sake (Fuki, served hot). The sake was good, but probably served a tad too hot. The tab came out to over $60 + tip for the two of us. Given the price tag, the quality of food was very disappointing and didn't match the service or atmosphere.

Monday, August 27, 2007

County Commission Today

So there are rumors abounding in regards to today's Knox County Commission meeting. I spoke with two commissioners over the weekend who think that Commissioner Pinkston may have something up his sleeve. Pinkston has certainly been the most critical of the Mayor's office.

Many will remember that the Mayor supported Pinkston's opponent (David Keiger) in the last election. Keiger was well funded, but unorganized and had no name idea. While Pinkston was sure to lock up the victory he still ran around town very paranoid and accusing everyone of working against him. Don't expect him to let up on the Mayor anytime soon. I don't really believe he'll drop anything of any importance on the meeting today. Just look for hot air and, if we're lucky, a testy exchange or two. Pinkston is funny when he's mad.

The other rumor has to do with the Mayor offering his resignation. This one is being floated by Commissioners with a beef on Ragsdale. They are just floating the rumor to keep talk going about him possibly resigning. Mark my word, this guy isn't going anywhere unless he's carried out, walked out in handcuffs, or forced out.

The real debate will center on two things: Lewis Cosby and "the Re-do". So I'll offer my predictions:

Cosby will speak during open forum. He'll lay out his case to much fanfare from a few Commissioners who will praise his work and give him a few 'atta boys'. I don't see much else coming out of this.

The "re-do" will get voted down. I'm not sure on the votes, but here is my best take:

We will see a mix of the two factions vote together. For instance, Lumpy and Pinkston will vote "no". They will be joined by Mark Harmon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good 'ole fashioned "we ain't done nothing wrong" speech from Pinkston. Scooby will also vote no, and could be the deliverer of the "we ain't done nothing wrong speech". My money is on Pinkston

I would say that Hammond and R. Larry Smith will vote yes. They will both grace us with their thoughts on restoring public trust, etc. I think both of these guys try to vote their conscience, but both are auditioning for Mayor, so keep that in mind while listening.

I think Bolus, Tramel, and Cate will all vote "yes", but you can't tell with these guys. They probably need the "public trust" points, but are at danger of not being reappointed in the event of an actual re-do. One thing to keep in mind is that the appointed commissioners have to run for election in a few months.

C. Leuthold will tack on an ammendment asking for a contingency that the N-S accept the proposal. He'll vote yes if it passes, no if it doesn't. I think his father will follow.

That's about as far as I got on guessing this one. It's harder to figure out when the factions don't agree within themselves!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Campfield ripped again

This guy sure does know how to stir things up. I don't think I've seen an elected official who is able to stir up more controversy and not have trouble in elections than this guy. Maybe we should call him the "Teflon Man".

I can't believe I am able to say this, but . . . . . this is odd even for him.

City Waste?

The Former Republican Party Chairman Brian Hornback has an interesting post about Knoxville City Councilman Rob Frost. This story made news headlines back in the 2005 city elections. Seems a bit odd that Hornback is bringing it up again. Maybe he's got more info to come.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Roundball Vols European Trip

If you haven't been keeping up with the Men's Basketball team at UT this summer, they are currently on a trip to Europe which has included four games with only one loss. In the three victories the team has had very balanced scoring in the 100's with the team high staying around 20 points. Junior Forward Ryan Childress has played very well, turning in a couple of double-doubles and leading the team in scoring.

What has been even more impressive are the extra curricular activities the team has taken part in, including a trip to a concentration camp and a local children's hospital. This trip will prove valuable for these young men way beyond basketball.

The team has one game left today, before heading home to begin classes.


Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is a millitary doctrine which became popular during the Cold War. It is basically the idea that a nation with nuclear capacity would not attack another nuclear nation, because the counterassaults by both sides would lead to complete annhilation. So why am I rambling about millitary doctrine?

Read this report in today's News Sentinel.

Apparently County Commission passed a resolution, in the fall of 2004, requiring agencies that receive grant money to file annual reports with County Commission. The resolution read:
“Any agency or organization which receives public funds appropriated by the Knox County Commission shall report to the Commission, on or before March 1 of each calendar year, detailing its expenditures to date of those funds appropriated by Knox County."

Report directly to who? That's right County Commission. So what does the Chairman of the that body have to say to their lack of oversight?

"County Commission Chairman Scott Moore blamed the problem on the mayor’s office, saying it did not provide the reports, and on Hammond, for not making sure the resolution was enforced."

So a few years ago, Commission voted to have their own accountability measures for grant recipients and haven't had a single report in three budget cycles? Commissioner Moore thinks this is the Mayor's fault how?

The Mayor's staff can't keep up with them. Commission can't keep up with them. Is either branch doing anything other than attempting to annhiliate the other?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oops . . .

Mike Duncan (Sheriff's Department employee) and Commissioner Paul Pinkston are in such a hurry to get after Mayor Ragsdale that they forgot to follow their own rules.

Remember what I said about politics being entertaining? Keep an eye on this County mess. There is just one big screw up after another on both sides of the battle.


I know I said I would focus on local issues at first, but this post was too great to pass up.

Randy Neal, over at Knoxviews, has a great post of an archived 2004 post from the old South Knox Bubba forum. He posts it wondering if he’s watching the same thing unfold before his eyes. Go check it out.

"I hate to say it, but I told you so. And for some reason, I'm getting the feeling that it's deja vu all over again. "

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Get caught up

I'm going to start off with today's big news, but first we need to get everyone caught up. I'm working on the assumption that everyone is following the stories involving Knox County government. I could take weeks to explain everything, but I won't. I suggest trying the following links to get caught up:

Knoxville News Sentinel - Knoxville's daily paper has really stepped up their investigative reporting since the January 31 appoointments in Knox County. Try an archive search for "sunshine laws", "lobster tails", "Ragsdale", "P-Cards", or "Lump, Scooby, and Chuckie" and see what pops up. Now I may be a Republican, but Randy Neal runs a helluva blog over a Knoxviews. Sometimes the posters are venomous towards Republican leaning folks. However, it is their blog (says so right in the rules) and most Republican posters over there do so anonymously and just to stir 'em up. Its been my experience that they may disagree like hell with other more respectful visitors, but do return the respect shown. Then again, there are exceptions to every rule. The stories come fast, and so do the comments. This blog is one of the best places to stay on top of what the "word on the street is".

The Halls Shopper- This weekly paper is now a subsidiary of the News Sentinel's parent company. They have several reporters who will follow a story with passion. Sometimes you may think its a little over the top, but you always have to give them respect for often scooping others with many more resources.

These are only three sources to find stories on the stories currrently surrounding Knox County. There are many other bloggers who have touched on the subject, or weekly papers who have covered it some. These are just the ones who are really on top of every breaking story involved.

So get to reading . . . . . if you are up to date. . . stay tuned. . .

Welcome, pull up a chair.

Welcome to my little humble blog. I'm the sausage and I'll be your host. I'd like to host an ongoing conversation about three of God's great gifts: politics, sports, and food. Some of you are probably thinking, "I'm with you on the food, but politics and sports?!" Well that's ok, because we're going to talk plenty of food. This area is blessed with more restaurants than most places in America. I plan on filling you in on some of my favorites. I hope you'll share some of your favorites with us as well.

There are some of you who are probably saying "politics is a gift?!?" Ok, maybe this one doesn't seem as easy as the food. However, let's put the intrinsic values aside for a minute. Let's forget for a minute that it is one of the basic components of our free way of life. Let's just look at politics from a purely entertainment perspective. There are triumphant stories, there are sad stories, and there are humorous stories. Politics and governance often take all of the ups and downs of life and magnify them in ways that are really entertaining, even if you think of them as nothing else. I'll try to stay on top of some of the stories going on in the area. I'll probably start out focusing on local issues, but we'll see where the conversation leads. We have all the scandal, intrigue, and entertainment we can handle right here in Knox County.

I should also point out that I've been involved in campaigns from City Council to President. I have been very active in more campaigns than I'd care to count. I hope I can bring a bit of an insider's perspective to campaigns and local officials. We’ll see how it goes. . . .

That brings us to sports. What can I say? I've grown up in the shadows of one of the largest sports operations in the country. I'm a huge fan of all things UT. Does that mean that I see no wrong in what that the over bloated machine does sometimes? Heck no. Does it mean that I'll be in the stands for most every University of Tennessee basketball and football games cheering my brains out? Heck yes. Does it mean I'd like to talk about some of these things? Sure, that's what this is all about.

So welcome to the conversation. Pull up a chair, grab a drink, and tells us what is on your mind. I'll get the conversation going with some of my thoughts, but jump in as you see fit. Let's see where we go.