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Mark Wiedmer

Stories by Mark

Ask 100 college football fans what they like best about the sport and chances are you'll get 100 different answers.

KNOXVILLE — At Vanderbilt, the new SEC Network cameras were supposed to visit a women's soccer game Thursday evening.

ATLANTA — In a little less than an hour, the rampaging Los Angeles Dodgers would face the reeling Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

ATLANTA — Nobody beats the Atlanta Braves six straight times in the same season.

Could all this gnashing of teeth and nibbling of nails about the future of professional golf have been a tad bit of wasted energy and angst?

On Saturday afternoon at the sauna known as Finley Stadium, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team did what college football teams do this time of year. It scrimmaged, the humidity be darned.

Three years worth of two-a-day workouts in his hip pocket, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga redshirt junior defensive tackle Josh Freeman had some wise words Tuesday for true freshman running back Richardre Bagley.

The symposium was supposed to focus on soccer concussions, which actually may surpass football concussions in frequency in this country when you include both males and females.

They are questions to keep those of faith, whatever their faith, awake late into the night.

As the first day of Tennessee's preseason football practices ended Friday evening, senior linebacker A.J. Johnson made the following observations to the assembled media: "I came back [rather than opting for the NFL] to be the best we can be, but we're taking it one day at a time. Like today, we had a great practice today, we'll come back and have one more practice. That's our motto: One day at a time."

KNOXVILLE — Just in case you needed another reminder of why life isn't fair, we use today's press ink and newsprint to focus on University of Tennessee senior defensive lineman Jordan Williams.

The scene is from the 1978 remake of "Heaven Can Wait." An angel having just placed his soul inside the body of a ruthless industrialist, a well-intentioned Warren Beatty offers a simple solution for all the innocent porpoises the industrialist's tuna canning company is accidentally killing in its nets.

Austin and Ty Dillon woke up Tuesday morning in Watkins Glen, N.Y., ready to run a few tests laps over the nation's most famous road course in preparation for the NASCAR races scheduled there for the weekend of Aug. 9.

You just don't coach football for 16 years at your alma mater, win a national championship and 70 percent of your games and not sometimes wish your stay had been longer.

They are who we've always thought they are ... pure class. What else needs to be said after Atlanta Braves legends Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were all inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday?

KIMBALL, Tenn. — At least the kid was honest.

Deftly stacked atop Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin's office desk, the pile of handwritten letters and printed-out emails has grown to almost a foot tall, each one a thank-you note for the school's first national championship in a men's sport.

A few minutes after noon last Friday, Grace Academy athletic director Les Compton scanned his eyes across his school's basketball court filled with dozens of boys and girls of all ages, all of them sporting happy faces.

Since he has eaten close to 80 hot dogs and visited nearly 60 major and minor league ballparks since April 12, you'd think the last thing Tom Lohr would want to do before rating the tubesteaks at AT&T Field on Monday night was to sample similar fare elsewhere in our fair city.

It was Friday afternoon at GPS's indoor tennis courts, the rain playing soft jazz on the roof, Signal Mountain's Emily Hangstefer having just secured the United States women a spot in Saturday's World Deaf Team Tennis Championship gold-medal round.

When you think of combinations that don't often mix well, jocks and cops typically are up there with liver and ice cream, Chuck Fleischmann and Weston Wamp, Alabama and Auburn.

One-hundred and sixty miles to the southwest, at the Southeastern Conference's annual football media event, they've spent much of this week discussing and dissecting the schools every young player reportedly wants to play for. At least almost every young player.

When Cody Godfrey deftly birdied the 18th hole at The Honors Course on Monday, he had every reason to believe his 3-over-par 75 would qualify the former Tennessee Wesleyan golfer for Wednesday's Southern Amateur main draw.

East Hamilton seventh-grader Madison Hayes didn't just reach the Pitch, Hit & Run finals during Monday's All-Star Game festivities at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Madison Hayes certainly hopes she wins her 12-under age group's top prize during today's Pitch, Hit & Run competition at Minneapolis's Target Field prior to tonight's Home Run Derby on ESPN.

Fifteen teams; 982 swimmers. Eighty events spanning 10 age groups, boys and girls. Two states.

South Beach or South Russell? Bikinis or blankets? Surfboards or snow shovels?

When the Tennessee Sports Writers Association asked me a few months ago to inform Roy Exum that he'd been elected to its Hall of Fame, my first thought was, "He's not already in it?"

The news out of the University of Miami on Tuesday had to sound disturbingly familiar to the football fans of Vanderbilt University and Calhoun (Ga.) High School.

Roger Federer tried to hold it in Sunday afternoon.

Will Wade didn't study with great detail Indiana University's recently announced student-athlete "bill of rights."

A sports writing idol of mine once wrote that the only reason futbol was more popular throughout the rest of the world than our American football was because most of the rest of the world couldn't afford to equip its youngsters with helmets and shoulder pads and such.

It's been easy to forget about Wimbledon in this country over the past week. Especially with our United States soccer team performing so much better in the World Cup than our Red, White and Blue tennis players did at the All-England Club.

"If you want to find the truth, the truth is there in the transcripts."

Could it be that we've been too hard on these Atlanta Braves? Could it be they deserve far more cheers than jeers?

Joe Goodman still is not sure his 63-year-old eyes will believe what they're seeing this afternoon at the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon when his 34-year-old law partner David Callahan completes his 52nd triathlon in 52 weeks.

Check out the latest edition on and you'll find former University of Tennessee post player Jarnell Stokes going to Philadelphia with the 47th overall pick in tonight's NBA draft.

Stupid stoppage time.

"You got Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A ... then you get down to independent ball ... then you get down to the Pecos League ... where you get paid a dollar-nineteen ..."

I'm going to do something today I never previously thought was possible.

Like many of us who want our basketball to resemble poetry in motion, Vanderbilt men's coach Kevin Stallings was pretty much in awe of the San Antonio Spurs' dismantling of the former two-time defending champion Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

The first one through Engel Stadium's black iron gates Monday evening, Bob Mulkey last called Chattanooga home in 1985. But that didn't stop him from leaving his Huntsville, Ala., residence in time to reach Engel before 4:30 on a toasty afternoon more reminiscent of August than June.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Even for the guy who authored the infamous line "You can't spell 'Citrus' without a U and a T,' it seemed an unusually cruel tease.

Maury Wills was 10 years old. He had no shoes on his feet. His baseball glove was actually a brown paper bag he'd pounded a pocket into to help snare ground balls.

The San Antonio Spurs don't do hype and self-promotion.

When it comes to former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon's antitrust suit against the NCAA, everyone wants to blame the adults.

The 2005 NCAA championship game had just ended, North Carolina nipping Illinois for the crown. Out on the court inside St. Louis's Edward Jones Dome, UNC guard Rashad McCants lifted high his jersey, baring his torso for everyone inside the dome, if not the entire country.

Nobody likes a sore loser. Especially when he drags handicapped children into his arguments.

Maybe the subject will come up during this week's U.S. Open golf tournament coverage and maybe it won't. Course records usually aren't a part of the conversation during Open week.

I was a spectator at Churchill Downs the last time a racehorse won the Kentucky Derby on its way to the Triple Crown.

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