Monday update: How does the SEC punish the worst fan base in college sports?

That’s the question we’re going to answer today. But first, the news.

Blues guitar fans, get ready for the show of the year at the Cannon Center this Friday.

Joe Bonamassa started his career in the blues by opening for B.B. King. He has developed into one of the top blues-rock guitarists in the world, citing John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Rory Gallagher, Cream, and Stevie Ray Vaughan as influences. He is known for his large collection of Gibson Les Paul guitars and vintage Fender amps. You can get tickets to Friday’s show here. You can also download a free album.

RiverArtsFest, Memphis’ largest arts festival, happens Saturday and Sunday. 180 artists will be in town to exhibit and sell their works. There will also be artists’ demonstrations and hands-on art activities. There will also be live music and delicious festival food.  Money raised through festival admission goes to reinvestment in the community in arts.

RiverArtsFest’s usual location, Riverside Drive, is unavailable this year due to construction. However, they have a fantastic alternate venue – the newly-reopened Renasant Convention Center, as well as the sidewalk outside on the Main Street Mall! I plan on going Sunday and making a full day of it.

Like every other venue, RiverArtsFest has to obey the city mask mandate, so be sure to bring your face covering when you come.

Memphis 901 FC scored a 4-2 victory over Atlanta United on Saturday, earning 3 more points in the USL Central Division standings. Yesterday, the OKC Energy squad drew with Birmingham Legion – and that draw made it mathematically impossible for 5th-place OKC to catch up with 3rd-place Memphis in the standings. Therefore, Memphis now appears with an “x-” to its left, indicating that for the first time in club history, 901 FC is playoff-bound! Congratulations to the squad and coaches!

The DM has a look back at Brewfest and Brunchfest at the Liberty Bowl this weekend. When I was at Bardog Saturday, I heard they had to supply 500 sliders for Sunday’s Brunchfest, as did Slider Inn.

It’s funny how life works. Yesterday I blogged that I want to expand the list of places I hang out, especially on Thursdays and Fridays, and that one place I want to try soon is Bar Ware. Hours later, I met Bar Ware’s chef! Chef Kevin said the entire food menu is excellent but his two favorites are the Java lamb lollichops and the deviled eggs. I’m going to try to come by there this Thursday.

Brian Blake, Zach Aaron, and Amanda Ashley play South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, at 7 PM Friday.

I want to give everybody a reminder to wash your reusable face masks! I realized this morning I had not washed any of mine since the beginning of October. They’re in the washer now.

Remember last week I told you about that distributor bringing around samples of a drink mix that was completely legal, despite containing THC? FiveThirtyEight has a story on how that came to pass: Mitch McConnell accidentally created an unregulated THC market in 2018

Sad to hear that former Secretary of State Colin Powell died this morning of COVID complications.

Rapper Big Unccc faces a long list of charges after he ran a red light and crashed a stolen Dodge Charger in Memphis. The Charger had drive-out tags. Police found a Glock, modified to be fully automatic, in the car, as well as large amounts of weed and a bottle of oxycodone. Big Unccc did not have a driver’s license.

Robusto by Havana Mix will host a Cigar One Family Reunion and Block Party Saturday.

The Downtown Memphis Commission has announced its lineup for food trucks for lunch in Court Square Thursday. I must say, that food truck that offers a combination of Cajun and Asian flavors sounds interesting. To celebrate Latin Heritage Month, Rumba Room will supply a DJ for this week’s food truck rodeo.

And now, let’s move on to the question I posed in this post’s title.

Saturday afternoon, the Tennessee Vols turned the football over to Ole Miss on downs with about a minute left. They had gone for it on 4th down and came up somewhere between a yard and 6 inches short – but they were definitely short. There is no doubt the refs made the right call. Yet the fans at Neyland Stadium responded by raining down garbage and debris – beer cans, mustard bottles, and even golf balls – for 20 solid minutes, endangering the visiting team.

The SEC has vowed it will take action against the university. Let’s examine what kind of punishment would be most appropriate given what took place.

Before we start, let’s look at Tennessee’s remaining schedule:

  • 10/23: away at 4 Alabama
  • 10/30: bye week
  • 11/6: away at 15 Kentucky
  • 11/13: home vs. 1 Georgia
  • 11/20: home vs. South Alabama
  • 11/27: home vs. Vanderbilt
  1. Fine the university $100,000 – This is what would have happened had the Vols fans rushed the field at the end of the game. However, throwing debris for 20 minutes is a much more serious offense. A fine is a slap on the wrist to a university with such deep pockets, and it doesn’t punish the fans at all.
  2. Reduce the number of scholarships Tennessee is allowed to offer next season – The trouble with this is, Tennessee is a mediocre football team with its full complement of scholarships. Taking a few away won’t make them that much worse. Also, this punishment doesn’t directly affect the fans.
  3. Tennessee has to play its 11/13, 11/20, and 11/27 home games in Neyland Stadium without fans – This punishes all the kids because a few were bad, but this would drive the point home that you can’t have nice things if you don’t behave. I’m going to get more creative but this is the option I like best.
  4. Beer sales in Neyland banned for the remainder of the season – This would punish the fans rather than the school or the team itself, but we don’t know what percentage of the fans throwing debris were drinking. Also, they’re Tennessee fans, so they’d just smuggle their own booze in.
  5. Vols are forced to play their 11/13, 11/20, and 11/27 games as the visiting team in Neyland – The team would have to use the visitors’ locker room, and the Georgia, South Alabama, and Vanderbilt logos would be painted midfield and in the end zones. Also, the opposing team’s fight song would be played on the PA system rather than “Rocky Top.” That would be humiliating for Vols fans to a degree.
  6. Tennessee forfeits its 11/20 game vs. South Alabama – Take a cream puff off the schedule and make it harder for the Vols to get bowl-eligible. Handing South Alabama a complimentary win over a Power Five school might not sit well with the rest of the Sun Belt Conference, though.
  7. SEC-sanctioned defacement of the “T” – The day before the 11/13, 11/20, and 11/27 home games, an art major from Georgia, South Alabama, and Vandy is invited to Neyland Stadium. There they will be allowed to deface the big orange “T” at midfield, painting “sore losers” or “trash fans” or something similar on it. Their work of art would remain on the field through the game.

In any case, Tennessee fans need to be made to understand that they throw garbage because they are garbage. If anyone from the Liberty Bowl selection committee reads this blog, I implore you, PLEASE DON’T INVITE TENNESSEE HERE and potentially put Memphians in harm’s way.

That’s it. Back tomorrow with more news.