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Cocktail Thursday: Tennessee Edition.

As those of you who read the original MaconDawg's Blawg (both of you, and thanks for that Mom and Dad) know, Cocktail Thursday is a long-running series. We've recommended a lot of different aperitifs since the first Cocktail Thursday in September of 2006, mostly without duplication. Which gets a bit difficult at some point, especially when certain games fairly seem to scream for the same cocktail.

It's always tempting, for example, to make the beverage of choice for the Tennessee game moonshine or Jack Daniels, but those selections are perhaps a bit too obvious. So the Tennessee game cocktail has varied significantly from year to year. This year is no different. We need something subtle. Something more refined. More . . .

Oh, to hell with it. It's a night game in Knoxville. Let's do something with Jack Daniels and moonshine. Something like the Hillbilly Lemonade. You'll need: 

  • 2 lemons
  • 1 and 1/2 oz. Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, 
  • 1 teaspoon of superfine sugar
  • corn liquor (moonshine) in an amount of your choosing (the legal stuff is generally 80-90 proof, so treat it like vodka, gin or similar spirits). Obviously Dawg Sports is a huge supporter of all federal and state excise tax programs and would prefer that you (our readers) procure this portion of the recipe from a safe, legal source. We'd also prefer that you (the Department of the Treasury and Georgia Department of Revenue) bear in mind that we are fans of taxation in all its forms, and that the proprietors of this site pay their taxes every chance they get. Heck, sometimes we even feel like we're paying other people's taxes. But no more than every dadgum day. So we're cool right? Right? Just making sure.
  • seltzer water (4 ounces ought to do it).

Start by juicing the two lemons into a glass with the superfine sugar, stir together. If you'd like (and I do) you could peel what's left of the lemons and add them to the glass. It gives just a little more lemon flavor. Add the Jack and the liquor, then top with the seltzer water. Finish with ice if preferred. 

While you're sipping on that, ponder this line from last season's Friday Tailgate prior to the Vanderbilt game:

Our 3rd down defense has been troubling as well, especially in the 2nd half, when it has appeared that Todd Grantham couldn't run an opposing offense off the field with a shotgun in one hand and an ebola-riddled monkey in the other.

My how things change. As you may know, the Classic City gridders currently leading the SEC in 3rd down defense, allowing a very respectable 25.35% opponent conversion rate. To put that in perspective, think about how many 3rd down situations arise on a typical scoring drive. Assuming Blair Walsh has booted the ball safely into the endzone and the opponent starts at the 20, 5 is a pretty safe number. Getting 5 consecutive 3rd down conversions against a defense that stops 3out of 4 3rd down conversion attempts is a tall task. It's why Todd Grantham has been worth every penny of his salary for at least the past 3 weeks, and arguably before (since at least 21 of South Carolina's 45 points can't be pinned on his unit).

Interestingly, Tennessee leads the league in third down offensive conversion at a sound 62.07% clip. LSU is in second, but it's really not even close. I believe that stat's a little misleading because, really, what would you expect from wins over Montana, Cincinnati and Buffalo and a loss to the Florida squad playing prevent defense for much of the second half? Nevertheless, Tyler Bray wasn't completing those third down passes against thin air. He's been making sound football decisions all season, and it will be up to Todd Grantham to alter that state of affairs. Now that Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera each have substantial time in the middle and Christian Robinson is back in action, I think you'll see Todd Grantham come after the Vols' young and unfortunately tattoed signalcaller early and often. How he reacts will go a long way in deciding how this one turns out.

In short, while Hillbilly Lemonade is one way to get blitzed this weekend, being Tyler Bray will be another. No Friday Tailgatefrom me tomorrow, though I promise there's a good reason for it, which will be revealed on Saturday. There should also be some great stuff from our other authors in this space, so be sure to check back. Until later . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!