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Country Mile

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Country Mile

USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee

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Country Mile, the USA TODAY NETWORK’s new podcast series, explores the evolution of one of America’s truest art forms through the stories told by the stars who lived them. The format is simple: Two artists, two stools and an unscripted evening of memories taped before a live audience. Guests include Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Ashley McBryde, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Tenille Townes, Marty Stuart and more.
 
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Suspicion

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Suspicion

Knoxville News Sentinel | USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee

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Three trials. Two husbands. One woman. Raynella Dossett Leath is a 70-year-old grandmother living quietly on a 15-acre farm in the Karns community of Knox County, Tennessee. Her life has been far from quiet. She has survived death – two husbands and a son – and prison. She might be a two-time "black widow" who had a third victim in her crosshairs. Despite being convicted once, she is a free woman. In "Suspicion," we will take you through the deaths of Leath's two husbands, her trials and how ...
 
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Tennessee football is well-positioned for the future under coach Josh Heupel – at least according to the coach Heupel replaced. Jeremy Pruitt believes in Heupel's Vols, so much so that he labeled Tennessee and Kentucky as his two breakout teams in the SEC for the 2022 season during a recent appearance on the "Crain & Company" podcast. On this editi…
 
What's the next stop in Tennessee's ascent under Josh Heupel? A top-20 season, according to one prognostication. Athlon, in its recent projections, projects the Vols to finish the 2022 season ranked No. 18 nationally. On this edition of "The Volunteer State," Blake Toppmeyer of the USA TODAY Network and the News Sentinel's John Adams debate whether…
 
Gone is Tennessee football's scheduled road game against BYU in 2023. In its place is a game against Virginia in Nashville. Why? Athletics director Danny White offered two reasons: The switch is better for Tennessee financially, and it offers an opportunity to play a game in Nashville. Here's a reason left unsaid: It helps UT avoid a potential loss…
 
Jay Graham has coached at 10 colleges over the past 16 years, most notably Tennessee (2005, 2012, 2020), South Carolina (2009-11), Florida State (2013-17), Texas A&M (2018-19) and Alabama (2021). Now he's building the Concord Christian School football program — first at middle school and eventually high school. On this edition of “The Volunteer Sta…
 
Throughout the Tennessee baseball team’s success last season, many Vols fans carried a back-of-the mind concern. Would coach Tony Vitello parlay the Vols’ success into another marquee job? On this edition of “The Volunteer State,” Blake Toppmeyer of the USA TODAY Network and the News Sentinel’s Mike Wilson dissect Tennessee baseball’s success, its …
 
The Vols are projected to have to have four players selected in the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN, NFL Network). Defensive lineman Matthew Butler, cornerback Alontae Taylor, wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., and offensive lineman Cade Mays are expected to be mid- to late-round picks. Tennessee likely won't have any players sel…
 
Tennessee's schedule offers an opportunity for a big season that could produce a trip to a Florida bowl – heck, maybe even the Sugar Bowl – if everything falls in the Vols' direction. Beating rivals Alabama or Georgia will take a herculean effort, but the Vols might enjoy a leg up on Florida and LSU, which are breaking in new coaches. On this editi…
 
Joe Milton opened last season as UT's starter but struggled in the role. He lost the job by Week 3. However, he showed progress this spring, including a robust performance in the scrimmage. On this edition of "The Volunteer State," Blake Toppmeyer of the USA TODAY Network and the News Sentinel's Adam Sparks discuss what Milton's spring showing mean…
 
Tennessee football doesn't lack for rivals, but most of its top rivalries lack sizzle because of competitive imbalance. If there's room for another rival, how about Ole Miss? As long as Lane Kiffin is in Oxford, the Rebels will be a marquee opponent for UT. Just one problem: In the SEC's current scheduling format, the teams don't play often enough,…
 
Tennessee is coming off a winning season, has a competent coach and is positioned to sign a five-star quarterback for the first time since 2002 after Monday's commitment from Nico Iamaleava. The Vols still must prove they're capable of climbing the SEC East's ladder, but UT is displaying undeniable signs of progress. On this edition of "The Volunte…
 
Tennessee's up-tempo offense poses problems for opposing defenses, so much so that some opponents attracted suspicion of faking injuries last season. The NCAA football rules committee could not agree on proposed rule changes to stop the tactic, so, presumably, it will continue this season. On this edition of "The Volunteer State," Blake Toppmeyer o…
 
Tennessee last signed a national top-10 recruiting class in 2015. Coach Josh Heupel is coming off a solid debut season, and now the key to climbing the SEC ladder will be elevating the Vols’ recruiting. Jeremy Pruitt flirted with top-10 classes in 2019 and again in 2020, but it was Butch Jones who last led the Vols into the top 10 of the 247Sports …
 
We don't know what the SEC alignment will look like beginning with the 2025 season. We just know change is coming once Oklahoma and Texas join the conference. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said earlier this year that debate is ongoing about how the conference will be aligned after those two schools join from the Big 12. One option would be to align …
 
Hearing whistles while they work is nothing new to the Nashville Predators. Comes with the territory of being the most penalized team in the league. But is that a bad thing? Tennessean Predators beat writer Paul Skrbina and columnist Gentry Estes discuss that and more on the latest edition of Catfish Corner.…
 
The busiest portion of the college football offseason is complete. The winter brought the coaching carousel, an active transfer market and the final recruiting swing. Now that this stage of the offseason is complete, let's bust out the red pens to do some grading of how Tennessee fared. On this edition of "The Volunteer State," Blake Toppmeyer of t…
 
Despite a seven-win season in Josh Heupel's debut, a win total that surpassed most outsider expectations, Tennessee is not ranked in ESPN's early Top 25 for the 2022 season. Seven SEC teams are ranked by ESPN: No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 20 Arkansas, No. 21 Kentucky, No. 23 Ole Miss and No. 25 South Carolina. On this edition …
 
Roman Josi and Juuse Saros are All-Stars. Filip Forsberg is playing like one. That means the All-Star break is here. The Nashville Predators are in second place. The team's identity seems to be solid. So why not hand out some a-little-past-midseason awards. Predators beat writer Paul Skrbina and Tennessean columnist Gentry Estes give you their pics…
 
National signing day is Wednesday, but the February signing period is almost an afterthought nowadays. Division I programs sign most of their recruits during the December signing period, and then the offseason focus gives way to acquiring transfers. With the Vols not expected to make much noise Wednesday, let's shift the focus to the freshmen who a…
 
He's having the best season of his career, better than his Norris Tropy-winning season of a not-so-distant past. Roman Josi also is breaking Nashville Predators franchise records left and right. So what gives? Why won't he be in Vegas with Juuse Saros for All-Star weekend? Predators beat reporter Paul Skrbina and Tennessean columnist Gentry Estes d…
 
KNOXVILLE – In some respects, South Carolina coach Shane Beamer is a measuring stick for Tennessee coach Josh Heupel. But Heupel enjoys an edge over Beamer thanks to Tennessee's 45-20 triumph over the Gamecocks in October. Now, the challenge is maintaining that upper hand after South Carolina added quarterback Spencer Rattler, a transfer from Oklah…
 
The Nashville Predators have won five in a row and in first place in the Central Division. But their latest victory, Tuesday against the Colorado, may be the proof people have been waiting for that this team is legit. In the latest edition of the Catfish Corner podcast, Tennessean Predators beat writer Paul Skrbina and columnist Gentry Estes discus…
 
Whether 7-6 seasons are celebrated or criticized largely depends on the situation in which the program found itself entering the season. Tennessee found itself in a mess last January. The Vols fired Jeremy Pruitt for cause amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of recruiting malfeasance. Players fled for the transfer portal. New coach Josh Heu…
 
Ryan Tannehill not only has an opportunity to secure an AFC South crown with his Tennessee Titans (10-5) this week, but also has the chance to do so at the expense of his former team, the Miami Dolphins (8-7), who are fighting for a Wild Card spot. Will Tannehill lead the Titans to victory in Sunday's game (noon CT, CBS)? On the latest episode of T…
 
Could Tennessee catapult from the Music City Bowl in 2021 to the Sugar Bowl next season? It's within the realm of reasonableness after quarterback Hendon Hooker announced Sunday that he'll return to UT for a sixth season of college eligibility in 2022. If you don't believe us, just look at Ole Miss' success this season. The Rebels laid groundwork i…
 
Filip Forsberg doesn't have his back to the future. The Nashville Predators forward isn't interested in predicting what's in front of him, either, when it comes to his next contract. Going into Thursday, Forsberg had seven goals -- including a four-goal game and an overtime winner -- in seven games since returning from an injury that caused him to …
 
Tennessee (7-5) will play Purdue (8-4) in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). For Vols fans hoping to make a trip south for some winter sunshine and beach time, sorry. For those looking to travel to a nearby destination to watch UT play in the postseason, you're in luck. So, what's better – a Florida bowl, which historically carries m…
 
A Big Ten or an ACC opponent is likely in Tennessee's future. The Vols (7-5) will learn their bowl destination on Sunday. Logical candidates include the Music City Bowl, Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl and Duke's Mayo Bowl. The Music City or Outback would pit Tennessee against a Big Ten opponent, while the Gator or Duke's Mayo would slate the Vols against…
 
Mike Vrabel is 2-0 against Bill Belichick, his former coach. But without star running back Derrick Henry and a banged-up offense, can Vrabel beat him for a third straight time when the Tennessee Titans (8-3) travel to New England to face the Patriots (7-4) at Gillette Stadium Sunday (noon CT, CBS)? Beat writer Ben Arthur and sports columnist Gentry…
 
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney on Monday suggested that South Carolina's first-year coach Shane Beamer should be considered for SEC coach of the year. If an ACC coach can nominate someone for an SEC award, then we can, too. And there's no shortage of options this year, including Josh Heupel, Tennessee's first-year coach who inherited a depleted roster …
 
Who has been the Nashville Predators' MVP so far nearly a quarter of the way through the season? Who has been the biggest surprise? Biggest disappointment? What's up with Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving? Tennessean Predators beat reporter Paul Skrbina and columnist Gentry Estes discuss all that and more after Nashville's victory against the Anaheim …
 
The Nashville Predators were two points out of first place in the Central Division going into Thursday, when they were supposed to play the Ottawa Senators. That game was postponed because 10 Senators players were in the league's COVID-19 protocol, giving Nashville a couple of extra days in Montreal, where they will face the Canadiens on Saturday n…
 
Bowl projections abound, and we're not going to miss out on the projection fun. Tennessee (5-5, 3-4 SEC) is positioned to play in a bowl for just the second time in a five-year stretch. The Vols will host South Alabama (5-5) on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU) before concluding the regular season against Vanderbilt (2-8). They need to win at least on…
 
Tennessee fans celebrated two triumphs Saturday: the Vols' 45-42 victory over No. 17 Kentucky, and South Carolina's 40-17 thrashing of Florida. Florida (4-5, 2-5 SEC) has jumped the rails since beating Tennessee 38-14 on Sept. 25, while the Vols (5-4, 3-3) are on the upswing. Tennessee will face its greatest test to date against No. 1 Georgia (3:30…
 
Pekka Rinne is coming back to Nashville soon -- not to play for the Predators but to live in his "second home" with his family and be honored as the first person in franchise history to have his jersey number retired. Tennessean Predators beat writer Paul Skrbina and columnist Gentry Estes both spoke to Rinne this week and share their thoughts abou…
 
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