Starting 11: Toddler Derek Dooley Jumps to Gruden Ship

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You know things are rough for Derek Dooley when even Toddler Derek Dooley, last year’s Volunteer state sensation, is dressing up as Jon Gruden this Halloween.

Mom Cortney sends this email to OKTC:

“People have been asking how we could possibly top my son’s Halloween costume from last year. Honestly, since Saturdays have become so increasingly heartbreaking this season, and since my husband wouldn’t let me cover my two-and-a-half year old in bronze paint and pose him as the General Neyland statue, I thought I would give up and let Luke wear the Spider-Man costume he’s been begging for. However, the timing couldn’t be more perfect, so this year we are introducing Little Gruden. Obviously not as creative as Toddler Dooley, but over the last few years Halloween has been the only positive thing in the fall for us Vol fans, and I didn’t have to bribe my 2 year old to wear a wig this time.
Happy Halloween!”

The Gruver, it’s real! 

Here was Toddler Dooley in happier, less losing times.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s now a song advocating for the firing of Derek Dooley and the hiring of Jon Gruden.

Yep, the Volunteer state has gone crazy.

Let’s dive into the Starting 11:

1. Alabama crushed Mississippi State.

Remember all those State fans posting 8-0 photos?

Yeah, that went well.

Jesus was pleased.

2. Georgia took down Florida.

Meaning the Gators are in a similar position to Alabama after last season’s loss to LSU. Seemingly eliminated from national title contention. Only, guess what, the Gators are likely to finish the season as the highest rated one-loss team (this assumes losses by LSU and Georgia to Alabama) if Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame all lose, the Gators would play Alabama for the title without winning their division.

Granted that means that the Gators have to beat Florida State on the road, but that game is actually perfect timing for Florida.

Win and there’s a slingshot element to that victory.

Anyway, just keep this in mind. It’s not that unbelievable that an SEC East team could play for the national title without winning its own division.

3. Notre Dame beat Oklahoma, making Notre Dame fans completely insufferable.

Alabama fans are dumb, but at least their team is really good.

Notre Dame fans are dumb and their team would barely be in the top half of the SEC. (And that might be generous. Do you feel confident that Notre Dame would beat Texas A&M on a neutral field? I don’t. Not at all. In fact, I’d take A&M in this game). And it’s not just me, Las Vegas would make Notre Dame an underdog to Alabama, LSU, Florida, and Georgia.

I’m almost rooting for Notre Dame to play Alabama in the BCS title game just because I’m 100% confident Bama would beat the Irish by over three touchdowns.

Of course, Fighting Irish fans won’t buy that since Notre Dame fans are now convinced that they would be favored against the New England Patriots.

Read on below to see how I’d rank Notre Dame in the SEC this year.

4. Let’s talk about Marcus Lattimore for a moment.

I absolutely love this guy and wish him nothing but the best as he tries to recover from his latest season-ending injury.

I watched him carry the football over 40 times as a true freshman at Florida. South Carolina won that game and advanced to the SEC title game. It was a virtuoso performance. No one who watched Marcus Lattimore play as a freshman doubts that he would have been a top twenty pick in the draft after that year.

So why doesn’t Lattimore have the option to go pro?

What has he gained — other than the potential end of his football career — by being forced to play college football the past two seasons?

Last October I wrote an entire column after Lattimore’s injury, I’d ask you to read it now.

The NFL’s refusal to allow talented adults to go pro when they want to go pro should be considered a moral issue. Just because the NFL’s age restriction has been held to be legal thus far, doesn’t mean it’s right. The fact that Marcus Lattimore’s career could end without him making a dime — when the free market would have clearly paid him millions — is just flat out wrong. 


5. The Jon Gruden flight stalking story that you might have missed over the weekend is amazing.

The Gruden Fever, Gruver, is truly everywhere.

By the way, you know who has the freest market on earth?

College coaches.

Their contracts don’t mean a damn thing, they can move at a moment’s notice and change jobs. You know who can’t move at all and make any money? The players who make them rich.

Something to think about.

6. If all the undefeated teams win out, Alabama and Oregon will play for the BCS title.

I know it’s fun for talking heads to pretend that they have no idea how the final BCS standings will look, but it’s not that hard at all.

In reality, we know exactly what the final BCS standings will look like if there are four undefeated teams.

1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Kansas State

4. Notre Dame

Is that fair to Kansas State?


But that’s the BCS.

And it’s why I’ve been advocating for the four team playoff to be moved up a year instead of allowing the BCS to screw things up for another season.

7. The greatest pumpkin carving ever?

Meet the buttchugger pumpkin.

The number of buttchugger costumes this year is simply amazing.

(I’ll have a best Halloween costumes column on Wednesday. Send in your pic nominees to or you can Tweet them to me as well).

8. Will Muschamp sideline faces!

And, not to be outdone, here’s Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s sideline face.

9. Auburn fans, I’m not even going to make fun of you anymore.

But I will say this, a UT fan emailed me on Saturday night and said he felt bad for Auburn.

A UT fan!

Just go hire Bobby Petrino right now.

The Devil is strong on the Plains.

10. Mizzou got its first ever SEC win over Kentucky.

How bad is Kentucky football?

Mizzou beat them by over three touchdowns.

In the process the Tigers won me my $1k bet on Kentucky winning under 4.5 games this season.

This is the easiest money I’ve ever made.

Question for you, what happens in a neutral site game between Kentucky and Auburn? Be honest, don’t y’all kind of want to see this? I mean, wouldn’t you rather the Independence Bowl took the two worst SEC teams and let them play than taking the 10th best SEC team and letting them play some crappy school from another conference?

Kentucky vs. Auburn would be a comedy pyramid.  

11. There are five SEC teams in the top eight of the current BCS standings. Here’s my power rankings for the week.  

This week, just for fun, I’ve pretended Notre Dame was an SEC school. 

1. Alabama

2. Florida

3. LSU

4. Georgia

5. South Carolina

6. Texas A&M

7. Notre Dame

8. Mississippi State

9. Ole Miss

10. Tennessee

11. Vanderbilt

12. Arkansas

13. Missouri

14. Kentucky

15. Auburn  


Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.