Friday, November 25, 2005

Post-Digestive Thought Process: Tennessee Football

You know, I should probably save this one until after tomorrow's game against Kentucky. But, seeing as I will be attending that game due to having a massively cool future brother-in-law, I think it is incumbent upon me to get the Dark Side out of me before I arrive in Lexington. In a nutshell, University of Tennessee football 2005 sucks. There's no other word for it that doesn't involve a curse. Let's see what happened--this season started out on such a hopeful note. Erik Ainge was back, and in his first two series of the season made us think happy days were here again. And then he just descended into the realm of "You Stink." Rick Clausen came back and saved the day through the LSU game, and we were hopeful for a repeat of 2004 with a watchful eye towards the recruiting process. And then he, too, descended into stinkification. All throughout, our disgust with Randy Sanders as offensive coordinator only intensified. He continued to call plays that were ineffective and bewildering, and blaming a lot of the failures on things like coverage and personell not playing to their capabilities. Didn't he realize that it is ultimately his fault for not having players ready to play? Certainly, a good deal of blame lies at the players' feet, but when the coaches aren't even getting them past such antics, something is wrong. The depths of Tennessee depravity reached what we thought was an all-time low--possibly only eclipsed by the horrendous 1988 season (in which UT lost their first 6 games but won their last 5)--after a three-point loss to Alabama in which UT fumbled the winning touchdown away at the goal line. Then the following week UT lost to South Carolina--South Carolina!--in the exact same manner: fumbling away what would have been a decisive score. After this loss, the greatest thing that could have happened, happened: Randy Sanders resigned. And there was joy in Mudville. But it was to be short-lived. After a near-loss to Memphis (yep, same old story, one repeated all season: turnovers) put a win in the left-hand column, the unspeakable happened. Tennessee lost to Vanderbilt. I will write that again: Tennessee lost to Vanderbilt. Fulmer, quite correctly, described this loss as "rock bottom." There is no more joy in Knoxville - the mighty Vols have struck out. Tennessee will, for the first time since 1988, be playing for pride in their final game, which I will witness tomorrow in Lexington, against the Kentucky Wildcats. This is UK's best chance for a win. It is my best and only chance to unleash the demons that have tormented my psyche over the Sanders/Clausen era at Tennessee. I am glad it is over. There is nowhere for Tennessee to go from here but up. Hire David Cutcliffe as offensive coordinator.


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