I know, I know, forfeiting - what you might call quitting - is a bad thing. But after watching the most pitiful display of football last Saturday from my nice comfortable seats in the second row of the upper deck, I really wish it just be November 30 already and the end of this horribly difficult 2008 season.
Before I say anything else, I need to congratulate the Wyoming Cowboys for their win. They played hard and didn't make mistakes. That's what every underdog everywhere in every sport pretty much has to do to pull off an upset.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Congrats to Wyoming, but there is no way they should beat any Tennessee team"][/caption]
Here are some relevant stats for Wyoming: coming into Saturday, they were 3-6, 1-5 in the Mountain West. Good enough for a tie for seventh in the league, with UNLV. The week before they crushed San Diego State for their lone MWC win (and I joked that they would actually beat Tennessee when I saw they won this game rather easily). Head coach Joe Glenn was likely (and still may be) going to be out of a job at season's end.
The three-headed monster making the MWC look like an underrated conference - Utah, TCU and BYU - beat the Cowboys 138-14. This team was the worst offensive team in the country coming into Saturday's game.
And this team came into Neyland Stadium and beat Tennessee.
OK, I admit I laughed after the first fluky near pick-six. That play was so typical of our season. I wasn't laughing after the second one. I wasn't laughing after the incomplete passes on fourth downs late in the game.
But I was walking out, I really wasn't all that mad. I really wasn't even all that embarrassed. I bailed on caring about this season long ago. Does it suck when we look back in the near future and see Tennessee actually did lose to Wyoming? Well of course. But honestly, most people - myself very much included - care more about the coaching search than the Vandy and Kentucky games.
And we should be. Why? Because if the players are going to claim to go out there and play "all-out" for their fired coach, and they show what they showed last Saturday, why should we care? Look, many fans may have stopped watching awhile ago. I said I was gonna watch as long as the effort was there. It was clearly missing Saturday.
So I made the immediate decision (sometime around the middle of the fourth quarter) that I sure as hell won't be coming up for Kentucky - and I'm not the only one I'm sure. Call me fair-weathered, whatever you want. I showed my support for Philip Fulmer. I gave him a pat on the shoulder and a "thanks coach" at the Vol Walk last week. If they're going to respond by not showing up and losing to WYOMING, why should I still show my support?
Now I'm not saying the team owes me, the fan, anything. Well, showing some signs of caring would be nice. Let me put it this way, and keep in mind I'm not one to bash players: where was Arian Foster? "Thigh bruise?" Funny, Dan Williams, Ellix Wilson, Wes Brown and others haven't seemed to be effected with playing through injuries.
To close out, people always talk about Tennessee being completely irrelevant. Well, there are ways to stay relevant, even at 3-6 with a lame-duck coach. One is losing to Wyoming. Other possibilities? Being Vanderbilt's bowl-clinching, history-making, streak-breaking sixth win. Having the nation's longest streak of ownage broken on your home field on the day to honor a coaching legend. Hello, 3-9...
Fortunately, hoops season starts Saturday night. I'll have more on that and more on my choice for Tennessee's next coach in the near future.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="It is going to be nice to finally win something..."][/caption]
Oh don't worry, it's coming...
Images Courtesy of: Michael Patrick / GVX • Amy Smotherman-Burgess / GVX
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