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Here are my three scenarios for Derek Dooley's future as head coach at Tennessee:
1. If the Vols finish below .500, he is gone, even if the additional loss is from a bowl game.
2. If the Vols finish 6-6 and win their bowl game, he stays.
3. If the Vols finish 7-5 and lose their bowl game, he is gone.
The discrepancy between scenarios No. 2 and No. 3 is somewhat ironic, but if you take a second to think about it, it makes sense.
A team that manages a 6-6 season and ends on a high note with a bowl win will grant Dooley his fourth year as head coach. But a team that squeaks out an extra regular-season win but loses its last game (again) is a much different story.
Some fans think I'm being too kind with my scenarios. But the reason the bar is somewhat low is because of the dearth of noticeable coaching talent available if Tennessee decides to begin searching for its fourth coach in six years.
That being said, what Dooley learned from 2011 is simple: The 2012 season better be the one. There is too much talent and too much experience to not make a move this coming fall.