What a game! That's pretty much all a Tennessee fan can say at a time like this. To have a shot at the win against the No. 1 team in the land and lose is probably one of the most heartwrenching things a fan can experience. Especially the way that it happened on Saturday.
The oft-maligned, Daniel Lincoln, had a terrible day kicking. Even the field goal that he made was barely off the ground. The two that were blocked, including the 43-yard attempt as time expired, killed any chance the Vols had at a win.
I could not believe my eyes when the Vols got the onside kick and actually brought it close enough to even kick it. But the heartbreak we would experience moments later almost makes one wish it hadn't even come down to that.
Losing in this fashion is rough. Losing in this fashion to Alabama is downright brutal.
Tennessee's defense held Heisman hopeful Mark Ingram in check almost all day and forced the star's first lost fumble of his Alabama career.
Tennessee's offense score a touchdown against the Tide in the fourth quarter, 'Bama's first touchdown allowed in their last 13 quarters.
There was plenty to be proud about for the Big Orange yet again.
If I hear anyone Tennessee fan complaining about Jonathan Crompton again this year I might punch them. The guy has turned the corner. Get off his back, apologize for being a self-indulged jerk-picking on a college kid, and get behind him.
The record may not indicate just how well this team has turned around since last season, but the stats do show it. Tennessee has lost by a combined 20 points to unranked-UCLA, at No 1-Florida, unranked-Auburn, and at No. 1-Alabama.
The continually impressive defense has set the tone in all three of the four losses and a rough first half offensively against Auburn was all the kept the Vols from winning that one.
Keep poor-mouthing Lane Kiffin if you want. Keep trashing Crompton. Keep up the whining if you must. The facts show that if you do, you are not only dead wrong, but borderline stupid.
This same team was getting blown out in these games last year. These games weren't this close.
Tennessee is a few players away from being relevant nationally again.
To those SEC fans that keep trashing and whining because of Kiffin's mouth; get ready for the next two years, because he's getting ready to back those words up in a big way.
I can't end this without saying how much respect I have for that Alabama team today. That defense might be one of the best ever. Your boys made plays when they had to. I have no doubt that the entire nation will watch your team raise the trophy in Pasadena on January 7, 2010.
Nothing but respect and admiration from this Tennessee fan for the Alabama Crimson Tide. We almost got you though.
I also have no doubt that one day in the forseeable future those almost's will be missing from the Tennessee fan vocabulary.