Being a college football fan is nothing short of idolatry.
While we may not compare following the Vols to the myriads of devotees bowing down to a block of wood or a golden calf, but make no mistake, we seek to derive meaning and hope out of a bunch of college kids playing a game.
We want them to win so that we can feel like winners ourselves.
In reality, we want them to win so that we can look down on others. (Believe me. I live in Nashville, and the number of Crimson-wearing Tide fans strutting around Music City is astonishing).
We knew this year was going to be tough. Still, we all have had delusions of grandeur. Yet, this team is what it is. Tennessee is in a very difficult place to recruit. We don't have much home ball, nor do we have 20 million people living in our state like Florida.
Though we love our Vols, Tennessee is not a football mad state like Alabama or Ohio. Yes, we have a storied program, but we don't have white sandy beaches, or the Swagger Card that ESPN likes to bestow upon to whomever it chooses.
(Heck, they're even climbing back into bed with USC, while the Vols prove to ever be their whipping boy).
College football is cyclical. Tennessee will again have good years and will occasionally have GREAT years. But the situations being as they are, Tennessee will always struggle to be a perennial powerhouse, unless either Dooley eventually proves to be a Cracker Jack coach/recruiter or we eventually snag one.
That being said, if you think the Vols will ever be America's Darling or that Tennessee will ever be "the Team of the Decade," you're sure to be disappointed.
If pride is where you seek wholeness and meaning through being a fan of the Big Orange, you'll never be satisfied.
Reality bites, indeed...