(Note: This is just a series of random thoughts. When I sat down at my computer, I meant to try and figure out what happened Saturday against Wyoming. But after two hours of rambling, this is all I could come up with.)
The coaching carousel is moving in Knoxville, and following Tennessee's 13-7 loss to Wyoming on Homecoming Saturday, the Volunteers are pretty close to rock bottom. At 3-7, the Big Orange are eliminated from the postseason conversation, and can only hope to upset Vanderbilt in two weeks, and Kentucky on Senior Day.
It's hard to say where this season went wrong. Was it at UCLA in the season opener, when Daniel Lincoln missed three field goals, two from outside of 50 yards?
Was it against Florida two weeks later, when the offense moved the ball well, out-gaining the Gators, but could only muster six measly points?
Or at Auburn, when Jonathan Crompton mishandled a handoff to Arian Foster on their own goalline, giving the Tigers the game winning touchdown?
What about their narrow escape against Northern Illinois, 13-9?
All of those games came before back-to-back three touchdowns losses to then No. 2 Alabama and at South Carolina.
Wyoming? Seriously? I think I heard handicapper Fat Jack saying on Friday morning that the Volunteers were a lock at something like 28 point favorites. Ouch!
Tennessee stands in last place at 1-5 in conference play. But, Kentucky is 2-4 and Vandy is 3-3. Winning out puts the Volunteers ahead of both in the SEC East standings, even though both might qualify for a bowl game.
Winning out will likely put them ahead of other SEC comrades like Auburn, whose two remaining games are against Georgia at home and at Alabama.
There's no argument. Tennessee isn't the same team they were as recently as 2004. Back then, games against Georgia and Florida were toss ups, and Alabama wasn't a threat like they are now. Urban Meyer coming to the SEC with his spread option changed things.
Hell, Tim Tebow changed things. ( Incidentally, Tebow is making a late surge for a repeat run at the Heisman.) I'm saying it now, Tebow repeats, much to the dismay of Ohio State fans.
But, Phillip Fulmer didn't change things. At least not yet. When he announced his resignation, he had the No. 6 recruiting class in the nation. Who knows where that team may have ended up? Now, no one ever will.
One thing is for certain, whoever gets the job needs to work quickly. Leading candidates are Butch Davis ("The long and short of it is, the administration and I are completely and firmly committed to building a championship football program at North Carolina. My family and I are very happy in Chapel Hill.") and Mike Leach (noncommittal).
Rumors are swirling around Knoxville about such names as Lane Kiffin, Jon Gruden and even Bill Cowher having bought houses or being spotted at the airport.
But, is this rock bottom?
Only time will tell.
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