Lame Duck Coaches Unite!

Tim PollockSenior Writer INovember 22, 2008

Phil Fulmer, Greg Robinson, and Joe Tiller are not just overweight, old white guys.

They are overweight, old white guys who just registered big wins over rivals—and all just so happen to be on the way out of town at their respective schools.   

I’ve gone on record as saying I hate Tennessee more than any team out there, but I have to be honest:  I was rooting for the Vols this weekend. 

It got the point where I started to feel sorry for Big Phil.  The man is 100% Tennessee, and it was odd to watch the demise of a man who was once a living coaching legend. 

With Vandy’s dream season (a bowl game!) already sealed, you could just sense that Tennessee was going to further shove the Commodores back into reality. 

And they did it the old-fashioned Tennessee way:  tough defense and hard nosed running.  The Vols held Vanderbilt to 213 total yards and forced three turnovers, one of which turned into six points by Eric Berry. 

The Tennessee offense ran for 222 yards, with five different players getting at least six carries.

If Tennessee can muster one last home win next week against Kentucky, Fulmer will go out with his dignity—and hopefully a much deserved and long, standing ovation from the fans.  

Greg Robinson, meanwhile, had his team en route to a familiar path: yet another loss.  Down 23-10 in the fourth quarter, the only question seemed to be whether the Irish would pull away and cover the spread of nearly 20 points. 

But the Orange pulled off the comeback, scoring in dramatic fashion with only 42 seconds left. 

Despite two turnovers, Syracuse kept themselves in the game by making Notre Dame one-dimensional and keeping the Irish out of field goal range in the fourth quarter.  Running back Antwone Bailey did the rest from there. 

Robinson got more pats on the back, handshakes, and hugs than Shooter after he had the boys from Hickory run the picket fence for a two-point win over Dugger.

Perhaps all the congratulations distorted Robinson’s perception of reality as well, as he was quoted as saying, "It's a great day for our football team. Truly a great day for our program to come into South Bend and to pull it off.”

Whatever you say, Coach. 

It’s unlikely Robinson will go out a winner next week at Cincinnati, but at least he can always look back on his momentous win in South Bend. 

A few hours away from South Bend, the boys at Purdue put an old-school beatdown on Indiana, giving Joe Tiller a farewell 62-10 romping over rival Indiana, reclaiming the Old Oaken Bucket that Tiller only lost twice in his twelve-year tenure at Purdue.

While Tiller originally brought respectability—and a high-powered offense—to Purdue, the program became stagnant over the last few years, so the Boilermaker’s offensive explosion in Tiller’s final game as head coach was extra special.

Tiller was enjoying himself so much he didn’t mind getting doused with ice cubes twice.  He conducted the Purdue band, gave more interviews than ever before, and generally did everything he could to stay on the field at Ross-Ade Stadium.

In other news, the lame duck zen master himself, Tyrone Willingham, could not pull off the win over Washington State in what was probably the most embarrassing Apple Cup match up ever.