Let’s just get right to the point; tonight sucked. It was an embarrassment, on par with some of Butch Jones’s worst defeats, and frankly, it makes me wonder why the hell I even care about Tennessee football at all anymore. I mean, it’s the same damn team every year; they can’t block, tackle, hold leads, or worst of all, ever beat Will Muschamp’s fat ass gut. Muschamp is the most mediocre of all the football coaches and yet, he somehow just moved to 7-0 in his career against Tennessee, which is perhaps the most embarrassing Vol statistic of what has been an absolutely abominable decade-plus for what was once one of the proudest and best teams in all of college football.
There were no positives tonight. The offensive line was terrible, and let so many unimpeded rushers slam into Jarrett Guarantano that I’m surprised he didn’t die on the field, while the upperclassmen-laden defense was so porous that they gave up 224 rushing yards. It's no wonder the Vols got outscored 18-3 in the final 25 minutes of the game and blew a 12 point lead to Jake Freaking Bentley and Will "Beer Gut" Muschamp. The best thing about tonight was that Bentley wasn't even effective or good (11-16, 152 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and he still was able to lead the comeback. And yes, "best" is completely 100% sarcastic.
And I don’t want to hear about the officiating. You know what didn’t matter at all? The defensive pass interference call on South Carolina’s game-winning field goal drive. You know why? Because the Tennessee defense was so awful that it’s not like that extra 15 yards would’ve made any difference, considering the defense tackled about as well as a team full of ghosts would have. You know what else didn’t matter? South Carolina's “fumble” in the third quarter down around the goal line. I have no idea if Rico Dowdle fumbled or not, and neither do you because he regathered the ball right before he slammed into a throng of bodies that impeded everyone’s view and made it impossible for anyone to see where the ball or his knee was. What would’ve actually made a difference would’ve been if Tennessee had kept Dowdle to under ten yards a carry. And yes, I realized I just triggered everyone on #voltwitter.
Here’s the dumbest take of the whole night, courtesy of the same loudmouths on #voltwitter: “Oh hell yeah bro, wasn’t it great when Jauan Jennings slammed that ball into the South Carolina defender’s chest? Yeah brah! Showed him!” You know, I wouldn’t have had as much of a problem with this if Jauan had actually made some plays the rest of the game. Instead, he completely disappeared, and it was honestly like he wasn't even out there for any of the second half. His ball slam in the chest rings about as hollow as Rashaan Gaulden’s double birds into the crowd at Alabama last year. Hey Jauan! You guys blew a 12 point second half lead! But way to go on “showing” South Carolina. Congrats on that highlight brah.
But yeah, can't wait to tee it up and kick it off against Charlotte next week. Yeah, we'll really learn a lot in that one! Can't wait to flip on the TV!
I have no idea what to make of Jeremy Pruitt 8 games in. There's been some things I like (his in game aggression and lack of fear in taking chances) mixed with a ton of things I don't like (typical coach speak, crying at the podium about Tennessee's effort after they got blown out by Georgia by 26 points). Tonight was really bad. This team had been trending in the right direction the last few weeks, but this was a huge step backward, particularly in the trenches. South Carolina couldn't rush the passer all year (only ten sacks coming into tonight) and yet they were able to smack Guarantano around more times than a Steven Seagal movie. Look, I'm not punting on him yet, but it's concerning that they're basically the same team on the offensive line and in the front seven as they were all the way back in Week 1 when West Virginia blew them off the field. They're never going to win anything if they continue to be egregiously bad in those areas.
I seriously don’t even know why I care this much or why I continue to let this crap get to me, or why I ever let myself buy into this irrelevant program week after week and year after year. Because they’re never going to get it turned around down there; hell, they might be the worst team with the worst situation in the entire division AGAIN. Think about it: South Carolina is an awful program with a below average head coach and Tennessee couldn’t even hold a twelve point lead against them. Plus, they’ve lost to them three years in a row! To Will Muschamp! Florida was almost equally as bad as Tennessee was last year, and yet, they’ll probably win 9 or 10 games this season with their first year head coach Dan Mullen, whereas Tennessee will be lucky to make a bowl game. Georgia blew out the Vols a few weeks ago for the second year in a row and have won 24 of their last 28 games with Kirby Smart as their head coach. Vanderbilt has beat them two years in a row (my god) and that game is in Nashville this year; after tonight’s performance by the Vols, three losses in a row to them is completely in play. Kentucky has one loss this season, is ranked in the top 12, and has a chance to clinch the SEC East next week if they beat Georgia. Maybe Missouri is a worse place? Maybe?
The Vols are stuck in the pit of misery, only they keep finding new lows. No program/team in the entire country has trolled their fan base more aggressively than Tennessee the last decade-plus. Beating Auburn on the road was the football gods cruel way of drawing us back in so they could destroy us once again for stupidly continuing to root for this week to week embarrassment. Good lord. Maybe it’s time to just fold the whole damn thing. Or at least purge the entire offensive line and start from scratch.