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Well, Vol Nation, I feel badly addressing you after such an absence from the blog. Really don’t have an explanation other than to say the blog became more work than we had anticipated and with Jacob and I trying to graduate at some point it just became too much. However, in the wake of this Kiffin mess, I’ve got to write this, for my own sake. Read if you want.

The sky is falling here on the UT campus. I was part of a riot last night for the first time in my life. I saw my fellow students inexplicably climbing statues. One guy threw a road cone and hit a girl in the head. Neyland Stadium was close to being rushed by an angry mob. A few who led the charge made it into the stadium and safely snuck out after the cops arrived. We are just upset, man.

Pride is a factor. We are Tennessee. We aren’t used to being a stepping stone, and that’s exactly what Lane Kiffin has made us. I think it’s that more than any thing. Basically, we’ve been emasculated, because our football program is an absolute mess now. It’s not that we’ve lost Lane Kiffin; it’s the state he left us in. We don’t have a permanent school president right now. Our AD, Mike Hamilton, stuck his neck out to hire LK, and who knows how secure his job is right now. Reports have been circulating all morning about Phil Fulmer having been contacted about becoming AD or possibly the football coach again. All this three weeks before signing day. Shoot me now.

With all that we’ve lost, we need to look at what we have. We have Neyland. We have Peyton. Al Wilson. The Miracle at South Bend. A January night in Tempe. Basically what we have is the past. As Chris Walker said last night, “We are Tennessee today and tomorrow, next year. We are going to be Tennessee no matter what coach is going to be here.” And while it is something, keep in mind that current recruits were in elementry school when we won our national championship. Their image of Tennessee is the mediocrity that we have endured the last ten years. History is great, but we have to create new history.

Opposing fans, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re laughing. That’s fine. I really don’t give a rat’s ass what you think. I don’t need you. I don’t need sympathy from anyone. I’m a UT student. I’ve got 20,000 others just like me going through the exact same thing, and a whole state with us. We are Tennessee, and that means exponentially more to me than anything I’ve ever said about Lane Kiffin.

That said, I loved Lane Kiffin. Jacob loved Lane Kiffin. Anybody who read this blog knows. It makes me sick to say it now, but I loved what he was doing. I still believe he would have turned Tennessee into a winner. One of the things I loved about him was his professional approach to the game. With the staff he had, he was that caliber coach. The guy that could throw punches with the Sabans, Meyers, because we are that level of a school. We’ve got the tradition, the history; football is huge here. And with all our fan base has endured over the past few years, we thought we had the guy to get us back to where we want to be.

Oh well.

What Kiffin has done will set us back. We’ll lose tons of recruits. Michael Taylor, Brandon Willis, Delvin Jones, and Calvin Smith have been the first of an eventual list that at worst will contain names like Markieth Ambles (maybe USC, Florida), Jujuan James (Georgia, Alabama, maybe LSU) or Jacquez Smith (LSU) and best case scenario will still contain five to eight more guys. We may not get a good hire this time. We need to make a splash but is that coach really available at this point? Can we get Muschamp? Will a guy like Edsell, Calhoun or Peterson really be enough to satiate a fane base that has seen two head coaches in 14 months? Tennessee football may be down for a while.

But we’ll be back.

At some point, we’ll be back. We’re too good to stay down. There’s too much passion here. Too much pride. Too much love for it all to stay down. Our basketball team just did one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen in sports, and there’s no limit in my mind to what Tennessee can be.

So here’s your pick me up, Vol fans. Times are dark right now, but you don’t have to look very far to see an example of a program overcoming devastating NCAA sanctions and their coach skipping out in the middle of the night for a “better job”. Alabama, once on the verge of the death penalty, is now the best college football program in the country. And they are in a position to remain so for a very long time. Things will get better Vol fans. From Memphis to Savannah, Union City to the ‘Boro, Nashville to Lexington, Shelbyville, Columbia, Chatt-town, McMinnville, and all of EAST TN, sing it with me…..

Rocky Top, you’ll ALWAYS be, home sweet home to me….

WE ARE TENNESSEE

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Anybody can be a Tennessee fan; there are few requirements. Really, all you have to do is love Bluetick coonhounds and a unique shade of orange called PMS021. I might also add that you should know whether corn grows on Rocky Top or not, and maybe that you should be familiar with girls that are half bear, the other half cat. It helps if you’re from the state of Tennessee. I would strongly contend that no town in the state, Memphis included, cheers for any team more than the Vols. How many other big-time college football programs have that kind of stranglehold on their state? By my count, there are a possible five: Penn State, Georgia, Nebraska, Arkansas, and LSU. This one of my favorite things about our state, that no matter where you go in Tennessee, you’re in Big Orange Country. If you’re a Vol from West Tennessee like me (731 whut, whuuut) you might have never even sniffed UT’s campus. Then again, you might have spent hours upon hours here as a student. With this thought in mind, I’ve snapped a few autumn images around campus and compiled them here for your viewing pleasure. Every individual UT fandom is a beautiful thing, so soak these in however you will. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lane Kiffin era at UT is underway. I witnessed its long awaited inception this past weekend, which was a raging success. Campus was like a Big Orange Utopia on Saturday, and after a slow start, the game gave everyone wearing the Power T something to smile about. I think my Dad said it best: “It was like expecting a certain Christmas gift, and opening it up to find something better than you were hoping for.” Read the rest of this entry »

While reading Jacob’s prediction post, I really thought he was going to pick us to beat Alabama. I’m glad he didn’t. Because while I, too, am optimistic about our young Vol squad, 10-2 is very lofty. If he had gone with 11-1, I would’ve called him crazier than John Henderson’s trainer. Here’s how I see this season playing out. Read the rest of this entry »

It was another hot Saturday at Neyland, but Kiff had the Vols hitting it hard today, and in more of a game-like situation. We saw a lot we want to talk about so we’re just going to do a positional breakdown. Let’s get to it: Read the rest of this entry »

Call him a bright spot. A sparkle of light in a dark time. A point of pride among Tennessee fans who haven’t had much else to go on. All these things are true when talking about Eric Berry, the Vol savior, redeemer, and King of Big Orange Country. The guy who allowed us to say, “yea we may be losing, but Eric Berry is crushing fools.” Read the rest of this entry »

It’s the same campus as last year. For the most part. There are a few changes. “The Rock” is in a different place, the Pilot on the strip has been renovated, and there’s some twisted mass of metal on the Pedestrian Mall that I think the University is calling a monument or something. Other than these minor details, the single largest physical difference on campus lies where Peyton Manning Pass runs into Phillip Fulmer. Read the rest of this entry »