During the Alabama-Tennessee game last night, ESPN’s cameras found two UT fans with paper bags on their heads. Sports editor John Adams, writing in this morning’s Knoxville News-Sentinel, offers some guesses as to the identity of the two bag-heads:
Influential boosters who have seen enough of the Phillip Fulmer Era atUT; members of the UT defense who had seen enough of the UT offense; ora couple of guys who couldn’t wait for Halloween.
You want to know how bad things have gotten on The Hill? How about this graf provided by Mr. Adams?
UT just went 0-3 against its three biggest rivals – Florida, Georgiaand Alabama – by an 85-29 count. In the last two years, the Vols are1-5 against those teams; the average margin of defeat has been 23.8points.
My years of being a Vol fan tell me that a coach who owns that record will not be coach long. Add to that the rushing numbers in those three games this year — 96 against Florida, 36 against Alabama, and 1 yard rushing against Georgia — and you see the complete collapse of Tennessee football. “Pound the rock” used to be the mantra at UT; now it’s “throw a brick and pray.”
It would be easier if Phil Fulmer were an arrogant jerk, or had a temper problem. But he’s not, and he doesn’t. He’s a great guy, a family man, a caring person, and bleeds Orange. Those qualities, plus a national championship, have won him many friends, and frankly, gotten him a lot of slack in the past. I don’t think it’s going to work this year.
The Vols are 3-5, with Wyoming, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky left on the schedule. I think it is realistic to see 2 wins and 2 losses in that remaining schedule. Could they win out, and go to a bowl? Possibly. Even if they do, though, I think the Fla-Ga-Bama losses are going to be the deciding factors.
I’d love to see things turn around … but I think the reality is that Fulmer’s time is over.