Friday, September 17, 2010

Snooze-fest? What Is Happening To Tennessee?

The Third Saturday in September was once one of the great weekends in college football. Fans in the SEC East planned their New Year's destinations by what would happen in mid-to-late September.

This year, Florida visits Tennessee on September 18th.
Smokey's snoozin this Saturday.

And no one cares.

A benchmark weekend in what, for many years, decided who would be playing in Atlanta for a shot at the SEC crown, and possibly the national title.

Instead, we have the University of Tennessee in the midst of multiple NCAA investigations involving several sports, with their third football coach in three years, and a frustrated fan base. Or, is the fan base just disinterested?

This year's game has the least amount of hype/attention that I can remember since, well, ever. I believe that the off-field issues involving Bruce Pearl and what may-or-may-not have happened with Lane Kiffin has taken Volunteer fans' focus away from the field.

But perhaps that's a good thing. Tennessee, after all, isn't that good this year.

However, they weren't supposed to be good last year - but there was interest and - to the diehards - even hope for Tennessee football. Vol fans were still lapping up the Kiffin Kool-Aid, and there was curiosity about how the young, brash coach would handle the Tebow-lead mighty Gators in Gainesville.

And despite losing 13-23, many Tennessee fans took away a slight moral victory in what was predicted to be a blowout. Perhaps Tennessee football wasn't dead after all.

Too bad the kid jumped ship and went west.

Now, a year later, there doesn't seem to be any hope for Tennessee, and if the NCAA has anything to say about it, there won't be for a long time.

But one thing is for sure - this weekend, there's no hype in Knoxville. Tennessee fans may be wise in sleeping through this one and maybe one day they'll wake up from this nightmare.