Sunday, October 08, 2006

Paddle That Behind

I've seen lots of things in following the Vols for the last 20 years. I've seen some miraculous comebacks from 17+ points down. I've seen the Vols spot a bad team an early lead, and then roll as the game progressed. And I've seen the Vols get behind in a hostile environment, only to take control of the game away.

But that last night - kick coverage aside - was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen a Tennessee team do.

The Vols got into a 24-7 hole on the road against a team they've been unable to beat in this millenium save once. The crowd was beyond hostile. The Vols were still unproven on the road. This team had the number one defense in the nation.

And Tennessee didn't just win. They did what they wanted, when they wanted. This wasn't just anyone - this was undefeated Georgia. And when the Vols did get behind 17 points, there was no panic, only execution. Stone cold execution for the rest of the football game. The Vols didn't just make a comeback, they won the game by 18 points. They were absolutely unstoppable on offense and made all the big plays on defense. This game was two kick returns away from being a 30 point blowout, and even at 51-33, Tennessee decimated Georgia (other words used by studio analysts last night to describe it: "wiped out", "dominated", and my personal favorite, "punished".) Can you remember something like this recently? Ever?

The sky continues to be the limit for the Vols. Even if Florida doesn't lose twice and the Vols cannot win the SEC, Tennessee - currently sitting 8th in the AP poll - would finish no worse than a BCS at-large bid if they won out. Winning out is an enormous task, and right now the Vols need a week off to get their feet and their heads back on straight for the Third Saturday. But let's not forget the conversations we were having in August. And yeah, the one point loss to the Gators hurts. But think about the conversations we're having now. It's hard to ask for more.

Life is good.

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