Sunday, October 07, 2007

A New Day

Three weeks after Florida did what it used to do to Tennessee, Tennessee did what it used to do to Georgia.
The 35-14 win over Georgia wasn't that close. The 28-0 halftime lead could've been worse. There was a certain point where the Vols had 14 first downs and Georgia had 2. The Vols ran at will. Erik Ainge passed efficiently. And Tennessee's defense, so maligned all week and all year, stopped the run, stopped the pass, and stopped Georgia. The run started with the return of Britton Colquitt kicking off into the end zone, and carried over to every player. After the game, you could tell that Phillip Fulmer was fired up and had had enough of a lot of conversations. And those conversations, I'm sure, aren't completely over - the first caller on the Vol Network's Football Finals made two inflamatory comments towards Fulmer and his weight before being cut off (and rightfully so) - but at least for one day, the Vols did it right. And did it well.

So Georgia takes the long sad drive back down I-75, where Mark Richt is now 0-6 in his last six against the SEC East. And don't think that fans in Knoxville are the only ones around this part of the world who are unhappy with their football coach. But the day was already good for the Vols when LSU and Florida kicked off after 8:00 PM.
And all the drama that was missing from the Vols and Dawgs found its way to Baton Rouge, where the day found a way to get even better. It took some doing - including an ulcer-inducing five-for-five night on 4th down for LSU - but as Tim Tebow's hail mary was incomplete and as the clock struck midnight...the Vols are now in first place in the SEC East.
(May I also add that the LSU-Florida game was even more stressful when forced to listen to it in its fullness on the LSU Sports Radio Network while driving home from Knoxville. But at least it was entertaining listening to the LSU announcers: verbal abuse of referees? Check. Automatic disagreement with every pass interference call? Check. Play by play announcer getting so excited that he repeatedly says things like "He's to the 20, he's to the 15, he's down to the 10, he's knocked out of bounds at the 13!"? Check. Play by play announcer carrying that "this is the biggest game in program history, don't screw up, don't screw up...." tone in his voice all night? Check. Color commentator referencing the Bluegrass Miracle as "the most improbable completion in the history of football"? Check. Same commentator calling the game "one of the greatest in the history of football" at its conclusion? Check. Good times. Bonus points for Kingfish Restaurant in New Orleans - thanks 870 AM - for their tagline: eat like a king, drink like a fish.)
So now, on Sunday October 7, Florida and Georgia both have two SEC losses, while Tennessee, South Carolina, and Kentucky - with only the Vols and Cocks controlling their own destiny - sit atop the leaderboard in the division. And nobody's booking reservations for Atlanta just yet, because this is likely to turn into Survivor...but right now, the ball has found its way back into orange hands. And on the same day, the Vols showed they were, at their best, capable of taking it the distance. It's a long road from here, and goes to a dangerous place in Starkville next week. But on this morning, the Vols see it with Florida and Georgia in the rearview, and their own destiny in front of them. All. Things. New.
Go Vols.


Jeff Wright said...

You know it's a special football weekend when your summary post finishes with an appropriate of words used to describe the Biblical consummation of history.

Jeff Wright said...

Should read "appropriation" instead of "appropriate."

Will Shelton said...

The love of Christ thru Tennessee Football. It's what I do. When I have business cards one day, that'll be on them. In bold.