To celebrate 500 posts here at SESB, allow me to present the 4th quarter drive charts in today's Tennessee-Auburn game.
- AUB (own 20) 4 plays, punt
- TEN (opp 38) 3 and out
- AUB (own 11) 3 and out
- TEN (own 43) 3 and out
- AUB (own 20) 3 and out
- TEN (opp 46) 3 and out
- AUB (own 20) 3 and out
- TEN (own 46) 3 and out
- AUB (own 5) one first down, ballgame
Hats off to John Chavis and the defense, seriously. You cannot ask your defense to play any better than they did.
The Tennessee offense is indescribably bad and almost totally inept.
They were definitively inept in the 4th quarter. Seriously, how long do you think we could've kept trading punts? Because I think it would've gone deep into the night unless Gerald Jones ran one back.
Here's a totally legitimate question: is Jonathan Crompton - 8 of 23 for 67 yards - the worst quarterback to play under center of the last three decades? Don't we have to put him now in the group with CJ Leak and Joey Matthews?
While most are still likely to target Fulmer, and the concerns coming into this game are still completely valid...say something good about the Clawfense.
Florida gave the Vols a gift. At halftime, I told my friend on the phone Tennessee just needed to get out of there, didn't matter if it was 15-14 with six field goals. Just get back to Knoxville with a win by any means, and we can work on improving later.
But instead, the Vols eat a loss that ranks right up there with UCLA in terms of indefensibility.
Combined with another blowout to Florida and a quarterback who inspires zero confidence in anyone, and the rest of the SEC schedule looming ahead...
The decision to make students pay for tickets is going to look real good next Saturday night against Northern Illinois. How many of them are going to show up for that one? How many of any of us?
The schedule will present the Vols an opportunity to play at least one top five team in October. But right now, it's almost impossible to look at the rest of this season in a positive light.
Because the reality is, UCLA is about to give up 40+ points again, Florida beat us by 24 and then got exposed by Ole Miss in Gainesville today, and Auburn hasn't looked really good all season.
Two teams that are incredibly similar, as shown by the game and the drive chart, have an important difference:
Auburn looked offensively inept against Mississippi State and Tennessee. They won both games. The Tigers still have work to do, certainly, and Tony Franklin's system may not ultimately have any better fate than Dave Clawson's. But Auburn gets to deal with all this mess on the sunny side of a win.
Tennessee has looked offensively inept when they weren't playing UAB. They're 1-3.
Winning wouldn't have made Tennessee's offense any better than it actually is. But the Vols should, without question, be 3-1. You can't defend either loss. And yet, here we are.
It always takes more strength to have hope than be cynical. It's easy to be cynical, even when there's plenty of reason to be.
But hope is awfully fleeting right now in Knoxville.