Yes, the title is correct. I haven’t really bashed Tennessee too much as the MMQ as they gave the Michigan Wolverines a fierce butt kicking in the Capital One Bowl a while back and I wasn’t sure the statue of limitations had exhausted itself yet on that one. But, the latest developments are more than worth commenting on.
Everyone is blaming Lane and making him out to be the bad guy…Maybe it’s the name “Lane” – you know like from “Better Off Dead?”
Lane? Really? Is Lane REALLY the bad guy here? Or is he simply a 31 year old opportunist jumping at the next best thing? Who can fault the kid. And I use kid here because it just now dawned on me that a kid I could have potentially fathered (meaning, I would have been of fathering age when he was born – YIKES) will be coaching the USC (University of Semi-Pro Collegians) in the very near future.
So, Tennessee a little over a year ago shows Phil Fullmer the door. And he won a National Title, had Peyton Manning, Heath Shuler, and a whole lot of good to great QB’s and other talent, and he, like every coach in the college football world, had his up and down seasons.
The year prior to the canning of Fullmer, the Cremesicles made the SEC Championship game. But that simply isn’t good enough at Tennessee or in the SEC where every team, and I do mean every team, believes they have been given a free pass to not only be in the top 5 every year (there’s 12 teams in the SEC mind you) but the conference believes that one team from there collective deserves to be in the National Title game every year.
So, Tennessee fires Fullmer and looks for the “next” Urban Legend. Hires a kid that had just been canned after two unceremonious years at Oakland and figures they are making a long term decision. But did they look at the man? Did they test the character? Did they check any references besides those references that would immediately give them a big thumbs up?
I doubt it. And that’s why Tennessee is where it is today. Looking for another coach 14 months after they thought they had hired a long time commitment. So, they reaped and fell victim to the desire to be in the top 5 of the national rankings every year. And now they have to sow new seeds of being the “spurned” program for the classy, sexy, and over stuffed, big breasted Queen of the ball – USC.
I ask you this: What coach wouldn’t leave Tennessee for USC? Anyone? I couldn’t think of one name. Of course, there will be the NCAA investigation and everything, but my guess is with the likes of USC and what USC brings to the table for College Football in general, there will be a "slap" on the wrist. Sure, it might hurt them for a year or two...but they're still USC. And any decent coach should be successful there given time...Kind of like....Hmmm....Michigan? Or the Domers?
What does Tennessee do now? You hire a coach that has some ties or is from within or someone that sees the true opportunity that Tennessee presents. Every 4 or 5 years having an outside shot at a National Title with some great years in between. Rumors of a Heisman winner every once in awhile. Yep, Tennessee now has to sow the seeds of what they reaped when the canned Phil and decided to go all Hollywood and super big time with Lane. And who knows what seeds they can sow with a hastily thrown together coaching search. Ideally, there’s a perfect candidate out there somewhere. He’s a Tennessee man that has seen the ups and downs of college football... An assistant that has been somewhere for quite awhile and knows how to build a program. Someone solid, not so glitzy and superficial.
But alas, it may all come too late as the crop of recruits (the class WAS 6th in the country, according to the reports) may all just drift away on the breeze to better opportunities. And the new guy will have to start all over sowing seeds of greatness for UT.