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Everlasting Joy 11-2
Wheels fall off for UT
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The last time I wrote about our beloved Tennessee Vols in this column, the team was locked in a steamy romance with destiny.
Fresh off a miracle finish to beat Georgia with a last-second prayer, the Vols were 5-0, ranked in the top 10, and looking to prove they were an elite team in college football.
Unfortunately, the only thing the Vols proved is a football program can suffer a complete collapse in a matter of weeks. UT couldn’t have plummeted any faster if the Vols fell down an elevator shaft. Tennessee’s hope of a meaningful football season has been trampled by cattle.
At this point, a berth in the Camping World Independence Bowl is looking pretty good. Or, the Vols could end up in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. It’s a definite detour from the road to the national championship the Vols had talked about traveling just one month ago.
Tennessee is not only losing, its players are leaving. Star RB Jalen Hurd, arguably UT’s best player, has announced he’s quitting the team after being shoved into the outhouse of coach Butch Jones.
Hurd was held to 16 yards rushing Saturday against lowly South Carolina and did not play the entire second half. This comes after Hurd missed the Texas A&M game with a cryptic injury.
Several sources are now reporting Hurd plans to transfer to another school where he can play tight end or receiver. This after the junior RB looked all but certain to leave Tennessee as the school’s all-time leading rusher. With RB Alvin Kamara sidelined with a knee injury, the Vol backfield is suddenly as thin as coach Jones’ excuses for not winning.
The best course of action for UT right now is to make Butch Jones a full-blown professor and allow him to teach a class on the Art of Bumbling. Jones somehow earns $4.9 million a year to coach a Vol team that has been best friends with mediocrity since he’s been on campus. During his four years at UT, the Vols are 12-17 in SEC play.
But before we declare this Tennessee team an afterthought, there’s hope for revival. The Vols play Tennessee Tech this week desperately seeking win No. 6 to become bowl eligible. They better get it against Tennessee Tech because they close the season with three straight SEC teams, beginning with much-improved Kentucky.
With four games left, I see the Vols beating Tennessee Tech, losing to Kentucky, and then splitting with Missouri and Vanderbilt to finish 7-5. The ceiling is only so high for a team that’s lost its running game and features a QB who can’t pass.