When South Carolina destroyed Georgia on October 6 by a shocking 35-7 score, the Old Ball Coach had his program ranked 3rd on the 6-0 W/L tally. How times have changed.
1992 was the season in Tennessee Volunteers history when one legend replaced another.
It is hardly possible to believe that a season ending with a 9–3 record would go down as one of the most tumultuous campaigns of Tennessee Volunteer football. But that is an apt description of what happened 20 years ago.
It was a season that was ushered in with the untimely death of the head athletic trainer and a heart bypass operation performed on the head coach. These preludes led to the main act featuring stars in the making at quarterback and running back, an improbable run up the national ranking to number four under unproven leadership, and an agonizing four weeks during which the team lost its only three games of the season, doing so under the recuperating head coach who had returned from the operating table at a timetable to perhaps save his job.
The finale gave us the transfer of power from one Tennessee legend to another.
William Shakespeare did not write this tale. It was more like a modern-day reality television show. But it really happened.
So, if you think 2008 was the most gut-wrenching season possible, take a trip back 20 years to when Phillip Fulmer began his Tennessee head coaching career, and when another Tennessee legend ended his.
Every game is a ‘big game’ for Vol fans. That’s what makes us great fans. We care. A lot.
But Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a really Big Game. This team has made it a big game due to psychological concerns – we now have a phobia of, a neurotic aversion to, a downright fear of the Dreaded Second Half.
I had a dream about Saturday’s game…
There is no debate about who are the best two teams in the land. And, there is no debate about who is the best college football player in the land.
Auburn vs South Carolina in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game, and Oregon vs Oregon State in The Civil War clash in Corvallis.
Read what happened, as it happened, as the Ducks and Tigers took their final step in anticipation of facing each other for glory.
South Carolina 38 Tennessee 24
30 Oct 2010 | Williams-Brice Stadium | 79,336Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive Chart
Back-breaking turnovers by the mistake-prone Vols in the early minutes of the second half allowed South Carolina to put up enough points to keep a resilient Tennessee team from pulling off a huge upset that could have resulted in Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks giving the SEC East crown away.
In between those giveaways, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley pulled what this observer saw as a bizarrely timed QB substitution. Just before entering the dressing room at the half of a 10-10 contest, Dooley summarized to the TV sideline reporter what it would take to give the Vols their first conference win: “mental, emotional, intellectual stamina.” Dooley was not willing to lay anything on a lack of talent, size, and other physical attributes. He put it directly inside the heads of his players.
South Carolina vs. Tennessee | 30 Oct 2010 | Williams-Brice Stadium
12:21pm EDT | SEC Network and ESPN3.com
It’s that time of year again, the time when the chill in the autumn air normally brings a chill in the backbone of the South Carolina Gamecocks.
It isn’t the first time USC has entered the final stretch of a season with a very decent record. But, this year’s 5-and-2 Gamecock squadron looks bigger than past garnet-and-black forces, mostly because of Florida’s failures. Perhaps that’s not totally fair to USC’s steadily improving program, albeit a program that has made their improvements at a glacial pace. South Carolina has no-kidding quality at key slots this year.
We are now eight games into this 2009 season and the Vols are even for the season at 4-4. With Memphis coming to town this Saturday night – the weekly pre-game buildup will be a bit on the sluggish side – it’s an excellent opportunity to sit back and take stock in where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. I’ve invited the charter members of the Vols in the Fall commenters to answer a series of questions on the Vols, the SEC, and the national scene. I throw my two cents in as well. We all provided comments without seeing each others’ musings. A blind tasting if you will.
Since none of us know what we’re talking about when it comes to Tennessee Football, or anything else for that matter, this should rank right up there with the professional media. As somebody once said, some things are far too important to be left to the professionals.
This All Hallow’s Eve matchup gives us two of the great coaching minds of a generation. Will the game become a chess match between a high-powered Spurrier passing game against Monte’s vaunted defense?
To answer this question, let’s think about the major strengths and weaknesses of this season’s South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Vols on the opposite side of those weaknesses.
Today, we are hosting another Q&A, this time with Gamecock Man from the fine South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack. Our friend has an interesting history as noted on his bio. He came late to Gamecock sports having grown up in Mobile and being raised by his Auburn-loving family. But graduate school at USC turned him around to where he is all garnet and black. Damn – I should have asked him if his family still speaks to him! He’s currently in exile somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line getting a PhD, which explains his good writing and insightful posts (but what about his common sense?!?!).
Gamecock Man has already posted a couple of previews for this weekend’s Halloween bonanza: Previewing South Carolina at Tennessee: Topics for Discussion on the Vols’ Offense; and Previewing South Carolina at Tennessee: Topics for Discussion on the Vols’ Defense. If he keeps that productivity up, he’s going to get his degree in less that the typical three years!
He has recriprocated by posting on his blog [HERE] my answers to his questions regarding the Vols and the Tennessee-South Carolina matchup. But first, give a read of Gamecock Man’s answers to my questions on the state of Gamecock football and the upcoming game – right after the jump.
Today, I am pleased to have the writers over at Leftover Hot Dog (LOHD) as a guest at Vols in the Fall. LOHD is a Gamecock blog that, as they say on their site, “has worked to bring you all the Gamecocks sports info you need concerning THE University of South Carolina while mixing in the occasional tailgating story along the way or other mindless pieces of information. The LOHD blog is your independent source for Gamecock news.” It is informative, entertaining, and if nothing else has one of the best names in the blogosphere.
The authors at LOHD were kind enough to offer a Q&A trade. We both submitted questions to each other. The following, after the jump, are their answers to my questions. They have posted my answers to their questions over at LOHD. So, enjoy a Gamecock perspective.