First of all, a season opening loss to UCLA is SOON FORGOTTEN if somehow you can pull yourselves together as a team and beat Florida. Forget about UAB, I expect them to roll you like a joint and smoke you in your own house. But I don’t care about non-conference games.
I care about the SEC. In theory, you are even right now with UGA, USC, UF, UK, and Vandy in the East. You have (statistically speaking) as good a shot as anybody else to make it to Atlanta in December.
In the real world, you have have no chance at all. Despite being very talented (telented enough to compete with or beat both UGA and UF) you have the HEART of the tin man (see the “Wizard of Oz” for details).
Champions do not lay the ball on the ground inside the 5 yard line, not on a consistent basis anyway. Champions do not take advantage of FOUR first half interceptions with a whopping SEVEN points. Champions do not turn a THIRD TEAM backup QB into Tom Brady. Champions do not complete 11% of their passes (slight, very slight stretch)
Champions HATE to lose.
Al Wilson was a champion. When Tennessee was losing the 1997 SEC Championship game to Auburn, legend says that Al Wilson broke down at halftime and gave one of the most emotional “speeches” in Tennessee history. Tennessee won that game when Peyton Manning hit Marcus Nash for the game winning TD. I know because I was there. I have seen champions wear the orange.
I saw Tee Martin, Peerless Price, Shawn Bryson, and Deon Grant scrap and fight with blood, sweat, and tears to defeat Florida in 1998. You guys are NOWHERE NEAR THAT EMOTIONAL LEVEL.
I saw Billy Ratliff summons incredible strength to blow up a SURE VICTORY for Arkansas over the #1 ranked Vols. And then I saw Travis Henry, a man posessed, totally destroy the Razorbacks on his march to the endzone.
Those Vols were champions. They hated to lose. They took advantage of luck, opportunity, and they made the most of every situation. And quite frankly, THEY CARED MORE THAN YOU CARE.
You may think you care, and you may think you are giving your all for Tennessee. But YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT CHAMPIONS ARE MADE OF. You need to study those Tennessee teams of the past. You need to learn about what it takes to be a champion. Champions don’t lose. They fight until the end and they win. And if you do lose, then its because the other team was vastly more talented than you. A champion beats a more talented opponent. Heart destroys talent. The sad thing is……right now you guys have the talent to be champions. You just DON’T HAVE THE HEART.
Tennessee had the talent, UCLA had the heart and the desire to win. YOU LOST!