Tennesee Football Finally Does the Right Thing for Phillip Fulmer

phillip_fulmer Phillip Fulmer’s Volunteers Won the First Ever BCS National Championship Trophy
The Tennessee Volunteers won the inaugural BCS National Championship Game with Phillip Fulmer at the helm in 1998.  A decade later, coach Fulmer agreed to step down after a 5-7 season in 2008. Tennessee won ten games the year prior to his dismissal. Especially with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear the University of Tennessee was too quick to pull the rug out from under Phillip Fulmer.

Since his departure, the Volunteers have been dwelling in mediocrity.  With the exception of 2009, Tennessee has not had a winning season since they fired Fulmer.  ’09 was the infamous year of Lane Kiffin in Knoxville, and he left ole Rocky Top as soon as the University of Southern California came calling.  One can justifiably surmise USC now wishes Kiffin did not answer the phone.

Derek Dooley Tried, but the Rebuilding Work in Rocky Top was too Much
Derek Dooley went 6-7 and took the Volunteers to a bowl game during his first season in Knoxville in 2010.  Unfortunately for Barbara Dooley’s baby boy, it was all downhill from there.  The junior Dooley notched only one conference victory per year during ’11 and ’12.

Derek Dooley was fired following the 2012 campaign, on the heels of back-to-back 5-7 seasons. The highlight of coach Dooley’s three years in Knoxville may have been the win that wound up being a loss against LSU in 2010.



Butch Jones: Rebuilding Tennessee Football one Burned Bridge at a Time
According to Bleacher Report, Tennessee coach Butch Jones invited Phillip Fulmer to football practice a little over a week ago.  The article notes that coach Jones also requested that the once proud Volunteer speak to the team.

No matter how Jones fares at Tennessee, his invitation to Fulmer was a classy move that had been long overdue.  Neither Derek Dooley nor Lane Kiffin afforded Fulmer the chance to associate with the program that he coached for 16 years.

Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson called Phillip Fulmer “Tennessee to the core.” Coach Fulmer is in the College Football Hall of Fame, and it is nice to see that Tennessee is finally making an effort to honor a man who put his heart and soul into the University of Tennessee.

Closing thought: Maybe Butch Jones can invite Lane Kiffin back in a few years?  I doubt Hell will ever get that cold.

SEC Football Weekend Winners (Week Three) September 15, 2012

It’s Saturday in Athens.

Week three in SEC football brings about a big match-up in the East, Alabama likely picking the bones of a skinned Hog in the West, and Missouri trying to rebound from an old man attack. It is difficult to pick a side in Saturday’s SEC East battle between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators, but the slight advantage goes to Good Ole’ Rocky Top.

Derrick Dooley could not have scripted a better start to the Vols’ 2012 campaign. Tennessee is 2-0, and ranked in the AP top 25 for the first time in four years. If Tyler Bray can stay healthy, the Volunteers will be a factor in the SEC East race if they can find a way to beat the Gators on Saturday night. Whomever comes up short will have a big hole to climb out of in the race to Atlanta.

The Georgia Bulldogs have a much simpler task ahead of them Saturday evening, as the Florida Atlantic Owls come to town. Georgia welcomes back Chase Vasser and Sanders Commings to a defense that does not need any help stopping FAU. It will be important for the returning Dawgs to play at a high level quickly because the Bulldogs resume Southeastern Conference play next week.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are coming off one of the most embarrassing things to happen to the program since Bobby Petrino wrecked his motorcyle with a female employee on the back. The Hogs lost at home to Louisiana Monroe in overtime after blowing a 14 point  fourth quarter lead. This week, Arkansas welcomes the #1 ranked Crimson Tide into town. Upsetting Alabama seemed highly improbable at best, and that was before the Warhawks visited Fayetteville. Continue reading

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Part Two

The second installment of this three part series picks up right where the first left off, with the Georgia Bulldogs at 4-0, ready to pounce on the Tennessee Volunteers to round out the first month of the college football season. Tennessee may very well enter Sanford Stadium undefeated as well if they can get by the Florida Gators in the third week of the season.

Whether it is justified or not, Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley is likely to spend the 2012 season on the hot seat. A victory in Athens would be the signature win that he has been looking for since his arrival in Knoxville. The junior Dooley has been close before when his Volunteers attempted to play the role of giant killer against LSU in 2010. The inexplicable conclusion of that game remains among the strangest things I have ever seen in college football.



Unfortunately for Barbara Dooley’s baby boy, the Bulldogs should be getting all of their starters back at this point in the season and Bulldog Nation will be gearing up for a clash with South Carolina the following week. Tyler Bray and company will provide a stern test but the Dawgs will not get caught looking ahead. Georgia wins. Continue reading

College Football Week 6 – Next Stop Rocky Top – (Georgia – Tennesee 2011)

Isiah Crowell Georgia Dawg FootballThe Georgia Bulldogs are coming off their best showing thus far in 2011, a 24-10 beat down of Mississippi State between the hedges. Georgia’s defense made life miserable for Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf with five sacks. On the other side of the ball, Georgia’s offense executed a textbook two minute drill going into halftime to keep the pressure on the visiting team.  As the Dawgs prepare to travel to Neyland Stadium in an attempt to vanquish the Volunteers under the Saturday night lights, there is reason to have faith that the regular season will end where it began for Georgia–in the Georgia Dome.

Crystal ball conjecture notwithstanding, Georgia must take things one step at a time. This week, UGA faces a Tennessee Volunteer team with an ultra talented sophomore                  quarterback in Tyler Bray. Bray currently sits at the front of the line in the SEC in terms of yards per game (332) and passing efficiency. The Dawgs will need to hit Bray early and often to ensure that the road trip to Knoxville is a successful one.

Unfortunately, getting pressure on the Vols signal caller has become more of a quandary for Georgia since Cornelius Washington found himself in trouble over the weekend and he will now miss both games in the State of Tennessee at minimum. What is wrong with Mr. Washington? He is a young man who is going to make mistakes. But, to get suspended for driving drunk at this point in the season (or at any other time) is especially selfish. The defensive captain of the Georgia Bulldogs should know better. Remember, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” (Clip is from one of my favorite films: Remember The Titans.)



The Vols are dealing with their own adversity as they continue to work at overcoming the 6’4″ hole left by the season-ending injury to Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter. Georgia’s secondary still has to worry about Tennessee’s other wide out, Da’Rick Rodgers who is more than capable of making the Dawgs pay for lapses on defense. He is a playmaker even when facing solid coverage. The bulls-eye on Rodgers will be even bigger in the mind of Bulldog Nation, as he spurned UGA during his recruitment and is now a focal point of the Vols offensive attack.



Neyland Stadium will be filled to capacity as bitter SEC rival Tennessee looks to bring Georgia’s momentum to a halt. The Dawgs must take the crowd out of the game early by executing on both sides of the football. Derek Dooley is still looking for a signature win in his second year as Tennessee head coach and Saturday night against his daddy’s favorite school is a great opportunity. Even so, Georgia should get an important win as long as they do not make many critical mistakes on the road. The Georgia Bulldogs are a team on a mission and the next chapter unfolds on Saturday night.