Tennessee lost to Kentucky in football.
Not basketball. Not baseball. Not bowling. Not underwater basket weaving.
Football. For the second time in 33 seasons.
The last time the Vols lost to Kentucky, Derek Dooley was the head coach. If memory serves me correctly, the Dooley era was the lowest point in Tennessee’s storied history.
Tennessee lost despite Kentucky fumbling the ball four times and committing mistake after mistake. Tennessee lost despite having superior talent at every position imaginable.
Under no circumstances can anyone make any excuse for Butch Jones any longer. His coaching malpractice is sending Tennessee football back into the dark ages he supposedly saved Knoxville from.
News flash,ladies and gentlemen: The dark ages are back and potentially darker than ever.
But not only did the Vols lose on the field Saturday night, they suffered an even more devastating loss off the field.
According to reports, the higher-ups at Florida’s athletic department are discussing whether or not they can fire head coach Jim McElwain “with cause,” which essentially means they can terminate him without granting him his buyout. This rumor comes in the wake of McElwain’s claim of receiving death threats, as well as the Gators’ 42-7 loss to Georgia.
Florida’s current state of affairs within its football program might be more volatile than Tennessee’s. However, the folks in Gainesville are at least proactive enough to know that McElwain’s tenure won’t lead to long-term success. Sure, the Gators have won the last two SEC East division titles, but on both occasions, they benefited off the misfortunes of one team — Tennessee.
Clearly, first-year athletic director John Currie isn’t taking a page out of Scott Stricklin’s book. After four-and-a-half seasons of Butch Jones, there isn’t a shred of evidence that says Tennessee will play December football in Atlanta under his watch.
If the reports are true and Florida begins its search for a new head coach, they have an inherent advantage over a coaching market littered with budding stars. The wheels are already in motion in Gainesville, and given that program’s history, they’ll eventually make the right move.
Meanwhile, the process in Knoxville has been delayed far too long. After countless losses that never should’ve transpired, the Butch Jones era overstayed its welcome, and the dark ages that plagued Tennessee football at the turn of the decade might bleed over into the next decade.