SEC Country writer Mike Griffith made an appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show earlier today. In not-so-shocking fashion, Griffith said something that triggered Tennessee fans.
Does anybody believe a word of this horsechit? Paul didn’t. pic.twitter.com/FpSEFhwqiN
— TC (@TClemdenen) September 13, 2017
Griffith’s central point was that former Athletic Director Dave Hart made a huge mistake scheduling three games in 13 days, especially against a team like Georgia Tech to open the season. In addition, Griffin is all aboard the “Tennessee is 17-4 in its last 21 games” hype train. Ironically enough, both points have been used extensively by head coach Butch Jones. Take that for what it’s worth.
Griffith’s comments immediately opened the floodgates for the predictable retorts, such as:
Does ANYONE remember how god damn mad we were to go 8-5 in 2002??? And now Butch saunters his fat ass around like he owns KNX going 9-4.
— 5-7 Reigns (@VolTwitt_er) September 13, 2017
What makes covering Tennessee football in Knoxville such a double-edged sword is that it’s both entertainment and a huge headache. It’s entertaining that the fan base is immensely passionate, but it becomes a tremendous headache when debates like these pop up.
But here’s the absolute truth: Almost everyone is dropping the ball on how to perceive Tennessee football. Griffith is. The fans are. Everybody, except for me.
Starting with Griffith, him using the “3 games in 13 days” excuse and the “17-4 record in the last 21 games” statement are both ridiculous. The former is simply an excuse if Tennessee were to falter in one of the three games, and the latter is nitpicking of the highest order. Sure, the Vols are 17-4 in their last 21 games, but with zero division titles to show for it, who cares? Every other program with similar records in that span either has a conference title, CFP appearance, or a National Championship.
Now, for the fans yearning for the 1990s. Below, there’s a picture. I want you to tell me what that picture is:
That’s a calendar. Notice the number at the top. That indicates the current year, which is 2017.
What does this mean? This means that the 1990s have been over for 17 years. That means that since the 1998 season, a finite number of days have transpired. Within those days, different events created a domino effect within the Tennessee program, leading to the current situation we face today. No, those 19 years weren’t skipped. They actually happened.
Here’s the point: Nothing that took place in 1998 is relevant in 2017. It doesn’t matter how great the Vols used to be because in football, every season is a literal press of the reset button. The previous season won’t save you from the current season and the 10-win seasons of the past won’t guarantee 10-win seasons today. From 1969 until 2001, Nebraska recorded 20 double-digit win seasons. Since 2002, the Cornhuskers have four such seasons.
As fans, all you can do is evaluate Team 121. Currently, they’re 2-0 with a fairly big game coming up this Saturday against Florida, whom they beat last year.
But guess what? That doesn’t matter.