Okay, I'm trying to come to terms with where the Vols football program is, and I had myself convinced that things are actually not as bad as I thought. We have a lot of young talent, a classy coach, a new found acceptance from other SEC schools now that the plague is gone, and 12-13 commitments for next season.
Imagine the disappointment to learn tonight that Mike Hamilton is trying to get out of a 6 game agreement to Play the University of North Carolina. I would have driven to Chapel Hill next September to watch the Vols play the Tarhills. It's disappointing that it will not happen.
But, the more disappointing thing is that we are going to pay UNC $750,000 to get out of a verbal commitment so we can play a home game against... you guessed it... Buffalo. Supposedly it will make UT $3 million. I say, who cares. We look like a bunch whimps for making that move and Mike Hamilton needs to go find another job. He got us in this situation, and if he can't see the value of beating UNC on the road next year, or the value of losing to them on the road on National television, then he's lost site of how the UT success was built in the first place. It's time for him to do his homework and I'm going to talk about a very brief part of that building process.
After enduring an 0-6 start in 1988, most Vols fans expected a decade of struggles, but over the course of 3 seasons, thanks to huge road wins over the likes of Notre Dame and UCLA and an unexpected win over Arkansas in the 1990 Cotton Bowl and an upset of Virginia in the Sugar Bowl, people were paying attention. The Vols whipped the Howard Schnellenberger coached Louisville Cardinals in 1991, a game many thought we would regret playing. But, we were on our way, much sooner than expected. And what do ya know, losses at home to Notre Dame who had eventual Heisman winner Rocket Ismail and a road loss at UCLA with a freshman named Peyton, actually made our program a respectable program. Imagine that, losses actually helped us gain respect. The fact that Tennessee not only competed in those losses, but had a real chance to win, made the orange more respected than any win they had during that period over a directional school, and the same would be true of beating a Buffalo team.
With absolutely no disrespect intended for the citizens and fans of Buffalo, if you mention that city and football together three things come to mind immediately... (1)Wings- now, I must say that football and Buffalo wings go together, so I have no issue with Buffalo when it comes to eating and watching a game. (2) 4 straight seaons of Bills losses in the Super Bowl, and somehow none of those losses came against the Niners. If they were going to lose 4 straight, one of those certainly should have been to Joe Montana and the 49ers. (3) O.J. Simpson. Need I say more? Okay, I will. O.J. was a great running back, but we know how that all turned out. Besides, he went to USC, and Kiffin is now at USC and that seems like reason enough NOT to PLAY BUFFALO!!
But, maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I've lost site of the benefits. My understanding is that if the Vols play Buffalo at home in 2011, instead of at North Carolina, the program will make $3 million. Let's assume the Vols lose every SEC game to the better opponents in 2011. That would mean losses to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas. So, if the Vols got their traditional SEC wins and they won all the rest of their games next season the wins would come against the likes of Vandy, Kentucky, Cincinatti(no gimmie), MTSU, Montana and Buffalo. Montana and Buffalo? What the hell is going on here?
What is the benefit in those wins? So we can make coach Dooley's second season a little easier? I say we can suck it up and build this program the way it was built in the past. Bring on the best. We'll take our lumps for a couple of years and then we'll hand the country their asses again. The Vols shouldn't back away from any good team. You can't be the best until you beat the best. Has Mike Hamilton forgotten how much energy was generated in the losses on the road to Alabama and Florida? Remember the optimism regarding the future after those games? Of course no respectable Vols fan was okay with losing to either of those schools, but we saw glimpses of a successful future and that's value in playing the likes of a North Carolina when your program is in rebuidling mode. Win and you've made huge leaps forward. Lose, but compete, and you've made huge steps forward.
North Carolina or Buffalo. Give it some thought, for about 20 seconds.
Mike Hamilton-- Watch the Video below and if you still want to replace the University of North Carolina with Buffalo, then take your act somewhere else. Yea, I know it's been posted before, but how could any real Vols fan get tired of watching it?