Dr. Saturday uses a Slate.com article discussing our collective need for underdogs as a jumping off point for identifying Tennessee as one of eight lovable long shots for the 2010 season:
Don't take my word for it: Check out Daniel Engber's lengthy examination of underdog economics in Slate.com for a persuasive case that casual fandom thrives overwhelmingly on the suspense of the upset, the comeback and the sense of community and shared experience that derives from witnessing the wholly unexpected (which, unfortunately, a lot of people these days may experience only through sports). Outside of our more longstanding, emotional attachments to specific teams, we need underdogs.
Of course, the scarcity that drives our fanatical demand isn't just of surprise but of the anticipation of live events attended by tens of thousands of people as well, but the unscriptedness of those live events surely plays a vital role. So yeah, we need underdogs, and this year, Tennessee is on the short list of long shots. We're shallow and behind on recruiting. Last year's #1 recruit ain't coming back. The only player with real experience on the offensive line is transferring. (Side note: Dooley says Aaron Douglas has to transfer to a school that's not on Tennessee's schedule and that is at least an eight-hour drive away from Tennessee. You'd expect a former lawyer to close that obvious loophole. If he's "driving" the Space Shuttle, he could live and play on the moon, but if he's "driving" a Big Wheel, he could just move to Farragut.) And ESPN's Chris Low has pegged Tennessee 10th in his recent SEC post-spring power rankings.
Even former UT QB Condredge Holloway is playing the expectations game, telling oneathem Big Orange Caravan crowds yesterday that "It's going to be a little bare, guys."
So woo for Tennessee as an underdog in 2010. Again. Consider it a public service to society, but let's not get used to it, mmkay?
So what do y'all think? Is it okay for Tennessee to be an underdog in 2010?