With a possible 0 for October staring at the program. I would like to give those members of this lovely blog a quick history lesson on the last time the program was in dire straits. The year was 1977. To set the background about life at this time. There was an ineffective Democrat from Georgia as President of the United States. The country was in the beginning of an economic recession. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were getting their butts kicked by Toyota, Honda and Datsun(now Nissan). Marc Zuckerberg founder of Facebook was seven years from being born. Jack Dorsey, founder of twitter was the tender age of 8 months old. The internet was still a government controlled entity waiting to be discovered and freed by Al Gore. Newspapers were the dominate form of information communication. Ted Turner was three years away from launching CNN In the SEC, it was ruled by a coach wearing a houndstooth hat and spoke with a growl. There was no swamp or gator chomp. Their sideline drink was still on the sidelines and not mass marketed. Neyland Stadium capacity was at 80,250. There were only ten teams in the SEC and they played six conference games at the time. Games could end in a tie and were commonplace due to the coaching philosophy a tie beats a loss. Teams only played a twelve game if they went to a bowl game.
After watching a gradual decline of the program, the UT brass at the time fired Bill Battle and hired Johnny Majors to restore the program back to past glory. Coach Majors was fresh off his 1976 National Championship at Pittsburgh and his alma mater had summoned him home. Coach Majors was welcomed home like a hero. He was seen as the right man for the program. Then the season started and reality hit. Years of poor recruiting by Coach Battle had finally came home to roost. The team that year went 4-7. Coach Majors lost his first game to California 27-17 and would have bad losses to Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Tennessee went 1-5 in the conference. Yep, the one win was over Vanderbilt 42-7. Coach Majors had to be more salesman than head football coach. He had to remind the faithful that it was going to take time to get the program headed in the right direction. He was right his first winning season came in 1979 with a 7-5 record and a bowl game loss at the Blue Bonnet bowl. In 1980, Tennessee went 5-6. From 1981 until 1987 Tennessee won 6 or more games every year. It took Coach Majors five years to get the program completely respectable again. Listed below is the year by year records of 1981-1987.
1981 8-4 *Lossing first two games by a combined 83-7 to Georgia and S. Cal. Team wins 8 of next 10.
1982 6-5-1 Beat Alabama for the first time in 11 years. Bear Bryant last time at Neyland, dies in 1983.
1983 9-3 First Nine win season in ten years. Beat Bama in Birmingham for the first time since 1969.
1984 7-4-1 Beat Bama again. Last Time lost to Kentucky 17-12
1985 9-1-2 Beat Bama. First SEC championship in 15 years. Whipped Miami 35-7 in the Sugar Bowl
1986 7-5 Loss to Bama for the first time in four years
1987 10-2-1 Undefeated at home with road losses at Alabama and Boston College.
All knowledgeable Tennessee fans know what happened in 1988. Also from 1989-2004 a high level of winning and consistency for that time period. But I do this to remind the faithful that right now and for the foreseeable future we must be patient and stand behind our coach and the team through the tough times ahead. Remember Coach Dooley has a FIVE year contract. It is said that history repeats itself with only a few slight changes in present time. Now let's recap life in 2010. An ineffective Democrat from Illinois is president of the United States. The country is wading through an economic recession. GM, Ford and Chrysler are still getting their butts kicked by Toyota, Honda and Nissan. The internet has replaced newspapers as the primary vehicle of information. CNN is getting beat by FOX News. Twelve game schedules are common place in college football. In the SEC, Alabama is again king of the hill. Neyland Stadium holds over 100,000 and has been remodeled. Poor recruiting in 2006-2008 has led to the decline of the program. We have the right man as head coach for Tennessee.