My first (and maybe last) visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium

To put my age into perspective, the last "away game" I saw Tennessee play versus Alabama was in Legion Field in 1967. If you are a Vol fan, you should look it up. It was A HUGE win over the (then) immortal Alabama QB, Kenny Stabler, and of course Coach Bear Bryant. This win at Legion came one year after a disappointing loss in the rain…in Knoxville….11-10 when a missed UT field goal at the end of the game signaled yet another loss to the enemy.

Bryant –Denny: In 1967, we didn't even realize Alabama had a stadium "on campus". Same for Auburn.

As a fan of the SEC I must share that Bryant-Denny is a must on the bucket list. The place…the fans….the team…the coach…may not be to our liking but I think as Tennessee fans we must "appreciate" this rivalry with Alabama. I know this is heresy to many but please hear me out.

Appreciate is a tender word…with many meanings. You can appreciate….a bad meal (for example) if the person preparing it made some significant effort……appreciate is NOT an emotion… it is simply an action or reaction. As a Vol fan, do we appreciate Alabama when we win the game? I think you get my point.

I listened to the Bama radio network for a few minutes on the way home yesterday. One of the things they mentioned was the fact that this rivalry (while lopsided recently) was cyclical…and Tennessee would be back. This coming from the "other guys"…the enemy if you will.

Tennessee may not be where Vol fans desire in the overall power rankings of college football today. I don’t like it, but I see blue sky. There was no quit in the Tennessee team yesterday and I realize the game was over at halftime.

For now….let’s "appreciate" the Tide. Their fans STILL wear "I hate Tennessee" t-shirts. That’s great. They think they hate us. In the meantime, Tide fans…beware…because I could feel that awful plague called complacency as I walked around the campus and stood in front the coaches’ statutes, went to the museum and saw all the "walks of champions". To be a champion….you have to "act like a champion, but work like a contender". I wonder if the Tide is running out of real estate.

Regardless….let’s appreciate them… only because when we do beat them…and we will ….. it will feel so good.

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