This is both the easiest and the most difficult thing to explain about loving Tennessee Football.
Every offseason there comes a day when, all of a sudden and without warning, you can sense football's approach. It always catches me off guard, because I can't predict it. It's usually sometime around now, between the release of the EA Sports video game and the onset of SEC Media Days.
My friends and I took to calling it "The Smell" in high school. "I got the smell," we'd say. Just one day, all of a sudden, football is in the air. And it's close.
It probably smells different for each person. For me, it smells like a combination of fresh cut grass and anticipation. It's just an overwhelming sense that the season is close. The heart rate accelerates, even if only briefly, with the anticipation of further palpitations in close games this fall. Soon. Very soon.
So it was for me Friday morning, making the short drive from my house to the church and listening to some argument on The Sports Animal, I got the smell. Football is close. And even in a year when not much is expected of your team...it's incredibly exciting.
Welcome to the home stretch, friends. The real thing is almost here. It's so close you can smell it.