We here at RockyTopTalk are fans of the message board. I'm a paying subscriber to both VolQuest and GoVols247. There are professional journalists at both sites who do the hard work of getting the interviews and breaking the news that help create the analysis and commentary on this site.
And the truth for both message boards and RTT is there is a passionate fanbase sending pageviews to both of us, and as fans we're all on the same team. I've never tried, but I'd imagine it's not nearly as fun to run a site for the Vanderbilts and Directional Louisianas of the world, because the collective voice doesn't contain nearly as many unique individual pieces or make nearly as much noise.
That noise has always leaned towards the positive on this site - hope lives here, we like to say - but it's been a hard life these past five years. And in both good times and bad, life as a Volunteer fan can manifest itself in some interesting ways.
So for your enjoyment, we present our five favorite things about Tennessee Football message boards. Because if you can't laugh at yourself...
5. Madly hitting the refresh button during breaking news
Or, for extra credit, during the minutes just before the release of the War Room on VolQuest or the VIP Room on GoVols247. When news is breaking, I can F5 with the best of them. My favorite part about this is watching the premature (over)reaction threads pop up, written by those who probably couldn't handle the weight of the impending news either way and just went ahead and posted either, "THIS IS THE END OF TENNESSEE FOOTBALL" or, "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!" My favorite actual message board moment came when Nu'Keese Richardson flipped from Florida to Tennessee. On one site, right next to each other, were, "I hope he breaks his legs," and, "NU'KEESE FOUR HEISMANS!" Good thing we signed that kid!
4. "Why don't we recruit my son/nephew/cousin?"
"He's 5'8" 155, but he's VFL!"
3. "Why don't we recruit the local kids?"
As an Alcoa High School alum, if I have to read about Randall Cobb one more time...
A close neighbor to #4 on our list, apparently there are many on the boards who believe if you are All-County anywhere in East Tennessee, you deserve a scholarship. Sometimes they walk-on and then leave, and even when they had zero other FBS scholarship offers, folks on the boards act like an incredible tragedy just occurred. Because if we'd only put him on scholarship, the intangibles that made him a state champion would make up for his two star rating!
(For the record, I'm totally in favor of getting the local kids to walk on. There are two former walk-ons from Alcoa that eventually made UT's roster right now in Jaron Toney and Derrick Brodus. Absolutely, give them a shot in fall camp to make the team. But let's hope we never have scholarships to burn on local charity.)
My favorite part about the immortal uniform conversation is the way it will dominate the boards (and probably this site too) whenever it comes up. What are the two stories with the most comments on RTT this summer? One about Derek Dooley being the biggest disaster in program history, and one about uniforms. It's what we do.
And it will dominate the conversation even when it happens in the regular season (and all signs point to an alternate uniform coming down the pipe for the Vols this fall). We love us some uniform talk. In fact, I might argue Tennessee fans love to talk about uniforms more than any other fanbase, because we have enough tradition to be protected but (way more than) enough recent change at the top to make the conversation realistic.
1. "I have a source..."
Can't say who, but it's someone who would know. Very high up. (By the way, have you ever seen a thread that says, "I've got a source, but he's middle-management."?)
What's the percentage of these that end up being true? Three percent? Two?
This one too is a constant, whether it's someone who saw the quarterback in class and didn't like the look in his eye on Thursday, to someone whose neighbor's brother's in-laws' kids go to the rival high school of a prized recruit, to the buffet of lies during coaching searches. I know not to click on the ones that say Gruden, I know it in my heart, but like an addict, I can't stop. I recognize that I am powerless to save myself. Butch Jones will have to save me instead.