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Talking Points: closing the book on Alabama and opening something on Steve Spurrier

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  • I was on The Sports Tap's Around the South segment last night to discuss the Tennessee-Alabama game. Advance to the 31 minute mark of the first hour (audio link) to hear what I thought was the most disappointing thing about the loss.

  • Third Saturday in Blogtober's Ghost of Neyland signals a dangerous shift in fans' thinking about coach Fulmer: he doesn't hate Fulmer, he hates it for Fulmer:

    But at this point, the whole situation at Tennessee has just become sad. It’s sad for Fulmer because nobody cares more about UT football than he does, and he can’t find an answer. It’s sad for him because his assistants are his friends, and some of them aren’t carrying their weight. It’s sad for the players because they came to UT to win championships, but the game has passed by the people who are trying to prepare them to win championships. It’s sad for the big-money boosters because they want to see their money translate into the wins that aren’t coming. It’s sad for Mike Hamilton because if he doesn’t do something soon, he’s going to start shouldering part of this blame. And, most importantly, it’s sad for the fans because we want to pull for the proud program we always have. And some of us wanted Fulmer to lead that program.
  • Go read the whole thing -- it's very good. As I said on the radio show last night, I think this is the prevalent mood among more rational Vol fans right now, and I think it's much more dangerous for Fulmer than the venom we were hearing immediately following the dishumiliarrassment in Florida.

  • Aerobab has identified the real reason for the thumping at the hands of the Tide.

  • Maybe we lost because the coaches outsmarted themselves, but the more likely explanation was that the Vols ran the ball fewer than 20 times in a game for only the third time in the Phillip Fulmer era, despite several occasions of self-criticism that they would not make this mistake again, and that Montario Hardesty should have played but did not. I fear, though, that Roll Bama Roll has the most likely reason: Tennessee's just not very good.

  • Whatever the case, we have a game this week against Steve Spurrier. The Vols may not control the SEC East, but they will determine the degree of their demise. It starts with finding a pass rush and may be as simple as just having a little more fun. Things could turn out well on Saturday, as Spurrier is frustrated with his offense. (Is that a good thing or a bad thing for Tennessee? -- ed.) Oh, and GVX beat writer Drew Edwards thinks the Vols match up well with Spurrier this weekend, so there's that. By the way, Bleacher Bloggers has a pretty funny fake interview with Steve Spurrier (at about the 1:00 mark of the video currently in the upper right corner of their front page.)

  • In more uplifting news, the Volunteer basketball team is a consensus pick to win the SEC East this season and season tickets, even in the cavernous Thompson-Boling arena, are sold out. There's always basketball, folks.