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The Idiot Optimist's Guide to the 2010 Season

Come in, sit down, Kool-Aid's on the table.  You wanna talk football?

Now, we'll all admit now that we may have made a bad choice with Lane Kiffin.  But that's okay, because Lane Kiffin got us to Derek Dooley.  And I'm telling you, this guy knows his stuff.  He's gonna bring the intensity and perfection he demands of himself to the team this fall.  And if his father could win at Georgia?  The son is guaranteed to win at Tennessee.

See, we've gone back to our roots.  This one, he understands us.  He understands southern football.  If I go down to the Big Orange Caravan to look him in the eye, he's not going to be hiding behind some sunglasses.  He's going to stare into my soul and make me believe that we're going to win right away.  That rebuilding thing people keep talking about?  We just don't do that around here.  We've just spent the last couple of years being good to a legend and letting him stay on maybe too long, and then taking the sort of chances that championship programs take!  But this one, he ain't no chance.  Derek Dooley is the real deal.  Boom.

You know who he's got with him?  Only the two best coordinators in college football.  The one guy, he coached the guy who just won a Super Bowl and is getting ready to be the first quarterback taken in your fantasy draft.  The other guy?  Sports Illustrated says he's the next top assistant coach to emerge in college football.  But now that he's out of Boise and into a real college town?  He's not going anywhere.  He and Dooley are so young (33 and 42), they're going to stay here and win championships together, forever.

You know who else we got?  I mean, it's not even fair:  Randy Moss's wide receiver coach, an o-line coach who sent everyone who played for him to the NFL at Illinois, and a strength coach that's been wearing a sweatshirt in fall practice just so he can relate to the players.  That one, he's gonna be the first one off the bus this fall, just so the other team knows exactly what kind of day they're about to have.

And boys...we got a piece of the family back.  I remember watching Chuck Smith get at least three or four sacks a game when he was here.  Now he's gonna be teaching our defensive linemen. 

Lance Thompson, he's still here to take care of 'cruitin boys from the south like he knows how to do - he was the number one recruiter in America in 2008, you know.  And he's the only reason Alabama is having any success right now.  Once his players leave Tuscaloosa?  It's back to business as usual:  we'll be winning, and they'll be on probation for something.  This Terry Joseph guy we'd never heard of, but he helped get us a class back in February that's anywhere between ten and a thousand times better than the ones Kiffin was gonna sign - I mean one of those guys, he couldn't even spell the name of his own team!  And it's not like they're the University of Southern California Rhinoceroses.

We've even got a guy that's gonna turn our whole special teams around, while also getting the ball to the tight end.  What more could you want?

They say our talent's down, but these guys, they could take my cousin's pop warner team and get the job done.  And when you really think about it, our talent isn't down, it's just less obvious.

I mean, at quarterback, we're winners either way.  First of all, ain't none of 'em named Crompton.  Second of all, Tyler Bray is the quarterback of the future.  He's gonna come in second in at least two Heisman Trophy races, and when Coach Wylie gets done with him, he might weigh 300 lbs, solid muscle.  The tattoo on his back is so awesome I'm thinking about getting one myself.

But most of all, we don't even need Tyler Bray right now.  Because we've got Matt Simms.  And Matt Simms is going to lead us to championships.

Those three interceptions he threw in the Orange & White Game?  He was just pretending to know the offense.  I'm sure now that he actually knows at least part of it, that won't ever happen again.  And let's nevermind whose brother he is, and talk about whose son he is.  Phil Simms was a Super Bowl MVP.  Matt Simms will be a BCS National Championship Game MVP.  I mean, when Chris Mortensen says you're the best quarterback at St. Manning's Passing Academy for Winners, it means you're the best quarterback on the face of the earth.  You know, after Peyton.

And those intangibles?  He has them.  He stays late to watch the second team practice.  He organized workouts.  And he'll play with the same chip on his shoulder that we're all carrying.  Only reason he went 9-for-21 in that scrimmage is because he was playing against our defense.

And boys...that's just at quarterback.

When we need to run the ball, we've got the angriest tailback in college football.  Tauren Poole, he's mad.  And he's done being patient.  Those three carries for fifteen yards against Virginia Tech were all I needed to see.  The number one all-purpose back in the Class of 2009 is his backup.  It's Tauren Time, son.

And boys, this is finally the year where we go back to being Wide Receiver U.  Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore, they're the sort of senior leaders you need.  I mean, Gerald, he was even willing to cut his hair to look more professional.  What more do you want?  Denarius, he's always out bonding with the team.  And he's going to spend all year making up for that drop in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, yessir.  These boys can play.

The new guys, though...I mean, Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter might be the two best freshmen in college football, and Dooley snapped them up right quick in like three hours before signing day.  Da'Rick has the hands of Joey Kent, the bigplayability of Peerless Price, the speed of Leonard Scott, and the swagger of Carl Pickens.  When we play Georgia, he's going to make Marlon Brown cry.  And did we mention our NFL tight end?  No?  I'm telling you, this is the best lineup of pass catchers we've had since ol' Jason Witten was together with Donte' and The Future (Ed. note:  this might actually be true).  We might score 50 a game.

And look, I know about the offensive line, alright?  But can you read a depth chart?  Cause I see "Cody Sullins, 6'1" 260" and then I see "Cody Pope, 6'6" 290", and then I figure we did alright last year, so we'll be just fine this year.  No need to discuss that any further.

And defense?  Please, you know who our coordinator is right?  How many games did Boise State lose in the last four years?  And that's with Boise State's talent!  Clearly, Coach Wilcox is the only reason they had any success.

We've got Chris Walker at end, he's unblockable.  We've got Malik Jackson, everybody's favorite player, and he's going to do great things somewhere, I just know it.  With every sack, he's going to make Kiffin run to daddy and Orgeron hit the Bull.  He's going to be great because he has to be.

I know we're thin at tackle, but we did it last year with Wes Brown's 75 year old knees, we'll do it this year.  Montori Hughes, he's a stud.  Dooley said the rest of those guys were like a sack of potatoes...well, don't you like potatoes?!  My inside info tells me Rae Sykes is going to become one of the two or three best linemen in the history of our program, cause ain't no party like an Alcoa party.

Linebacker?  There's like fifteen guys with experience.  Nick Reveiz, he's exactly the kind of player you want on your team:  local kid, Napoleon complex, looks like Fuad, plays like Al.  He's the leader we need.  You can throw darts at the other two spots and come up with a winner.

Secondary?  I think we still have to be kinda quiet about this, but Janzen Jackson might be better than Eric Berry.  I know it was Lane that said that, but still...

The other guys?  Art Evans played last year, and how many times did he really get beat?  Eric Gordon just needed that first year of doing nothing to be ready to live up to his potential.  And Marsalis Teague?  What a team player this guy is!  Jumps at the chance to play DB and get in the mix; such a good attitude has to be rewarded with at least five interceptions this fall.

Did I mention we signed the number one kicker and the number one punter in America?

Alright, I know you've gotta go, but just have one more glass and let's talk about the schedule:

  • After we mercy rule Tennessee-Martin, Oregon is going to come into shiny new Neyland Stadium totally unprepared for the experience.  Actually, they should be prepared for our defense, since they got 152 yards and 8 points against it when it was wearing Boise State's uniforms last year.  And again, that was with Boise State's talent!  This year I'm pulling for under 100 and the shutout.
  • If Corch Meyers doesn't find an excuse to retire between now and September 18, he'll just be standing over there on the sideline, thinking about Lane Kiffin...because Kiffin's in his head, remember?  Meanwhile, Not Tebow will be playing his first road game at quarterback.  Who's he going to throw to without Aaron Hernandez?  History suggests Florida is capable of beating us five years in a row, but not six.  Not six.
  • If Les Miles is still the coach at LSU on October 2, that's a win.  The only reason he beat us in 2006 is because Ainge was hurt, and the only reason he beat us in 2007 is because the game was in the Georgia Dome.  No such luck this time.  And Chavis?  We're going 8-for-8 on third down.
  • Georgia?  What's the average of 51-33, 35-14, and 45-19?  44-22?  Wow, that seems too close.  I guess we have to come down from 44 a little since Willie isn't around anymore.  But as long as Dave Clawson isn't running the show for us, we own these guys.  Seriously, why should we believe that the outcome is going to be so much different against these guys this year?
  • Alright, that gets us to 6-0.  And then there's Alabama...and this one will be tough, because that's what The Third Saturday in October is all about.  I'd be disappointed if we blew them out...I'm sure they feel the same about us.  Probably.  Anyway, it'll take all we've got to win this one...but Dooley, he knows the Mind of Saban, knows his methods.  I guarantee you he would've known about Maximum Block.  And since Michael Palardy has stronger quadriceps than Daniel Lincoln, I think that's worth the two points they were better than us last year.  Cause that's how close we are, you know.  We were only two points away from beating the National Champion last year, and that was with Kiffin.  So with Dooley, Palardy, and Neyland Stadium?  That's enough to turn the Tide.  We're either going to win 3-0, or 77-75 in ten overtimes.  I haven't decided yet.
  • From there, we can probably rest the starters.  You know Stephen Garcia isn't going to have it together in time to beat us.  Ole Miss doesn't have that McCluster fellow anymore.  Kentucky?  That'll be 26 in a row, and just wait until basketball season...
  • The greatest demon to slay will be the Georgia Dome itself.  Maybe we'll get the long awaited Tennessee-Alabama showdown.  Maybe Gus Malzahn will show up to match wits with Justin Wilcox.  Or maybe Ryan Mallett will play well enough to convince Bobby Petrino to stay in Fayetteville.  Regardless, there's only one man who can break the curse:  Derek Dooley was on the other sideline the night it started in 2001, and he is therefore clearly immune (Ed. note:  if Dooley ever gets us to the SEC Championship Game, I will make this point approximately a thousand times during gameweek).
  • From there, it'll be automatic for us just like it has been for every SEC Champion playing for the BCS title.  Who do you want?  Ohio State, so they can continue their round robin beatings at the hands of the SEC?  Texas, so we can settle that whole "The Real UT" nonsense once and for all, and teach those cowards a lesson about The Alamo and arithmetic?  Boise State in a friendly battle for the soul of Justin Wilcox?  Virginia Tech, so we can get revenge?  USC...oh, wait, that's right...

Either way, doesn't matter.  14-0, National Champions.  Boom.