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The Idiot Optimist's Guide to Beating Alabama

What?  What do you mean there's something wrong with the Kool-Aid?

Well did Tyler Bray pour it for you?  No?  You know why?  Because his hand's in a cast!

Oh, you do know we'd be undefeated if we had Bray and Justin Hunter right now, don't you?  Would've beaten Florida and Georgia easy.  And the only reason LSU handled us like they did is because they had a gentleman I like to call John Chavis With Talent.  Do you remember what happened when John Chavis With Talent coached in Neyland Stadium before?  Because I sure do... (tears up)

But forget all that.  Forget the injuries, forget the records, forget the rankings.  Because's the Third Saturday in October.  And this week, more than any other, you'd better start drinking the Kool-Aid early and often.  Because it's going to taste even better on Saturday night.

Sure, they've won four in a row.  What'd you expect?  In this rivalry if you ain't streakin' you ain't livin' right.  And everyone knows a streak really starts at four, no matter what that feller from Major League II says.

2007?  Our boys had to lose that one to develop the intestinal fortitude to beat Arkansas and Kentucky in four overtimes to make it to Atlanta.  2008?  Clawfense.  Did you know that feller's lost three straight games by an average of 43-17?  True story.  What's his team named, Bowling Green?  That's made up.  I'm gonna start my own team, call it Tennis Orange.  Give him time!

2009?  Here's why we're gonna win:  if Lane Kiffin could play within two points of a National Champion Alabama team - you know, a real National Champion Alabama team, not one of those that finished first in the Golden Flakes Poll in '77 or whenever - and he did that in Tuscaloosa the last time we were there?  Derek Dooley is plenty more than two points better than Lane Kiffin.  And we've already established that last year was Year Zero, and zero's not a real number, thus who cares what they did to us last year.

So yeah, they've had their streak.  Now it's time to end it.  Do you know how bad it would kill these guys to have us be the ones that ruined their precious National Championship season?

That's exactly why we've got to do it. 

Who's their quarterback, A.J. McSophomore?  Son, Matt Simms got the best education in the world from Chavis last week.  6 for 20 against Chavis is like 26 for 30 against anybody else.  And did you hear, he's the secret weapon in our running game!  Tyler Bray don't know nothin' but passing and tattoos.  Matt Simms, you put him in the huddle, and our running backs get faster and our linemen get bigger.

And that Trent Richardson kid?  Peaked too soon.  That little run he put on Ole Miss last week was cute, but I guarantee you this:  he comes to a complete stop against a Tennessee defense, Janzen Jackson Herman Lathers somebody is gonna knock him unconscious.  Then he'll be out of the Heisman race, which is a shame, because I really enjoy when people ask Nick Saban about that.

Remember when Shaun Alexander was a Heisman candidate in 1999?  Me neither after we got done with him.

Their only receiver is Marquis Maze, which means Eric Berry must've accidentally knocked some football into him when he tried to kill him three years ago.  Seriously, Maze has 34 catches and the next guy on the list has 15, and that's Richardson.  And guess what?  We're moving Prentiss Waggner back to corner this week, where he'll be making up for lost time with at least three pick sixes while simultaneously shutting down Maze.

Is Alabama's defense good?  Who cares?  Did you hear how many pick sixes Waggner is gonna have?!

This is Alabama.  But we are Tennessee.  This is the game when Dale Jones makes a spectacular play and starts crying in the locker room.  This is when Peyton Manning and Joey Kent let everybody know how it's gonna be on the very first play.  This is when Jay Graham breaks hearts.  This is when we go five overtimes and still come out on top.

This is about Tennessee - in spite of everything, every injury, and those idiots in Vegas making us the biggest underdog in the history of this rivalry - finding a way.  We don't go to Tuscaloosa for moral support.  We go to Tuscaloosa to by God win.

And don't be looking for that spinning top down here either.  Not this week.

Bottoms up, boys.  Beat Bama.