(Read the 2014 State of the Tennessee Volunteers address here.)
Greetings friends, Volunteers, and that one guy in the back in an Alabama jersey who just claims he's here on business. I trust that you've already heard the myriad of lies, partial lies, half-truths, equivocations, and conjecture that constitutes the State of the Vol Union. While I am glad to hear that General Neyland deigned to alight from his perch, he's long since dead, and his words are also long since dead.
I don't know if General Neyland is aware of this, but Clemson has been in 2 BCS games this decade. Two is greater than zero, and it's still greater than one, which is the number of BCS games Tennessee has been in. Presumably it's difficult to see from his coffin or he stabbed his eyes out in a fit of rage after having to deal with the Derek Dooley era. Both of those are understandable, but using Clemson as a standard of non-excellence makes as much sense as expecting Gene Chizik to be able to coach a team without Gus Malzahn. In this the General and I agree.
Know this: Tennessee hasn't won its division since 2007, let alone the SEC. Higher employment statistics aren't going to change that. You know who had high employment statistics? Houston Nutt. High employment means nothing without results, and all I see are a string of 5-7 records. The best thing to happen to Tennessee football in the last 12 months was James Franklin leaving for State College.
Furthermore, what are our standards for success? Should we be satisfied with a 6-6 season and a bowl berth to such scenic ares as Memphis, Nashville, or - Jerry Green forbid - Shreveport? Should we as Tennessee fans be happy with incremental gains facing the weakest SEC East we've seen in years? Should we accept ceding ground to Missouri - MISSOURI - and an upjumped South Carolina squad led by a guy who'd rather be golfing? I say no, and you should say no. Ten wins is the bar for entry to Tennessee football, and Butch Jones has fallen short like so many erstwhile elementary school gym teachers.
Yes, Tennessee football should be better than 5-7 next year; even Derek Dooley went 6-7. Heck, I went 7-5 and went to the Peach Bowl with Jonathan Crompton at quarterback. Don't talk to me about key labor shortages.
As for men's basketball, who cares, really? I mean, really, who cares? There is no gentlemen's agreement when it comes to basketball, only Orange Nation Appreciation Day. Show up for the free food and Franzia and don't stay for the game. Cuonzo Martin has nothing to do with habits ingrained under Buzz Peterson.
Dave Hart came from Alabama. Does he know what basketball is? Do you trust him to hire a head coach, or do you trust the guy who went to school in Indiana, the heart of basketball, to turn this season around? Eat your vegetables, Tennessee fans. Cuonzo Martin is going to turn you into big strong basketball fans, if you have the stomach.
When it comes to using economics to describe the state of Tennessee basketball, the retort is simple: this wouldn't matter if the football team was decent. Attempted obfuscation only serves to divert you - you, the true Tennessee fan - from the real, clear truth: you're not attending a basketball game anyway. Let's not kid ourselves. As the esteemed Mr. Orgeron would say, "YOUSSANAHTATTENAHNBOUNCYBALGAMEANYAWAYRAKROOTIN." We remain hopeful Mr. Orgeron will learn the English language one day, but his success in life is a testament to the power of will and I know his sentiment is not lost on you, the faithful Tennessee fans waiting on free food before a 7 PM tip against some team nobody knows or cares about like Auburn basketball. Does Auburn even have a basketball team?
Lest you think I entirely disagree with the esteemed General's comments; bring in Nikki Caldwell. Do it last week, or last season. It's a farce that Tennessee isn't scoring 115 points a game, and Nikki Caldwell is the woman to allow the Volunteer offense to flourish.
I appreciate the General attempting to discuss the merits of foreign policy and our scientific pursuits, but the utter lack of attention paid to women's softball is clear evidence of the General's lack of attention to detail. I, for one, look forward to the Tennessee fan populace generally ignoring women's softball or men's tennis (is that a sport? That can't be a sport; it's played by the British, for crying out loud. Didn't we fight a war to not have to call things Brits do sports?) until it looks like they might win something.
While I'm sure General Neyland has the interests of Tennessee fans at heart, his intents and plans are utterly misplaced and operate on a warped idea of a timeframe. We demand excellence, and we demand excellence right now. Not tomorrow, not in some indeterminate time in the future, today. Right now. And the General isn't delivering it.
Well done, Tennessee faithful. You've accepted mediocrity. I've chosen Tuscaloosa.