One of the biggest voices in the southeast — Paul Finebaum — hopped on Saturday Down South’s podcast yesterday and reacted to what he had seen so far at SEC Media Days. Inevitably, the conversation took a turn towards Butch Jones and Tennessee.
The Tennessee discussion gets going around the 11 minute mark.
“When I hear a school like the University of Tennessee say we’re happy with 8-4, I just shake my head.” Butch Jones of course didn’t come out and say that in those exact words, but he called a 9-4 season “not a disappointment.” I’ve already gone over why that is very wrong.
But you understand Finebaum’s point. If you don’t call a 9 win season a disappointment, that sends a message out to everyone that you’re okay with that.
Paul continued with, “Tennessee is a major entity — if you say 8-4 is okay and that you can’t find anyone better, then you’re losing. Arkansas might be a little different — Vanderbilt, Kentucky are just happy to go to a bowl game. Tennessee shouldn’t be happy to go to a bowl game. Tennessee should be contending for the SEC East every year.” Finebaum admits that Butch Jones likely survives this season, short of a “collapse.”
“What frustrated me on Monday is this; We inherited a very difficult situation, we inherited a team that was 2-14 against power five schools. That’s ridiculous. In your 5th year, you shouldn’t be talking about your first year,” Finebaum said.
Then Finebaum hit Butch with this, “He has done a really good job of lowering expectations, which is what I think he wants to do.”
Right there is the problem. I think the Tennessee fanbase — at least a portion of it — is becoming just fine with 9-4 football seasons. I understand adjusting expectations in year one or year two when you are rebuilding. But the ugly fact is that we are about to enter year five and here we are again talking about another potential 8 or 9 win season. I think Finebaum is hitting the nail on the head here.
What are your opinions of Finebaum’s comments?