As if the final score wasn't pain enough. As if any insult needs to be piled on when you've been embarrassed 59-20 on national TV by an arch-rival.
Now, a year later, there's more.
One of Florida's best players said that Tennessee quit last year in Gainesville on the Vols' most embarrassing day of the season.
Brandon Spikes, the All-SEC middle linebacker, was quoted in a Florida newspaper Tuesday as saying Tennessee "quit playing" last year. He was referring to a fourth quarter in which Florida scored 24 unanswered points to hand Phillip Fulmer his worst loss as a head coach.
Spikes also repeated a story that circulated last year immediately after the game in the same newspaper, Florida Today. Derek Baldry, a special-teams player, said a UT player told Baldry not to worry about blocking him on an extra point in the fourth quarter because he was too tired to rush.
A rehash this week was inevitable, given the renewal of the SEC Eastern Division rivalry Saturday in Neyland Stadium.
UT players and coaches did not look forward to the weekly Media Day on Tuesday. They knew last year's humiliation was on the docket.
Defensive coordinator John Chavis: "That's certainly not a performance we're real proud of.''
Defensive end Wes Brown: "Anytime you lose it's tough, but when you get it put on you like that, it's really tough.''
Assistant coach Steve Caldwell: "It was embarrassing as a coach, for them to line up and just go score, it looked like at will, just go running up and down the field.''
And tailback Arian Foster:
"It was demoralizing.''
But the Vols really didn't like having to respond to the charge that they had quit.
Any athlete or coach who puts in the time and effort required to survive at the highest level in college athletics thinks of him- or herself as a competitor until the clock expires.
Some days the performance is better than other days. The Vols know that, bottom line, their performance stunk that day in The Swamp.
But they'll never say it was because they quit.
"My father never allowed me to quit anything I did,'' Foster said. "The principal of quitting isn't in our family.
"I'm not a quitter and my teammates are not quitters.''
Added Brown, "It's not even part of our vocabulary.''
Chavis said Spikes is "a mighty fine player and I respect what he gets done on the field.''
End of comment.
"That probably comes from the coaches,'' head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "That was probably said somewhere and they were just repeating what the coaches said.
"We (UT's defense) were on the field much too long in the third quarter and we got gassed. I don't think our players quit.''
That UT's defense was gassed is indisputable.
Florida led from the time it first touched the ball, an 83-yard punt return touchdown by Brandon James. It was 28-13 at halftime.
But Eric Berry's interception return for a touchdown made it 28-20 midway of the third quarter. A heckuva game at that point, Fulmer says.
Not for long. A fumbled handoff between Erik Ainge and Foster was returned for a Florida score. That opened the floodgates.
Here's as incredible a stat as you'll ever see in football: In the third quarter, Florida had the ball 14 minutes, 33 seconds.
UT had it 27 seconds.
"Regardless of how well conditioned you are, that's just too long,'' said Dan Brooks, who coaches UT defensive tackles.
"And it's not like anybody's going to feel sorry for you because you're tired, so you've got to go finish the game.
"That was hard. It was a long day.''
Saturday will be another day, another three or so hours in the pageant of Tennessee's most colorful current rivalry.
Fulmer said it wasn't necessary to remind his team of the indignity suffered last year. But that, yes, he planned to anyway.
"If they don't respect us,'' he added of Florida, "then why are they practicing?''
As for the players, they know as well they don't need to be reminded. But if Spikes insists . . .
"It's not a game I'd like to forget,'' said linebacker Rico McCoy without any trace of a smile.
"It's a game I'd like to make up for. We'll see what happens this Saturday.''
Mike Strange may be reached at 865-342-6276 or email@example.com.