Lane Kiffin's popularity at the SEC office might have taken another hit.
But in the Tennessee locker room, it might now be at an all-time high.
The Vols coach was reprimanded for public comments again on Monday, was put on the brink of a suspension as a two-time offender of league rules and perhaps put himself in the crosshairs of yet another rival.
But any perceived negative consequences outside the program are balanced out on the inside.
Kiffin had no problem sacrificing himself to defend the Vols, and regardless of how their bid for a shocking upset at Alabama came up short, it's becoming increasingly more clear they all have his back as well.
"I mean, I feel like if we just had a little more time with this staff we would be undefeated right now," safety Eric Berry said after the game. "But we're still feeling each other out, the coaches had a beautiful plan for us (Saturday) to come out and win, but we just fall short sometimes.
"We feel like if we just keep buying into this staff and keep doing everything that they ask us to do, the sky is the limit."
Clearly a perfect season has been out of the question for a while for the Vols (3-4, 1-3 SEC), but the way they've played lately makes it hard to rule out an undefeated finish or a prestigious bowl.
UT was one play from beating a top-ranked team on the road last week and only lost by 10 points to another earlier in the season.
The Vols pasted Georgia before their bye week, they're playing some of the best defense in the country and Jonathan Crompton has finally shown signs of being the quarterback Kiffin expected him to be.
And even if an SEC or national championship is impossibly out of reach this season, the Vols are already looking at the coaching staff and seeing a group that has them on the right path to win one.
"Absolutely, absolutely - I'm really jealous of the freshmen because they get to have this staff for the next three years," junior receiver Gerald Jones said. "This staff is unbelievable.
"Man, they are unbelievable, and I enjoy every bit of playing for them and Coach Kiffin is probably one of my favorite coaches in history. He's so competitive and he has the eagerness to win, and that's the same person I am.
"To be coached by that type of person, you expect nothing over than to be the best."
Though the Vols have been close, they still haven't been able to actually beat the best yet.
If they had avoided costly turnovers at Florida it might have been possible then. If they had better protection up front on field goals or a healthy kicker who could get the ball up higher, the Vols could have done that at Alabama.
There's nothing that can be done to change those games now, even if the SEC agreed with Kiffin's interpretation of the helmet-removal rule that could have given UT another shot to knock off the Crimson Tide.
But it does have five more chances to try to make up some ground, and it might be favored to do so in every game.
"We've been very close, and I think it's just experience together as a coaching staff and as players," Berry said. "You see we're getting to know each other a lot as the season goes along, you can tell it by the way we're playing and the guys are buying into this coaching staff.
"I mean, I can't say enough about these guys that coach us and how much they prepare us to get ready for Saturdays. It's just amazing.
"I think we're more excited about where we are as a team and what we can do when we play together. Yes, we did fall a little bit short (at Alabama). But we do know what we can do if we have each other's back."
And the Vols clearly have Kiffin's as well.