Tennessee fans need to start pulling for another team.
I'm not suggesting they abandon the Vols. I'm merely pointing out the benefit of expanding their rooting interest.
Give second-year coach Derek Dooley another year or two to bolster his depth chart with quality recruits and the Vols should be ready to contend for an SEC divisional title. In the meantime, why not broaden your college football horizons this fall?
Pull for the Vols to win. Pull for a viable contender to win the SEC championship.
Choose whomever you wish. But the most logical choice is obvious.
I'll lead you there through the process of elimination.
Alabama is a consensus favorite to win the SEC and a popular pick to win the national title as well. It's also way too big a rival for UT fans to embrace.
And the more likely the Tide is to win another championship, the less embraceable it becomes.
Alabama fans were lined up about eight wide and nine deep Friday on the last day of SEC Football Media Days, hopeful of an autograph or at least a glimpse of coach Nick Saban. In an especially creepy moment, a woman decked in Tide garb — accentuated by a media pass — held a microphone in front of a 2-year-old. Another woman in Alabama colors took their picture.
Tennessee fans can't pull for that.
LSU is the next most qualified team to win the SEC's sixth consecutive national championship. It also has longtime Vols defensive coordinator John Chavis directing its defense.
But how could UT fans champion LSU's cause when the memory of last year's controversial loss in Tiger Stadium is agonizingly fresh?
South Carolina is worth considering. It has exciting players in Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore as well as underdog appeal since it has never won a conference championship in football.
However, it also has coach Steve Spurrier, who, despite his East Tennessee roots, has tormented the Vols too many times in the past to suddenly become a source of their affection.
You probably already have guessed where this is headed. It's not headed to Florida or Georgia, who are more apt to lose to the Vols than contend for a national title.
It's headed to Arkansas, a program on the rise that hasn't yet won enough to become a favorite, especially in a division where Alabama and LSU rank ahead of it. Not only are the Razorbacks a dark-horse contender, they should be the most entertaining team in the league with coach Bobby Petrino calling the offensive shots for all those talented running backs and wide receivers.
There's compelling history to consider with the Razorbacks. You would have to question the humanity of any UT fan who doesn't have a soft spot in his heart for the Hogs after what happened at Neyland Stadium in 1998.
They helped the Vols win a national championship that year. And until UT has the wherewithal to at least contend for another title, Arkansas could provide an appropriate alternative for your championship cheers.
In case you're interested, it's preferable to hold the "Woo" for a full eight seconds when chanting "Woo Pig Sooie."