John Adams: Vandy, Vols aren't what they used to be

John Adams

Two more reasons for Tennessee fans to be concerned about Saturday's game with Vanderbilt: a robbery and the Pistol. The items are unrelated, except for the concerns they raise.

First, the robbery, which occurred on the Vanderbilt campus Tuesday and led to the arrest of Commodores reserve safety Andre Simmons. He was charged with felony counts of burglary and robbery.

If you are wondering why that should bother UT fans, you obviously don't know much about college football. Good football and good behavior often don't go together.

Some of college football's greatest dynasties had a criminal undercurrent. And it's hardly uncommon for a program's winning percentage and crime rate to rise in sync.

UT fans know all about that. When the Vols won big in the 1990s, they were a handful for the local police as well as their opponents.

Football success and crime are foreign subjects at Vanderbilt. The Commodores are as unlikely to have a football player arrested as they are to be favored over UT.

Yet in the space of a couple of days, they have accomplished both. Those are shocking developments for a program that has lost 27 of its last 28 games to UT.

That's not the only startling news. Did you ever

think you would read "Pistol" and "Vols" in the same headline without someone being arrested.

The Vols have been toying with the Pistol formation this week in an attempt to accommodate quarterback Tyler Bray, who is expected to make his first start since suffering a broken thumb six weeks ago. Since the thumb is still tender, taking snaps under center could be a problem. In the Pistol, Bray can take a deep snap and still have a running back behind him.

While that's a pragmatic approach, it's also a reminder of UT's ongoing scramble to regain football prominence.

Two weeks ago, the Vols found an emergency kicker in a frat house. Four weeks ago, they rushed a true-freshman quarterback into the final minutes of a one-sided loss to Alabama. Before that, they changed centers — after the original center had been changed from a lefty to a right-handed snapper with disastrous results. And who else rotates punters?

If you wrapped all of that into a black-and-gold package, Vanderbilt's 12 fans would claim it as their own without hesitation. But it's UT, not Vanderbilt.

The Commodores will become bowl eligible with a victory Saturday. The Vols would have to beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the regular-season finale to be deemed worthy of back-to-back Music City bowls.

How's that for defying the natural order?

Hard times are no longer a stranger to UT football. The Vols have been struggling to regain their football footing since their epic tumble of 2008. Yet their fans aren't so conditioned to such misfortune that they can avoid a double-take at being even a one-point underdog against Vanderbilt. And it could get worse.

If a couple of Commodores knock off a liquor store this evening, Vanderbilt could be a three-point favorite by kickoff.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 54

CoverOrange writes:

"Vanderbilt's 12 fans"

Equal opportunity offender.

Bufforange00 writes:

This season's one (and only) scheduling blessing-strong Vandy in Knoxville and weak KY in Lexington. I truly think we will win both games-but I think UT loses to Vandy if this game was in Nashville.

Bufforange00 writes:

UT was showing signs of becoming respectable before all of the injuries and before playing 4 of the top 10 teams in the nation. Such odds typically demoralize young teams.

Vol_fanatic_666 writes:

There are too many thugaletes and too many schools that will sign them up. It makes me wonder if too many of the nation's college programs are halfway houses for offenders with good ball handling skills.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

See John....We know where we are....We really don't need to kicked right now....But thanks

TNVOLNTX writes:

10 games into the season...Only when talking Vandy football would 5 wins qualify as a meteoric rise back to football relevance.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

"Vanderbilt's 12 fans"

Equal opportunity offender.

I didn't know Vanderbilt had 12 fans. Amazing.

SummittsCourt writes:

John, once again you show your brilliance for typing a bunch of meaningnless words.

Please go away!

Real fans understand the state of Tennessee football right now and know it will get better. When this team starts winning and playing for championships, make sure you don't act like you are fan then.

wagee12 writes:

Start preparing now for one of college football's most explosive offenses in 2012 and that offense will be wearing Big Orange.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to wagee12:

Start preparing now for one of college football's most explosive offenses in 2012 and that offense will be wearing Big Orange.

I agree! I hope the defense will be as explosive. G.B.O.!!!

pingkr62 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

John, once again you show your brilliance for typing a bunch of meaningnless words.

Please go away!

Real fans understand the state of Tennessee football right now and know it will get better. When this team starts winning and playing for championships, make sure you don't act like you are fan then.

Make room in the Tennessee Band Wagon.

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

Go Big Orange. Win this one for Bud!!!!!

VolGrad writes:

Mr. Adams:

IMHO, your whole thesis in this story is irresponsible, and your attempts at humor only make it that much more so.

Go Vols! Beat Vandy!!!

rootin4volz writes:

I, for one, just feel sorry for you, John Adams.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Vol_fanatic_666:

There are too many thugaletes and too many schools that will sign them up. It makes me wonder if too many of the nation's college programs are halfway houses for offenders with good ball handling skills.

Well I guess schools learned from Al Davis when he coached the raiders way back when.

drum56 writes:

this article was in very bad taste Mr. Adams....just when i think you can't stoop any lower...you do!

tovolny writes:

John Adams "ain't cut'n it."

I'll bet anybody out there that Dennis Miller is his favorite un-funny comedian.

But John knows too much...so he will stay at his current position and digressively get worse.

I hope you IRONY lovers enjoyed his enlightening cleverness. Knock yourself out!

RemembertheAlamo writes:

Mr. Adams, I have already read "Pistol" and "Vols" in the same headlines without someone being arrested. That was back in 1967 and the headline probably read something like this "Pistol Pete Dazzled Fans at Stokely" Maybe someone should have been arrested for letting Pistol Pete score 40+ points in Stokley. VFL! (#34)

RemembertheAlamo writes:

in response to RemembertheAlamo:

Mr. Adams, I have already read "Pistol" and "Vols" in the same headlines without someone being arrested. That was back in 1967 and the headline probably read something like this "Pistol Pete Dazzled Fans at Stokely" Maybe someone should have been arrested for letting Pistol Pete score 40+ points in Stokley. VFL! (#34)

Sorry the headlines probably read "Pistol Pete Dazzled the Vols' Fans at Stokley"...Oh well it is too late to be typing this. VFL!

volsfan74 writes:

in response to Bufforange00:

This season's one (and only) scheduling blessing-strong Vandy in Knoxville and weak KY in Lexington. I truly think we will win both games-but I think UT loses to Vandy if this game was in Nashville.

Why would you pick Vandy if it was in Nashville, have you ever seen a Vols vs. Vandy game in Nashville? There are as many UT fans at the game as Vandy fans.

Tennfan4075 writes:

Great article John, but two many three syllable words for the reading level of many of your readers. A very fitting finish and likely scenario to the season is Vols beat Vandy and lose to Kentucky and all are cast as the losers they are.

yankintenn#395643 writes:

Vol fans should root for Vandy. That will take UT one step closer to hiring a real coach.

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

Someone please steal John's Laptop. This story is very distasteful for either program.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to tovolny:

John Adams "ain't cut'n it."

I'll bet anybody out there that Dennis Miller is his favorite un-funny comedian.

But John knows too much...so he will stay at his current position and digressively get worse.

I hope you IRONY lovers enjoyed his enlightening cleverness. Knock yourself out!

I'm sorry but you think only liberals are funny? Oh, I see the NY in your name. That explains it.

UT-fan-in-New-Mexico writes:

Vols win by 10. Bray throws for two TDs and Poole forgets to look for a defender to run in to and stops auditioning for dancing with the stars in the backfield and gets over 100 yards rushing.

hardtimecountyvol writes:

If a couple of Commodores knock off a liquor store this evening, Vanderbilt could be a three-point favorite by kickoff.
Didn't want to, but had to laugh at that.

Vol86 writes:

There is one thing we all agree on---Adam's Articles are bad.

go_vols84 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

John, once again you show your brilliance for typing a bunch of meaningnless words.

Please go away!

Real fans understand the state of Tennessee football right now and know it will get better. When this team starts winning and playing for championships, make sure you don't act like you are fan then.

Haha, don't worry. JA hates Tennessee even more when they are good and resorts to trying to get the coach fired. You haven't seen him call for Dooleys head because for right now, Dooley is still giving him good on the field material for his articles. As soon as we start winning, he will have to start looking for reasons to get rid of him, and the sheep will applaud his findings.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to Bufforange00:

UT was showing signs of becoming respectable before all of the injuries and before playing 4 of the top 10 teams in the nation. Such odds typically demoralize young teams.

I'm so thankful to have Franklin and not all the excuses. Vandy also lost their three year starter at QB this season(senior), plus they lost Warren Norman the SEC Freshman of the year who broke Herschel Walkers freshman records. Rodgers was not due to play QB due to surgery on his shoulder, but he steps in and plays hard. Why dont you be honest and admit had UT not paid off N Carolina and brought in Buffalo, Saturdays game would be meaningless to UT. I never thought I would live long enough to hear UT fans make excuses the day before they play Vandy at home. Vegas moved Vandy to a 2 point favorite yesterday, now thats HILARIOUS!!! Go DORES!!

Volunatic writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

John, once again you show your brilliance for typing a bunch of meaningnless words.

Please go away!

Real fans understand the state of Tennessee football right now and know it will get better. When this team starts winning and playing for championships, make sure you don't act like you are fan then.

Having read his columns for a couple of decades, I guarantee John Adams will never act like a UT football fan.
In the early '90's, he didn't concentrate quite so much on irritating Vol fans, though.
His writing style is what it is. It's our choice whether or not to read it.
His closing sentence in this column was pretty funny, though.

Volunatic writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

I'm sorry but you think only liberals are funny? Oh, I see the NY in your name. That explains it.

I didn't see any political references in his post.
Please leave political bickering out of here. This is a sports-related site.

Volunatic writes:

Odd-- professionalhandicapper once claimed to be a neutral sports commentator, and supposedly had no idea who CantStandSaban/"Vandy""Grad" was. Now he's out of the closet, openly rooting for the Commode Odors. (At least until the Memphis Tigers get respectable again, since that's where he actually went.)

CCLC writes:

The yellow hankies will fly tomorrow sports fans and Vols will be getting tetanus shots on Sunday morning. Vandy learned something else besides how to thug after practice I promise you.

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

Sounds like John just hates everybody. I thought it was only UT...That "12 fans" comment crossed the line, even for him.

GONAVY writes:

The sad thing is that Adams thinks he's funny.

PennVol writes:

Anyone thinking new AD Hart is making this game more important than maybe the rest of us are thinking it might be? We seem to be very anxious to get Bray back on the field this week.

orangeinbama writes:

"The Vols have been struggling to regain their football footing since their epic tumble of 2008"

The tumble began in the 2001 SEC Championship game. IMO.. Never been the same since...

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

I'm so thankful to have Franklin and not all the excuses. Vandy also lost their three year starter at QB this season(senior), plus they lost Warren Norman the SEC Freshman of the year who broke Herschel Walkers freshman records. Rodgers was not due to play QB due to surgery on his shoulder, but he steps in and plays hard. Why dont you be honest and admit had UT not paid off N Carolina and brought in Buffalo, Saturdays game would be meaningless to UT. I never thought I would live long enough to hear UT fans make excuses the day before they play Vandy at home. Vegas moved Vandy to a 2 point favorite yesterday, now thats HILARIOUS!!! Go DORES!!

franklin is a loud mouth punk who spews NFL confidence to a pop warner team. at 5-5 you'd think he was worthy of having the stadium named after him. peebody fans will soon tire of him after they experience years of losing to UT and bowl eligibility. while this isn't new to peebody fans, finding out that all of franklin's new talent is the result of relaxing academic standards is news that will shake belle meade and forest hills.

quit lying. peebody hasn't lost the star players tennessee has lost this year. tyler bray is still ranked as the 7th best quarterback in the NCAA. STOP mentioning rogers in the same sentence with BRAY because it makes you look like a fool. rogers is the 85th ranked quarterback.

justin hunter is the best athlete on either side of the field, and if he didn't get hurt, he'd be playing in the NFL after next year. he still may.

if peebody had the talent CDD has kicked off the team, you'd been bowl eligible 2 weeks ago.

2 point favorite? sounds like you're building your moral victory. are you gonna change your screen name after the game like you did last year (vandygrad to cantstandsaban)?

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to yankintenn#395643:

Vol fans should root for Vandy. That will take UT one step closer to hiring a real coach.

Why? No "real" coach will take the job. It's not the $$$$, they're paying our coach in training over two million a year. Something is awfully wrong with UT sports & it's not just Dooley.

Vandy by 1 1/2, who would have thunk it?

Sad day on Rocky Top

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to Vol86:

There is one thing we all agree on---Adam's Articles are bad.

They are just honest, and you can't blame a guy for being that. I'd rather him tell it as it is, with a splash of humor, that to tell me what I want to hear.

hikerdude writes:

in response to orangeinbama:

"The Vols have been struggling to regain their football footing since their epic tumble of 2008"

The tumble began in the 2001 SEC Championship game. IMO.. Never been the same since...

Exactly.

SATCHMOE writes:

I hate being kicked in the teeth when down and have decided to do more to support The Big Orange. Adams your links are no more than encouragement to me and in your efforts to destroy with your words you only hurt yourself. Everyone knows our sufferings and we will only get better as it will start this weekend. Our problems are not about this coach, team, or schedule. Circumstances of previous decisions by past administrations finally exploded and we are left to put it back together. Putting pieces back together of what was once a great program will take time and pains. If you and others can't see this, then your not looking real hard. Your negitive beat down words reflect your desperation to gain an audience, you and other nay sayers should really just grow up.

slb#1351874 writes:

in response to SATCHMOE:

I hate being kicked in the teeth when down and have decided to do more to support The Big Orange. Adams your links are no more than encouragement to me and in your efforts to destroy with your words you only hurt yourself. Everyone knows our sufferings and we will only get better as it will start this weekend. Our problems are not about this coach, team, or schedule. Circumstances of previous decisions by past administrations finally exploded and we are left to put it back together. Putting pieces back together of what was once a great program will take time and pains. If you and others can't see this, then your not looking real hard. Your negitive beat down words reflect your desperation to gain an audience, you and other nay sayers should really just grow up.

I will drink to that my friend.
VFL

sec_fan writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

"Vanderbilt's 12 fans"

Equal opportunity offender.

John is just jealous that Vanderbilt has 11 more that him. Hi Mrs Adams.

By the way what was this article about. I usually at least get some message out of him, but this talked about several different unrelated things. With no point.

OldNumber7 writes:

Dooley wouldn't be the first recent coach to lose to Vandy....and the other guy did it with a deep, talented team!

snakeplissken writes:

in response to OldNumber7:

Dooley wouldn't be the first recent coach to lose to Vandy....and the other guy did it with a deep, talented team!

Not sure how deep and talented Tennessee was that year since they ended up 5-7. If you recall, Vandy had a NFL 1st rounder in Cutler, plus three other players off that team that played in the NFL. The 2011 Vandy team isn't nearly as good as the last Vandy team that beat us.

I know we're not playing good right now, but we have more talent than Vandy and should win.

Since they're Vandy they'll find a way to lose like they have several times this season. LOL

rockypop writes:

Even I thought about Adams' story line about Vanderbilt "thugs," but dismissed it as way too obvious. And, I'm not even a sportswriter. It's not that Adams is a bad writer - he just has bad ideas for articles. Everyone (including Adams) would be better served if someone else (insert "editor" here) would give him a concept for an article and let him write it. The scary thing is that perhaps that's already happening.

volcraze writes:

in response to pingkr62:

I agree! I hope the defense will be as explosive. G.B.O.!!!

I'm right there with both of you. We are on our way back.

Aussievol writes:

UT is having one of its worst seasons in history. Vandy is having one of its best. The game is virtually a pick 'em and both schools could end up with the same record.

I think we all now have a little more perspective. Just sayin'.

Go Vols!!!

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

"Vanderbilt's 12 fans"

Equal opportunity offender.

LOL CoverOrange. That's funny!!!!!

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