John Adams: Vols no longer mired in Urban blight

John Adams

Urban Meyer made a lasting impression on the Tennessee-Florida rivalry. I didn't realize how lasting until I read UT's 2011 media guide.

On Page 205, it lists the schedule for the SEC's Wednesday teleconference with league coaches. Florida coach Urban Meyer is scheduled for 11:20 a.m.

The mistake is understandable. Meyer tormented the Vols to such an extent they probably doubted he would ever leave.

And if he did leave, he would come back like a recurring nightmare.

He teased them after the 2009 season when he announced his resignation. How long did that last? A couple of days? Or was it a couple of minutes?

Then back he came for another season — his worst, in fact. But you couldn't tell it by UT.

Meyer won six consecutive games against the Vols. Not even Steve Spurrier went 6-0 against them.

Meyer had such an impact on the rivalry, the most skeptical UT fans probably aren't convinced he's gone for good. But the rest of the fan base should already be celebrating UT-Florida week.

No offense to new coach Will Muschamp, but he can't possibly be any harder on the Vols. Meyer's teams beat them in every conceivable manner.

There was the 21-20 game in 2006 when Florida came through in the clutch. A year later, Florida came through from start to finish, winning 59-20 before accusing the Vols of quitting — a reasonable charge given the margin of victory.

In 2008, Florida seemingly toyed with the Vols in a 30-6 victory. Last season, the Vols trailed by only four points at half before losing 31-17.

The halftime score at least signified progress. Meyer's resignation signified even more progress. All he can do now is criticize the Vols on TV.

But he's not all that's missing from the rivalry. Check the top-25 rankings. Since the SEC went to divisional play in 1992, the Vols and Gators both have been ranked in the top 10 the week of their game nine times. This week, neither team is close to the top 10 despite 2-0 starts.

The rankings reflect the preseason predictions. At the SEC Football Media Days, the Gators were relegated to third and the Vols to fourth in the SEC East. That was a first.

You don't have to look farther than Tallahassee to notice another change. In the last 20 years, this game often has been the biggest game of the day in college football. This week, it won't even be the biggest game in Florida. On the same day the Vols and Gators play in The Swamp, No. 1 Oklahoma will be taking on No. 5 Florida State in Tallahassee.

UT fans shouldn't be concerned about the game's position on the college marquee. The series' change in status is to UT's advantage.

Just three years ago, the Vols finished 5-7, and the Gators won the national title. The rivalry had become a runaway.

UT has improved since then. And the Gators have fallen from national championship contention to 8-5 in 2010, which brings to mind another significant change.

For the first time in five years — when the Gators rallied for that fourth-quarter victory in 2006 — the Vols have a chance.

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.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 26

kjneel#238751 writes:

Like our chances. Brantley still isn't impressive and we can score. I like it.

Huttdawg100 writes:

The streak ends this Saturday:

Tennessee 31
Florida 13

VolzsFan writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

Adams knows this...As long as Dooley can put 12 on the field...the streak will live.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Poor troll effort. I can only give you a 1 out of 10.

FREOVOL writes:

Good article. I would say "a chance" is fair. But without a strong running game, its going to be very tough. I hope Bray doesn't think passing against Fl is going to be as easy as last Saturday. And I really hope we get better at run defense. The Vols have their work cut out for them but this team does seem to have some fire and guts, so maybe they can pull the upset - GO VOLS!

volfanfrom49 writes:

Dear John;
Don't you think all vol fans know this... Saying nothing, seems to me, would be better than rubbin it in....

KevDVol writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UT's recruiting pool composition is not limited by our state boundaries or population demographics. If it were, Tyler Bray (California) and Justin Hunter (Virginia Beach) would not be here.

In college, usually, one or two exceptional players can give a team an edge. I would say that Florida's recent fortunes were more influenced by a white dude named Tim Tebow than anything else. (Not as good without him)

Forever is a long time. You may want to revise that prediction in a year or two...maybe sooner.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Adams knows this...As long as Dooley can put 12 on the field...the streak will live.

Pee Pee you should go away

ICECOLDVOL writes:

u idiots make a 6 game losing streak such a big deal.......dummies

hglover40#234154 writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Adams knows this...As long as Dooley can put 12 on the field...the streak will live.

What makes you think Coach Dooley will not turn it around for UT?

Is it that decision to on-side kick the ball that let to a touchdown and kept the team up until the defense got a handle on the bearcats(I was a CPF fan, but late in his time at UT he would have never made that call).

Is it the fake punt call that let the defense rest against UK last year and probably won the game for us.

Is it the staff he put together with 156 years of coaching experience (Have you compared it with other SEC schools and with CPF's?? - Or do you spout off with-out looking at facts?? )

Is it the last two recruiting classes; the classes with an average * within 3/10 of a star (if you happen to be a star counter)
of Fla.

How about the decision to let an old-time UT guy go to make the coaching staff better (I was a CPF fan, but he would have never made that call).

No-one knows how Dooley's career at UT will end, Time will tell - but if I was as sure as you about the future - I would move to Vegas. :)

I am sorry being a fan makes you miserable

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hilarious that you would mention class since you have none

takemeouttotheVOLgame writes:

JA gets a lot of heat for not being a true VOL fan. His articles are slanted and often neutral to negative. I found this quote to be pretty telling:

"Meyer won six consecutive games against the Vols. Not even Steve Spurrier went 6-0 against them."

Who's "them"? If that is a ref to our team and if he were supportive shouldn't the comment have read:

"Meyer won six consecutive games against the Vols. Not even Steve Spurrier went 6-0 against US."

Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! Just saying ...

BigBadVol writes:

LMAO! Gator trolls live on this site, whether we are playing them or not. Did they finally get high speed connections at the trailer park?

kwcoach writes:

No more making fun of CDD. Putting extra men on the field is behind him. The Vols are a
well-oiled machine compared to the horrible Titans.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Naval, walk it off. His opinion isn't worth blowing a gasket. Remember this is his job.

Saturday might be a game changer in Trollville.

murrayvol writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

LMAO! Gator trolls live on this site, whether we are playing them or not. Did they finally get high speed connections at the trailer park?

More likely they got jobs at KNS. Just be glad they're off the unemployment rolls.

GONAVY writes:

I think this will be a tight game. I do like UT's chances IF they can balance a run game in the offensive mix. I just don't see Bray getting so much time to pick apart UF's secondary- plus UF has some awfully good athletes back there who can run and cover UT's receivers- something neither of the first two opponents could do. I read where the line opened up at 8.5 this morning. That will drop I predict later this week to 6.5 - 7.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He didn't say he didn't care, or that he couldn't care less. He said he could care less, which necessarily means he cares.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I betcha the doctor slapped it's momma when it was born.

Orange_Scooter writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uh, no more or less classy than some of your troll utterances.

Go Jorts!

EHSvols23 writes:

I am not going to defend Adams here, but I think the point of his article is sound. I know Florida is not one of our traditional rivals, but the game has become extremely important to UT fans nowadays. For the past six years, Vol fans have probably counted this game as a flat out loss at the start of the season. This year is fundamentally different. Remeber the Gary Danielson quote from the florida game a couple years ago about the talent level on both sides of the field. The disparity has closed dramatically. We got a real shot at winning this game. If it were in knoxville, I would guess Florida would be a 1 to 2 point favorite. For myself, this is the first time in a long time I am truly excited about this game.

GO BIG ORANGE!!!

sidwalkvol writes:

I find JA to be a boring expositor of the obvious. Know where this article came from? He heard or read the term "urban blight," considered how clever it would be to make use of it in FL week, then had to put some words under it to meet the column-inches quota. There really is NOTHING to see here... the most interesting point by far is the misprint in the media guide. Take away: whoever put the MG together needs to hire a better proofreader.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to EHSvols23:

I am not going to defend Adams here, but I think the point of his article is sound. I know Florida is not one of our traditional rivals, but the game has become extremely important to UT fans nowadays. For the past six years, Vol fans have probably counted this game as a flat out loss at the start of the season. This year is fundamentally different. Remeber the Gary Danielson quote from the florida game a couple years ago about the talent level on both sides of the field. The disparity has closed dramatically. We got a real shot at winning this game. If it were in knoxville, I would guess Florida would be a 1 to 2 point favorite. For myself, this is the first time in a long time I am truly excited about this game.

GO BIG ORANGE!!!

I agree..FLA has out recruited us the last few years but we have outdone them with OLineman;QB and WR's..It will basically be our offense vs their defense...And the turnover bug that seems to bite us early in the game

volcraze writes:

I see the VOLS running the ball in this game. Which will then allow Bray to have a little fun when needed. Hope I'm right.

VolGrad writes:

Run Poole, run!
Go Vols!!!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features