If you had missed the last five years of Tennessee football, you would have felt right at home Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium.
The Vols were having their way with Kentucky again. Just like old times, huh?
Up-to-date UT fans could better appreciate the 37-17 victory over the Wildcats, though
They saw their Vols lose to Vanderbilt the week before. They saw them lose to Kentucky last season.
And they have seen their program turned upside down in the last five years.
Tennessee football turned right-side up against Kentucky, as the Vols pulled away from both the Wildcats and history in the second half.
No UT team has ever lost eight games in a season. No UT team has ever gone 0-8 in the SEC. And no UT team has lost to both Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the same season since 1964.
So history not made was cause for celebration on a team that has had little to celebrate.
Saturday's outcome also was drastically different from anything the Vols have produced within the conference this season. But even in a 20-point victory, you saw many of the same defensive shortcomings that have tormented the Vols throughout a 5-7 season.
The big difference: Kentucky just didn't have the tools to take advantage of those failings — although you might have debated that after the first drive of the second half.
The Wildcats cut UT's lead to 20-17 and surpassed their average yardage per game with a 7-minute, 23-second drive to open the third quarter. That was as good as it got for them.
Tennessee tightened its usually loose defense for the rest of the game, and the offense tacked on 17 points for the program's most one-sided SEC victory since beating Ole Miss 52-14 in November of 2010.
The Vols overcame more than Kentucky. They overcame all the distractions that have been swirling around the team before and after last Sunday's firing of coach Derek Dooley.
Credit Dooley with helping the Vols through this. He elected not to coach the last game because he thought his presence would have been a distraction.
Based on how the Vols performed under interim coach Jim Chaney, Dooley made the right call. They certainly played with more enthusiasm than in a 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt the week before.
As a result, fans probably left the stadium thinking, "At least, we aren't as bad as Kentucky."
But fans surely were thinking more about the next coach than the last game.
Beating Kentucky isn't what matters now. Hiring the right coach is what counts.
The average fan thinks the right coach is the much-rumored Jon Gruden, who once won a Super Bowl at Tampa Bay and now stars as an analyst on "Monday Night Football." And you can better understand his appeal if you saw Saturday's crowd.
Attendance was announced as 81,841. It was probably at least 20,000 short of that.
After three consecutive losing seasons, UT football is no longer an attraction. In fact, fans who attended the Kentucky game probably went out of habit rather than in anticipation of excitement.
UT fans need hope as well as excitement. They also need to know athletic director Dave Hart understands that.
What they don't need is an up-and-coming coach with a losing record or with more potential than results. They need a coach whose hiring won't prompt a casual fan to ask, "Who's that?"
UT's last two hires were up-and-comers with losing records. You know how that worked out.
Now, UT needs a big-time coach. And if Hart can't deliver one, the fans need to know how hard he tried.
Otherwise, the postseason could be as disappointing as the regular season.