South Carolina offers Tennessee's last shot at breaking drought against nationally ranked foes

0-for-October will only add to speculation about Dooley's security

FILE- In this Sept. 22, 2012, file photo, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley watches his team warm up before an NCAA college football game against Akron in Knoxville, Tenn. Dooley working from the press box Saturday as he recovers from hip surgery, the rest of his staff is preparing to adjust to his absence from the sidelines. The change in routine comes as the Volunteers prepare for a critical game at No. 19 Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

Photo by Wade Payne, A2012

FILE- In this Sept. 22, 2012, file photo, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley watches his team warm up before an NCAA college football game against Akron in Knoxville, Tenn. Dooley working from the press box Saturday as he recovers from hip surgery, the rest of his staff is preparing to adjust to his absence from the sidelines. The change in routine comes as the Volunteers prepare for a critical game at No. 19 Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

Vols preview the South Carolina matchup

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The last chance for a season-defining and perhaps job-saving victory comes today at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Tennessee (3-4, 0-4 SEC) has whiffed in four opportunities against ranked conference opponents and today's game against No. 17 South Carolina (6-2, 4-2) will likely be the Vols' last shot. The game kicks off at noon and will be televised by ESPN.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is 4-16 in SEC play in three seasons. He's lost 11 of his last 12 in conference and is 0-14 against ranked opponents. The Vols finish the season with four winnable, if hardly surefire, games against Troy, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

But this will be the last crack at a win that might dampen the increasing speculation about Dooley's job security.

"We would like come out of here saying we beat a ranked opponent," Dooley said. "My biggest thing is, I want to see us play our best for four quarters, which we haven't done."

Will four quarters be enough? It depends on which South Carolina team shows up.

Just three weeks ago, the Gamecocks had a dominating 35-7 victory against Georgia. Many crowned Carolina the team to beat in the SEC and perhaps a dark horse national championship pick.

But after a close but uninspiring loss at LSU, the Gamecocks were thrashed 44-11 last week at Florida. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, in classic fashion, benched his starting quarterback Connor Shaw at halftime and called the performance "embarrassing."

"We've got to re-evaluate a lot of our personnel and get players out there who really want to play for South Carolina," Spurrier said. "Two weeks ago, I wouldn't have thought this. LSU was bad. This one was worse. We've got to regroup somehow."

Spurrier himself regrouped a day later, pledging support for Shaw and expressing more confidence about the team's hopes going forward — even if they no longer include an appearance in the SEC championship game.

The Gamecocks are back home at Williams-Brice, where they have won eight games in a row in front of crowds that always had a reputation for enthusiasm even back when South Carolina was a league doormat.

Those days seem long gone now.

Since 2000, the Tennessee-South Carolina game has the closest average scoring margin of any game in the SEC. Seven of the 12 meetings have been decided by single digits. Only one game (a 27-6 South Carolina win in 2008) has been decided by more than 20 points.

South Carolina is a 14-point favorite today, likely due to skepticism about Tennessee's ability to stop much of anything on defense. But Dooley was most critical of the offense after the Alabama game, particularly quarterback Tyler Bray and receiver Justin Hunter.

Bray, who seemed to accept the criticism more agreeably than Hunter, said what the Vols need more than anything else is a win. The details are unimportant. Dooley didn't disagree.

"We were pretty confident and nothing hurts your confidence more than going out there and losing the way we have lost," he said.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 68

arkyvol writes:

i rather suspect the drought will end when the vols hire a head coach with something more to offer than his last name.

TKO writes:

Nothing hurts your confidence more than losing. Then the vols have problems. Don't play with a secondary tomorrow. Who thinks lattimore will have the game of his life and several runs of forty yards plus?

6972 writes:

4-16 in 3 years in SEC play, lost 11 of 12 in conference and 0 for 14 against ranked opponents.
Staggering numbers. I still have a hard time believing all that. I would think the team are just as stunned.

6972 writes:

in response to TKO:

Nothing hurts your confidence more than losing. Then the vols have problems. Don't play with a secondary tomorrow. Who thinks lattimore will have the game of his life and several runs of forty yards plus?

Not sure about the 40 plus...but I think he will have 100 rushing. Pleasantly suprised if he doesn't.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to arkyvol:

i rather suspect the drought will end when the vols hire a head coach with something more to offer than his last name.

With his record at LA Tech and had his last name been Smith I doubt the VOL brass would have ever considered a man named Derek Smith.

UTMaster04 writes:

SEC Program Rankings:
1. Alabama...improving
2. LSU...stagnating
3. Florida...improving
4. South Carolina...stagnating
5. Georgia...stagnating
6. Mississippi State...improving
7. Texas A&M...improving
8. Arkansas...falling
9. Tennessee...falling
10. Missouri...improving
11. Vanderbilt...improving
12. Ole Miss...stagnating
13. Auburn...falling
14. Kentucky...Basketballing

pcorange writes:

Wish the boys in Orange would pull it out against SC. However, realistically, I'm not expecting much.

SC - 41
UT - 24

WoodshedVol writes:

I hope the Vols surprise me with a win,but I think the chickens will jump on them early, then run Latimore for 120+ yds.
On the bright side, Dooley will be asked to turn in his orange pants on Monday.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Well, we will find out one big answer to one big question fairly early tomorrow.

KFDLaw writes:

The SC game has signaled the end of coaching careers at Tennessee in prior years. Tomorrow may be another one of those occasions.

OrangeMike writes:

You mean the commode doors aren't ranked? How did that happen?

OrangeMike writes:

in response to orange_eVOLution:

Well, we will find out one big answer to one big question fairly early tomorrow.

What's that? Whether Stevo will be on the hot seat after losing three in a row?

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to OrangeMike:

What's that? Whether Stevo will be on the hot seat after losing three in a row?

That's a great post. Now I'm thinking outside the box for a change. Thanks.

brauhuff#295403 (Inactive) writes:

I am at the point with Tennessee that I do not even care anymore. Losing constantly makes you feel that way. Just hope Tennessee does not give DD the five million dollar buyout. That would really tork me off to have to pay that clown that much money for no more than he has done in 3 years at
Tennessee

OrangeMike writes:

in response to brauhuff#295403:

I am at the point with Tennessee that I do not even care anymore. Losing constantly makes you feel that way. Just hope Tennessee does not give DD the five million dollar buyout. That would really tork me off to have to pay that clown that much money for no more than he has done in 3 years at
Tennessee

Well, they either pay him to leave, or pay him to stay. Which torks you off less?

BruisedOrange writes:

in response to 6972:

4-16 in 3 years in SEC play, lost 11 of 12 in conference and 0 for 14 against ranked opponents.
Staggering numbers. I still have a hard time believing all that. I would think the team are just as stunned.

We are in a unique era of SEC football.

Never has Tennessee been so decimated, cupboard bare, and in disarray as the past 4 years. The program rebuild we are attempting would be the greatest in Tennessee history.

The unique problem is, we're attempting this at a time when the conference is the strongest it has ever been. There have been years when the conference was better top-to-bottom, but never have we had so many Top-10 quality teams to compete against for recruits and on the field.

To put it in perspective, how would our 1998 National Championship team do against this year's schedule? The games would certainly be closer, but how many "sure" wins? It's not unreasonable to imagine the 1998 team losing 3 conference games in 2012.

There couldn't be a worse time to rebuild at Tennessee like we're trying to do. And until someone shows me a coach with a team repeatedly in the Top 10 who's doing it without a home recruiting base, I haven't seen a realistic candidate to successfully replace Dooley.

ambrown64 writes:

I am very sorry to see our leadership revert back to bad habits from last year. The wins and losses are not the issue, but the spirit, temperament and execution of the team...and the entitlement mentality of its leader.

Coach has had these guys for 3 years, and they are still fundamentally a mess. Frankly, I thought he had turned a corner and learned some new tricks as a result of last year's unraveling. There are direct, pull no punches talks that you have in the locker room, and then there is the image you projet to the press and the fanbase. The "ugly" should be kept in the family - not aired out in a press conference. Leaders set the tone and absorb the pain -- and an angry frustrated Coach that is blaming others...gets the bed that he made.

Sadly, he seems disconnected from his own role in keeping the wheels on. So we really have to pay that much for someone, even when they have abdicated the fundamental tenets of leadership? I am tired of watching a spoiled child pout and blame others when he doesn't get his way.

I am generally very supportive and have hoped that Coach would learn, and was prepared to be patient with that. In terms of best practices and lessons learned, where is the growth and improvement? I'm not feeling it.

If Coach is toast, my enduring memory of him will be year one running onto the field at LSU , enjoying the mirage of a success he never achieved...and failing to own that his downfall was due to a fundamental management breakdown.

I hope that on both sides of the ball, a leader is slicing through the funk and raising a holy ruckus about the great opportunity before this team tomorrow. Would love to beat the Birds. Would love to see the close-ups of Spurrier's disappointed face, and a terse handshake at the end.

As usual, I'll watch, I'll cheer and I'll want our guys to get a taste of success out of this season. They are young guys, on a long journey in a rickety vessel -- it'd be nice to see them get one day to feel good about it.

Go Vols. Beat the Chickens.

Olddogsrule writes:

I see Evan has subsumed himself to his papa's writing style.Little about the athletes, more about contention. Hey, it sells don't it Evan? When will anybody at KNS report on the all time scoring records through the first six games by the Volunteer offense this year? Considering half of those teams are now BCS No. 2, 10, & 11, I CALL THAT IMPROVING! ...Oh ... forgot ...not on john adams or KNS agenda of 'keep em unhappy', is it, Evan? Let an Alabama paper report on that. Or anybody else far, far away. Can't let on some really good things are hapening over there. It's all about contentous headlines ain't Evan...u quisling.

phantomphixer writes:

I think we have a half descent team, and I still like the coaching staff to a certain degree, think the problem is the spirit of the team and the belief they can win. I really don't know if anyone could win at Tennessee. It's like the old domino theory, You can win without the fans fully supporting the staff. The coaches are afraid to push the players because they will transfer to another school and the players are afraid to give it their all because of what the fans say on sunday if the make mistakes. Reminds of dog chasing its tail. The internet doesn't help either. I don't think the Bear could coach/win nowadays at Tennessee. Recruiting is fair, after kiffen it seems people were scared to go to Tennessee. When you have 4 or 5 star RB going to Bama to sit on the bench for two years instead of starting at Tenn ... just don't know. I think were close to winning just don't know whats missing...

hickoryvol writes:

Old Dog you know most people on this sight don't want to hear the truth. Evan and Adams are just catering to the so called fans good post

dvhill100 writes:

in response to brauhuff#295403:

I am at the point with Tennessee that I do not even care anymore. Losing constantly makes you feel that way. Just hope Tennessee does not give DD the five million dollar buyout. That would really tork me off to have to pay that clown that much money for no more than he has done in 3 years at
Tennessee

Tork or not, that is the contract he has. We can discuss all day whether he was a good hire or not, but the contract stands. He came into a rat's nest of a situation, and with the short trigger in football these days, he had to protect himself against the lynch mob if things didn't go well. He has improved UT football. Has he improved it enough to keep his job? Can't blame a man for making the best deal he can to protect himself and his family.

TheStupidPolice writes:

Improved UT football? IMPROVED UT FOOTBALL? THAT'S JUST PLAIN STUPID! dvhill100, you have the right to remain silent...

gillblog writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

We are in a unique era of SEC football.

Never has Tennessee been so decimated, cupboard bare, and in disarray as the past 4 years. The program rebuild we are attempting would be the greatest in Tennessee history.

The unique problem is, we're attempting this at a time when the conference is the strongest it has ever been. There have been years when the conference was better top-to-bottom, but never have we had so many Top-10 quality teams to compete against for recruits and on the field.

To put it in perspective, how would our 1998 National Championship team do against this year's schedule? The games would certainly be closer, but how many "sure" wins? It's not unreasonable to imagine the 1998 team losing 3 conference games in 2012.

There couldn't be a worse time to rebuild at Tennessee like we're trying to do. And until someone shows me a coach with a team repeatedly in the Top 10 who's doing it without a home recruiting base, I haven't seen a realistic candidate to successfully replace Dooley.

Your last sentence is something to think about.
Leaving out the flashy but inexperienced (at the college level) Gruden, who is out there significantly better than Dooley right now AND would be attainable by UT? Yes, there are a lot of names rolling around, Patterson, Strong, even Petrino, but honestly, which one is so much better than Dooley would be next year that we should make a change?
I don't consider myself to be a great Dooley fan, but what advantage would it be to dump him and the staff and most likely go thru another loosing, 're-building' season in 2013 only for the sake of firing him?

I would be tickled Orange if the Vols win today if for no other reason than it would settle down some of the distractions of Dooley's status.

GloryDays writes:

Derek Dooley doesn't know how to win. The fans first realized that now the players expect to lose. Very sad and frustrating. The bad part is this team is not improving or gets better but it is getting worse. The team lacks effort. Justin Hunter has dropped many passes. The only thing Tyler Bray can throw acurtly is beer bottles! There is a lot of negativity around this program. Dooley deserves to be fired! He is in way over his head!

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

"Bray said what the Vols need more than anything else is a win".

Well No ****, Sherlock. Yes Tyler the Vols do need a win. You are the QB and supposed leader. How about stepping up your game? How about not pouting? How about not throwing the ball to the other team? How about showing some leadership? Grow up a little Bray!

TKO writes:

One twist to this, if UT wins today and wins out, that would give them an 8-4 record and secures another year for Dooley, or not ?

hikerdude writes:

USC gets 500+ yards. Lattimore and Shaw set personal records.

iowavol writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

We are in a unique era of SEC football.

Never has Tennessee been so decimated, cupboard bare, and in disarray as the past 4 years. The program rebuild we are attempting would be the greatest in Tennessee history.

The unique problem is, we're attempting this at a time when the conference is the strongest it has ever been. There have been years when the conference was better top-to-bottom, but never have we had so many Top-10 quality teams to compete against for recruits and on the field.

To put it in perspective, how would our 1998 National Championship team do against this year's schedule? The games would certainly be closer, but how many "sure" wins? It's not unreasonable to imagine the 1998 team losing 3 conference games in 2012.

There couldn't be a worse time to rebuild at Tennessee like we're trying to do. And until someone shows me a coach with a team repeatedly in the Top 10 who's doing it without a home recruiting base, I haven't seen a realistic candidate to successfully replace Dooley.

Excellent observations and well said. At the same time, hot new coaches come into the league with very good recruiting success. The state of our program is not Dooley's fault, it's Hamilton's for hiring someone who wouldn't leave instead of hiring someone who could compete effectively on the recruiting trail. Dooley has been dealt a tough hand and may not be the best out there at playing that hand.

Even with all that, we had Florida on the ropes, could have and should have beaten Miss St and GA. Instead, a fragile team didn't get it done. We need to be real about what's happening.

underthehill writes:

in response to TKO:

One twist to this, if UT wins today and wins out, that would give them an 8-4 record and secures another year for Dooley, or not ?

I see Vandy as the key game..Dooley may get another year unless he loses to Vandy...

Couchdummy writes:

If we beat S Carolina, will the fans return to supporting Coach Dooley? I hope so.

GerryOP writes:

Been a Vol fan for over 50 years, no reason to stop now. This too shall pass...

It's great... To be... A Tennessee Vol!

SevenT writes:

in response to brauhuff#295403:

I am at the point with Tennessee that I do not even care anymore. Losing constantly makes you feel that way. Just hope Tennessee does not give DD the five million dollar buyout. That would really tork me off to have to pay that clown that much money for no more than he has done in 3 years at
Tennessee

That pretty much sums up the attitude of many UT Fans.

You UT fans got what you deserve for firing Fulmer

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

We are in a unique era of SEC football.

Never has Tennessee been so decimated, cupboard bare, and in disarray as the past 4 years. The program rebuild we are attempting would be the greatest in Tennessee history.

The unique problem is, we're attempting this at a time when the conference is the strongest it has ever been. There have been years when the conference was better top-to-bottom, but never have we had so many Top-10 quality teams to compete against for recruits and on the field.

To put it in perspective, how would our 1998 National Championship team do against this year's schedule? The games would certainly be closer, but how many "sure" wins? It's not unreasonable to imagine the 1998 team losing 3 conference games in 2012.

There couldn't be a worse time to rebuild at Tennessee like we're trying to do. And until someone shows me a coach with a team repeatedly in the Top 10 who's doing it without a home recruiting base, I haven't seen a realistic candidate to successfully replace Dooley.

You people were bragging about our talent at the beginning oif the year and basking in a 9-3 or 10-2 season. Same talent as it was then. But now that you know Dooley cannot coach, the talent suddenly is bare again

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to Couchdummy:

If we beat S Carolina, will the fans return to supporting Coach Dooley? I hope so.

Nope, the man is simply not a good coach

rtrchatt writes:

How about those graduation rates for the UT fb program? Near the bottom of the SEC like their on field performance. Guess who was #2 behind Vandy? The red elephants CHAMPIONS ON/OFF THE FIELD. Roll Tide

pcshowtime writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

You people were bragging about our talent at the beginning oif the year and basking in a 9-3 or 10-2 season. Same talent as it was then. But now that you know Dooley cannot coach, the talent suddenly is bare again

agree there is always an excuse. The bottom line is against the teams the big teams we play in the dooley is 0-11 and probably going to be 0-12. FL, GA, BAMA, asnd So car. 3 years in a row no wins.

pcshowtime writes:

It is Dooley's fault he hired Sal Sunseri and switched the D scheme (or did he???). If not the team could be 6-1 and a game up in the east.
But I am not making an excuse it is going to cost him his job.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

How about those graduation rates for the UT fb program? Near the bottom of the SEC like their on field performance. Guess who was #2 behind Vandy? The red elephants CHAMPIONS ON/OFF THE FIELD. Roll Tide

Regardless of how good or for now, how bad the Vols are, one thing we can count on will be trolls like you...........ignoring his own team's web site to hang out on the Vols' site.

Typical of trolls such as you......Chatterbox

6972 writes:

in response to underthehill:

I see Vandy as the key game..Dooley may get another year unless he loses to Vandy...

A loss to Vandy might well be the straw that breaks the camel's back. The MST game was the wake up call for me. And who knows, maybe it was for Hart. Ga and Fla were ranked high but M St should have been well within our ability to win. M St was bitterly disappointing to me and to many others. A Vandy would equal to the Ky loss last year. That would pour salt into an open bleeding wound.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Vol team with bad morale walking into a unreal loud hostile Columbia crowd..Walking into another buzz saw..My believe in miracles is gone.

DonK37920 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Been a Vol fan for over 50 years, no reason to stop now. This too shall pass...

It's great... To be... A Tennessee Vol!

Great Post! The 70s and 80s were filled with several disappointing years. But I'm still here and back then the stadium was still filled every week and louder than ever.
Alabama went through this not long ago, LSU was an afterthought in the 90s. Its a natural cycle that happens to every team.
A positive about Dooley is for the most part he cleaned up the culture of guns, robberies and fights that was really embarrassing for the alumni! Thanks Coach and good luck turning it around!

NomDePlume (Inactive) writes:

Alright!! We are gonna do it this time. I think today's strategy should go something like this: We're going to play hard and really put in an effort for the first quarter. The second quarter we'll put in a little less effort, and by the second half we'll just stop caring altogether. It's a lil strategy I like to call pulling a Dooley.

kd45music writes:

I don't believe there is anything that can save Dooley's job now. Win or lose, he's gone. I used to get excited on game day; not anymore.

thevoice writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

We are in a unique era of SEC football.

Never has Tennessee been so decimated, cupboard bare, and in disarray as the past 4 years. The program rebuild we are attempting would be the greatest in Tennessee history.

The unique problem is, we're attempting this at a time when the conference is the strongest it has ever been. There have been years when the conference was better top-to-bottom, but never have we had so many Top-10 quality teams to compete against for recruits and on the field.

To put it in perspective, how would our 1998 National Championship team do against this year's schedule? The games would certainly be closer, but how many "sure" wins? It's not unreasonable to imagine the 1998 team losing 3 conference games in 2012.

There couldn't be a worse time to rebuild at Tennessee like we're trying to do. And until someone shows me a coach with a team repeatedly in the Top 10 who's doing it without a home recruiting base, I haven't seen a realistic candidate to successfully replace Dooley.

Does that mean Dooley is the best man available for the job?

thevoice writes:

in response to 6972:

A loss to Vandy might well be the straw that breaks the camel's back. The MST game was the wake up call for me. And who knows, maybe it was for Hart. Ga and Fla were ranked high but M St should have been well within our ability to win. M St was bitterly disappointing to me and to many others. A Vandy would equal to the Ky loss last year. That would pour salt into an open bleeding wound.

I think the camel's back has already been broken. Given how this year is turning out, if Dooley remains for next year, one loss that should have been a win in 2013 and the fanbase will completely turn on this program, even more so than it is now. That could get super ultra ugly (it's already ugly now). I think Hart knows that and is in loss mitigation mode now.

NatanElias writes:

in response to UTMaster04:

SEC Program Rankings:
1. Alabama...improving
2. LSU...stagnating
3. Florida...improving
4. South Carolina...stagnating
5. Georgia...stagnating
6. Mississippi State...improving
7. Texas A&M...improving
8. Arkansas...falling
9. Tennessee...falling
10. Missouri...improving
11. Vanderbilt...improving
12. Ole Miss...stagnating
13. Auburn...falling
14. Kentucky...Basketballing

Ole Miss is improving.
Missouri not improving.

GerryOP writes:

in response to DonK37920:

Great Post! The 70s and 80s were filled with several disappointing years. But I'm still here and back then the stadium was still filled every week and louder than ever.
Alabama went through this not long ago, LSU was an afterthought in the 90s. Its a natural cycle that happens to every team.
A positive about Dooley is for the most part he cleaned up the culture of guns, robberies and fights that was really embarrassing for the alumni! Thanks Coach and good luck turning it around!

Thanks Don! If you've been around as long as I have, you've seen the ups and downs. But through it all, always a Vol! Are you like me and tend to believe that the boys wearing orange and white back then were bigger and nastier than the kids now? I guess things change.

I agree with you about Coach Dooley, he's done a lot of good for Tennessee. It just hasn't shown up on the scoreboard. Not sure anybody else could have done any better. I add my thanks for what he has done for UT.

Be well ...

GerryOP writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

We are in a unique era of SEC football.

Never has Tennessee been so decimated, cupboard bare, and in disarray as the past 4 years. The program rebuild we are attempting would be the greatest in Tennessee history.

The unique problem is, we're attempting this at a time when the conference is the strongest it has ever been. There have been years when the conference was better top-to-bottom, but never have we had so many Top-10 quality teams to compete against for recruits and on the field.

To put it in perspective, how would our 1998 National Championship team do against this year's schedule? The games would certainly be closer, but how many "sure" wins? It's not unreasonable to imagine the 1998 team losing 3 conference games in 2012.

There couldn't be a worse time to rebuild at Tennessee like we're trying to do. And until someone shows me a coach with a team repeatedly in the Top 10 who's doing it without a home recruiting base, I haven't seen a realistic candidate to successfully replace Dooley.

Good post! Well said! I agree, Coach Dooley has done a good job, except on the scoreboard. The irony is that when he interviewed for the job he probably told UT that it was 5-6 year rebuilding job and demanded and got a 6 year contract with a high buyout to protect himself if he was not allowed to have the time to complete it. If UT decides to fire him, they deserve to pay. No on knows if anyone could do better, but Dooley took the job and I believe he's done one helluva job, except on the scoreboard. We may never know, given the time he and UT agreed to, if he could have completed it or not. Oh ... well...

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

We are in a unique era of SEC football.

Never has Tennessee been so decimated, cupboard bare, and in disarray as the past 4 years. The program rebuild we are attempting would be the greatest in Tennessee history.

The unique problem is, we're attempting this at a time when the conference is the strongest it has ever been. There have been years when the conference was better top-to-bottom, but never have we had so many Top-10 quality teams to compete against for recruits and on the field.

To put it in perspective, how would our 1998 National Championship team do against this year's schedule? The games would certainly be closer, but how many "sure" wins? It's not unreasonable to imagine the 1998 team losing 3 conference games in 2012.

There couldn't be a worse time to rebuild at Tennessee like we're trying to do. And until someone shows me a coach with a team repeatedly in the Top 10 who's doing it without a home recruiting base, I haven't seen a realistic candidate to successfully replace Dooley.

Good points and well said. Tennessee finds itself caught up in the perfect storm. Just like in the movie "The Perfect Storm" where their were two storms decending on one small fishing boat. One storm is the SEC's dominance in football - the other is the rebuild caused by the upheveal from the Fulmer firing, weasel boy hiring and leaving.

Dooley never had a shot and no one else would have done a better job.

Go Vols, pull the upset!

SevenT writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Good post! Well said! I agree, Coach Dooley has done a good job, except on the scoreboard. The irony is that when he interviewed for the job he probably told UT that it was 5-6 year rebuilding job and demanded and got a 6 year contract with a high buyout to protect himself if he was not allowed to have the time to complete it. If UT decides to fire him, they deserve to pay. No on knows if anyone could do better, but Dooley took the job and I believe he's done one helluva job, except on the scoreboard. We may never know, given the time he and UT agreed to, if he could have completed it or not. Oh ... well...

Ignorant words from a Doolaid drinking appologist aka Fulmer Hater

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