John Adams: How the Vols could rise to top in SEC East

John Adams

A preseason magazine has offered hope to the rest of college football by projecting scenarios that could end Alabama’s dynasty, now comprised of three national championships in four seasons.

Athlon’s “7 Threats To Saban’s Dynasty” left me wondering about the other end of the standings, specifically what it would take for Tennessee to rise to the top in the SEC East after three consecutive seven-loss seasons.

In exploring the possibilities, let’s start close to home. Obviously, new coach Butch Jones has to do a better job than the three coaches before him — Derek Dooley, Lane Kiffin and the new-millennium version of Phillip Fulmer.

You probably have already noticed that fans and recruits have an affinity for the personable Jones, who is off to a flying start toward his 2014 signing class. But you don’t know what he can do in the heat of an SEC battle.

For the purpose of this column, let’s assume he can hold his own against the best and brightest of SEC coaches or at least consistently limit his on-the-field personnel to 11 players. Then, we can widen our focus to include outside factors that could assist Tennessee’s ascent within the SEC East during the next five years.

Saban Retires: Never mind if Alabama is in the SEC West. The Vols still have to play the Tide every season.

And that’s as close to a certain defeat as a game of chance can provide.

But as good as Alabama has been under Nick Saban, as good as it was in the 1960s and 70s under Bear Bryant, there was sporadic success but no dynasties in between. When the 62-year-old Saban retires, who’s to say the Tide won’t hire some guy named “Mike?”

Spurrier Retires: There’s a Grand Canyon-size gap between South Carolina football with and without Steve Spurrier.

Without him, South Carolina is clearly a program Tennessee could overtake.

At 68, Spurrier looks as though he could coach another 10 years. It’s in UT’s best interests if he doesn’t.

Dawgs’ Recruiting Suffers: The Vols know how much Rodney Garner’s recruiting can do for a program. In his brief stint as an assistant on Fulmer’s staff, he recruited three future All-SEC players from the state of Georgia.

In Garner’s 15 years as Georgia’s recruiting coordinator, they won 139 games. After he left to join Gus Malzahn’s new staff at Auburn this year, you had to question how well the Bulldogs will recruit without him.

Will Muschamp Bombs: Following a disappointing 7-6 season in 2011, Florida bounced back to win 11 games in Muschamp’s second year as coach.

But there’s not enough of a track record with this first-time head coach to predict whether the Gators will have long-term success on his watch. The worse he does, the better for the Vols.

James Franklin Leaves: Just a few years ago, no one would have suggested Vanderbilt would have a bearing on UT football.

However, James Franklin has had unparalleled success at Vanderbilt, winning six games in his first season and nine in his second. Since when has a Commodores coach posed a greater threat to the Vols on the field and in recruiting?

Tennessee would be better off if Franklin capitalizes on his success by taking another job.

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 » 94

TheVolMan writes:

Great article

TheVolMan writes:

JA, don't worry about the morons who trash you.

Shake_Bake writes:

I didn't realize Spurrier was that old. He really needs to retire! If Franklin continues to be successful, he won't be at Vandy much longer. I wouldn't be surprised if Bama gave Saban a blank check, and told him to just fill in the zeros, if he ever mentioned the word retirement. He could coach for another five years,...and I REALLY hope I'm wrong!

We need to just take care of our house, and our own program; can't control what these other guys do.

imw8n4u writes:

I don't buy into this theory that for us to catch up, the other teams have to somehow come back down to our level. This isn't some race to the bottom, this is the SEC. It's time for us to rise to the challenge and stop whining about the level of competition. Also, this isn't some game of chance as Adams puts it, this is a game of skill, and to win we have to once again get the level of skill it takes to compete. So far Jones seems to be able to do that, I just hope he can keep everything together through what will almost certainly be a challenging season. Go Vols!

rockypop writes:

in response to TheVolMan:

Great article

What is so great about an article that suggests that the only way UT can regain its SEC East supremacy is for all of the other division coaches to retire, leave or fail? That's like listening to Fulmer always saying that UT can win the East, but it needs help.

A great article would articulate what Tennessee needs to do to win the East while assuming nothing changes on the coaching & recruiting fronts everywhere else. Like great coaches always say - they don't worry much about the other guys, all they can control is their team.

Seems kinda fatalistic to think that the only way UT football can succeed in the future is for everybody else to fail.

NowHearThis writes:

Maybe the Big Orange Nation can convince the SEC to move Florida and Georgia out of the East and put Mississippi St and Ole Miss in. That would just about do it.

8inarow writes:

Cute article. The Vols road to success happens when all the good teams above them fail.

grandtad#1402265 writes:

I like to think we will RISE TO THE TOP instead of waiting on the other teams to fall down to our level. There is so much talent out there in high schools it should be easy for us to get the right team with the right coaches and recruiters. Just have to work hard for what we get and I think this staff will see us to the top in about 4 years. Teams come and go all the time in all conferences for different reasons like retirements and coaches moving from place to place, that's normal. We'll be back! GBO!

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

If Saban ever retires, Alabubba will hire Spurrier.

sameolvolalum writes:

Saban wins due to his having the whole system in sync on a consistent basis,his players seem motivated, he's got a seriously devoted fan base and no other school can approach their level of talent.......for now. I agree that his vacating the HC job in Tuscaloosa would detonate an enormously negative paradigm shift for the tide. In Gainsville, Muschamp appears to be boneheaded in various respects; a lot of them, but the gators enjoy the richest talent garden this side of LA. The jury's out on that guy. Spurrier won't last but a couple more years and his amplified level of grouchiness is showing in his recruiting classes. Without Clowney they'd be pretty average and their season seems dependent on his health. I think the chickens peaked around 2011......downhill hereon. Franklin's headed some place special and prudently shouldn't stay in Nashville........that is if Vandy can pull off another season like the last one. They'd better enjoy their W's while they can. Kentucky and Missouri appear to be perennial cellar dwellers....UK a bit lower....and don't let the cat's recent recruiting successes fool ya'. Considering A&M's strong-appearing setup, They seem to have a lot going for them in the next few seasons. 'Strong looking program through-and-through. LSU's annually reloaded talent, along with Auburn's and Ole Miss's recently strong recruiting classes are going to make the SECW the toughest anywhere. UGA's strong as long as Richt stays around, but their recruiting harvests are being plucked more and more by a half-dozen of us other SEC schools. Who am I kidding, though? They're a rich, traditionally powerful program, so they'll normally be in contention. Arkansas seems to have righted their ship, but the middle of the SECW seems to be their spot, along with MSU, in spite of their improvements. They'd be better off in another conference. As for our Vols: CBJ has hit the ground running with an exclamation point showcased by the assembly of a staff who're immediately on the same page on multiple levels and strong as recruiters, made obvious due to an already remarkable group of commitments for 2014. I think I'm with a good-sized group of Big Orange fans in being a believer that, in spite of the strength of our SEC rivals, that great big letter "T" on those helmets will once again be faced with respect from the toughest of opponents......and with fear from all the rest. UT's on the way up in football, baseball, men's and women's basketball (and softball), so the upcoming 3 years should be entertaining in Neyland and wherever else the Big Orange appears. 'Just a guess, but I believe it's an educated one. GBO!

vol1994 writes:

in response to imw8n4u:

I don't buy into this theory that for us to catch up, the other teams have to somehow come back down to our level. This isn't some race to the bottom, this is the SEC. It's time for us to rise to the challenge and stop whining about the level of competition. Also, this isn't some game of chance as Adams puts it, this is a game of skill, and to win we have to once again get the level of skill it takes to compete. So far Jones seems to be able to do that, I just hope he can keep everything together through what will almost certainly be a challenging season. Go Vols!

+1

What do Texas, Miami, Nebraska, Tennesee,
UCLA, and Florida State have in common?
These teams were Elite but went through losing stretches.

We will bounce back as did (or will) these other teams. We will beat Florida with or w/o Muschamp as their coach, definitely USCjr, and Alabama. Jones must sign elite talent the next three yrs, and then we will compete for the East in 2016, and future years. Vandy? They don't belong in the same sentence as UT and I have no doubt we will beat them 80 % or more over the next ten yrs.

I don't buy "the other SEC teams must change coaches junk" for UT be BACK on top.

Say what you want, but Adams has disliked UT as long as I can remember, even in the early 90's when I attended this Great University!

8inarow writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Saban wins due to his having the whole system in sync on a consistent basis,his players seem motivated, he's got a seriously devoted fan base and no other school can approach their level of talent.......for now. I agree that his vacating the HC job in Tuscaloosa would detonate an enormously negative paradigm shift for the tide. In Gainsville, Muschamp appears to be boneheaded in various respects; a lot of them, but the gators enjoy the richest talent garden this side of LA. The jury's out on that guy. Spurrier won't last but a couple more years and his amplified level of grouchiness is showing in his recruiting classes. Without Clowney they'd be pretty average and their season seems dependent on his health. I think the chickens peaked around 2011......downhill hereon. Franklin's headed some place special and prudently shouldn't stay in Nashville........that is if Vandy can pull off another season like the last one. They'd better enjoy their W's while they can. Kentucky and Missouri appear to be perennial cellar dwellers....UK a bit lower....and don't let the cat's recent recruiting successes fool ya'. Considering A&M's strong-appearing setup, They seem to have a lot going for them in the next few seasons. 'Strong looking program through-and-through. LSU's annually reloaded talent, along with Auburn's and Ole Miss's recently strong recruiting classes are going to make the SECW the toughest anywhere. UGA's strong as long as Richt stays around, but their recruiting harvests are being plucked more and more by a half-dozen of us other SEC schools. Who am I kidding, though? They're a rich, traditionally powerful program, so they'll normally be in contention. Arkansas seems to have righted their ship, but the middle of the SECW seems to be their spot, along with MSU, in spite of their improvements. They'd be better off in another conference. As for our Vols: CBJ has hit the ground running with an exclamation point showcased by the assembly of a staff who're immediately on the same page on multiple levels and strong as recruiters, made obvious due to an already remarkable group of commitments for 2014. I think I'm with a good-sized group of Big Orange fans in being a believer that, in spite of the strength of our SEC rivals, that great big letter "T" on those helmets will once again be faced with respect from the toughest of opponents......and with fear from all the rest. UT's on the way up in football, baseball, men's and women's basketball (and softball), so the upcoming 3 years should be entertaining in Neyland and wherever else the Big Orange appears. 'Just a guess, but I believe it's an educated one. GBO!

Going on 8 years now reading how the "Vols are on the rise". Better hurry up.

mpp4211 writes:

Last time I checked ROCKY TOP ment you went over the bumps and rocks to get to the Top damn them other IF's BELIEVE in UT

vol1994 writes:

in response to Ghost_Of_Neyland:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vicky, please pick up the cleaning on the way home.

Phil

volfan73120#211815 writes:

in response to Shake_Bake:

I didn't realize Spurrier was that old. He really needs to retire! If Franklin continues to be successful, he won't be at Vandy much longer. I wouldn't be surprised if Bama gave Saban a blank check, and told him to just fill in the zeros, if he ever mentioned the word retirement. He could coach for another five years,...and I REALLY hope I'm wrong!

We need to just take care of our house, and our own program; can't control what these other guys do.

The Bear was forced out at70.It was a state law in Alabama. If it is still the law, Saban has 8 more years.

arkyvol writes:

damn! what a downer. adams prescription for success is not that the vols ascend to the rarified atmosphere where the top sec teams dwell, but that through retirement and bad recruiting, they fall back to our level. in other words, the conference championship, if and when the vols win it again, may or may not get them into a bcs type bowl. to hell with it, if he's right.

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Going on 8 years now reading how the "Vols are on the rise". Better hurry up.

Clever, there, little puppy, with the 8-in-a-row moniker mirroring your negative octet. Apparently you're too young to have experienced enough of life to know 8 years is a short history. No doubt your impatience spills out into road rage and silly little girl tantrums. Maybe in a few decades you'll figure out that programs such as Tennessee's........and there are a dozen-or-so out there........possess too much prominence and fiscal backing to remain in any state of doldrums for too long. Too much money simply demands....and gets....better. Quit getting your 8 year old panties in a wad.

tennlions writes:

This is pure Adams. I have no problem with the truth but to say that the ONLY way UT rises to prominence is for all others to fall is pure stupidity. I'm not even talking about 2013. He proposes that it never will happen until Nicky and Spurrier both retire. I accept that returning to the upper level of the SEC is going to take a few years but basically Adams is saying that it will be next to impossible.
Also, to General Neyland, I think there is a place where fans can "support"(hope for good things) their team without getting drunk on the Kool Aid.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say or.......
This team start building this season and at least get to a bowl game.
Witch Doctor say then....
New recruiting class starts building(Jalen Hurd looks like a Pro in those recent videos from Ohio..wow)and in a couple years we start competing again...
Witch Doctor say this scenario is just as possible. Witch Doctor say Adams ok in Witch Doctors book, just fun to pick at..lol
Bones never lie.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I agree with everything JA said with the exception of Saban. Kirby Smart will take over and maintain what Saban created. The good news is: The SEC has finally figured out how to compete with Bama. Now we will see if they are able to build teams depth wise that can beat a team like Bama on a regular basis. UT will benefit when Spurrier retires, just like USCe benefited when Fulmer was terminated. Rodney Garner leaving UGA was huge and Aubie will gain ground on the West because of it.

lstbodeanvol writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Clever, there, little puppy, with the 8-in-a-row moniker mirroring your negative octet. Apparently you're too young to have experienced enough of life to know 8 years is a short history. No doubt your impatience spills out into road rage and silly little girl tantrums. Maybe in a few decades you'll figure out that programs such as Tennessee's........and there are a dozen-or-so out there........possess too much prominence and fiscal backing to remain in any state of doldrums for too long. Too much money simply demands....and gets....better. Quit getting your 8 year old panties in a wad.

he lives on a UT web site because he IS SCARED

thevoice writes:

in response to imw8n4u:

I don't buy into this theory that for us to catch up, the other teams have to somehow come back down to our level. This isn't some race to the bottom, this is the SEC. It's time for us to rise to the challenge and stop whining about the level of competition. Also, this isn't some game of chance as Adams puts it, this is a game of skill, and to win we have to once again get the level of skill it takes to compete. So far Jones seems to be able to do that, I just hope he can keep everything together through what will almost certainly be a challenging season. Go Vols!

+1

rbwtn writes:

As soon as the SEC looses the Championship recruits naturally will be going else where. Please take that into consideration and our chances of winning the championship again is diminishing it's just natural. The SEC schools have got to increase their scouting aggression to stay ahead and NOT relax, as we boast on where we've been. I can see it beginning and it doesn't look promising.

tarter_sauce writes:

the state of Tennessee does not produce a whole bunch of high school talent every year but there is always some very high quality players each year and keeping those instate players is a must for UT to climb out of its hole . Bear Bryant understood that and judging by Jones commitment to recruit instate it seems like he gets it too.

ColdBlackWind writes:

We will beat a Saban coached Bama team in the next three years. Lame almost did it in his onesy. Doesn't mean we will win the East. Domination and a run like the Billy Bob's have had will be tough to match going forward with teams like A&M coming in. Just need to get competitive and our chances will come. Play for and make the breaks, when one comes our way....SCORE. GBO!

BigOrangeFreak writes:

I just hope Butch Jones can coach as good as he can recruit.

And I wouldn't want to back into East supremacy as Mr. Adams suggests. Perhaps he was just saying this is the most likely way for the Vols to rise again, but I'd like to think it could be accomplished the old fashioned way; by earning it.

8inarow writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Clever, there, little puppy, with the 8-in-a-row moniker mirroring your negative octet. Apparently you're too young to have experienced enough of life to know 8 years is a short history. No doubt your impatience spills out into road rage and silly little girl tantrums. Maybe in a few decades you'll figure out that programs such as Tennessee's........and there are a dozen-or-so out there........possess too much prominence and fiscal backing to remain in any state of doldrums for too long. Too much money simply demands....and gets....better. Quit getting your 8 year old panties in a wad.

Marlette...I can only go on what I have experienced since the mid-70's. The Vols have faced the Gators from TitleTown, 27 times. The Gators have won 21, including the last 8.

Now YOU may look at that as progress, but many Vols on this site aren't eating the dog-food. Seems you have the whole bag to yourself.

OrangePride writes:

First of all to those of you telling us JA is just "telling it like it is." He is not. He is telling us what HE thinks "is" is. It's a conjecture at best. My opinion of that is different. We do not need the rest of the east to sink to our level. We need to rise to where we have been so many times before.....a top contending SEC team, regardless of where others are. Lets go thru JA's analysis just a bit. 1). Alabama is in the west, so whether Saban stays or goes is only marginally important. We beat all the others from the east and we win. 2) Richt is a good coach, no question. They recruit well, no question. But they are NOT invincible or uncatchable. With two good recruiting classes and a second year to learn the Jones system we could definitely be right there. We were darn close to beating them last year and had the worst team in a century. 3)South Carolina....uhhhh...excuse me for mentioning this, but our record against Spurrier at SC is not that bad. And like Georgia, we had chances to win that game last year. 4) Franklin?? What??? Tennessee is now afraid of Vandy and Franklin???!!! Get a grip JA. Yes...they had a good year last year and whipped us fair and square. But that hardly means dynasty. This year is probably a toss up right now. Future years? Order is about to be restored whether he stays or goes. So here's the bottom line. For Tennessee to win the east, we have to have two or three good recruiting classes and Jones et. al. have to put a system into place that can win. That second part will not become clear til he actually produces on the field, but his history is on his side there. SO GO VOLS! RISE TO THE TOP!!!

OrangePride writes:

Oh yea. I left out Florida. For my money the jury is out on Muschamp. His first year was lousy and he escaped with some close victories last year. But whether he stays or goes, I don't think he has yet donned the mantle of wonderment as a coach. If we had even a marginal defense last year, we win that game. Right now they are one of the top dogs, but with some good athletes and sound fundamentals, we can reach their level in the very forseeable future. I am very proud that we compete in a conference that is the best of the best. I want everyone to stay right where they are and for Tennessee to come up to that top level. What kind of accomplishment would it be if all the other teams simply sank to mediocrity?

PHAT_VOL writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Saban wins due to his having the whole system in sync on a consistent basis,his players seem motivated, he's got a seriously devoted fan base and no other school can approach their level of talent.......for now. I agree that his vacating the HC job in Tuscaloosa would detonate an enormously negative paradigm shift for the tide. In Gainsville, Muschamp appears to be boneheaded in various respects; a lot of them, but the gators enjoy the richest talent garden this side of LA. The jury's out on that guy. Spurrier won't last but a couple more years and his amplified level of grouchiness is showing in his recruiting classes. Without Clowney they'd be pretty average and their season seems dependent on his health. I think the chickens peaked around 2011......downhill hereon. Franklin's headed some place special and prudently shouldn't stay in Nashville........that is if Vandy can pull off another season like the last one. They'd better enjoy their W's while they can. Kentucky and Missouri appear to be perennial cellar dwellers....UK a bit lower....and don't let the cat's recent recruiting successes fool ya'. Considering A&M's strong-appearing setup, They seem to have a lot going for them in the next few seasons. 'Strong looking program through-and-through. LSU's annually reloaded talent, along with Auburn's and Ole Miss's recently strong recruiting classes are going to make the SECW the toughest anywhere. UGA's strong as long as Richt stays around, but their recruiting harvests are being plucked more and more by a half-dozen of us other SEC schools. Who am I kidding, though? They're a rich, traditionally powerful program, so they'll normally be in contention. Arkansas seems to have righted their ship, but the middle of the SECW seems to be their spot, along with MSU, in spite of their improvements. They'd be better off in another conference. As for our Vols: CBJ has hit the ground running with an exclamation point showcased by the assembly of a staff who're immediately on the same page on multiple levels and strong as recruiters, made obvious due to an already remarkable group of commitments for 2014. I think I'm with a good-sized group of Big Orange fans in being a believer that, in spite of the strength of our SEC rivals, that great big letter "T" on those helmets will once again be faced with respect from the toughest of opponents......and with fear from all the rest. UT's on the way up in football, baseball, men's and women's basketball (and softball), so the upcoming 3 years should be entertaining in Neyland and wherever else the Big Orange appears. 'Just a guess, but I believe it's an educated one. GBO!

GOOD READ!

OrangePride writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Going on 8 years now reading how the "Vols are on the rise". Better hurry up.

Absolutely correct. This has been a refrain for too long. BUT....had Kiffin stayed (not that I long for that to have happened), I believe Tennessee would have been contending at the top by his second or third year. Of course the side show stuff would likely have been dreadful. Dooley? Well, many of us including me were just wrong to have been hopeful. But are we wrong to be hopeful again?? If this recruiting class and CBJ's previous on-field success is any indicator, then I don't think so. We will see more this fall. The W-L may not be great this year, but I believe we will see some fire and competitiveness that has not been around Neyland Stadium in quite a while. So in response to your admonishment of "hurry up".....we ARE hurrying....look at recruiting numbers if you don't think so.

FanNotSheep writes:

Journalists don't understand the competitive fire that burns inside every great football player and coach. They never had it and never will grasp its significance.

If UT signs better players than the other SEC teams and coaches them up as well or better than the coaches listed in the article, they will climb right back up the ladder. If they don't, they won't. Jones doesn't give a dadgum about Spurrier or Saban, he just wants to get his players in and run his program his way. He is convinced that will win ballgames and championships.

As for Franklin, he is changing the paradigm at Vandy. Look at Duke basketball. Look at Stanford football. Same academic standards and they are national powers. It will be harder to do in the SEC than the PAC-however many teams they have, but if he continues to get the best athletes with the brains to make C's in the classroom at Vandy, he will win. Maybe he is one more guy wanting to take the money and run, or maybe he has something more to prove. It will be interesting to watch.

Orange_Beach writes:

Or maybe every team the Big Yellow play will have the flu game week, or maybe their buses will run off in the ditch on the way to the stadium. That's the spirit, instead of our team getting better let's hope for decline across the rest of the SEC. Typical UThug mentality.

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

Or maybe every team the Big Yellow play will have the flu game week, or maybe their buses will run off in the ditch on the way to the stadium. That's the spirit, instead of our team getting better let's hope for decline across the rest of the SEC. Typical UThug mentality.

So, what team do you pull for?

Orange_Beach writes:

Well let's just say I was pulling for Oklahoma the other night.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Can't argue with what Adams said. It won't be good for the SEC top to bottom if all that happens anytime soon. Like most have said I'd rather Tennessee rises to the top by competing with the top and beating them. It'd be fun that way.

I'd say Georgia's been the closest to Bama in recruiting...maybe LSU? Now Ohio St.(yuch)!

Right now a great start will be to beat everyone we should beat and add a couple of surprises in there. MAYBE lose the others real close.hehe Although if we keep them close there's alway's the possiblility of a coaching change.halgh!ulp!

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

Well let's just say I was pulling for Oklahoma the other night.

So you basically pull for any team that goes up against UT?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

Well let's just say I was pulling for Oklahoma the other night.

I heard that..I pulled for Okie last year.

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Journalists don't understand the competitive fire that burns inside every great football player and coach. They never had it and never will grasp its significance.

If UT signs better players than the other SEC teams and coaches them up as well or better than the coaches listed in the article, they will climb right back up the ladder. If they don't, they won't. Jones doesn't give a dadgum about Spurrier or Saban, he just wants to get his players in and run his program his way. He is convinced that will win ballgames and championships.

As for Franklin, he is changing the paradigm at Vandy. Look at Duke basketball. Look at Stanford football. Same academic standards and they are national powers. It will be harder to do in the SEC than the PAC-however many teams they have, but if he continues to get the best athletes with the brains to make C's in the classroom at Vandy, he will win. Maybe he is one more guy wanting to take the money and run, or maybe he has something more to prove. It will be interesting to watch.

My prediction is that Franklin will leave Vandy this year with or without a winning season.

The coaching and recruiting have gotten much tougher for him at both TN and KY. Vandy will be back at the bottom of the SEC East with or without Franklin in the next 2 years.

Where he will go- the ACC (most likely) or the Big Ten.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Oh yea. I left out Florida. For my money the jury is out on Muschamp. His first year was lousy and he escaped with some close victories last year. But whether he stays or goes, I don't think he has yet donned the mantle of wonderment as a coach. If we had even a marginal defense last year, we win that game. Right now they are one of the top dogs, but with some good athletes and sound fundamentals, we can reach their level in the very forseeable future. I am very proud that we compete in a conference that is the best of the best. I want everyone to stay right where they are and for Tennessee to come up to that top level. What kind of accomplishment would it be if all the other teams simply sank to mediocrity?

In this league timing is everything. A&M timed it right with Sumlin and the recruitment of Johnny football. Florida was dreadful on offense, and as defense heavy as the SEC is that still wasn't enough to hide their offensive flaws. Saban showed the league you need to be solid on both sides of the ball, and for some reason 2/3rd's of the league doesn't understand that.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to tennlions:

This is pure Adams. I have no problem with the truth but to say that the ONLY way UT rises to prominence is for all others to fall is pure stupidity. I'm not even talking about 2013. He proposes that it never will happen until Nicky and Spurrier both retire. I accept that returning to the upper level of the SEC is going to take a few years but basically Adams is saying that it will be next to impossible.
Also, to General Neyland, I think there is a place where fans can "support"(hope for good things) their team without getting drunk on the Kool Aid.

I don't think JA was saying that's the only way UT regains the East title, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have those things occur. The formula is simple, but only a few coaches' in America really understand how to build a quality roster. Let's have faith that Butch Jones is one of them..GBO!!

antonio14313 writes:

ahhh, now THAT'S the john adams we all know and loath (as tennessee fans). welcome back. or, unwelcome back. just when i thought that you were turning over a new leaf. oh well...

i hope that EVERY SINGLE COACH in the SEC stays, just so they can feel the affects of UT football dominance re-emerging! GO VOLS!!!

t

sameolvolalum writes:

My bad, fellas'. I unintentionally responded to a slimy gator troll (8inahole). I've had my horse ranch in SC for 11 years and have never trolled the game chickens' site. In fact, Columbia's paper....The State....doesn't allow such trash on their athletic sites, which is a similar practice with most the other college sites in the SEC. KNS: Why don't you clean up your act and eliminate those repeat defenders? More than anyone....you know who they are. Muschamp won't last, losing key FU recruits to FSU and Miami, et al. He's slightly just a notch above Dooley. Spurrier's losing his grip and won't last much longer, either (too old....been [am] there), and the dawgs are headed for a slump. Seriously. SEC east prominence for the up-and-coming Vols is clearly approaching and very soon Atlanta will be seeing Orange at season's end. The western side will beat itself up beforehand. GBO! BTW. Good article JA. Keep it up.

CCLC writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I agree with everything JA said with the exception of Saban. Kirby Smart will take over and maintain what Saban created. The good news is: The SEC has finally figured out how to compete with Bama. Now we will see if they are able to build teams depth wise that can beat a team like Bama on a regular basis. UT will benefit when Spurrier retires, just like USCe benefited when Fulmer was terminated. Rodney Garner leaving UGA was huge and Aubie will gain ground on the West because of it.

Bryan McCLendon was doing all the heavy lifting and was the point man for recruiting. Garner had started to slip some five years ago. He also bumped heads the CTG. Garners DL had underperformed for some time now finishing somewhere at the bottom of the SEC in 2012 against the rush behind UT. CTG was talking about leaving if something didn't change. There were a lot of recruits that complained that Garner wasn't following up with them. So with 9 weeks left until signing day Garner opps for one more payday and leaves for Auburn. Georgia still finishes with a top 10 class. Garner did not become a DC something he craved while at Georgia but never got. Eventually, he will leave the Barners and finish his career as a HC at some small college. Wish him well, but it was time for a fresh recruiting direction and a new approach to coaching a talented group of defensive linemen.
just sayin'

CCLC writes:

in response to Ghost_Of_Neyland:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It has been a rather sad decent into the lower tier since the Great Pumkin walked the sidelines in KnoxVegas. I mean, the Big Orange have been in a heap of fail since Fulmer was run off: three coaches, academic improprieties, Lane Kiffin, athletic department budget red ink,sexual scandal losses by the dozens, Da'Rick Rogers' career, buttchugging...oh my.Just seems like movie sometimes and that the show will end and folks will walk out and laugh. But this is no movie. Victories over Vandy and Kentucky are no long a given. And all though the bamboo warrior has departed for the NFL the effects of his brief stay will not disappear over a single season or two......
just sayin'
Georgia Tennessee
1997 Outback, W Orange, L *
1998 Peach, W Fiesta, W *
1999 Outback, W Fiesta, L
2000 Oahu, W Cotton, L
2001 Music City, L Citrus, W
2002 Sugar, W Peach, L
2003 Capital One, W Peach, L
2004 Outback, W Cotton, W
2005 Sugar, L
2006 Chick-Fil-A, W Outback, L
2007 Sugar, W Outback, W
2008 Capital One, W
2009 Independence, W Chick-Fil-A, L
2010 Liberty, L Music City, L
2011 Outback, L
2012 Capital One, W

12-4 4-8

RockyMtnVol writes:

If and buts were candy and nuts, what a merry Christmas it would be....If you look back at CPF's years, it was just about this type of scenario, UT was the hot college in the SEC and USC, Alabama, Auburn etc...were struggling, and UT was the benefactor of Top Recuits. Many schools go through cycles, UT will have their run with CBJ.

CoverOrange writes:

For one team to rise some other team has to drop. Now did that happen because the first team got better or the second team got worse? Chicken or egg. Argument could be made either way and I already know which way certain posters will argue.

antonio14313 writes:

in response to tennlions:

This is pure Adams. I have no problem with the truth but to say that the ONLY way UT rises to prominence is for all others to fall is pure stupidity. I'm not even talking about 2013. He proposes that it never will happen until Nicky and Spurrier both retire. I accept that returning to the upper level of the SEC is going to take a few years but basically Adams is saying that it will be next to impossible.
Also, to General Neyland, I think there is a place where fans can "support"(hope for good things) their team without getting drunk on the Kool Aid.

i wouldn't worry too much about someone that critisizes anyone that supports UT, HOWEVER they choose to show support for UT. that's what real fans do. support! fake (or fairweather) fans support only when the team's successful, which that's what he is. he's small potatoes.

and, i agree. i'm not saying that john adams is stupid (cause i don't know the man personally), but his way of thinking in this article is certainly stupid.

go vols.

t

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to CCLC:

It has been a rather sad decent into the lower tier since the Great Pumkin walked the sidelines in KnoxVegas. I mean, the Big Orange have been in a heap of fail since Fulmer was run off: three coaches, academic improprieties, Lane Kiffin, athletic department budget red ink,sexual scandal losses by the dozens, Da'Rick Rogers' career, buttchugging...oh my.Just seems like movie sometimes and that the show will end and folks will walk out and laugh. But this is no movie. Victories over Vandy and Kentucky are no long a given. And all though the bamboo warrior has departed for the NFL the effects of his brief stay will not disappear over a single season or two......
just sayin'
Georgia Tennessee
1997 Outback, W Orange, L *
1998 Peach, W Fiesta, W *
1999 Outback, W Fiesta, L
2000 Oahu, W Cotton, L
2001 Music City, L Citrus, W
2002 Sugar, W Peach, L
2003 Capital One, W Peach, L
2004 Outback, W Cotton, W
2005 Sugar, L
2006 Chick-Fil-A, W Outback, L
2007 Sugar, W Outback, W
2008 Capital One, W
2009 Independence, W Chick-Fil-A, L
2010 Liberty, L Music City, L
2011 Outback, L
2012 Capital One, W

12-4 4-8

Coach Richt would trade all his bowl wins for the one UT had in 1998

Coach Richt would probably trade all his bowl wins for the following video to disappear from the face of the earth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd6T4M...

arkyvol writes:

following adam's logic, the only way the vols win is if the rest of the conference comes down to our level. why not go all the way and hope the level of play of all of college football also falls off? i mean, what's the point of winning a conference championship thats not worth having?

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