I'm waaaay late in posting this, but hey, I'm not dooce or amalah - this endeavor ain't the one keepin' the lights on and the 'fridge stocked with Diet Coke...
Not that I don't like winning or didn't think we could have won, but truthfully, I was just thrilled that we made it to the game considering the "frustrating" season we started out with.
But then I went and subjected myself to the various message boards and news article comments out there on the internets and apparently just being bummed-out and mildly disappointed is not acceptable. Apparently I should be full of all kinds of vile and nasty opinions and hurling insults about - especially if I'm not even a fan of either of the two teams actually in the game. What gives!?!
Maybe my priorities are all out of whack, but my top five goals for football each season are as follows:
1. National Championship
2. Bowl Game - preferably Sugar
3. SEC Championship
4. SEC East Title
5. Beat Florida and/or Alabama
According to my records, I got two out of five this year. And that's better than any other given day in my life, so I'm good.
I don't have a play by play or many family antics to regale you with this time unless you count my brother running around in his "vintage" UT shirt prior to the game and yelling "Sugar Bowl, baby!" But I do have a few people to acknowledge:
Person in Need of a Naughty Chair: Demonte Bolden. As a member of a UT defensive squad that, quite frankly, sucked much of the beginning of the season, I really don't know where you get off insulting your offense during a press conference. Shame. On. You.
Person I'd Want in My Corner Any Day: Xavier Mitchell (look - his neck is almost wider than his head!). After the game, when the media was bearing down on Erik Ainge with their cameras, he tried to stop them. Some reports have him getting too rough with a reporter. I don't usually condone violence and if he crossed the line, some punishment should come his way, but his reasons for doing so have some merit in my opinion.
Needs to be Whacked on the Nose with a Rolled Up Newspaper: ESPN and Kirk Herbstreit. Seriously. Don't you all EVER get tired of being so recklessly annoying? Breaking a news story without substantial information about Miles leaving for Michigan, just so you can announce it the morning of his conference championship game, is - at best - tacky. All you did was reignite conspiracy theories about how vengeful and spiteful people think you are. As a reporter that's a former Buckeye, were you trying to take a jab at the former Michigan assistant coach that helped to beat you. Repeatedly. Or as a network that spends most of its time kissing the asses of the Big 10 and Pac 10 did you just want to disrupt an SEC Championship being played on another network? OR are you all collectively just incompetent and unprofessional? Please let us know which it is, the suspense is killing me...
The Clinton and Stacey Two Thumbs Up Award: The University of Tennessee Volunteer Football Team and their Big Orange Britches. Way to be bold, boys. I like it. You may not have scored the points you needed to win the game, but if style points counted, you'd have killed 'em.
Best Show of Class: Post game press conference with Phillip Fulmer, David Cutcliff, Erik Ainge and Arian Foster. Ainge tried to take the blame for losing the game. Fulmer interrupted him to say that it wasn't his fault. Cutcliff blamed himself. Foster said in his interview that he tried to take the blame for losing the bowl game last year on a fumble but that the team wouldn't let him so he wasn't going to let Ainge do it either.
Worst Show of Class: Most of the Rest of the SEC East. Dear Lord. You would think we were a group of orange-panted terrorists that hijacked our way into this game and were expected to annihilate LSU. I, for one, have heard just about enough from the GatorDawgWildcatCommodore Contingency. If you're fans of an SEC East team who feels cheated that your team didn't get to play the game on Saturday, I would like to suggest a 4th grade math refresher course. If you're fans of an SEC East team with ZERO expectations of playing in the game and yet have gone out of your way to act a fool with joy as though LSU really pulled one over on us, I would suggest 1: paying attention 2: changing the channel to basketball and 3: shutting the hell up.
People I Feel Even Worse for: The Lady Vols, who beat #4 North Carolina the same day as the UT / LSU game and no one really even noticed. Sorry, Pat. Come January 2nd, I'm all Lady Vol. Please forgive me until then.
I'm sure I'll have more to say later about the impending Outback Bowl; why on earth you'd want a rodent for a mascot; why NPR's John Feistien needs to stop talking about football before my head explodes; or why the BCS is set up to allow teams that don't play a conference championship to be elligible for a national championship....
Until then - I just say GO VOLS!!