Monday, November 19, 2007

Fulmer, Vols Do What's Expected And No More, Can You Blame Him?

You've got to give it to Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer.
He did exactly what he was supposed to do this year: The Volunteers beat the teams they were supposed to beat.
They also lost to the teams they were supposed to lose to.
All three of the losses were pretty much blowouts that could have been much worse and that could have been a little closer.
In the first game of the season, they got ran all over by California 31-45.
Two games later they got pasted by Florida 59-20 (didn't most teams, they had Superman?).
And the Alabama game got out of hand 41-17, but hey, they hung on against South Carolina. They hit on all cylinders againstGeorgia . And they took care of business against Arkansas. As a result of handling their workmanlike business, the Vols could be playing for the SEC Championship with a win vs. Kentucky on Saturday.
And to think, some people counted on Phil out after the team was 1-2 after the Gators thumping.
But you know? If college football teams could simply beat the teams they're supposed to beat then the average tenure of a college coach would be a lot longer and more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong now, the Vols stunk at times against the Gamecocks (especially the second half) and the Gators, and even against Vanderbilt. But you gotta love a team that gives you exactly what you expect. Tennessee didn't figure to finish better than 8-2 this year and they didn't. They beat the cupcakes of their schedule (SMU, Louisiana-Lafayette) and lost to the powerhouses. Big deal? It could have been much worse, they could have schedule Appalachian State (like Michigan did). They could have scheduled South Florida (like Auburn did). They didn't. They scheduled Cal as the first team, Florida as the third. You've got to give to coaches like that (LSU scheduled Virginia Tech second, and actually opened the season in SEC play with a game AT Mississippi State.) So, while half the southeastern United States is going against ya Phil, I got yer back. And no, I'm not encouraging low expectations from the Vols. You didn't shock the world, Phil, but you weren't playing the world either; you simply managed to keep your job. In these days in times, it's enough.

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