So, I went out of town on vacation last week and upon returning I found out that 106.7 the Fan is no more. Apparently, they decided to change formats last week from national sports-talk from ESPN to mindless top 40 hits. Looks like I've got an open pre-set on my radio....
Of course, we should have seen this coming when they started pulling all local programming, but I was still hopeful. I may not always love ESPN, but at least they had SportsCenter every 20 minutes to catch up on headlines. That's not always useful this time of year, but it's invaluable when its football season.
Speaking of football season, the preview magazines are hitting the stores hot and heavy these days. I've picked up a few of them because it's that time of year when I start to miss football the most. It may be the cruelest time of all because football is so close and yet, it seems so far away. The fact that CSS is replaying the same five "classic" SEC football games over and over again (yes, they are good but there have to be more classic games out there....) doesn't help things. You flip past, see football and get excited for a minute that maybe you took a really long nap and football is actually happening, right here, right now.
It's interesting to read the pre-season predictions of just how exactly things will shake out. And then to contrast that to how the fanbase expectations are shaping up. Of course, for college football fans this is the time of year when every team in the country is in the running for a national title. We're all undefeated and the season is full of hope and potential for us. Many of those hopes will be crushed on opening day or within the first few weeks, but for right now, we can all savor the fact that we're not eliminated from contention.
One thing I find interesting is how the conclusion of last season can impact how fans feel going in to this year. Last season, Vandy went to a bowl and won for the first time since Columbus discovered America so that fan base is pretty pumped up, thinking they might rise above doormat in the SEC. Meanwhile, the Vols had a pretty disappointing season and underachieved so badly that we fired our coach and have a new one who's done nothing since he got to Knoxville but shoot off his mouth and write a lot of checks that his team will have to cash once the season gears up on September 5th. And yet, if you listen to the various fanbases for each team, both are going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread this year and we've all got lofty aspirations of where things will go this year. Now, I like confidence and all, but I think we need to temper some of this with reality and stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Or at least drink out of a smaller cup and not the 72 oz. Big Gulp.
For Vandy, I have this odd feeling of deja vu about things. A couple of years ago, Vandy fans were declaring this their year and if they could start things off with a win over South Carolina, then a bowl trip was theirs for the taking. Fans were already packing up the black and gold and ready for the trip to some sunny locale for a bowl game when things came tragically crashing down in the first quarter of their first game. I have a strange feeling this could be what happens this year where steep expectations and hopes led to a rude early awakening for the team.
Meanwhile, my beloved Vols have a swagger to the program that, quite frankly, has been missing for a while. But I don't think it's going to be a miraculous one-year turn-around in things. For one thing, our offensive line is a weak point and without a solid o-line it's hard to win in the SEC. But that doesn't mean I'm not hopeful. I would like to find a way this year to make some baby steps back toward where we were in the 90's--take back the intimidation factor of playing in Neyland Stadium and going to and winning a bowl game. And beating at least two of my big three--Florida, Alabama and Georgia--would be nice too.
Of course, should the Vols stun the world, go undefeated and win it all, I won't complain too much about it. But I am not going to hold my breath on that one.
At least until next year...
Labels: tennessee football
posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/04/2009 01:00:00 PM