That is a fact. Tennessee football fans are absolutely heartbroken this morning after a 10-7 loss to Kentucky on Saturday, and here are some more facts to think about.
Fact: The Vols are now 11-14 in two seasons under Derek Dooley. The number of fans calling for his head increased dramatically after the Kentucky loss. Unless he can post at least seven to eight wins in 2012, he will likely be gone.
Fact: Tennessee no longer owns the longest continuous winning streak over one team in college football. Kentucky stopped the streak at twenty-six in a row with that monumental win.
Fact: Kentucky won with a wide receiver playing quarterback. Matt Roark with 124 yards rushing, did something that Tim Couch, Jared Lorenzen and even Randall Cobb couldn’t do; beat Tennessee.
Fact: Matt Roark’s 124 yards rushing was more than double that of the Vols’ team total ( 61 yards).
Fact: Tennessee lost seven SEC games (1-7) for the first time in school history.
Fact: Even though Tennessee is a very young team, the terrible finish in 2011 may be indicative of a drastic drop-off in talent.
Fact: The biggest win of the season for Tennessee is a tie between Vandy (6-6) and Cincinnati (8-3).
Fact: Even though the Vols’ total of bowl appearances stands at 49(tied for second all-time with Texas) there will be no bowl trip this season.
Fact: The last time Tennessee appeared in the AP Top 25 poll was in the 2008 pre-season poll (18th).
Fact: Against Kentucky, the Vols looked like a team that wanted the season to end, and it did.
Fact: After a 5-7 record in 2011, it is apparent that Tennessee has no leaders on their team. No Al Wilsons, no Peyton Mannings, no Tee Martins.
Fact: It has been thirteen years since Tennessee has won an SEC Championship. Only the period from 1970-1985 without a league title is longer (15 years).
Fact: Since 1912, Tennessee has had back to back losing seasons just once; 2010 and 2011(6-7, 5-7).
Fact: Tennessee needs to be patient. A knee jerk reaction to a 5-7 season in 2008 led to the firing of Vol legend Phillip Fulmer and put the program in this mess to begin with.
Fact: Just two weeks ago, this same Kentucky team lost 38-8 to Vanderbilt. The Wildcats held the Vols to a mere seven points and 276 yards in total offense. After cutting the Cats’ lead to 10-7, the Tennessee offense was never able to cross mid-field.
Fact: Tennessee has a long way to go just to return to the level they reached in 2007(10-4, number 12 national ranking).
Fact: Tennessee fans aren’t the only college football fans with a broken heart this morning. ( Florida, 6-6, Ole Miss, 2-10, Illinois, 6-6 after six wins to start the season to name a few).
Fact: When the college football season begins in 2012, the Big Orange Nation will be ready and excited. Just how long they stay excited will be determined by how Derek Dooley’s third team in Knoxville plays. A really good recruiting year is imperative.
Contact Randy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 42 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer, author and is also a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. He is currently teaching an "Intro To Sportscasting" class at Red Bank, the only class of its type in Tennessee.
Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 10 years.
Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry Davey and Alison Smith). They also have one grandchild (Coleman).