It’s been a big week in sports this week.
First of all, Georgia is playing Tennessee this weekend.
This is huge. Huge because Tennessee has dominated Georgia in recent years. Dominated to the point of winning three out of the last four. Dominated to the point of outscoring Georgia 86-47 over the last two years, including a two-and-a-half quarter stretch in which Tennessee outscored Georgia 72-9.
Tennessee came into last year’s game with their backs against the wall. Discontent was high in Knoxville after Tennessee got killed by Cal in their season opener, then went on to get pounded by Florida while looking less than impressive in wins over Southern Miss and Arkansas State. Surely this team would be no match for Georgia. Instead it was Georgia that was no match for Tennessee. Tennessee went on to win the SEC East and to play in the SEC championship game.
Now Tennessee finds itself in almost the exact same situation as last year, having lost to a UCLA team that got killed by BYU, and having been destroyed by Florida while looking underwhelming in wins over UAB and Northern Illinois. Discontent is running just as high as ever in Knoxville, with many suggesting that it is high past time for Philip Fulmer to step aside and let someone else with fresher ideas have a shot. Surely Georgia is a shoo-in to beat a team in such a desperate state.
Not so fast, my friends. We all know that Fulmer is at his best when his back is to the wall. And if it isn’t against the wall right now, then I don’t know where it is. A 9-3 finish and another SEC championship game appearance would go a long way toward assuaging the fomenting discontent in Knoxville, and a win over Georgia would give Tennessee a huge jump start toward that goal.
Also, a win over Georgia gives Tennessee four wins in the last five years, which would make it very safe to say that Tennessee owns Georgia once again. On the other hand, a Georgia win means six wins in the last nine years, and it will be safe to say that perhaps Tennessee’s recent success was a fluke.
So which will it be? We shall find out tomorrow.
And now for something completely different…
Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville fired his offensive coordinator Tony Franklin this week.
Who could have seen that coming?
Who would have thought, after the rollicking performance of Tony Franklin’s new offense against Clemson in the Peach Bowl, that his offense would have performed as abysmally as it has this year?
Who would have thought, even given his offense’s abysmal showing, that he would not at least be given the opportunity to finish out the season?
Tommy Tuberville says that he fired Franklin for “a lack of production”. No duh. But why now? Why not wait until the end of the season? Or at least until after the Arkansas game this weekend and use the opening date as a time to regroup?
Surely there is more to this than meets the eye. We all knew that it was bad at Auburn, but had it really gotten so bad that the only remedy was for Tony Franklin to be immediately shown the door? If so, how?
Was there a team unity issue that could only be addressed by getting rid of Franklin? Did somebody, say the president or athletic director, come to Tuberville and say that Franklin had to go? Have the little green men from Mars been monkeying around inside Tuberville’s brain? Has Bobby Lowder been monkeying around with the Auburn program again?
Never a dull moment in the drama-laden SEC.