By Cole Winton—Advertising Manager
If you are a frequent reader of the Echo, you know that my forte is rating bathrooms. A lighthearted, honest review of my experience at several establishments around town. However, this week is a little less friendly.
On Aug. 31, 2019, the Tennessee Volunteers suffered the most embarrassing loss in program history, losing to the Georgia State Panthers, a team from the Sun Belt conference that went 2-10 in 2018.
The day started out with a boat in the Vol Navy, a group of boats on the Tennessee River for games, catching fire then sinking. The day continued with an embarrassing first half of football against the Panthers, followed by a band member passing out at half time, and capped off with an absolute domination by a team that we paid $950,000 to come and play.
Being a Tennessee fan has been ingrained in me ever since I was a child. From wearing orange and white almost immediately after birth, to not missing a season without attending a game in Knoxville, I have grown to love this team. From some of the best years of Tennessee football in the early 2000s, to some of the worst in the 2010s. However, this might just be rock bottom and the hardest it has ever been to pull for the team I love.
Statistically, the game was fairly balanced. With only a minute difference in possession favoring Georgia State, the stats wouldn’t look all that different from team to team. That’s the problem. This is a team that won only 2 games last season, a program that is only ten years old. A university that was paid just $50,000 short of a million dollars to come play football, and they had just as impressive of stats as one of the most successful universities in history. Tennessee was simply outplayed and embarrassed.
At the end of the day, I am still a Volunteer; I still love this team and school with all that I have. However, my level of excitement has been stored away and kept from harm for the time being. It has to be earned back by a performance worth being optimistic about. Tennessee, as a fan base, has been kicked down time and time again. They have perpetually suffered through disappointment, season after season, and continued to persevere and support this football team. However, it’s going to get to a point where we won’t be able to get back up.
Tennessee, please figure something out. Please help us return to what we once called a winning program.