Last week UT coach Derek Dooley let us know what it is that we “always” do to Vanderbilt. Apparently Kentucky didn’t get the memo that they were to meet the same fate as the subject of Dooley’s post-game victory speech.
It is true that twenty six consecutive wins is a historical pattern that cannot be ignored. If ever there was a team that we should beat based on history it is the lowly Kentucky Wildcats, which fielded one of the worst teams in major college football this season.
But none of that mattered on the field Saturday. The Vols could never get their offense rolling and seemed uninspired throughout the game. The end result was a sea of blue on the field as the UK crowd celebrated a 10-7 victory over the Vols.
Senior RB Tauren Poole spoke quite candidly to the Knoxville News Sentinel following the game:
“The whole game, no one wanted to be out there,” Poole said. “We’re all trying to encourage people because people were out of it. When it’s like that, you’re not going to be able to execute, I don’t care where you’re at. The result was what it was. Couldn’t move the ball. Here we’re sitting, 26-year streak gone. It’s embarrassing just to be a Vol right now.”
There is little to add to Poole’s words of wisdom. His talent and abilities may have been in question over the course of his career, but his effort level and loyalty have never been an issue.
If we assume that Poole is speaking the truth then this will fan the flames of the growing anti-Dooley crowd. It would appear that Coach Dooley and his staff were unable to keep this team together as the wheels were coming off the bus, and this, of course, is a troubling development. But Dooley’s future is a topic for another day.
What we do know right now is that there will be no bowl game in the Vols future, and this 2011 team will go down in history as the team that ended ‘The Streak’.
There are plenty of excuses to go around, but little true solace to be found anywhere. However, it is a debatable fact that this year’s Vols are not the worst team in the conference, thanks to the Ole Miss Rebels. Though there was no head-to-head matchup to officially make this claim, the 2-10 Rebels gathered victories this season only over Southern Illinois and Fresno State.
Next season may bring greener pastures and maybe even the beginning of a new streak for the Vols, but the sting of losing to Kentucky in football is an open wound that will not heal for many months to come.