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Playing Dirty: Tennessee

Surprised every question wasn’t just answered with a playing of Rocky Top

Syndication: Knoxville Amy Smotherman Burgess, Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel

LSU is all the way into SEC play now with a Saturday morning matchup against an undefeated, top ten-ranked Tennessee Volunteers team. Since they aren’t an annual opponent, we LSU fans have a lot to learn about one of the conference’s most dramatic teams.

Nick Carner of Rocky Top Talk stopped by to help us preview the game. We of course didn’t talk X’s and O’s, we talked REAL storylines, like college baseball and that game 12 years ago.

1. Tennessee looks like they might have their best football team since games started broadcasting in HD. Since y’all finally have a team meeting expectations, where are Vols fans channeling their anger these days?

The Vols may very well be off to their best start since Jefferson Pilot Sports broadcasted the games, but I’m not complaining. It’s fun seeing the anguish in opposing players eyes when Hendon Hooker evades a would-be sack and bombs in a 50-yard touchdown.

Technology has progressed considerably in other areas since Tennessee’s relevancy as well. The “audio,” side of the audio/ video dynamic has scaled up, too. That means we got to hear Kelly’s hilariously-poor imitation of a southern accent in crystal clear, 7.1 surround sound. How do y’all think he prepped for this gig down South? Andy Dick reruns? Or the Looney Tunes episodes with Foghorn Leghorn?

“My faahmleee...”

2. Rather than face the terror of a Saturday night in Death Valley, the Vols will be taking the Tiger Stadium field in the morning. This combined with the fact LSU’s prominent non-conference opponent was an ACC team makes me fear LSU is becoming an SEC East team all of a sudden. What should we do to prepare?

You HAVE to start by watching Shane Beamer press conferences. They’re the best source of comedic relief since Chappelle’s Show. Why bother paying Netflix’s continual price increases when you can just watch Beamer do Butch Jones impressions for free?

Don’t bother making fun of Vanderbilt. It’s... just... not even fun anymore. And then you’ll have to pick a side with Kentucky — are they a football school or a basketball school? Their respective coaches can’t decide, and the fact that the school does indeed have both programs should matter but doesn’t, for some reason. Mark Stoops has taken the Kentucky program from being a yearly-recurring joke to fielding an actual football team that beats other teams sometimes, and he’s still so insecure that he can’t get along with John Calipari. Mark Stoops is the meme of the guy looking in the mirror — “You’re Mark Stoops, damn it! You’re not Bob’s little brother ANYMORE!”

But the real key here is prepping yourself to lose to Georgia nearly every year. Y’all should be inherently ready, though, considering you’ll just be losing to Kirby Smart instead of Nick Saban. The kick-in-nuts with this one is that at least losing to Saban meant something. He’s maybe the greatest college football coach ever. When you lose to UGA, you’re losing to a guy who played Jake Fromm over Justin Fields. Oof.

3. I tuned out the college baseball postseason after LSU got eliminated last year. How did the Vols look in Omaha?

They fared just about as well as LSU’s hoops team did in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Except, well, we didn’t have to fire any coaches for being dumb enough to get caught on tape talking about paying players. That one gets better, though: Will Wade, in all his total-lack-of-self-awareness-glory, transferred the money FROM HIS PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNT. We only go to those lengths for football, and at least we used cash... that was... ahem... handed out by the head coach’s wife.

Oh, and thanks for Julian Phillips, by the way.

4. If Tennessee can notch a win on Saturday, it will then be undefeated facing Alabama at home. What is the more Tennessee scenario: Feeling the euphoria of beating Bama only to lose to UGA three weeks later and miss the SECCG or losing to LSU but then beating Bama and UGA afterward?

You’re not even close here, buddy. The most Tennessee thing that could happen is the Vol could beat LSU Saturday, and then even take one outta two against Bama and UGA. But then, in classic Vols’ style, close the stretch run of the season with multiple losses against teams like South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Vandy. My friend — That’s the Tennessee way.

5. All jokes aside, I’m looking forward to this game. It’s cool whenever LSU plays a good SEC team that isn’t an annual opponent. If any Tennessee people are on campus for the game they are welcome to visit the ATVS tailgate. There’s room for up to 13 Vols.

Let’s be real here — y’all know none of your fans woulda known we had too many players on the field without the officials’ help, save for the Cajun-est of your Cajuns — you know — them deep-swampy Cajuns, them Deliverance Cajuns, who can count higher on account of the extra digits they was born with.

What makes that game as embarrassing for y’all as it is for us — Y’all let a Derek Dooley coached team gift you a win by beating itself. Derek Dooley! Goodness.