Your University of Kentucky Wildcats took a tough L at home to Georgia last week and it can’t be a coincidence that last week’s “Show Me My Opponent” was very friendly and complimentary of UGA and its campus. That’s not what we do here, which is why the loss falls on me for being too kind to the Dawgs. That blood is on my hands and I am truly sorry for it.
So this week, with the Cats seeking a fifth SEC win and the first in Knoxville since the Fillmore administration, there’s no holding back in the Vol edition of “Show Me My Opponent.” Let’s get ruthless with our enemy, because if anyone deserves it, it is the University of Tennessee.
UNIVERSITY of TENNESSEE
Down by the muddy waters of the Tennessee River, in the inbred cesspool known as Knoxville, you’ll find the University of Tennessee, where Peyton Manning was once king and Title IX is merely a suggestion.
With over 30,000 students and an endowment topping $1.1 billion, UT is where the homegrown rednecks of East Tennessee try their hand at school, should they choose to go the college route and not take a part-time job at the local salt water taffy factory or airbrushed t-shirt shop in Pigeon Forge.
More fun Tennessee and Knoxville facts:
— The inventor of the dumpster, George Roby Dempster, is a former mayor of Knoxville. That’s right, the man responsible for the first successful front-loading garbage truck and trash containers was also responsible for the city of Knoxville. How appropriate.
— Knoxville was the smallest city to have ever hosted a World’s Fair. It was at that 1982 World’s Fair when Coca-Cola introduced Cherry Coke.
— Mountain Dew was invented in Knoxville in the 1940s by Tennessee bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman.
— Dolly Parton and the Everly Brothers got their start in Knoxville. Hank Williams Sr. died in Knoxville.
— Walter Cronkite called it the “Streaking Capital of the World” after an estimated 5,000 people ran naked down Cumberland Avenue in 1974.
— Cotton Eyed Joe is the best bar in the world and that’s not up for debate.
TENNESSEE TRADITIONS AND STUFF
— One of Tennessee’s many traditions is the Vol Navy, a gathering of 200-plus boats lined up along the river outside Neyland Stadium.
— “Smokey” is the mascot for Tennessee’s athletic teams, although those teams are nicknamed “The Volunteers” and “The Vols” for the Volunteer State. There is an actual Bluetick Coonhound mascot, Smokey X, who leads the Vols on the field for football games.
— Stealing an idea from Kentucky’s Stoll Field in the 1930s, Tennessee painted checkerboard end zones in Neyland Stadium in 1964. The checkerboard design disappeared in 1968, but returned for good in 1989.
— The Vols football team runs through the T onto the field prior to each home game.
NOTABLE TENNESSEE PEOPLE
Dave Ramsey: Host of The Dave Ramsey Show, heard on more than 500 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada; the third-most-popular radio personality in the country, behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and ahead of Glenn Beck; tells you how to spend and not spend your hard-earned money; 1982 graduate of the College of Business Administration at University of Tennessee
Woody Paige: Sports columnist and regular on ESPN’s Around The Horn; formerly of The Denver Post; writes stuff on chalkboard; attended the University of Tennessee, where he wrote for the Knoxville Journal; honored with an Accomplished Alumni award in 2012
Kevin Nash: Pro wrestler turned actor; former Tennessee basketball star; the first wrestler to defeat Goldberg; began acting career as Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Oooze; last starred in Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL; arrested in 2014 for beating the shit out of his son, although charges were dropped
Chris Moneymaker: 2003 World Series of Poker winner, back when poker was cool; earned a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee; probably blew through his WSOP winnings already, if I were guessing
INSTAGRAM SCOUTING REPORT
SO WHO’S THE HEAD COACH?
Butch Jones is currently in his fourth season as head coach of the Volunteers football club. You may know him from his previous stints at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, or as the guy who called one of his players a ‘traitor’ for helping a woman who said she had been sexually assaulted by two teammates. “You betrayed the team,” Jones allegedly told the player.
When he’s not turning his head from sexual assault, Jones is busy driving around Knoxville in his Mercedes-Benz SLS with gull-wing doors, which cost him $221,580. “It’s crazy, but that’s the world we live in — selling and trying to create those impressions,” he said of the luxury vehicle.
On the field, Jones has a very disappointing 12-17 SEC record entering the Kentucky game and he’s reportedly lost control of his locker room, per the internet.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
|#1 | JALEN HURD | RB | Junior
|#11 | JOSHUA DOBBS | QB | Senior
A former summer intern at Pratt & Whitney, where he worked at the world leader in design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines for the United States government, Joshua Dobbs is a recipient of the Bill & Sandy Hamilton Athletics Scholarship Endowment and of the William H. Cannon Athletic Engineering Scholarship.
The Tennessee senior, an Aerospace Engineering major, also plays the quarterback position. He is 145-for-246 on the season for 1,869 yards, 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Dobbs ranks second in the entire country in fumbles, behind Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson.
|#9 | DEREK BARNETT | DE | Senior
Terrorizing opposing offenses for the Tennessee D is Derek Barnett, the Vols’ star defensive end. Barnett currently ranks first in the conference and third in America with nine total sacks on the year. If he can muster up three more, he’ll tie Reggie White’s long-standing record for career sacks at the school with 29.
Barnett has 14 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks in two career games against Kentucky. Two. He did all of that in two games.
LAST TIME WE MET
Tennessee won last year’s game, just as it has done each and every single year since the early 80s — with one exception in 2011 when Kentucky started its fifth-leading receiver at quarterback.
Last year’s contest was a 52-21 victory for the Vols in Commonwealth Stadium on Halloween night. Joshua Dobbs accounted for four touchdowns and Tennessee scored on both a kickoff return and punt return as UK fans in attendance wished they had gone to the Breeders’ Cup out at Keeneland instead.
Relive the recurring nightmare, one we’ve had each fall for the past three decades, below:
Turnovers will decide Saturday’s game and it will be Tennessee that coughs the ball up in the critical moments, leading to Kentucky’s upset win in front of a mediocre crowd by Neyland Stadium’s standards.
The Boom and Benny Show will control the clock and the rock for the Wildcats’ offense, but it will be Stephen Johnson’s arm that makes the difference as he picks apart the Tennessee D and its backup safety for two long scores through the air.
After the game, Big Blue Nation will celebrate the power shift in the SEC East and in the UK-UT rivalry by terrorizing the city. Several Cats fans, all jacked up on that Knoxville Mountain Dew and taffy, will climb that stupid Sunsphere tower and fly the UK flag from its highest peak. Meanwhile, the ships of the Vol Navy will sink to the bottom of Tennessee River, much like Butch Jones’ tenure in Knoxville.
Cats win. Vols lose.