Still Difficult To Respect Vols

Tennessee Coach Butch Jones seems like a good guy (not to mention a very fine coach). We know that Dave Hart, the director of athletics for the Volunteers, is a straight up guy. We also believe that it is good for the Southeastern Conference when the Vols are good, and over the years the vast majority of Tennessee players have earned our respect.

Alabama will host Tennessee for the 96th meeting in the historic college football series Saturday. For many decades, a Bama win is all we wished for. Now, though, we want total domination. And it doesn't have anything to do with current Vols at any level.

In the most important series in Southern football, the Crimson Tide and Volunteers will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. CBS will televise the game. Bama is 7-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC games and ranked first in the nation. The Vols are 4-3, including a 1-2 league record, and coming off an upset victory over South Carolina.

Alabama has a slight edge in the series. Bama has won 50 games, Tennessee 37, and 8 have ended in a tie. That's on the field. The "official" record is 49-38-7, owing to NCAA penalties.

And therein lies our distaste of the entire Volunteers program.

No one would ever accuse the NCAA staff of great intellect or ethics. Not only did the organization forfeit eight Alabama wins and a tie, but also vacated 21 Bama victories – as if the games had never been played.

It was merely laughable when SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer (Kramer!) flew to Mobile with then-Tennessee Athletics Director Doug Dickey and immediately cleared U-T of all wrongdoing, even though a Tennessee supporter was funneling money to the Tennessee quarterback, Tee Martin.

But when Kramer (who grew up just outside of Knoxville and retired to that area) and the Ol' Fat Backstabber collaborated to put Alabama on NCAA probation, there was no forgiveness in our hearts.

Kramer admitted to the NCAA that he had withheld information from Alabama while sharing it with others regarding the danger of recruiting Albert Means.

The NCAA staff – which has since had some untimely retirements following allegations of bribery in its investigation of Miami – had to admit that it had taken secret and uncorroborated evidence from Fatty. That is in violation of its own rules.

The NCAA staff turned a blind eye to those transgressions.

We choose to neither forgive nor forget, and we hope for another Tide romp in this once respectful series. And just for good measure, we hope they close all the Krispy Kreme shops in Knoxville.

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