It's too... quiet.
No, seriously, it is way too quiet. We have had discussions about the win vs TAM and discussions about what it'll take to win up in Rocky Top land but there has been one main thing missing so far:
I've had a nagging feeling that something was missing all week but it wasn't until talking to my father - a die hard Gator - that I was able to put my finger on it. This week has been entirely lacking in hate. Maybe it's just because, unlike fellow hated rival FSU, Tennesee's fans haven't really made it over here to post. Maybe it's because a team that choked to Kentucky last year is still feeling a little too queasy to be smack talking.
For us, however, I suspect the problem might be a bit generational.
Someone like Andy has only seen Tennessee win twice in the last decade - those formative teen years where you both love the game and start understanding the game - with both falling in the Zook years. Meanwhile, Tennessee itself has been lackluster at best in that the same time. I wonder if intellectually younger fans know it is a rivalry game but don't feel it in their bones as deeply as any one old enough to have experienced just what the game meant, beyond the win/loss record.
Five different times in the mid-'90s, the two teams met with both top 10-ranked and undefeated. The path to Atlanta ran through the Third Saturday in September. Florida won the majority of those meetings - in my life we are 18-6, soon to be 19-6 - but there were no fans better at trash talking or at starting fights than those Vols. It started at the top, with the verbal rivalry between the OBC and the Great Pumpkin, and washed down to all of us.
So here we are, days before the big game. Time for some hate!
I hate the sick color of the orange that Tennessee adores.
I hate the ugly ball that glares over the city of Knoxville.
I hate your stupid dog.
I hate the crappy music your state forces onto the rest of us.
I hate the unsportsmanlike on Dallas Baker.
I hate your fat assed fans that get mentioned any time I talk to anyone not from the south about football.
I hate that I have to watch Peyton Manning's smug schilling every time anything goes to commercial break.
I rejoice in the knowledge that you can't spell Citrus without UT.
I rejoice in the knowledge that Manning never beat us and it cost him the Heisman.
I rejoice in the memory of Alex Brown's five sacks, still the most fun game I've been to.
I still maintain that only two things of value ever came out of Tennessee: Cracker Barrel and Stephen Orr Spurrier. (Of course, he's really from Miami Beach.)
So tell me, what kind of hate do YOU have for Tennessee?