Smashing the Great Pumpkin Phil Fulmer


Not a single citizen of Vol Nation should still think we ought to keep Phil Fulmer. For all the reasons laid out in this story, the decision already should have been made.
Saturday's 29-9 loss to No. 2 Alabama in Neyland Stadium marked the third time this season the Vols have lost by double-digits to a major SEC foe. UT lost to Florida 30-6 at home on Sept. 20 and at Georgia 26-14 on Oct. 11. Tennessee, 1-4 in the SEC, earned its conference win two weekends ago over Mississippi State, 34-3. Overall, Tennessee is 1-5 in its last six games against Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Perhaps most damaging is the margin of defeat in those games. Counting UT's win during that stretch, a 35-14 victory over Georgia last year, the average score in those games has been 33-17 in favor of UT's opponents, and those five losses have come by a combined margin on 185-66. Since 2000, the Vols are 11-16 against Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
That's all you need to know. Fulmer must go. Surely, no one still thinks he can compete against Saban and Meyer and Richt. So what's all this hand-wringing about? The state's sportswriters, having stuffed their faces with free stadium food for decades, have been running interference for their sugar daddy. First, they claimed the buyout was too big. But what's $6 million spread over four years? That's no obstacle for an athletic department with an annual budget of more than $85 million. Keeping Fulmer would cost more in lost football ticket sales. Now, the sportswriters/cheerleaders are saying Fulmer might still save his job by winning the rest of Tennessee's games. But victories over South Carolina, Wyoming, Kentucky and Vanderbilt shouldn't help him. The School for the Blind can beat those guys. To claim a successful season, Tennessee has to beat Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Fulmer has proven he can't do that anymore. End of story.


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