Our Lady (of Sorrows)

Vols 21, Fighting Irish 41

The television shot of the game came after one of the 20 fourth-quarter points scored by Notre Dame. The camera focused on Phillip Fulmer. Gone was the Fulmer who expresses disappointment by clapping his hands and gritting his teeth in a smile–like grimace. This time, the camera found the winningest active football coach clutching his knees, slumped over, head down — the new face of Tennessee football.

For a little while during the game — just a little while — Tennessee football emerged from the gray skies of South Bend. The Vols were passing, and catching the football. The red zone was entered and not just a touchdown, but a two-point conversion! Was another “Miracle at South Bend” in the works?

Enter reality. Reality in the form of funny names like Samardzija and Zbikowski, who played for a decent, but not great Notre Dame team. Coaching shakeup or not, the Vols were ill-equipped to mount a substantial comeback.

Unfortunately, “ill-equipped” has been the defining adjective for the entire season. My only hope is that the players don’t cash in their chips now and call it quits. The names Memphis, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky take on a whole new meaning when you’re three and five.

Pick yourselves up, Volunteers. It’s November, and there’s no Citrus Bowl to worry about. I’ll still be wearing my orange when the Tigers, Commodores, and Wildcats take the field, will you?