Starting 11: Tennessee Football Is a Comedy Pyramid

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At some point during Saturday night’s game, even the most ardent Tennessee Vol supporter had to laugh.

I mean, Dooley is coaching inside the press box because he has a broken hip and occasionally the camera catches him leaned back in his chair so all we can see is his hair? This really happened.

Then, of all people, Matt Millen, perhaps the least successsful NFL executive of all time, is sitting next to Dooley calling the game, only Millen’s view is obscured by blinds.

They put up blinds between the coach’s box and the television booth.

I mean, did Dooley personally close the blinds before kickoff?

Did the state trooper who is assigned to Dooley do it? And, can we please talk about this state trooper for a moment? Why does he wear his hat bill pulled down so low? And could his uniform be any tighter?

Finally, did he really push Dooley in a wheelchair to the locker room after the game?

Yes, yes he did.

I mean, this is an absolutely hysterical photo, but it looks like something that has been photoshopped.

Dooley got the orange pants on to ride in the wheelchair? While wearing his boat shoes down a handicapped ramp after losing to Mississippi State?

And with some guy behind him who actually looks like me taking photos?

At some point years from now Dooley is going to have to look back on his tenure at Tennessee and acknowlege that he constructed the most elaborate comedy pyramid in the history of the SEC.

He should take some pride in this.

In fact, during Saturday night’s game I actually started wondering, is it possible the entire Derek Dooley era at Tennessee is an absurdist comedic skit, Andy Kaufman meets college football.

Thirteen men on the field, then losing the game because the other team had 21 players on the field, Tyler Bray, Kentucky beating him while playing a wide receiver at quarterback, Da’Rick Rogers, the broken hip, losing 10 of 11 games in the SEC and celebrating the only victory by being hoisted on his team’s shoulders and exclaiming “One thing we always do is beat the s— out of Vandy?” It’s like a symphony of ridiculousness has been summoned for our unsuspecting pleasure.

The line between tragedy and comedy is a thin one, indeed.

The only thing that could be more ridiculous than what has already happened is Dooley coaching from a sideline hoveround against Alabama and somehow beating Nick Saban.

Only Dooley could ride a hoveround to midfield for the post-game handshake.

Can you imagine what Saban would be like at the handshake if Dooley was in the hoveround? Would Dooley try to stand and injure himself?

Of course, if Dooley was in a hoveround on the sideline Tyler Bray would definitely tear his ACL running into the hoveround on the sideline. I mean, that’s 100% guaranteed.

On to the Starting 11:

1. UT fans are clearly losing it.

Witness this fan video.

(Warning, lots of loud cursing…and hilarity).

I have so many favorite parts of this video.

But these are my five favorite parts:

a. the bedspread

Because the flag on the wall could leave some doubt who he’s rooting for. 

This guy found me on Twitter and responded about the comforter:

“RT : I’m fairly certain I’m not the only college student who has a comforter of my school. It’s pretty common.”

Maybe we need to hear from the OKTC ladies, what’s the verdict on a grown man having a college comforter in his dorm room? I’m willing to bet there hasn’t ever been a girl in that room.  

b. “outside of my professional life”

What profession are we talking about here? The possibilities are endless. And all involve minimum wage and rental cars.

c. Thank God the beer is being consumed through the mouth

But this guy definitely knows the buttchugger, right? 

d. He’s completely right when he compares Cordarrelle Patterson to Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”

Which kind of scares me.

I mean, seriously, CP is Neo.

The laws of football physics don’t apply to him.

e. The pause to add the chapstick.

This kills me. 

I think this is my favorite part.  

2. Will Muschamp should be unanimous SEC coach of the year.

I was at the Vandy game and I came away even more impressed with Florida’s coaching staff than I have been all year. And I was already impressed.

I’ve watched most snaps in Gator games this year and the read-option with Driskel hasn’t been that prominently featured all season. Maybe it wasn’t Florida’s intent to have Driskel run it that many times and Vandy’s inability to defend the play just made it more of a focal point, but I tend to doubt that.

I think the Gators added this play just for this game.

And Driskel was an absolute wizard with the football.

He wasn’t just faking out the Vandy defense, he was faking everyone out in the entire stadium.

Immediately after his final touchdown that put the game away, my phone buzzed and I’d received this text: “Driskel is the biggest, fastest white man I’ve ever seen.”

3. Auburn has been outscored 62-3 in fourth quarters this year.

There’s only one conclusion: Auburn is coming out of the gate too fast.

That or they just suck.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse for Auburn, Vanderbilt opens as an eight point favorite over them.

Think about this for a minute, the best football experts in Las Vegas looked at Vanderbilt and Auburn and said there’s no way this War Eagle team can keep it within a touchdown.

Must be lots of satan disciples at Vandy, right Jonna Chizik?

War Chizik!

4. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Florida’s Jeff Driskel have to be the leading Heisman candidates for 2013.

It’s a shame we won’t have a Texas A&M trip to Florida next year to complete the home and home cycle.

Because this would be one of the games of the year.  

Driskel is never going to put up the numbers that Manziel does because of the Gator offensive system, but mark my words, Driskel is more talented than Tim Tebow, and next year I think he wins the Heisman.

Hell, you can make an argument that Manziel could win the Heisman this year. He’s got games against three teams in the BCS top 12 coming up. I doubt he has the same level of success against them. But if he did? Good Lord, he’d deserve the Heisman.

5. Alabama’s LaMichael Fanning suplexed a Missouri running back.

In a single play this represents Mizzou’s year in the SEC thus far.

Bobby the Brain Heenan approves.

6. Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky are all going to be hiring new coaches this offseason.

 Here’s my list of the top sixteen available coaches.

You know Auburn and Arkansas will pay big money, but will Tennessee finally do so as well?

I hope so.

7. A South Carolina fan was arrested for mooning LSU fans.

Quoth the Baton Rouge advocate:

“Police arrested and booked a 34-year-old South Carolina fan into Parish Prison after he mooned fans at the LSU-South Carolina game Saturday night, an affidavit of probable cause says,

Police were called to section 409 of Tiger Stadium after fans complained about a man, Charles Hattaway, with his pants hanging below his waist, using vulgar language.

While police were escorting him down the stairs to question him, Hattaway pulled his pants down and mooned the crowd, the affidavit says.”

How out of control did Hattaway have to be at LSU for opposing team fans to complain about him using vulgar language?

It’s LSU on a Saturday night, I wish we had audio of his commentary.

Anyway, this is his actual mugshot.


The best part?

He’s 34.

Thirty-four and arrested for mooning! 

With an awesome ‘stache too!

8. Now that the BCS standings are out, SEC dominance is even more impressive.

The SEC has the top two teams, four of the top seven, and six of the top twelve teams, including the two top teams with one loss each.

Meaning, you guessed it, there’s a very good chance for an all-SEC BCS title game again.

Here’s the top 25 in the BCS.

Chaos looms.

Want the SEC chaos theory, here goes: Alabama wins every game except for at LSU, meanwhile the Tigers win every game on their schedule the rest of the way. Both teams are 11-1, LSU wins the west again but Alabama remains highly ranked and left out of the SEC title game again. 

Meanwhile, in the SEC East, South Carolina beats Florida, who then goes on to win every game remaining on its schedule, including on the road at Florida State. Both teams finish 11-1, South Carolina advances to the SEC title game to play LSU. 

This means there are four SEC teams that all finish 11-1 in the regular season. 

All of these teams are presently in the top seven so there’s no way they finish outside the top seven with these resumes. 

Who gets in to play for the title from the SEC? Clearly, the SEC title game winner, but who else, Bama or Florida? Either would be the highest ranked one loss team remaining.

It’s possible under this scenario, by the way, that all four SEC teams finish the season 1-4 in the BCS.

9. Did Stanford get in on this carry in overtime?

Without a whistle sounding it sure looks like it, doesn’t it?


10. How about those Texas Longhorns!

It was really impressive the way they banded together to keep Oklahoma from scoring seventy.

This Longhorn cowboy loved the effort.

13-14 in the last 27.

(Mack Brown hand clap).

11. Okay, it’s time for the SEC power rankings. Now that we’re halfway through the season, I shouldn’t have to preface these by saying that this is for on-field games that we’ve seen thus far.

Here goes:

1. Alabama

2. Florida

3. LSU

4. South Carolina

5. Georgia

6. Mississippi State

7. Texas A&M

8. Tennessee

9. Ole Miss 

10. Arkansas

11. Vandy

12. Missouri

13. Auburn

14. Trinity High School

15. Kentucky

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.