The art of the message board implosion is a time-honored tradition for college football fans around the country. It's no secret that college football fans are passionate to a fault, and at the first sign of smoke signals, the reactionary side of every fanbase is always there to pull the fire alarm. Whether it annoys you, entertains you, or both, you have to admire the consistency of the vocal minority. Their "Chicken Little" mentality is never wavering.
Never is this more apparent than the days and weeks leading up to National Signing Day, and yesterday, at the largest precursor to NSD (JUCO NSD), the Vols lost a couple of commitments and the frantic screams for help transcended the silent world of the Internet message board. "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
Obviously, recruiting is the lifeblood of collegiate athletics. The best athletes win games, and in the iconic world of college football, recruiting draws a massive audience. The World Wide Web has put a wealth of information at our disposal, and the world of recruiting groupies has grown to support four major recruiting publications (Scout, Rivals, ESPN, and 24/7.)
Yesterday, as the Tennessee Volunteers stumbled into the recruiting stretch by having two of their verbal commitments flipped to rival SEC schools, Tennessee message boards erupted into a frenzy. Dooley couldn't recruit, and the loss of two kids would inevitably be his demise.
Never mind the fact that he lost to Kentucky and only managed to win one SEC game in 2011, apparently the loss of two prospects in a business (recruiting) that is so volatile it makes trading penny stocks look like child's play is more of an indicator of Dooley's job status. Forget the fact that, despite a 5-7 season, he's assembled a consensus Top 15 class in the country and has done so for the past two seasons, now he can't recruit.
Losing a couple of kids who could have made an impact in 2012 certainly stings, but do you really think that is somehow more indicative of Derek Dooley's success at Tennessee than what he has or hasn't done on the field?
The Internet in 2011 is viewed much like the ocean was in the 15th century in the sense that at a certain point it seems inevitable that you'll just fall off the edge into the abyss, and I'm setting off for uncharted waters by trying to rationalize with the irrational. However, I can't stress this to you (the Internet anarchist) enough. You look like a dumb-ass.
Things are far from hunky-dory in Tennessee, and I certainly don't mean to make it seem as though they are, but to those of you puffing out your bottom lip and sulking as though you'd been jaded by your prom date, Damien and Otis Jacobs (no relation) weren't going to make it all better.
Love or hate Derek Dooley, you can't deny that he's organized nor that he has a plan. Whether or not he can execute on that plan is an entirely different story, but the blueprints do exist.
They lose a couple kids and then they'll add a couple kids (yesterday they added three-star JUCO DT Darrington Sentimore.) Such is the way of life in recruiting.
Maybe you're just doing it to flame and troll away at the droves of insecure fans out there, but at some point you have to understand that the line between looking stupid and being stupid is incredibly blurry. Once those two worlds intertwine there is no turning back.