Robert Karma

I grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee which means my blood runs Big Orange. I have spent a decade plus down here in New Orleans but I am still loyal to my Vols. Go Big Orange! Geaux Saints!

Recent Comments
I don't feel sorry for Tebow one bit. He was one of the best college QBs I have ever seen. He just didn't have what was required to have that same success at the professional level. Still, he received plenty of opportunities, more than other QBs have been offered over the years. Tebow just refused to accept it was God's plan for him not to play in the NFL as a QB. Maybe if he would have humbled himself to play another position or be willing to play in the CFL or AFL, he would still be playing football. His pride got him dumped by the NFL. Now his ego is driving him to play professional baseball. It doesn't look like God wants him to play in the Major League either. How long will it take Tim to finally get the message? He was raised by Evangelical Christian parents who home-schooled him and indoctrinated him into their specific version of the Judeo-Christian faith. Tebow has always used his platform as an athlete to sing the praises of his God. Every victory was thanks to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Evangelical edition) but the losses were all his fault. (As if God picks the winners of football games based on the faith of the players on each team.)He made a very public display of his faith despite the warning from Jesus in Matthew 6:1-8. "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Unfortunately, Tebow, along with a plethora of other sports stars and far too many politicians love to go on about their specific version of God confident that their specific belief is the only correct one out of the thousands of religious beliefs throughout human history. Christianity has dominated Western culture since Constantine's conversion in 312. (Emperor Theodosius made it the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380.) Claims of Christian oppression in America are specious and based on personal projection and the influence of right-wing Christian propaganda that promotes a culture of victimhood. Tim Tebow is a public figure who decided upon his own free will to use his personal platform to proselytize his specific version of the Christian faith. Our Constitution guarantees such Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion, so no problem there. Living in a secular Constitutional Republic means that other citizens can also exercise their Freedom of Speech to be critical of Tebow and his self-righteous behavior. If you don't like this freedom there are other countries that base their government on religious dogma that will gladly welcome you to live among them... as long as you agree with the orthodox belief system there. Tebow has led an incredibly privileged life and if the worst thing that ever happens to him is to get harassment from opposing fans then he has nothing to complain about. So let go of this persecution complex, grow a pair and stop acting like your faith is so fragile, any criticism will destroy it. If your faith is that vulnerable, maybe you should reconsider why you believe the way you do.
The Kiffin situation at Tennessee was bizarre. Kiffin is a very talented offensive mind and he certainly coached up Jonathan Crompton into being an effective QB. Kiffin brought excitement to Rocky Top with his energy and brash attitude. Unfortunately, he tried to turn one of the most storied football programs in the South into the University of Southern California (East). It was quite a culture shock and I don't think it would have worked out if he had stayed. He also made several questionable ethical choices which brought the NCAA calling. In hindsight, USC did Tennessee a favor by having Kiffin bolt Knoxville back to the Trojans. It was then UT AD Mike Hamilton who really screwed the football program by panicking and picking a new head coach who was completely unprepared or capable of running the program. The Derek Dooley debacle was the worst period for Tennessee in the modern era. I've been impressed by Kiffin's work as Bama's OC. He has moved the Alabama offense into the 21st Century. Now that he is at the ripe old age of 41 and spent three years under the tutelage of Nick Saban, is Kiffin ready to be an HC again? The potential is there if Kiffin has learned the many hard lessons since his days with the Raiders. Houston will be his proving ground to showcase his ability to be successful as a head coach. If he has 2-3 10+ win seasons and has Houston fighting for a bowl berth in the New Year's Six, I'm sure a Power 5 team will come calling. It will be an interesting ride for all involved.
Now that's funny since if you know Kanell, you'd know he is a pretty conservative Christian. They even have a running joke about the "liberal media" on Rusillo & Kanell. I do give Danny credit for not pushing a personal agenda. He seems to work hard at keeping an open mind and hearing out the arguments against his position. I guess when you rock a turtleneck, you are asking for abuse.
This is the worst I have ever seen the SEC. Normally, I always argue that our conference is the best but even I can't ignore reality this year. Once you get past Alabama, the rest of the conference isn't worth a warm bucket of spit. Needless to say, Vol Nation was ready to book our rooms in the French Quarter so we could party in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. It's going to be difficult to generate any enthusiasm for a return visit to Jacksonville. (I enjoyed J'ville. Great stadium, nice people.) I have never been so disappointed to go 8-4 in my four decades of cheering on my Vols. So we'll see where we get an invitation to and what team will have the honor of breaking their rushing and total offense records against us.
That's the problem with social media for these kids. It's great when you win but it will haunt you when you make promises that you can't keep. Great 2nd Half by my Vols to overcome a decade of frustration. The Gators were right that we had to go through them to win the SEC East. Now that we finally got the Gator off our back, we can't let up against the wounded Dawgs down Between The Hedges.
While it felt like 22 years, it was 2004, not 1994.
I'm too old and been a Tennessee fan too long to get caught up in the preseason hype. The last great team we fielded was in 2001. We should have been in the National Championship Game but Fulmer and the team were high from the win at Florida and they didn't take LSU serious enough in the SECCG. That was the start of Nick Saban's mastery of my Vols. We won the SEC East again in 2004 and 2007 but those were good, not great teams. Since the 2008 season, my Vols have struggled in mediocrity. Butch Jones has done a good job of rebuilding the program but until they start winning the games that really matter against the elite teams in the SEC, I'm not proclaiming my Vols as the best team in the SEC East. There are obvious concerns with the O-line and the ability of Josh Dobbs to be productive in the passing game when D-lines stack the box against the run. Great teams don't get caught up in their press clippings or play down to the level of their competition. (See Alabama) They come out and dominate and don't let off the gas until the game is out of reach and the backups are taking reps late in the game. I expect my Vols will take care of business against the Bobcats. The litmus test for me will be on September 24th when we welcome Florida to Neyland Stadium. We were the better team the last two years but found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I will start believing that this season will be different for Tennessee when this team shows up and plays a complete game against the Gators. If we beat the Gators, that would be a huge psychological lift for the coaches, players and fans. Until that time, the talk of my Vols being back is still premature.
That is such sad news. He was just 45. You'd think the heart attack could have waited until the end of the game to hit.
I was at that game last year and it was unusual. We exploded out of the blocks with two early TDs and then the team lost their fizz like a can of coke left out for too long. The Hogs were coming in on a losing streak and played hard. They earned the win and you're right, this wasn't a 4th quarter meltdown like the other losses.
This is going to be the "what could have been" season for LSU. If they only had a quality QB, Les wouldn't be on the hot seat but somehow he hasn't been able to get one on campus. This is hard to comprehend given what a hotbed of talent Les has to recruit in there in Louisiana. Unless Harris can turn it around, this will be the last we see of Les in Baton Rouge.
I don't know of any bacon festival in the Knoxville area but there will be one up the road in Bristol. "September 2016 - Baconfest – Bristol, Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway. The TriCities Bacon Fest is the area’s first annual celebration of America’s favorite non-privateparts meat!"
It's nigh impossible to objectively rank the Top 100 programs in CFB history. It just depends on the criteria used to make the list. I think it is easier to rank the best teams by decade. Clearly, the best teams of the 20s and 30s were different than the best teams of the 60s and 70s as these teams were different from the best teams of the 90s and 00s, etc. Some programs have remained consistent winners throughout the decades and those will dominate the top of the charts. Just like the preseason polls, this type of ranking is fun to debate but ultimately means nothing.
I don't think the fanbase at Tennessee would allow Kiffin to return. We aren't ready to run Butch Jones off just yet, so thankfully, we won't be in the market for Kiffin's services at the end of this season.
If Kiffin has matured and learned from one of the greatest coaches in CFB history, he should get a shot as a head coach again at a Division I program. The problem we had with Kiffin is that he was just too young, too inexperienced and too willing to violate the rules to back up his bluster. I think Tennessee would have had continued trouble with the NCAA with Kiffin as our HC. I don't blame Kiffin for making the jump to his dream job at USC when Pete Carroll fled to the NFL in the face of sanctions. The timing was terrible and our then-AD Mike Hamilton made a poor decision in hiring the mediocre Derek Dooley to replace the departed Kiffin. Nick Saban is clearly in charge of the Bama Football program and this has allowed Kiffin to focus on learning from an all-time great on how to lead a successful program. Kiffin is older, wiser and divorced. He can focus on the day to day minutiae of football while avoiding the pitfalls he was constantly crashing into at Tennessee and USC. So I look for Kiffin to get an offer from a D-I team willing to give him another shot as a head coach. I'm not buying into the Auburn job but you can't rule it out. I can see a return to the West Coast to coach a Pac-12 program like Cal or Arizona State. I don't think he would take a job in the NE because he likes being in a warm climate. If he can show that he has learned from past mistakes, Kiffin can be a darn fine head coach as long as he has a strong AD to keep an eye on him.
That made no sense except in the alt right bubble.
Ouch! That is not a flattering way to promote this SEC East showdown no matter how accurate such a designation is for this game.
I was surprised when AD Mike Hamilton brought in a young, unproven and oft-criticized Land Kiffin, but clearly, he was hoping to catch lightning in a bottle by gambling that Kiffin would mature into a great coach. I thought my Vols could have made a better choice but I bought into the hype thinking that Kiffin might turn out to be just what Rocky Top needed. No one foresaw that Pete Carroll would bolt from USC for the NFL leaving Kiffin's dream job open. I don't blame Kiffin for jumping at the chance to return to USC despite the looming sanctions. In hindsight, USC did us a favor as Kiffin & his staff were not the right fit for the culture at UT. They tried to turn our storied program, rich in tradition, into USC East and that is something the fanbase would not have tolerated. There were also ethical lapses, NCAA violations and talking trash that he couldn't back up. So it was a good thing he fled West. The timing was terrible and it felt like Mike Hamilton panicked and went with the super conservative (or maybe desperate) choice of Derek Dooley. We all know how the Derek Dooley Era turned out for my Vols. The program was so crippled, it has taken Butch Jones 3 years to rebuild it "brick by brick" into a respectable and competitive team. So I'd go with former UT AD Mike Hamilton as the worst football hire in SEC history even though he wasn't the head coach. After nearly a decade of wandering the wilderness, we are finally recovering from his tumultuous tenure. Now the situation that concerns me is who will Tennessee pick to become the new AD?
If the Vols learn how to finish games, they can live up to the preseason hype. I hope they learned that painful lesson from last year's late-game losses to Florida, Oklahoma, and Bama. The talent is there and my Vols finally have some depth. As long as Butch doesn't go as conservative as a GOP Congressman in the 4th Quarter of games, the Vols can challenge Bama for SEC supremacy. I will withhold judgement until the Florida game. My Vols have had the better team the past two years but mentally couldn't close out the games for the win. If the Vols lose to the Gators yet again, it will get ugly for Butch on Rocky Top. Beat Florida, ending the odious losing streak and then I'll evaluate just how well I think they will do this season.
Tebow is a very competitive person who thrives being an integral part of a team. He was one of the best college QBs to ever play the game and I hate saying that because I am a Vol For Life. I didn't think his specific skill set would translate to the pro game. An NFL team would have to remake their offense to cater to Tebow's strengths and pray that he never got hurt. The NFL is all about winning and coaches can't take a few years to draft and trade to put the right personnel around Tebow to help him be successful. Tebow needed to evolve his skill set to function in the NFL and he couldn't do it. No one doubts his heart, his work ethic or his desire to succeed but being a starting QB in the NFL just wasn't in God's plan for Tim. If he had humbled himself to that reality, he could have been an amazing TE or other position player in the NFL. His ego demanded he must be a QB or he'd refuse to play the game. He could have gone to the CFL (like Flutie & Moon) to work on his skills and matured into the QB position but again, his ego wouldn't allow that. He'd dominate the AFL but again, his ego won't allow him to consider that. Now he seems to believe that he can pick up a bat after a decade away from the sport and become an MLB caliber player. His ego won't accept the reality that he would likely repeat Michael's Jordan's experience where a freakishly amazing athlete in a different sport tried to break into the major leagues of baseball. Maybe Tebow has convinced himself that his specific version of God wants him to be a star playing in a major American professional sports league. Apparently, the Almighty wasn't informed of this and hasn't intervened on Tebow's behalf to change reality. He's good doing commentary on SEC Football for ESPN because he knows the conference. He has a future in pursuing his religious beliefs doing philanthropy work or he could go into politics and easily be elected to a statewide office or to Congress from his home district. We will have to wait and see where his ego leads him over the next few years while he is still in excellent physical shape.
As a Historian, I was taught to be aware of my personal bias when writing papers, articles, books, etc. Growing up in East Tennessee meant hearing Rocky Top every gameday as a kid in the 70s & 80s via the Vol Radio Network and on TV from the 90s onward. Hearing Rocky Top gives me goose bumps, makes my heart beat faster as I know It's Football Time in Tennessee! (Basketball time as well) So my opinion is hopelessly biased when I claim Rocky Top as the best fight song in all of college football. I do know how much Rocky Top is despised by visiting fans to Neyland, so that is a great indication of the emotions the song evokes. Isn't that what you want in a fight song, a strong emotional response? Go Vols!
I agree that we need to keep this forum focused on our shared passion for SEC Football. Still, it is frustrating to see such uninformed criticism of higher education. In our current fiscal climate, it is much more difficult to get tenure at a university. In a cost-cutting measure, colleges prefer to use part-time faculty to teach so they don't have to provide insurance coverage and other normal benefits. I started college in 1985 and most of the funding came from the state (Tennessee in my case) but over the years the budget for higher education has been drastically cut driving to cost of attending college much higher. College administrators now treat students as ATM machines and cater to their whims. This has allowed the authoritarian regressive Left on campus to push their PC agenda. This assault on Free Speech has had a chilling effect on the faculty as the administration kowtows to the main source of their income, the students. We need to support the faculty and staff as our colleges are an invaluable resource in making our citizens the best educated in the world.
The excitement around the Tennessee program is great. We came close to running the table on the top prospects we wanted to sign. ESPN and the other sport's media are all touting my Vols as a top team for the 2016 season. The fans believe that we'll win the SEC East. The pressure is now on Coach Jones, his staff and the team to meet or exceed these expectations. The rebuilding phase is over, now we need to see the Vols breakout in the victory column and return to 10+ win seasons and battling for SEC Championships every year. So now the pressure is on, let's see how the Big Orange do on the field.
I concur. I believe we will see Tennessee return to having double-digit wins every season for the foreseeable future. Butch will be there to celebrate the Vols' 900th victory as long as he keeps them progressing on schedule. No one is going to catch Alabama until long after Saban retires.
I thought that the Vols would go 8-4 this season and I was surprised by the hype in the media predicting a 10-2 type record and winning the SEC East. We had the potential to go 10-2 but we had to learn how to finish games. I think the coaching staff and the team have taken this lesson to heart and it will show this fall. We saw the Vols come out after a lackluster 1st Half against #13 Northwestern leading by 11. That made Tennessee fans nervous after the painful experiences against OU and Florida. The Vols quickly established their dominance of Northwestern and blew out the Wildcats. I expect the Vols to finish the 2nd half against our quality opponents this fall. I agree with the other comments that Dobbs needs to take the next step in becoming a complete QB. His accuracy is not where it should be for an elite level QB. I wonder if he struggles early next season if Dormandy will be called upon to play. We will need solid QB play to win the SEC East and live up to our potential. If this happens, 2016-17 will be the season that Tennessee Volunteers Football returns to being a major player in the SEC. We've seen flashes the past two years but now it is time for Butch Jones and his staff to put it all together and show they can lead these kids to victories on the field. I'm not sure how good Va Tech will be under their new coach but that is a game we should win. The real test will be when the Gators come into Neyland. We must beat the Gators to prove we are back as an SEC power. Lose to Florida again and the team will hear it from the fan base. If we get past Florida, we know we can beat UGA, TAMU is down, which means we should be 6-0 and ranked pretty high for the showdown at Neyland versus the (likely) National Champion Crimson Tide. This will be a measuring stick game. A win would obviously be huge for the program as the remaining schedule is not challenging. This all sounds good in theory but the wins must be won on the field. So let's Go Big Orange and return to our rightful position as an SEC powerhouse!
I walked out of the Outback Bowl thinking my Vols should go 10-2 or 11-1 next year and win the East. Of course, that is easy for me to say 9 months in advance but I believe Butch Jones and these players have learned the painful lesson on how important it is to finish games. Obviously, injuries to key players is a wild card for every team but at this time of year, but it is fun to speculate.
I was surprised to see Kubiak pull Osweiler for Manning since the Broncos offensive struggles weren't all on him. Still, it turned out to be the right call as Peyton clearly sparked the Broncos to victory. Earning the #1 seed was important as Peyton will get a week off to rest and await the lowest seed to come to Mile High. Will we get to see one last face-off between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady with the winner punching their ticket to the Super Bowl?
During the regular season, I enjoy my "hate" for the Crimson Tide. During the CFB Playoffs, I have no problem cheering for the SEC representative, So Roll Tide and skin those Tigers wearing the wrong shade of Orange! Danny Kanell is just doing his job in bringing attention via social media to ESPN. Still, I do question his sartorial sensibility with that turtleneck.
At the Outback Bowl, many of my fellow Tennessee fans started the chant "S-E-C!" late in the 4th Quarter. I think it is one of those unwritten requirements to being in the conference. Going 8-2 should quiet down the critics especially if Bama beats Clemson. I fear that our future bowl opponents will petition to stop The Pride of the Southland Band from playing Rocky Top more than 100 times per game. The two NU students who were sitting behind us knew the words by the time they left late in the 3rd Quarter. Needless to say, we really enjoyed our time in Tampa! Bloomin' Onions for everyone, our treat!
I wasn't sure about the Smokey Gray uniforms at first because I am an old man now. Once I saw them, I was darned impressed because they looked great without tarnishing the storied history and tradition of Tennessee. The use of the Smokey Mountains in shadow on the helmet was a nice touch as well. The switch over to Nike didn't result in some bizarre alternate universe uniform and Vol Nation appreciates it! I liked Vandy's alternate uniform as well. Cool Anchor Down helmets.
As soon as it was announced that we were going to the Outback Bowl, I jumped on Ticketmaster and purchased two tickets because it just feels like the Vols will have another big bowl game performance. How can we miss that!