It’s been nine years since the SEC football conference champion came out of the East. It’s for good reason that the division is known as the SEC Least. For that to change, a better collection of coaches have to be assembled in the East and that is beginning to happen. Sort of.
There were two openings created in the East when Tennessee and Florida fired its coaches mid-season. Tennessee fans planned on singing Rocky Top with Jon Gruden. Florida fans planned on doing the Gator chomp with Chip Kelly. Once reality set in, Gruden stayed put with Monday Night Football and Kelly accepted the natural fit at UCLA.
That left Tennessee with Greg Schiano and Florida with Dan Mullen. I was going to write about both of these hires, but after looking into the storylines, I’ve decided to focus on the would-be marriage between Schiano and Tennessee.
Schiano isn’t a hire that will excite Tennessee fans. He may be an underwhelming hire, but the reaction from those fans, both influential and Average Joe, is downright scary. Some fans want Currie’s plane to crash while a local coffee shop, Remedy Coffee, says that Schiano isn’t allowed in the establishment.
Basilio caller says, “If Currie is on a plane with Schiano I hope it crashes.”
Another caller, “Currie needs to go work for Al Qaeda. He’s a suicide bomber.”
— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) November 26, 2017
Greg Schiano is not allowed in our establishment.
— Remedy Coffee (@remedy_coffee) November 26, 2017
The reason why some fans are hoping for Currie’s death and coffee shops won’t sell Schiano a dirty chai is because he coached at Penn State during the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Fans and politicians can’t believe that Currie would allow someone who supported child molestation into Neyland Stadium. The outrage is so strong that some believe the offer to be the Tennessee head coach will be pulled. If this is the case, it’s a huge overreaction.
Greg Schiano is currently concerned with the climate of the Tennessee fan base and the reaction towards reports of his contract being finalized at Tennessee. The deal may not get finalized.
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) November 26, 2017
First, let me say this; Schiano doesn’t support or condone child molestation. I don’t know the man and I’ve never spoken to him. But I’m confident in making that statement. Jerry Sandusky and Penn State were both prosecuted. What happened in Happy Valley was awful but it’s been dealt with. I’m sure that isn’t a popular opinion but it’s the truth. Schiano is innocent.
Now for the hammer to be dropped.
The problem is with the Tennessee fanbase. You’re all off of your rockers. Many college football fanbases are rabid, volatile, emotion-filled groups of people. But this group of fans perched upon Rocky Top is really something special.
This group of Tennessee fans, comprised of no-names, politicians, and business owners, are so upset that they didn’t get Gruden that they’re trying to run off a coach before he’s stepped foot on campus. Schiano has coached at Penn State is just a convenient excuse. Not getting Gruden, or even Dan Mullen was a huge blow to the over-inflated egos that root for Tennessee football. It’s just a bad look for any fanbase.
Remember this; there’s no room for Schiano in Knoxville but Peyton Manning remains a living deity. Accusations and assumptions are only damning when the target isn’t a member of the Tennessee’s Mount Rushmore.
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E-mail Seth at seth [dot] merenbloom [at] campuspressbox [dot] com
Photo: Wikimedia Commons