Camelot Collapsing: The Butch Jones Story

imagePig Howard lay spread eagle on the field, exhausted, panting. He had expended every ounce of energy he had on that cold October day in 2013. He truly gave his all for Tennessee. Unfortunately, as the ball slipped out of his hand in the back of the opponents end zone, his team came up just inches short in what would have been its first victory against a ranked opponent in 6 seasons. The fifth ranked Georgia Bulldogs left Neyland Stadium victorious, and the Volunteer faithful were left repeating what would become an all too familiar monicker, “we were so close.”

Tonight, the Volunteers came up close again. This season the Volunteers were close to winning the SEC East for the first time in 9 years. Against Vanderbilt, they were close to locking down a sure fire trip to the Sugar Bowl for the first time in 26 years. Last season, the Vols were one play away from beating both Alabama and Florida. They have mastered the art of almost getting it done. Unfortunately, Butch Jones wasn’t hired to coach horseshoes and hand-grenades.

When Jones first arrived in Knoxville, it was Palm Sunday. Championsip hopes hit an all time high (life championships not considered). The Vol faithful showered him with praise and admiration, as high profile recruits began migrating to Tennessee in a way this generation of Vol fans had never witnessed. Talk of being three years away, or one recruiting class away became common place as Jones established his kingdom. Unfortunately, the kingdom was Camelot. It was fiction. Jones has under delivered on his promises to players and fans alike. His golden chalice is beginning to look more like a bottle of PBR he picked up on frat row. As a lack of success on the field is becoming more and more noticeable, King Butch’s recruiting has taken a hit. Smart people steer clear of sinking ships. This Camelot is becoming a ghost town.

I hope Butch Jones wins a national championship at UT. I think firing him would be unfair and absurd at this point. However, I have seen this movie before. I do believe tonight was the beginning of the end. The disillusioned talk of five star hearts and champions of life is reflective of a coach who is tired, and dodging expectations. Jones may be more tired of UT fans than they are of him. This cocktail of mutual disappointment will make for an interesting offseason.

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