Tennessee's latest loss doesn't put Derek Dooley on the hot seat. It seals his fate
This game probably should have been over at halftime. By that point, Tennessee was leading Missouri 21-7 and seemed the most likely of the two teams to emerge with its bowl hopes intact. It probably wouldn't be enough to save Derek Dooley's job, but at least it would give him another group of memories as he left.
Instead, the question everyone is left to ponder right now is whether Dooley might become the second coach fired midseason after Joker Phillips was shown the door at Kentucky. Missouri won the second half 21-7, forcing the game into overtime, and then won it there. Despite being outgained by more than 130 yards, the Tigers got their second SEC win and continued a so-far winless streak for Tennessee in Dooley's third season.
After three overtimes and with the teams tied at 48, Tennessee decided to go for it in the fourth on a fourth-and-3 at the Missouri 18. The pass was incomplete, and Missouri took over and won with a field goal, yet another late-game loss in a Dooley career studded with them. This one, of course, is a bit more of his fault than some of the others.
Which is ultimately why we might be facing the last days of the Dooley regime. For all of the unlucky breaks Dooley took in his first year, many of the losses Tennessee has suffered since then have been of its own making. The Vols have not lost 13 of their last 14 SEC games because of bad luck.