Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
There's not much about the game that needs to be said. But there's a lot about the next season that needs to be decided
There's not a lot that can be said about a pair of teams who are 0-7 in the conference fighting to see which would be only one to emerge from this season with an SEC win. Tennessee looked good in comparison to Kentucky, at least at times, and Jim Chaney burnished his credentials an offensive coordinator to watch in the offseason. But that's about it.
Instead, it's time to start monitoring some of the stars, such as they were, for Tennessee in this game and the forgettable season that was. Tyler Bray was 20-of-34 for 293 yards and four touchdowns, but there are still questions about his maturity and decision-making. (Though I don't understand those who somehow use Derek Dooley's stupid decision to pull Bray in the first half of the Vanderbilt game as evidence of that.) Or Cordarrelle Patterson, who caught four of Bray's passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, or Justin Hunter, who caught three balls for 65 yards and a score.
What the next coach is able to convince them to do will be key to just how far Tennessee can go next year. All three might decide that now is the time to leave the program, rather than come back for the first year of a coach who's likely to not dramatically change the Vols' fortunes in year one. (A new coach can sometimes move the needle a couple of games in a league like the SEC, but asking for more than a New Year's Day Bowl would be pushing it.)
Kentucky, of course, also has a decision to make about its next head coach. But that coach will likely have a more challenging road ahead of him than the one in Knoxville, with fewer players that he will have to persuade not to join the NFL.
Either way, there are a bunch of decisions to make for the teams that just met in Knoxville. It's just that Tennessee's players and administration can feel a little bit better while making them.