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That Was Harder Than It Should Have Been: Tennessee 32, UAB 29 (2OT)

Tennessee won. That's supposed to be the most important thing. Except Tennessee was not the team that did the following Saturday afternoon at Neyland:

  • Had 23 first downs and was 11-of-23 on third and fourth down
  • Rang up 544 yards of total offense, 257 yards more than the other team
  • Missed five FGs, three of them reasonable kicks that would have won the game in regulation

No, that would be UAB, a team that hasn't had a winning season in Conference USA games since 2004. So any celebration in Knoxville -- and I can't believe there will actually be any -- is out place; Tennessee should have lost the game Saturday, and that should be a cautionary tale for Volunteer fans.

In fact, you could argue that UAB might have won this game were it not for some of the bizarre decisions made by Neil Callaway. Again, the Blazers missed five FGS -- including an attempt from 49 when Josh Zahn was 0-for-2 and one from 54 when Zahn was 0-for-4.

We knew Tennessee was going to go through at least one rebuilding season when Derek Dooley arrived. Win or lose, the game Saturday was the first indication of just how long that rebuilding season might be.