I thought of this in the shower this morning. That probably means I'm thinking about football too much, but what can you do? It's that time of year. And the similarities are almost scary.
BOTH TEAMS were coached by "company men." Both DuBose and Fulmer had their dream jobs at their alma maters and I doubt either really wanted to coach anywhere else.
BOTH COACHES had a liiittle bit of a weight problem.
BOTH TEAMS/COACHES had faced adversity on and off the field in recent years. UA went 4-7 in DuBose's first year, 1997. There was also the whole secretary thing. Fulmer and UT suffered through a subpar 2005. I also heard there may have been one or two football players arrested in Knoxville around that time.
BOTH TEAMS/COACHES had seemingly righted the ship. Alabama won the SEC in 1999 and was preseason #3 in 2000. UT won the SEC East in 2007 and was ranked fairly high going into 2008.
BOTH TEAMS had a highly-anticipated season opener that they were favored to win easily. Bama had UCLA in the Rose Bowl and for the Vols; what do you know, UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Both teams lost to the Bruins.
BOTH TEAMS bounced back to win the next week. Alabama beat Vandy, a team from Tennessee, in a game played at Legion Field. Tennessee beat UAB, a team from Alabama whose home stadium is Legion Field. (Freaked out yet? There's more!)
BOTH TEAMS endured a quarterback controversy which was really beside the point as all four quarterbacks (Zow/Watts for 'Bama, Crompton/Stephens for UT) stunk. NOTE: When I say Zow and Watts stunk, I'm talking about 2000 ONLY. Both bounced back to have good careers and I have fond memories of both. We all were horrible that season, me included, and I didn't even play.
BOTH TEAMS thought they had straightend things out before the Third Saturday (fourth this year I know) as each had dominated a team from Mississippi in the week leading up that game. Alabama mudholed Ole Miss. I don't remember the final score, but it was ugly. Kecalf Bailey scored a touchdown. UT, as you remember, beat Mississippi State badly this year as well.
BOTH TEAMS lost to their rival anyway. UT beat 'Bama in 2000, Alabama beat UT in 2008. Neither game was really close. As I remember, we had a chance in 2000, but a fumble cost us at the end.
BOTH TEAMS packed it in after the Third Saturday. Alabama went on to lose to Central Florida. Tennessee lost to Wyoming. I know Tennessee still has games to play, but really, they seem to have called it a day.
BOTH TEAMS had new head coaches on the field the following season.
I think this is what John Lennon had in mind when he sang about instant karma. Phil Fulmer snitched on Mike DuBose and instead of being reincarnated as DuBose, he just turned into him over the course of six to eight years.
And, as far as UT's coaching search goes, Dennis Franchione is available...