I hate a lot of things. I hate onions. I hate pop music. I hate sizzling fajita platters. I hate Gatorade commercials. I hate cable news. I hate going to the bank. I hate horror movies. I hate reality TV. I hate Toby Keith. I hate the term "fashion-forward." I hate John & Kate Plus 8. I hate Time Warner Cable. I hate Verne Lundquist. I hate people who wear North Face jackets when it's 68 degrees outside. I hate Leno.I hate the Red Sox. I hate celebrity "news." I hate Auburn. But I loathe Tennessee.
I really don't even know how to adequately describe how I feel that bunch. Just the mere thought of all that puke orange makes my blood boil. I literally cannot sit through Rocky Top unless they are playing it against 'Bama, and even then it makes my stomach churn. I think Smokey is damn mutt that they ought to take out back and shoot and then send his mangy carcass to some starving people in Southeast Asia for dinner. And I'm a dog person. Love all dogs, actually, except that ugly mongrel. Hell, I wish we did nuclear testing in Knoxville. Loathe Roy Adams and Roy Kramer. If they die tomorrow it'll be ten years too late. And Fulmer's mother created a heinous crime against nature with his conception. If she'd had a brain she would have had an abortion, and if that offends you then too bad.
I can honestly say I've loathed them my whole life. The first game I remember against them was 1990. Hated 'em even them. I'd gladly given Stacy Harrison every toy I owned -- Tecmo Bowl and all -- for blocking that kick. Two years later, every single time Eric Curry and John Copeland beat Heath Shuler black and blue, it made my heart warm. The 1993 game probably defined the term "bittersweet" for my childhood, but it made the following year all the more sweet. And in '95, when the streak was finally broken, I stopped watching after Peyton beat us deep on the first play of the game. Couldn't stomach the sight of it.
And I hate Peyton Manning. Never rooted for him a single time at Tennessee, not even against Auburn in the 1997 SEC Championship Game. And it's his 12th year in the NFL, and I've still never rooted for him a single time. Even rooted for the Steelers against him. Hate him. And I still love me some Charles Woodson just for taking the Heisman from him. Yeah Peyton deserved it hands down, what of it? And sure he may arguably be the greatest quarterback ever, I don't care. He put on that puke orange and he had at least one enemy for life. And I loved his SNL appearance, and the "Cut that meat!" line still gets a laugh from me, and I think I die a little inside every time I laugh about it. And hell I even hate his sister and his mother by connection, and no I'm not talking about Olivia either for those who cannot read between the lines.
And I hate all players who went to Tennessee. Never could stand Reggie White, always like Bruce Smith more. He was the sole reason I rooted for the Pats in Super Bowl XXXI. I find it amusing when news breaks that Travis Henry has fathered his 827th child by 826 different women. Leonard Little and Donte Stallworth? Those two out to still be rotting in prison. Insanesworth? Should have been kicked out of the NFL for his head-stomping of Gurode.
The years 1992-2001 were nothing short of unbearable. We were Tennessee's bitch and it gnawed at my soul and I knew it was true. Couldn't do a thing about it either, which made it all the worse. Finally 2002 rolled around and things changed. All seemed right in the world once again.
2003 was probably the low point of my college football life. I was a sophomore at 'Bama at the time, and I still remember sitting in the student section for that game. Had 'em beat a hundred times only to piss it all away. Watched the 4th and 19 get converted in the second overtime. Felt like death. Would have been too depressing even for Poe to write about. I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy. Well, except Tennessee fans. It was worse than La Tech, or Northern Illinois, or ULM, or anything for that matter. 2004 just made it even worse.
In 2005 I was a senior at 'Bama, six weeks away from graduation. I remember sitting in the student section that day, thinking that surely the unthinkable couldn't happen. Third and long, the dump pass to Anderson, Harper charges in to make the touchdown-saving tackle, and then I see it from 150 yards away. I see the football slowly pop into mid-air and time effectively froze. Seeing that ball roll out of the back of the end zone was nothing more than a slice of heaven. Sang Rammer Jammer so loud that that I didn't get my voice back until about Thursday of the following week.
And Saban, what more do you need to say? Blowout wins over Tennessee... sign him to a lifetime contract. Whatever he wants. Money. Houses. Women. Cars. Oatmeal Creampies. Millions of worshippers. Whatever. Make it happen. Aight.
I still remember the highlights of loathing when other teams beat Tennessee. Spurrier hanging 60 on them? Memphis beating Peyton? Nebraska treating them like Ike treated Tina? Saban spankin' 'em in Atlanta in the '01 SECCG? Maryland blowing them out in the Peach Bowl? Clemson doing the same the next year? Ronnie Brown steamrolling whatever that idiot's name was in 2004? Vandy beating them in '05? Penn State in '06? The pick-six against LSU in '07? Getting UCLA'd? Wyoming? I loved every second of it.
I can honestly say that I have rooted for Tennessee one time in my life. It was the 2006 LSU v. Tennessee game in Knoxville, and I had the unfortunate circumstance of watching that game in slum housing in New Orleans with the single most obnoxious jackass I've ever met in my entire life; a drunk LSU fan running his mouth about 'Bama. And I rooted for Tennessee just to shut him up. And afterward, I felt like a damn whore. The kind of thing you know you cannot wash off with Dial Gold and a steaming hot shower. That kind of thing that just stains your soul. It'll never happen again.
I hope we embarrass these missing evolutionary links today. I don't want to win, I don't want to annihilate, I want to create the football equivalent of a nuclear bomb on them. I want to score so many points that we need Harvard mathematicians just to compute the final score. I hope we get up by trillions of points late, score another touchdown, go for two, then go for the on-side kick and start the same process all over again. If we can score so many points on them that the human brain implodes at the sheer thought of a number that large, I hope we do it. And if we -- the #1 team in the country -- lose to those sniveling wastes of human life tomorrow, I'm going to puke. And I mean that literally. I'm going to walk out in the front yard and just vomit. Not sick. Not mad. Not frustrated. Just puke. By the ton.
And that is what it means to loathe Tennessee.