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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Upside Down Sports World at Tennessee

What does recruiting matter at UT? The Vols have stacked nationally ranked top 5 football recruiting classes on top of another for the past 7-8 years. What do the Vols have to show for these great recruiting hauls? Z-e-r-o Southeastern Conference titles since 1999. Remember we play for championships at UT, not meaningless victories over Kentucky, Memphis, or Vanderbilt.

In the wake of the 2005 "Train Wreck at Rock Bottom" season, the Vols recruiting fortunes have taken a strange but expected turn for the worse. Read Ron Bliss's column, A look at Tennessee recruiting: Strange days, indeed. Bliss points out the changes in recruiting outlooks at Tennessee. The Vols football team is currently ranked 53rd nationally and 10th in the SEC in football recruiting behind the likes of Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Mississippi State. Now, there is a lot that is going to take place between now and national signing day that will hopefully change the Vols' recruiting fortunes and frankly recruiting is about filling needs rather than winning some meaningless artificial recruiting guru rankings.

On the other hand, Bliss mentions the change of recruiting status for the Vols basketball program, led by new coach Bruce Pearl. Pearl's first recruiting class at Tennessee is ranked 12th by one recruiting service and 16th by another. Both of those services believe that Tennessee had a better recruiting haul than national powerhouse and SEC opponent Kentucky. Pearl, in just his first 8 games as the leader of the Vols' hoops team, is showing why he has been a winner everywhere he has been in his career. If Bruce Pearl can continue to recruit top notch talent, meld that talent into a cohesive unit, improve their skills, and win at Tennessee, some great times are head for Tennessee fans.

Funny how a perennial downtrodden basketball program has turned its fortunes around with good coaching. While on the other hand, the roles seem to be reversed with the UT football program.


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