The Idiot Optimist’s Guide to the 2017 Season

Hey, y’all think about cutting a power T out of them eclipse glasses so it’d be burned onto your retina forever?

…uh, yeah, me neither.

Really though, I figure I’ve had enough medical problems anyway. But listen, before you even ask, I’m fine. I know I was in the hospital a long time there, and still nobody believes me. They can call it a coma or an “event” or whatever fancy medical mumbo-jumbo they want. But I’m telling you, boys:  when Jauan caught that ball, the Lord took me straight up to heaven.

Now at the time I thought I had been raptured, so I politely asked the Lord if he could please send me back and maybe hold off on his return at least until we beat Alabama. But the Lord’s ways remain mysterious:  when I woke up in that hospital bed, turns out I hadn’t been raptured and somehow the Vols had lost four games. But I believe God was still looking out for me, because if I’d witnessed us giving up 45 points and 600 yards to Vanderbilt, that would’ve been the end for me anyway. “Shurmur” sounds like the noise I make through clinched teeth so I don’t say the real bad words in front of my wife, and that day I would have Shurmured myself right to death.

So I wake up and discover we’ve hired a new athletic director. Listen, I may not run the Pilot, but I buy my gas there because some percentage of that $2.07 per gallon is going back to the football program. I put money in the offering plate to beat the devil and I pump at Pilot to beat Alabama, and any man that don’t isn’t VFL. So I may not be as high up the ladder as the Haslams, but we’re all in the same food chain and all our voices should be heard.

I heard they used a committee to hire John Currie, who I like because he talksrealfast even if he ain’t Coach Fulmer. But next time there’s a major decision, I’d like to feel that the common man and the common fan have a voice at the table. They put Peyton on that committee, which is a good start, but we need more people we know. People we can trust. People who bleed orange and are tired of feeling anemic for the last ten years. So I’d like to make a few suggestions for additions to the athletic department executive committee:

Jon Gruden – sorry, reflex.

Dolly Parton – Should’ve just hired her to do the job outright last time we had an opening. She might be too busy saving God’s country to help save our athletic department, which I have no doubt she could do. I watched that Coat of Many Christmases so many times I feel like the best way to tell people about Jesus is to tell them about Dolly. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t buy a funnel cake and saltwater taffy at Neyland Stadium. This could be the year for the real thing.

Dave Ramsey – Revenue, son. Would prevent ridiculous buyouts and make sure fans like me can buy a coke and a hot dog at Neyland without dipping into the emergency fund. Frees up everyone else to just worry about football, which hopefully frees up at least one person to think about basketball.

Kevin Nash – Six-time World Champion and VFL. Once punched a head coach, so, you know, maybe he doesn’t chair the committee. Experienced in hostile takeovers. My wife says he’s also in something called Magic Mike, which is apparently not a film about Dave Hart’s predecessor.  

If any of these parties are unable or unwilling, I remain on standby. Come on, Mr. Haslam. I promise to start buying the premium gasoline if you put me in that room.

I get that my credentials may not be so hot, but I’ve been raising funds this off-season by selling these t-shirts (rips open jacket to reveal “THE BEACHES OF DORMADY”; shirt is of such low quality you can see it’s got “GUARANTANIMO BAY” printed on the other side). They’re reversible!

Look, you know the reason we won in ‘98 is because all them boys were so angry about being forgotten when all the ‘97 team went pro right? Same thing this year, son! It don’t matter if it’s QD or JG, he’s basically gonna be Tee Martin all over again. John Kelly is like a combination of Tony Thompson, Travis Stephens, Montario Hardesty, and basically every other back who’s been overlooked but finished strong. I like it when I hear a back runs angry, because that’s typically how I’m watching.

I literally cannot imagine what Jauan Jennings can do to top what he did to Jalen Tabor and the entire state of Georgia. (Author’s note: last year basically was the idiot optimist version of Jauan Jennings. I can’t come up with anything better or less probable than what he already did in real life. I salute you, sir.) Does he have boots made of yellow jackets yet? That dude is my favorite Vol since at least Bill Duff. At least.

Do you know we have Todd Kelly’s kid, Dale Carter’s kid, and Eric Berry’s brother all at the same position?! They call that the “safety”, but ain’t nothing safe about this defense. Except, you know, this year they’re not gonna be safe for the other team. Yeah.

It wouldn’t matter if we’re playing Georgia Tech or the Atlanta By God Falcons in that first game, it’s an automatic W since it ain’t in the Georgia Dome. I’m a little worried about having to face Larry Bird on short rest after that, but I have faith in our coaching staff.

Florida? HA! I’ve spent so many hours watching the replay of the second half it’s essentially my part-time job. They ain’t no good. Then we’ve got UMass, who I swear was still on probation from that Calipari business but whatever.

So I’ve got my list of enemies, and it ain’t nothing new. This year we get to trade a shot at Lane Kiffin for a shot at Ed Orgeron; either way when we win I’m taking my shirt off. Will Muschamp is on that list, who cheated last year by playing a quarterback who was taking driver’s ed while ours was taking global thermonuclear war or spaceship flying or probably both. But no matter what we do, we cannot get a shot at Derek By God Dooley, so we’re gonna have to take it out on Georgia instead, again.

People keep saying we should worry about Kentucky or Missouri, but this ain’t basketball or whatever Missouri is good at. And there’s nothing worse I can say about Vanderbilt than the truth: they’re looking at downsizing to an even smaller stadium and sharing it with soccer. Soccer, boys.

Whether it’s in Tuscaloosa or Atlanta, it still won’t be the same to beat Alabama without Kiffin. But maybe we’ll catch Florida Atlantic in the playoff. Either way, this is the year boys. 15-0, National Champions. And Back-to-Back Champions of Life.


The Idiot Optimist’s Guide to:

2016: Dobbs for President

2015: Kool-Aid Light

2014: Do you think it’s possible Butch Jones and Jon Gruden are the same person?

2013: The Kool-Aid tasted like bamboo

2012: I’m pretty sure me and you and six of your friends from the message board could coach this team to a championship.

2011: Last year was Year Zero, and everybody knows zero is not a real number.

2010: If I go down to the Big Orange Caravan and look Derek Dooley in the eye, he’s not going to be hiding behind some sunglasses.


  1. Welcome back Idiot Optimist! Best time of the year is when you are writing! Glad to hear your health has improved as everyone knows the Vols perform in keeping with the health of the most ardent 1,891 vol fans. (Why that number some of you might ask? If you have to ask, you aren’t VFL enough.)
    Anyway, I like your perspective as always. Keep up the good work! 😉

  2. I’m so glad I found the new site! I never made an account at the old site, but I read the articles and discussions diligently. I’m excited to become part of the family! GBO today and forever.

    Will, I miss hearing you on the Sports 180 radio show. It’s good to read some of your work again.

Leave a Comment