The Idiot Optimist’s Guide to the 2022 Season

Look, when exactly am I supposed to go to the bathroom during these games?

I raised this concern last year, but that was me assuming I’d only have trouble at Neyland. Listen, this offense is so fast, I can’t go in my own home in peace. I will buy anything with that Power T on it, but adult diapers might be the last straw with my wife. Might also be an untapped source of revenue for our athletic department too though.

And I can’t go when players on the other team fake injuries, because I’m too consumed with that white hot rage. Tried to tell y’all bout that Kiffin feller when everybody wanted to go down that road again after Jeremy. I don’t have no conflicting emotions with that guy, ‘cept for the rage and the restroom.

But God bless Josh Heupel for having one of our boys take a little nap after we kick an extra point. Not only is it a victimless crime, it is actively helping us know when it’s safe to go. I truly appreciate that.

And boys, we’re gonna kick a lot of extra points.

If dudes from Bama think we’re goin’ 10-2, that’s 12-0 easy. Y’all think about all the reasons we wanted to believe in these other fellas. The one because he said “britches”, the other cause he said, “aight?” You know why I believe in Josh Heupel? It’s because I watched us score 62 points on Missouri in like five minutes. We scored 28 points before we played a third down, then scored a 35-yard touchdown on the first one. And then, just when I was feeling a little “I don’t know about all this now” about those black uniforms? They put a 35-0 lead on South Carolina the very next week. And listen, one of those teams got Dan Mullen fired, and the other is doing Steve Spurrier’s proverbial cartwheels to be 6-6! When I tell y’all we were three referees away from 10 wins last year, you know I’m telling a higher percentage of the truth than usual!

Also, “I don’t know about all this now,” is what I said about that NIL stuff. Then we got Nico, and now I have taken on a third job to support the ministries of Spyre. I am genuinely concerned about getting a little bored, fellas. I mean, we’re clearly gonna win it all this year, then add the best quarterback in the nation next year? At least if I’m bored, I can use the restroom.

And we’ve already got the best quarterback in the nation this year! Hendon threw fewer interceptions than Peyton By God Manning last season, and no one really even knows what they’re doing in year zero one! He’s gonna come in second in the Heisman for sure. Cedric Tillman might come in third.

Then I hear people saying things like, “How much defense do we even need to play?” And I mean, sure, the real answer is, “One point less than we score,” which means we need to hold opponents to approximately 99 points per game. But fellas, y’all don’t think we’re gonna be better on that end too? We already know Jeremy Banks picked Hendon in a scrimmage, which should automatically qualify him for third-team All-American, at least. Byron Young and Tyler Baron off the edge?

And listen, some of these dudes are grownups. Trevon Flowers turns 23 round about the SEC Championship Game. Hendon turns 25 (!) a week after we win the natty. Old age ain’t just for John Fulkerson. Does Spyre have a pension plan?

Who’s gonna beat us? Who’s gonna threaten us? My greatest hope in the Pitt game is that we get up so much, they let Joe Milton get in there and throw a couple touchdowns, then just start launching balls into the state of Ohio just for fun.

And listen, Florida? We should’ve beaten those guys in ’14, ’15, got ’em in ’16, ’17…so when you say, “They’ve won 16 out of 17!” I hear, “Yeah, but we would’ve won most of those games easy if we had Heupel!” They ain’t no good. I’m making plans right now for where we’re going to celebrate after it’s over, and deep down? So are you.

LSU? We won the last two times we were in Baton Rouge when the game was over the first time! I’m not sure if there will be any Brian Kelly jokes left after they play Florida State, Mississippi State, and Auburn before us. But we’re coming off a bye, so we might score 150.

Bama? Y’all know we almost beat them last year when Hendon gave his all for Tennessee by getting half his teeth knocked out, right? And still threw for 282 and three touchdowns? Imagine what he can do with a full set of teeth!

Kentucky? Wait ’til basketball season. And Georgia? Let me just say, we had three second half drives against those guys that ended inside their 40 yard line. We were close, boys. We were close.

After we do all that, I’m supposed to be concerned about Missouri and South Carolina? If it wasn’t abundantly clear last time, I’m pretty sure we’ll once again make Mrs. Drinkwitz question her husband’s commitment to winning. And South Carolina will probably get to 7-5 this year, maybe add some backflips to the routine, good for them. Maybe we’ll be up less than 35-0 this time.

In Atlanta, y’all do what you want, but if I had my way, we’d get another shot at Ole Miss. I believe Jeremy’s currently unemployed, I don’t think Arkansas State can make the playoff, and Dooley got Butch’s old job as an “analyst” with Saban. But we can still right this wrong with Lane. We can still right a lot of wrongs.

We all know by now that winning the SEC is the real challenge, so pick whoever in the playoff and take the Vols and the over. 15-0, National Champions, son.

And I don’t know about you, but that thing is looking a little wobbly.

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John Wilbanks
John Wilbanks
3 months ago

Favorite post of the year. It’s football time in Tennessee!

Tom Turley
Tom Turley
3 months ago

I always enjoy this one, Will, especially this year because optimism isn’t idiotic!

Isaac Bishop
Isaac Bishop
3 months ago

Great read as always! Getting the Optimist’s guide is a preseason tradition