This is Tennessee week, and it's so very, very hard to care. This well is dry, because in order for you to properly hate, someone must rain on your parade. The precipitation should be enough to fill at least a birdbath, or at least wet the bottom of a respectably-sized drainage ditch. It should breed mosquitoes of regret in the summer, when you think about how much you hate the person who filled that well. At its worst, it overflows, and you find yourself there, where no man should ever go, quietly spraying poison on the arboreal symbolic of your other.
You can't do that to Tennessee. For one, its mascot is an adorable dog, albeit a poorly behaved one prone to biting people it shouldn't. You can't spray pesticide on a dog. We say that because there may be Alabama fans reading, and they may consider this a real possibility. Even if your demented ethics don't prevent you from doing it, consider the danger. Smokey usually travels with an armed lunatic with a musket, and does so in a state with liberal concealed carry laws. You'll die before you get near him, or shortly thereafter attempting to escape on foot through the inhumane terrain of East Tennessee.
You also can't do that to Tennessee as a Florida fan because they have not won since 2004, a span of nine years over which a lot of very historical things have happened. So many so, that mentioning the things that have happened in that nine year interim will make you feel old, and possibly make you cry if you were a Tennessee fan, and wondering where all the lost, irretrievable time went.
- Tennessee hasn't beaten Florida in the Facebook era, or in the post-Mark Zuckerberg era following his assassination during a keynote speech in Los Santos. Yes, we have been playing too much GTA V. Why do you ask?
- Bone Thugs 'n Harmony have reunited, split up, reunited, and split up again.
- There have been four Fast and Furious movies.
- MILEY CYRUS LOOKED LIKE THIS AND NOW YOU ARE FEELING DEATH'S SCYTHE UPON YOUR NECK
- That sandwich you left in your desk in that career you abandoned before hiding in grad school for a few years? It's probably not good anymore.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars have made two playoff appearances since then.
- At least 18 of those cruises where poop just started exploding from the windows, and that's just in the Atlantic. Nothing gets reported from the Pacific, the Tom Sizemore of Oceans. (Because it has no memory.)
- Ron Prince's entire career as a head coach. (So far. SING FOR ME, USC.)
- Gucci Mane has released eight albums, and has also been arrested eight times.
- Lane Kiffin has held four different jobs.
- Someone asked this.
- Tennessee has had 52 wins over this span. Teams with more wins over that same span? South Florida, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Central Florida, and 56 other teams who had better near-decades than you. Florida outpaced you by 31 wins over the same timeframe. The only other team with 52 wins? The UConn Huskies.
That is a very long time, long enough to dim the fires of competition. We still remember the things that once made this so bitter: the fact that your greatest moments in this series are winning by the European cowardice of field goals, that your fans have spent so much of their time crossing their arms in pained silence at the horror unfolding before them, that you consider Florida to be classless and less than trash when we happily have no concept or valuation of those terms. We remember Casey Clausen beating Florida at home. This, this feculent error of human history...this should be enough to make someone hate forever, and with the passion of at least several burning repossessed trailer homes.
We also know that these are old memories, and that an entire generation of Florida people don't remember a vital, non-dysfunctional Tennessee Volunteers. They probably imagine Tennessee as a step or two up from Kentucky, and several notches below South Carolina. Younger Florida fans probably hear that Tennessee was once a rival, and imagine it to be an accident of history, a blip. It would be correct to say that for a time in the mid to late '90s, this was indeed a rivalry and one whose winner held a nice path to a national title. It would be educational, and the proper thing.
We're not going to do that. You should hope for good things to happen to Tennessee, and for their program to rebuild, and gain something of the luster a decade of mismanagement has taken off the Power T. You should hope that, since a stronger Tennessee makes for a stronger Florida, and improves the competitive balance in the Southeastern Conference. You should hope that because right now Tennessee is one more game Alabama gets to steamroll on their favorable conference schedule when it was once truly the Third Saturday in October, and a vicious battle of equals. You should want nice things for them because you, unlike us, are a good person, and wish the best even for hated rivals.
We are not good people. We hope you lose at everything, Tennessee. We hope eternity exists, because this means our fondest wish is possible: that you could lose at everything forever.