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Phil Fulmer is going out the window, but the question is how quickly, in what manner, and how much of the wall must be removed to move his prodigious legacy ass out of the way for whatever and whomever is next. 3rd Saturday in Blogtober claims to be sourced, the mainstream approach seems to be "um well we think he's probably sorta good" because they don't have ironclad sources but know he's gone, and everyone else seems to be waiting for the hammer to fall.

Use 'em while you can: donut jokes are about to be completely obsolete at Tennessee.

A velvety hammer strike it will be, though: like the gears of the Chinese politburo, the Orange Free State Republic's inner workings are stodgy, hesitant to make unseemly or impolite moves, and prefer to avoid the banana republic antics of their fellow SEC schools in hiring and firing. (See: Auburn.) We know this for a fact, or at least internet fact-like substance: Fulmer's agent Jimmy Sexton and AD Mike Hamilton have talked. We don't know about what, but intuiting that this likely surrounds a buyout and the numbers involved is not an unreasonable or circuitous logic path.

Tennessee has plenty of money, meaning the coaching slate for a replacement is wide open, if ill-timed. If Gruden is your choice, he may make the playoffs, complicating the timing of any negotiations and fouling with your recruiting class; if it's Lane Kiffin, you're going up against Clemson and Washington in another case of Tennessee having to recruit coast-to-coast to get their personnel. The prevailing winds from Austin are that Muschamp is another year off from taking a head coaching job, and will likely wait it out as a highly-paid assistant under Mack Brown. However it happens, it will be complicated and involve much obsessing over FlightTracker.

("Laverne! A plane left from Knoxville to Moscow! WE'RE GETTING PUTIN! HOOO--WEEEEE!")

The goodbye will be slow, plodding, and will go down like an elephant being shot to death with a bb gun; or in other words, much like any of Tennessee's teams in their losses over the past three years or so. But it is over in Knoxville. Your Krispy Kreme jokes, retire them: Fulmer, ever the company man, will coach nowhere else, and will instead spend his days raking in speaking fees and fishin'.