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End Game: Missouri 50, Tennessee 17

We are tired and ready to die. Let us pass.

Hey there, reader. We aren’t going to talk about the Missouri-Tennessee game. There’s nothing to talk about. It’s over. Butch Jones has lost his most recent game to all other 13 SEC teams. That’s the column. I got nothing. Let’s talk about some other stuff.


1. SO IT GOES.

Another week, another time where no one cares or wants to read about Tennessee athletics. So let’s talk about some great audio.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been devoting a ton of time to a podcast I’ve known about for three years but never bothered to listen to. I sell it to everyone this way: American History, but all the stories that people want to listen to. Here’s The Dollop:

This is an animated short centered around one of the greatest American stories ever, Rube Waddell. The episode on this is something else, but it’s a great introduction to a series that has discussed Hugh Glass (the guy from The Revenant), garbage disposal flatlining company Uber, TEN CENT BEER NIGHT, competitive tickling (!), Alex Jones and Jade Helm, and far, far more that I cannot post because my grandparents read these. Oh, and one of the worst flight of all time.

2. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

No, you idiot, the turnover chain doesn’t only work because Miami is winning. It works because it’s a freaking turnover chain.

https://twitter.com/barstoolsports/status/929528317103034370

The turnover plank rules, too.

The moron still coaching this team at 9:36 AM on November 12, 2017 used a trash can. It gets stupider every time I think about it. If I had to rank this person among everyone I’ve ever met in terms of intelligence, he’d be in the relegation zone.

3. GETAWAY CAR.

Actually, forget it, let’s talk. Here’s an update on a stat I ran last year.

Nothing has changed about this stat except this: Butch Jones seasons will now rank T-64th, 58th, T-44th, T-44th, and either T-64th or DFL. It infuriates me all over again that people still had hope in him before this season started. What, exactly, told you he could Get It Done? Where was the improvement? Where was the progress? Why would this team, which lost six players to the Draft, be any better? In fact, I’m not sure what the argument for a fifth year of Butch Jones was, besides not letting Dave Hart make another hire.

Because I’ve been sick of thinking about it for a month now, I haven’t bothered to write these recaps about football at all. Writing the previews hasn’t been enjoyable. Nothing about this is enjoyable. Nothing about someone with a 75 IQ on your favorite team’s sideline taking a sledgehammer to the program is enjoyable. Nothing about hitting depths lower than you did with DEREK DOOLEY is enjoyable. Nothing about having to use your third-string quarterback, third-string receivers, fourth-string offensive linemen, and all of the other backups forced to play because their moron head coach has no idea how to run a strength and conditioning program is enjoyable.

And about that – I’m beyond sick of hearing about bad luck. Bad luck isn’t ranking among the very worst teams in games lost to injury for three straight seasons. That’s bad strength and conditioning. The very dumbest argument against firing Butch Jones right now is that there isn’t an available interim on the roster who’d make it any better. My counter-argument is that this program has been player-led for some time now. Remember those 2016 wins you loved so much that now feel bittersweet? Those had nothing to do with coaching – they were entirely player-led.

Butch Jones has not had control of this team since December 2015. It should’ve been obvious by Florida 2016. It really should’ve been obvious by South Carolina 2016. If it hadn’t smacked you in the face before Georgia 2017, I have nothing left to help you.

I’ve been laid off before. It’s a terribly humiliating feeling: you aren’t essential enough to the company’s success, so you’re not worth keeping. I wish it upon no one. And yet, I still wish a firing upon the guy who punched a player in practice, called Drae Bowles (Drae, if you’re out there, shoutout to Shakespeare class, you were a fun guy to talk to) a liar, has numerous potential NCAA skeletons in the closet (OOPS! Wasn’t supposed to tell you that one!), lies about concussions to medical staff, lies to families about how much their child will play, treated the Vol For Life coordinator horribly, is constantly covering up a mess he created with any number of players, USES A TRASH CAN AS MOTIVATION, and is, by all means, the guy on LinkedIn who makes long, awful posts about how he loves his job despite having to work 90 hours a week. Butch Jones did nothing. Thank the players for doing it for him.

4. REPUTATION.

The newest Taylor Swift album was released on Friday, and sure enough, it’s caused all of the dudes who have never held a long-term relationship in their lives to re-energize the hate. Taylor Swift is pathetic! Taylor Swift hates men! Taylor Swift was better when she was a country star! (Yeah, I loved Fearless too. Red‘s better.) She needs stuff to write about – that’s why she keeps breaking up with dudes! She forces people to pay for her music! (Please re-read this sentence if you’ve ever had this opinion and think about it for a minute.)

Here is an open secret: I don’t care. I do not care if Taylor Swift is a Trump voter (Kanye supposedly wanted to be one, but he also went insane, so). I do not care if Taylor Swift’s music was off of Spotify for the entirety of my first two years of professional life. (Actually, yeah I do – it would’ve made the miserable days better.) I do not care that she shifted from country, a rapidly-dying genre (sorry! Can the good country people send the Blake Sheltons home?), to pop, a genre that literally means popular music. She plays within the confines of what’s popular and does it better than anyone not named Kanye West.

I can’t imagine this is shocking to anyone who loved “I Knew You Were Trouble” or most of 1989, but Reputation is an exercise in a similar mold. 1989 should be interpreted almost entirely as the second phase in Confident Adult Woman Taylor Swift filtered through the best rehash of 1980s music on a popular record so far. It’s not our fault Taylor wasn’t alive for the 1980s and didn’t realize they absolutely sucked, but hey, 1989 was awesome. So’s Reputation: the first album where Swift admits she’s In Love For Real This Time.

Everyone knows the drill: previous albums were centered around Swift’s very public and deep struggles with relationships. For some reason, people hate her for experiencing the exact same thing 99% of other humans experience: bad love stories. Breaking up sucks. Dating can really suck until you find the right person. I found the right person (humblebrag: we’ve been together since 2013), but dating several women before the right person is brutal. It can really shake one’s confidence as to if they’ll ever find a person to be with forever.

On Reputation, Swift seems to realize she’s found her person: “you are so gorgeous it makes me so mad,” “he must like me for me,” “I know I did one thing right,” “I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town or if you strike out.” The last one is on a beautiful, stunning song titled “New Year’s Day”:

U2 is my favorite band and “New Year’s Day” is one of my desert island songs, so this will have to settle for being the second-best “New Year’s Day” I’ve ever heard. But it’s a song that really shakes me: Swift and lover Joe Alwyn wake up the morning after a fun-but-probably-not-that-fun New Year’s Day party. They don’t live together yet, but Swift is reassured by Alwyn’s actions: staying behind to clean up, staying until everyone else has left, riding together in the taxi and holding hands. They’re so simple, but love can be so simple. Love can be actually good. Love can save your life.

If this is the sound of Swift’s psyche being saved after a universally-reviled last year, I’m all for it. I’ve never held any serious opinion on the Swift/Kanye rivalry; at least in the past, it’s forced both to make better music. However, I do hold a serious opinion on the pop artist three years older than me: I’m very, very glad she’s found her person. It is, beyond all others, the greatest feeling in the world.

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