Ok, so the Vols lost.

In other words, we now officially have nothing to argue about with all our

colleagues

No more, "If Florida State loses to Florida, and if Nebraska drops the Big

12 title game and if Virginia Tech's entire team comes down with

mononucleosis, we're their man."

No more, "But they haven't played anyone, and they barely beat who they

play and their stadium isn't as big."

But, looking back, I do not blame the Vols.

In retrospect, the best evidence points toward the skies, some sort of

unorthodox alignment of the stars, leading to strange football

phenomena.

After the Vols lost, so did Kansas State, albeit to a stronger Nebraska,

while Mississippi State couldn't produce any offense in Tuscaloosa.

And Penn State? Yeah, they lost too.

It seems that every team with their hands in the national championship

cookie bowl just got caught by an overprotective mother.

It was just too sweet for too many teams.

I mean really, what are the Vols to do on a day when Illinois beat Ohio

State in Columbus and Auburn beat up on Georgia in Athens?

If you're not convinced, this little ditty should do the trick.

Syracuse continued their woeful season with a loss to Rutgers. Rutgers is

now 1-9.

The people at NASA haven't returned my calls and I'm too lazy to walk up

the Hill to talk with the UT astronomy people, but if you read this,

astronomy people, I'm down here in the basement of Communications searching

alone for a constellation to blame.

So what do we do now?

I'm not really sure, to be quite honest.

I have made phone calls to the sports editors at South Carolina and LSU, to

see what the students have been talking about all semester.

But both have closed their offices to the media.

Then it hit me while eyeing the box scores for the basketball Vols' win

over Marathon.

Granted, Marathon was paced by 22 points apiece from Feron Hand and Joe

McClean and would probably have a tough time hanging with a Canadian team,

but through the haze of mediocrity that lingers around Marathon, Tennessee

was able to show some signs of hope.

Tony Harris or C.J. Black as the leading scorer, right?

How about Jon Higgins with a Vol-high 18 points? The freshman guard from

Shaker Heights, Ohio was overlooked by many because of a knee injury that

caused him to miss much of his senior season, but he's obviously making up

for lost time.

Behind Higgins in scoring was another freshman, Marcus Haislip. The

Lewisburg, Tenn. native dropped in 14 and also led the team with 10

rebounds.

The fact that the Vols won the game 110-80 in front of 3,806 is of little

consequence. What is of consequence is that freshmen led the team to the

win.

Maybe, just maybe, the Vols can find a balance between the energy and spark

of the freshmen and the maturity of the veterans and, in doing so, build a

formidable squad in the SEC.

The regular season starts with a bang when Elon College comes to

Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, Nov. 22.

Just in time to save Vol fans from a week of Vandy preparation and a year

of "what ifs."

But it really won't matter until after everyone returns from Christmas

Break, when the Vols play the SEC section of their schedule.

Until then, with nothing to converse about, I'm going to spend my spare

time studying.