We sportswriters - just like you, the fans - tend to be a fickle group.
We brand things hot one week ... cold the next. Just like that.
While trying desperately to find something we can praise - or better yet, something we can gripe about - we tend to read something into everything.
So when I sit here and say Tennessee lost more than a game against Georgia, you don't have to believe me. When I sit here on my high horse and say the Vols are second-fiddle in the SEC and that the aura of UT football is fading fast, I'll understand if you scoff at the very notion.
After all, it was yours truly who theorized how the Vols might be getting that ol' swagger back after their second straight win in the Swamp less than a month ago.
Well, I was wrong then, and who knows ... maybe I'll be proven wrong again soon.
But all I can report on is what I see and what I hear.
And on Saturday, I saw UGA defensive end David Pollack dancing all over the field - like some Gator ghost from the past, just dying to be hated by the helpless UT crowd.
Then I heard the Georgia fans mockingly singing along to Rocky Top in the fourth quarter.
I saw the Tennessee fans fleeing for the exits in the third.
Then I heard the basketball ads firing up on the JumboTron as they fled.
I saw a number of Bulldog players digging into the checkerboard end zone with their feet after the game.
Then I heard Vols' coach Phillip Fulmer say his team still had its pride to play for.
So halfway through the season and and a Tennessee team is playing for its pride?
So yes, I saw and heard it all the other night - and I'm guessing you did, too.
It was ugly.
Now could this team still turn around in the coming weeks? Well, I don't see why not.
But what would that mean? Another trip to Orlando? Maybe a long-awaited matchup with hated Purdue in the Outback Bowl?
The Vols lost 41-14 on their home field, giving up as many points as any UT team in the last eight years.
They were a few inches away from taking the lead at halftime, and they let one fumble ruin their mindset for the rest of the game.
"After that, it was like they just fell apart," UGA senior wide receiver Damien Gary said. "You don't expect a team like Tennessee to give up like that just because of a turnover."
You do when the aura is gone, though.
The Volunteers can no longer win on their name alone. And while coaches will deny it all day long, Tennesssee has won on its name alone plenty of times in the past decade or so.
Save for Spurrier's gang in Gainesville, no one in the conference ever counted on beating the Vols, even occasionally. UT would almost always find a way to win, and that was that. Tennessee was Tennessee.
But somewhere along the way, that invincibilty vanished.
The once-mighty Vols are now 1-6 in their last seven games against Top 25 teams. They've averaged a whopping 12 points in those games and have been beaten by an average of 15.
And according to Georgia defensive tackle Kedric Golston, Saturday's result "could've been even worse than what it was."
"I think everybody knows we let up on them," he said.
Well, how sweet.
Those have to be comforting words for UT fans - the 'Dawgs are letting up on those poor Vols.
But if any orange-clad fan has looked at the rosters of Tennessee and Georgia, they better hope that oh-so genuine graciousness continues.
Because the 'Dawgs are here to stay and the Volunteer faithful better get used to it.
From 1989 to 1999, Georgia was kind of a running joke around here. You remember those days, right?
The 'Dawgs would be hyped up before every game with UT, and then they'd turn in one stinker after another. When the Georgia fans tried to make the series out to be some heated rivalry, their Tennessee counterparts would simply snicker and roll their eyes.
Well, it's probably not quite as funny these days.
When the Vols last beat UGA in 1999, they were defending their national championship and we're right in the mix for another.
Since then, they've lost 15 games - nearly four a season for those of you keeping scoring at home.
And four is also the number of consecutive losses brought on by that scrawny little brother they used to pick on so much.
Well, that little brother has grown some muscle. And quick.
Doesn't that sound a bit like the Florida program of ten years ago? It's almost like the Gators changed to a "G" on their helmets and are still terrorizing Vol fans everywhere.
And you remember how the Volunteers were viewed next to the Gators throughout the 1990s.
They were second-fiddle in the SEC. Second-fiddle in the East.
Well, don't look now.
But they are once more.
Brett Edgerton is a senior in journalism, and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second-fiddle in East sounds familiar
Published: Mon Oct 13, 2003 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 05:28 p.m.