Here we go, the third and final look at the streaks issue, and when they are legit and when they aren't. It might anger fans of the Tennessee Volunteers again, but then "I told you so's" usually do.
Winning eight consecutive games is an accomplishment, but the strength of any win streak is in who was beaten during that run.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the then eight-game win streak held by the Vols, in which I challenged the legitimacy of the competition among those eight games. Among those eight, the best wins were close calls against Kentucky and Indiana, two basketball schools whose football programs are a time killer until the round ball begins.
Since that article and the ensuing rash of discussions Vol Twitter cast upon me for my attempt to belittle their streak, the Vols have dropped two in a row to Georgia, one of the teams they needed to beat to legitimize their accomplishment and Kentucky. The Georgia loss in Athens was expected, but not Kentucky, definitely not in Knoxville, and certainly not by 27 points.
Now I'm not one to rub salt in open wounds, well, not usually, but since I'm a short-timer and since Vol fans think people fear them on Twitter, what the heck.
Once again, I believe the Vols are an improving program, though quarterback is a real issue. The fact that head coach Jeremy Pruitt revealed he and his staff failed to prepare freshman Harrison Bailey during the preseason appropriately should also be a concern.
Now the Vols must move forward, and Pruitt must make a critical decision. Do the Vols continue to ride with Jarrett Guarantano or switch to Bailey and allow the freshman to take his lumps as part of the learning and maturation process.
Making that decision more difficult for Pruitt and company is that the undefeated and No.2 team in the nation, Alabama, stops in Knoxville Saturday, fresh off a 17-point thumping of Georgia.
Nick Saban's offense is rolling, and Georgia's defense, widely regarded as the best in the conference and one of the nation's tops, was no match for the Tide's talent. Do Vol fans feel good about their defense here, or Guarantano? It's not likely.
Thus the decision for Pruitt. Play his veteran, despite how poorly he has gone of late, or allow the freshman to jump feet first into the baptism by fire of the Tide.
Regardless of which quarterback he chooses to face Bama, Pruitt is more than likely to become victim number 23 in a row of former assistants to Saban who have lost to the Tide and their former boss.