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The Games Of Our Lives

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I came across this feature over at SouthEastern Sports Blog today, its a run-down of The 50 Best Tennessee Volunteer Football games from 1989 to 2005, which is a fantastic and completely arbitrary Best Of list to create. Yesterday's post involved game #2 on the list, 1998's matchup with Florida in Tennessee's National Championship season.

I bring this up because the writer references a game that took place earlier that season, between Syracuse and Tennessee, which was arguably the greatest game I saw in the Dome that didn't involve
storming the field with my mother to high-five Donovan McNabb.

That game was actually #19 on his list and I think its worth revisiting because:

1. Tennessee was coming off a National Championship appearance and although Cuse lost, it was proof that we could hang with the big boys (which we proved the following week in Michigan and disproved the rest of the season).


2.
"In the season opener, what would become one of Tennessee's best all-time defenses was dominated by Donovan McNabb (22 of 28, 300 yards). The Vols led 24-13 early in the 4th, then watched Syracuse rally to take a 27-24 lead."

3. A pass interference call (SESB says "correct call," I say shenanigans) on Syracuse mars the ending of the game, helping set up a chipshot field goal for Tennessee. Total heartbreaker for Orange fans, and to be honest, I remember that game much more than the 35-13 wins over MAC schools or gimme-Temple wins.

Reading up on the game reminded me what it was like to watch Syracuse football and actually have an emotional response to the things happened in the game. Maybe those were simpler times, back in the 20th century. Win or lose, be nice to have that back.