To many Alabama football fans, ‘Hate Week’ is intense. Beating the Vols is not enough. A beatdown is required.
Alabama football fans are not universally aligned with hating the Tennessee Vols. For some, more hate is reserved for Auburn or Georgia or LSU. Different perspectives are often generational, byproducts of different individual experiences.
As a current University of Alabama student explained, hating Tennessee is something we have been told “we are supposed to do.” Those of us directing the supposing have ‘seasoned’ opinions. This means we have been around long enough to have absorbed pain dispensed by lying, cheating, Tennessee football faithful.
Those are harsh words. They are not thrown about lightly. Medical professionals and spiritual leaders agree hatred is unhealthy, detrimental to the giver and the receiver. Sage advice for sure, but to be ignored during ‘Hate Week.’
There are historical indications hating Tennessee goes back to the Wallace Wade era, even though Wade and Neyland became friends. It clearly goes back to the Bear Bryant era. Beating Tennessee was more important to Bryant than beating Auburn. Some Alabama football historians suggest the Bear’s rancor for the Vols was tied to never beating legendary Tennessee, head coach, Robert Neyland. Bryant never faced Neyland as an Alabama football coach. He went up against him seven times as Kentucky’s head coach. Neyland’s teams won five and two games ended in ties.
More recent history fuels hatred of the Vols or the Viles as some Crimson Tide fans call them. Going back to 1995, Tennessee beat the Alabama Crimson Tide, 10 times in 12 seasons, including seven in a row. One of those Tennessee teams won the 1998 National Championship. It was coached by current Tennessee Athletic Director, Phil Fulmer.
More than a few Alabama football fans think of Fulmer as an embodiment of ultimate evil. As much as most of us appreciate the job Jeremy Pruitt did for the Tide, his reputation became permanently tarnished when he went to work for Fulmer.
Fulmer was a good football coach, but that was his lesser talent. What he excelled at was dishonesty. Fulmer, amply aided by Tennessee booster, Roy Adams, ignored NCAA recruiting rules. Adams flaunted his disrespect for the NCAA’. Fulmer was more deceitful. While Fulmer cheated season after season, he decided to persuade the NCAA, Alabama football was cheating. He became a secret witness for the NCAA in an investigation into the Crimson Tide.
The Crimson Tide program was punished and to some extent, rightfully so. But Fulmer’s sanctimonious actions earned him perpetual hatred from many Tide fans.
Alabama football fans wanting to learn more about Fulmer’s shenanigans can read this past Bama Hammer post.
Borrowing from an old movie line, the contents of this post “are facts and they are not in dispute.” Five thousand-plus days of Crimson Tide wins over UcheaT are not near enough.