Mike Hlas is an award-winning columnist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette and force behind The Hlog. Each week he will break down the biggest mismatches in college football. Considering the number of Bowl Championship Series teams tanking at this point in the season, Mike's task is more challenging than getting a tattoo while riding a llama.
Tennessee and Wyoming don’t have much in common other than they’re red states — which means they were on the losing side Tuesday night.
Heck, they’ve been on the losing side all this football season.
Saturday in a stadium with seating for over 104,000, two programs in decline meet to decide ... not much. The Wyoming Cowboys are crossing much of the nation for a date with the Tennessee Volunteers. They aren’t natural rivals, but a look at the statistics tells us they are blood brothers. Or, rather, bloodied brothers.
Both are 3-6. Both are 1-5 in their conferences. Tennessee is 114th out of the 119 I-A teams in scoring offense. Wyoming is 119th.
Both have seen better days, especially the Vols. They won 10 games in three of the previous five seasons, including last year. Coach Phil Fulmer entered this season with 102 more wins at the school than losses. This was a genuine national football power.
But this week, Fulmer had one of those "resignations" that happen to coaches who are enduring bad times. It's funny how you can "resign" and still get a $6 million buyout. Sounds like one of those Wall Street deals.
Ten years ago, Fulmer’s Vols went 13-0 and won the national championship. This year he has a team that has been held under 10 points on three occasions. That hasn’t played well in Knoxville. Farewell, Phil.
"It's hard to understand ... I guess it's what have you done for me lately," Wyoming Coach Joe Glenn said of Fulmer's impending departure. "He coached that team to a national championship and 150 wins. In this day and age, it's hard to win nine or 10 games every year. There are a lot of scholarships out there and everybody has them."
Glenn may want to worry about his own situation. Until they beat hapless San Diego State, 35-10 last Saturday, the Cowboys had lost five games in a row by a combined 207-30. After guiding Wyoming to a Las Vegas Bowl win over UCLA in 2004, this will be the Cowboys' fourth non-winning season in a row under Glenn.
What have you done for Wyoming lately, Coach Glenn? Not much. When you have the pregame chit-chat with Fulmer Saturday, you may want to get some buyout advice for future reference.