The page has been blank for the better part of the last half hour now. There are a million things to say about Tennessee's 44-51 road loss to the University of Georgia on Saturday, and there is a big space between these first few paragraphs and my byline that should be full of disjointed thoughts carefully crafted to toe the line between absolute bedlam and generous optimism (I'll probably continue this "Man on a Wire" act until Dooley has one foot out the door.)
I know what most of the editors I normally work with would tell me if I were under deadline. "Write the meat and then come back to your lede." If you've got a general idea about the direction you want to go, your brain will subconsciously work while you're focused elsewhere. However, some things simply don't belong in the subconscious, the fore-conscious, the anterior cruciate conscious, some crazy third dimension dream conscious from a Joseph-Gordon Levitt movie, or just any part of the conscious in general, for that matter.
Of course, I'm talking about the newest craze over at Pi Kappa Alpha, aka Pike, the most notoriously douchey fraternity the world over.
Giving the word a sentence and a paragraph all to itself seemed like the only logical way to do it, considering it's a concept that lands about as softly as an ACME safe. I saw Jackass, so I understand that it didn't exactly take a Rhodes Scholar to come up with the idea, but the dedication is... well, it's maniacal.
Pike Pledge #1: "Dude, if I'm not hospital drunk in like six minutes, I don't think I'll make it through chapter tonight. This is the one where they tie our weiners together and make us run a mile."
Pike Pledge #2: "Well... what if we did that Steve-O thing."
Pike Pledge #1: "Alright, bro. Go get a bunch of garbage bags, and I'll go get the funnel. If you spill even a drop on my futon, I'll kill your whole family. Just kidding, bro (hugs). But seriosly, we're gonna need a ton of garbage bags."
(This was a re-enactment. A fictional, but probably incredibly accurate, re-enactment.)
Listen, I love the University of Tennessee, and I miss Knoxville every single day. But, I couldn't imagine living in a place where the two predominant topics of conversation are butt-chugging and Tennessee football right now -- moral victories being one of my all-time least favorite things, and butt-chugging being one of my new least favorite things.
The Vols lost an incredibly tight football game that they weren't supposed to even be in, but if you're not putting a very serious emphasis on the losing part, you're doing it wrong. The defense was a complete and utter disappointment, and poor-tackling once again cost them a football game that they probably could have stolen late.
There IS a silver-lining in playing a Top Five football team tough on their home-turf, but try telling Derek Dooley that a close loss is okay as Dooley continues to stack up losses. Losses that will inevitably cost him his job.
It's great that the running game is really starting to come around, and the offense as a whole still continues to eat up yardage like it's cheap real estate, but the Vols are likely to be dogs in each of their next three contests, and will be a slight favorite at home against Missouri. They'll need to win two of those games at the least, and then take care of business against Vandy, UK and Troy for Derek Dooley to keep his job.
Considering the circumstances, a moral victory against UGA really doesn't cut it for the Vols. Of course, the idea of a moral victory has never really registered with me.
Then again, neither has butt-chugging. But, I guess the cool kids are doing it.
Ryan Wooden is a full-time freelance sports writer in Chicago. He attended the University of Tennessee and writes this column weekly for CBC. It has been described by his Big Ten-loving friends as "moronicly biased", which he took as an unquestionable compliment. You can follow him on Twitter @ryan_wooden.