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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tennessee fans commemorate Kansas win with questionable clothing item

By Eamonn Brennan

It's been a wild few weeks at Tennessee. First forward Tyler Smith and a cohort of Volunteers are caught with guns and drugs on New Year's Day. Then the Volunteers manage to rally from those losses, put three walk-ons in the game and beat previously unbeaten No. 1 Kansas. A few days later, football coach Lane Kiffin happens, and anarchy briefly takes over the streets of Knoxville before Tennessee students suddenly realize that protesting a football coach's departure with such fervor is a horrible demonstration of American youth's misplaced priorities.

Before the Kiffin mess, though, there was some measure of noticeable pride in being a Volunteers basketball fan, and the Volunteers celebrated that pride with a slightly questionable creation: A T-shirt commemorating the win over Kansas.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for sports T-shirts. I have far too many of my own, including an entire cardboard box's worth sitting in my mom's basement which are, at this very moment, gathering dust. ("Can I throw this shirt away?" "What is it?" "It says Shooting Camp 2001." "Oh, shooting camp? No way! That's a keeper!" I will never wear any of these shirts again.) But Tennessee's T-shirt is, I'm afraid to say, a little bit lame. It describes the Jayhawks as an "undefeated No. 1" and the Vols as an "underrated No. 16." If anything, the Vols were probably an "overrated" No. 16, seeing as they had earned that ranking before losing four scholarship players.

But the main point is that it's just one game. It's an upset. An unlikely, enjoyable upset, sure (that's what makes it an upset) but just an upset, and commemorative T-shirts should probably be saved for more important things. Like national championships and taunting Memphis. Raising Sunday's win to T-shirt level feels like Tennessee is making a bigger deal out of the win than the win deserves. What's the saying? Act like you've been there before?

Then again, what do I know? It's just a T-shirt. Make as many as you want, I guess.