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Does Objectivity Exist?
Early Summer Preview
Posted: Tuesday, June 16th, 2015, 8:14 PM
by Josh
Much has happened since my last blog. Let's see.... Tennessee went to its first bowl game in 4 years. Tennessee won its first bowl game since Erik Ainge was on campus. (2008 Outback Bowl to be exact). Tennessee had its first winning season since the Kiffin year. Tennessee locked up a top 5 recruiting class and replaced its Offensive Coordinator with a guy that hasn't called plays since he went out the door with Lloyd Carr. But it's okay because Butch Jones got endorsements for Mike DeBord from Tom Brady, Lloyd Carr, Bill Belicheat, and the summoned ghosts of Vince Lombardi, Knute Rockne, Bear Bryant and the General himself, amoung others. And through all that, a 7-6 team has somehow went from needing a miracle 4th quarter against South Carolina to even make it to a bowl to being a trendy pick to win the SEC East. Let's just say there are a lot of people that have a lot more faith in Butch Jones than I do. More on that later.

The fact that you are hearing from me right now can only mean one thing. Football is right around the corner. As I type this, the SEC Media Days are about a month away. One thing that always starts getting on my last nerve this time of year is all of these local media types going on about objectivity like they are Walter Cronkite or something. Some of them even go out of their way to prove that they don't have a bias for or against Tennessee. Now if they really don't care about Tennessee one way or another that's fine. That's not the issue. What pisses me off is the notion that someone who has lived in this area for a good chunk of their life, or that went to school at UT, doesn't care one way or the other what happens to UT sports. Especially if they clearly follow said sports and have a knowledge of their workings. If you grew up around here and follow college sports, THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT THE OUTCOMES OF TENNESSEE FOOTBALL OR BASKETBALL GAMES! It is literally impossible. You either want them to win, or you want them to lose because you don't like them. But there is no way that you are completely objective. It is insulting to my intelligence. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about.

Will West- He has lived most of his life in Seymour and even worked as a bartender on the Strip during the golden age of the late 90's-early 2000's. Clearly knowledgeable about sports. Probably one of the best in the market when it comes to knowing his stuff. He tries to have you believe that he doesn't care one way or the other about the outcomes of UT games. He even blocked me on Twitter because I called him on his objectivity and how it is not possible.

Wes Rucker- Went to Catholic and graduated from UT. Gets very angry and irritable when people question his objectivity. I stopped following this buffoon years ago but I doubt much has changed. Has a decent knowledge of sports. Claims to not care about the outcomes of UT games, even though he is a graduate.

Josh Ward- Went to Farragat and graduated from UT. Much more civil about the objectivity issue than Will West or Wes Rucker. Decent knowledge of the sports he covers. Still maintains he objectively doesn't care about the outcomes of UT games despite being a graduate.

Jimmy Hyams- Grew up in Louisiana and has even admitted on the air to being an LSU fan when he was younger. Now he claims to objectively not care about LSU one way or the other, despite bringing them up every chance he gets in his Snooze and Notes.

I'm sure in their personal lives these are all decent, honest people. Except Wes Rucker. However, their intellectual dishonesty is something that I have a great disdain for.

There is a bigger question at hand here. Does objectivity even exist?

Perhaps, but for me personally, here is how I see it.

If I were covering 2 soccer teams in say, France, maybe then I could truly be objective. I don't know anything about any soccer teams in France so if I were watching that game (without falling asleep or activating my mental iTunes) I could probably do so without any bias and without caring who won.

But wait a second. Say Team A has a player who is being a pompass jackass. Well at that point a bias forms against him, and thus his team. Therefore, my rooting interest goes to Team B.

When it comes to sports in the US, I'm not sure it's possible for me to be truly objective. Here is how it works for me in college football, and other sports to a lesser extent. Admittedly, college football is by far my favorite sport and the NFL is a DISTANT second. At any rate, here is my priority list when determining who to pull for in a game not involving Tennessee.

1. Which team winning benefits Tennessee the most?
2. Which team do I like better? (There are quite a few teams I like to follow, as well as quite a few that I really hate.)
3. Which team winning hurts Alabama the most?
4. Which team winning hurts Florida the most?
5 Which team winning hurts Georgia the most?
6. Which team has the coolest uniforms?

I can't really think of any more tie breakers at the moment because it will probably never get past number 6.

With these 6 criteria, I can form a rooting interest for ANY Division 1-A (FBS) football game.

I would imagine anyone who grew up watching college sports and who still follows them would have a similar priority structure, even though they may not be fully aware of it.

And this could pretty much apply to any other sport you grew up watching. The only way to be truly objective is to have not cared about sports at all growing up and deciding that you were going to be a sports journalist just because. Even then, biases will develop. In that scenario, Jameis Winston would have driven those people away from Florida State. Similar situations would drive people away from other programs. And by drive away I mean form a bias against.

Am I wrong? Is it possible to be truly objective? Keep in mind I'm not talking about being objective about stats and facts. I'm talking about a person being truly free of any bias. Is that possible?

That's why I prefer people like Tony Basilio and Russell Smith. They don't pretend that they are bias free. They keep it real.

Now on to the 2015 Football season. Okay, so I am no so high on the Vols as many others are. I would be pretty surprised if they got to 8 wins in the regular season. And it's not for lack of talent. For the first time in a very long time, Tennessee has talent on par with the best in the SEC. This is probably the most talent Tennessee has had since about 2004. What worries me is the in game coaching. They have had 2 egregious choke jobs in the Butch Jones era. Vandy in 2013 and Florida in 2014. So you can probably count on at least one of those this year. Tennessee is CAPABLE of 10-2 or maybe even 11-1, but I think they will struggle to get to 8. And it's because, for all of Butch Jones' strengths, he is not very good at all at in game adjustments. If they have a good game plan, they will probably win. If they get the game plan wrong, forget it. He can't adjust to that. At least he hasn't shown the ability to do it thus far. Plus, he showed in the Florida game last year that he is capable of playing real tight. Playing not to lose so to speak. The same things we all got irritated with when it came to Johnny Majors and Alabama and Fulmer and Florida.

The one wild card in all of this is Josh Dobbs. If he stays healthy and plays at a high level consistently, then I think UT will have a really good season. People are going to fall in love with this defense this year. If the offense can be consistent, then the hype will be deserved. I hope Butch Jones can make a believer out of me.

One thing that I find completely disturbing is how bad the sheep are brainwashed right now. And I think they are in the majority. I had one person on SEC Smack Veterans on Facebook that Butch Jones was the best coach Tennessee has ever had. I can't stress how disturbing it is that there is someone who exists with that opinion. This is the danger we are in if Butch doesn't do much better than he did last year. The sheep are so brainwashed it will take years for a change to be made if it has to be made.

Well that's all I have for now. As the season gets closer, I'm sure I will have more to add on here. We are probably just a few weeks away from all of that Redskins name change nonsense starting up again.

For those who want you can follow me on Twitter @Joshes_Blog

Thanks for reading and God Bless.

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