Paul Finebaum couldn't believe his eyes watching South Carolina put it on No. 5 Tennessee this past Saturday.
Appearing on ESPN's college football podcast to recap the weekend, the SEC commentator admitted that he was "stunned" the Vols' performance.
Forget two years ago, but if you started the year off and said Tennessee was going 10-2 or 9-3, I think most Tennessee fans would’ve been happy. But in typical SEC fashion, especially for the blue bloods and Tennessee is part of that crowd, they just got a belly full of it. That win over Alabama, on top of Florida, remember that was a game they had to exorcise demons in, it got ahead of them. There was no reason if you were a Tennessee fan not to think you were going to be in good shape.
Finebaum went on to praise Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer for what he's building down in Columbia before aiming more criticisms at Tennessee.
South Carolina had just come off of a disastrous performance but the thing I admire about Shane Beamer, and he’s going through each chapter and verse of the motivational speech — our guys, they played their butts off — with me on Friday afternoon, and I’m thinking, what is he selling with me or is this real? And it turned out to be real. He sold his team on this dream.
And the thing we didn’t really talk enough about was Tennessee’s pass defense was suspect all year long. We tried to build them up, hey they’ve gotten better, but Alabama and Bryce Young had a field day against them. It was really just a couple stupid decisions late in the game by Bill O’Brien that cost them that game. I’m sure Alabama fans are going today, ‘How did we lose there?’ And they’d still be in the playoffs.
As for where the Josh Heupel's Volunteers go from here, Finebaum says the answer is "unknown."