My college football team isn't looking too hot this season, so I'm going to do the only thing a die-hard fan can do: adopt a new one.
That's not to say, as a Tennessee alum, I'm giving up on my Vols. I'll still cheer them on whenever I catch them on TV. I might even drive up to Knoxville for a game, if I can score tickets and siphon enough gas out of my lawn mower.
But I have to be realistic: It doesn't look like being a Tennessee fan is going to be much fun this year. And for a college football fan like me, if the season isn't fun, what's the point? (Perhaps that's a question I should pose to the Bulldog Nation, which can't have had a lot of fun this past week.)
Clearly, I need another team to pull for, not instead of Tennessee but in addition. A team that still has a chance to win a conference championship and go to a major bowl. A team that doesn't fumble on the goal line every third series.
It also needs to be a team to which I have some personal connection, such as being from one of the Southeastern states in which I've lived.
I'm tempted to jump on the Georgia bandwagon, since I really admire Mark Richt. But UGA already has plenty of fans. Plus I'd have to cheer against them when they play Tennessee next week. After rooting for both Sanjaya and Jordin Sparks, I'm not getting into that kind of divided loyalty again.
The same holds true for Alabama, where I also lived. The Tide, which easily handled UGA, just might be the best team in the country. But I'm hoping Tennessee upsets them and Nick Saban leaves to accept $8 million a year as dictator of Nicaragua.
I've even lived in Florida, and I like Tim Tebow, but I could never bring myself to pull for the Gators. If Florida played a team composed of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong Il, I'd be cheering loudly for the Axis of Evil.
Basically, I can't choose any team from the SEC. That would be too much like breaking up with a girl to date her sister. Actually, I did that once. It didn't work out so well.
Fortunately, my travels have also taken me to ACC country. Which means - drum roll, please - that I've selected Georgia Tech as my new team to support this football season. I like the new coach and the new system, and I've always admired the way it continues to prove that a tough academic school can also be tough on the gridiron.
The most fun, I think, will be pulling for Tech to beat Georgia in their annual post-Thanksgiving grudge-match. I might be disappointed, but hey, I'm used to that.
I'm a Tennessee fan.
Rob Jenkins is associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. E-mail him at email@example.com.