The difficulties which exist between any number of factions in and around Tennessee are real, and cause for serious concern, and not only in the Gruden hire, but well beyond. Just as they can neither be ignored, nor can their outcomes be perfectly predicted. With so many conflicting reports, and from equally reputable but diametrically opposed sources, it's difficult to know what to believe from one moment to the next, if at all. So, here is what I do, and do not, believe: While much remains unknown, and despite the fact that there are any number of seemingly valid reasons to believe that the Gruden-to-Tennessee rumors will remain just that, I have no more reason to believe that they will come to fruition, than not. I do not believe that Dave Hart is foolish enough to bring his own job security to the brink for the simple satisfaction of being obstinate, or to prove some infinitely lesser "point". I do not believe that the mega-boosters and other person(s) of significant influence on The Hill will fail to move whatever obstacle(s) remain, be they real or imaginary, if at all possible to do so, or through any necessary means. I believe that cooler heads will prevail, and that the best result will ultimately be achieved. I believe that that Jon Gruden is amongst the best and brightest coaches in America, at any level, and that he would almost immediately, but certainly consistently, have Tennessee amongst the upper echelon of college football.... I believe that this is where the Tennessee program belongs, and that fans have a right to not only expect that it will be, but to demand it - and sooner rather than later. I believe that those whom we entrust (and richly reward) to meet these expectations should be held accountable for the perpetual pursuit of excellence, and that this requires the willingness to demand that we are making significant and increasingly larger steps toward meeting - and exceeding - those expectations, and the fortitude to denounce any assertion that either mediocrity or the "achievement" of lesser goals is somehow its suitable substitute. I believe that should they falter in this single-minded pursuit, that they should be immediately removed, or replaced with those who will not. I believe that the "old guard" fan who was satisfied with 9-win seasons and a decent bowl game is no longer the majority. I am happy to see them go. I believe that all of the nonsensical arguments regarding the "risks" involved in hiring Jon Gruden are of such logical insufficiency as to not warrant a thought, much less a response. I believe that most reasonable people, including those in positions of importance at Tennessee, see that for what it is, too - abstract stupidity, run amok. I believe that the University of Tennessee is a uniquely special place to Jon Gruden, and that he wishes it to succeed. I believe that he is not only everything - everything - that Tennessee fans so strongly desire in a coach, but who the program so desperately needs. I believe that his wife, Cindy, wants to come home, and that her family wishes the same. I believe that Jon enjoys broadcasting, and the fame and money it brings - but he doesn't wake up at 3:17am each morning to work on different ways to talk about a game, that he is otherwise completely removed from. He wakes up to watch film, and to gain some glimmer of the rush of the actual game of football, of the competition and the struggle. I believe that as long as ESPN doesn't field a competitive football team, and that they most prefer him hovering above the sidelines instead of stalking alongside of it, enjoying the risk of something of significance, or that even matters - that no amount of money will satisfy him, either partially or for very long. I believe that if Jon wanted to be back on an NFL sideline, he would have accepted any one of the the half dozen or so jobs that he has been offered in the last three years to do so. I believe that it is telling that he hasn't. I believe that Dave Hart could have issued a single official statement that effectively ended this talk, and at any point in time, with a simple press release that says, "The University of Tennessee is neither pursuing nor would consider Jon Gruden for the head coaching position of our football program, nor will this change in the near or distant future." He has not. I believe that Jon Gruden or his agent could do the same with an equally simple statement of, "I am not interested in securing the head coaching position at the University of Tennessee, and will neither pursue nor accept it, even if asked, nor will this change in the immediate or distant future." He has not. I believe that this is a watershed moment for the University of Tennessee football program, in that we will either break new and higher ground, or that we will lack either that necessary vision or courage to compel us forward, and will instead resign ourselves to simply becoming more comfortable in this increasingly less awkward place of irrelevance, where we are indistinguishable from any one of a dozen similarly and once-proud programs, who similarly and foolishly thought that they would never suffer the same fate, or for very long. I believe that Tennessee will choose the former, and not the latter. It is for these very real and entirely valid reasons, and neither blind optimism nor some sense of delusional and misplaced hope, that I continue to believe that others will realize (or have already?) the same things, and that Jon Gruden will be welcomed as the next coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. If I am wrong, then I am wrong. But I know what I know, and trust those who tell me things. And until such time as some infinitely lesser coach is announced in his place - and it doesn't make a damn if it's Stoops, Fischer, Miles, Strong, Kiffin, Smart, Golden, Saban or Rockne himself, to me - I'm am sticking with that, and firmly believing all of these things, and more. Feel free to agree or disagree with me, but that's where I stand, for all who have asked, or wondered.