It's safe to say that Tennessee football has been in a slump as of late.There's been a few exciting players like Eric Berry and, more recently, Cordarrelle Patterson, but as a whole, the program has fallen from the glory days.

Part of that fall has become a kind of tradition of its own and one of my favorite patterns to witness.

Imagine it's June. Summertime is officially underway and everyone is enjoying longer days, barbecues and watermelon. Some poor soul will inevitably say something about Tennessee football and the reaction will be a mixture of skepticism and excitement. The comment sparks a discussion.

By the end of July, there's no discussion. Vol fans are excited, impatiently awaiting the upcoming football season.This is the year.

Tennessee is gonna go 9-3, no doubt about it.Winning the first game or two doesn't help. Every Vol fan sees the silver lining, the turning point for the team.The first loss doesn't have too great of an affect on their spirits. It's disappointing, but they had accounted for a few losses.
Halfway through the season, the tune has changed and Neyland Stadium isn't hitting full capacity.This is when tailgating becomes a time to get hyped, not over football, but over the upcoming basketball season.

By November, fans have moved on completely. In fact, they knew the program was tanking and they never thought the new coach would amount to anything. Who said UT would go 9-3? Keep dreaming, football's the new has-been and basketball season is where it's at.

Men's basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin recruited some great players and this is the year to make it to, at least, the Elite Eight.

Skylar McBee is gonna light up the court and Jarnell Stokes is the next Lebron James. Everyone is confident in Martin, he played in the NBA, of course he can coach.

Losing a game in pre-season play is generally a major disappointment, but if it's an away game in one of those far-off places like Puerto Rico, who cares? It was a fluke.Close games scare fans a little bit, but as long as the Vols come out on top, no one worries.

They like to wait until the team loses to an SEC team or out-of-conference rival before they call for heads.Martin's job will be called for. His recruiting ability will be called into question. You'll even hear fans reminiscing on the days of Buzz Peterson and Bruce Pearl.

"I don't understand why they don't hire Pearl back. He still lives here right? He was just so good at getting players motivated and building a program."

My favorite part of all this is that it will all repeat. Give it three months.

The Orange and White game works as an appetizer. By June, the grills will be out, watermelon cut, and UT football will be on the mind.

Let's see how football head coach Butch Jones does. Fast forward six months and football is dead and gone and basketball is back on the radar. It's a never ending cycle.

Right now, we're in the angry stage. The Vols recently lost to Ole Miss, Memphis and Alabama, and no one has anything positive to say.

Tennessee basketball isn't what it used to be, many say it isn't where it should be, but fans, and students especially, are a part of that.I said this about football and I'll repeat it for basketball, maybe if fans were more supportive of the programs they love, in bad times as well as good, the bad times wouldn't be so bad.

A mass exit from Thompson-Boling Arena with six minutes left in a close game will never help a team or a program.

— Lauren Kittrell is a senior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at lkittre1@utk.edu.