Football vs Ball State University

Smokey X sits on the sidelines during the season opener win against Ball State (59-10) at Neyland Stadium on Sept. 1, 2022. 

The following content is satirical and fictional. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

Smokey X, UT’s mascot and Tennessee’s most famous bluetick coonhound, went viral on TikTok this month after being waitlisted at UT for the 2023-24 school year. Smokey’s video has received 3 billion views and over 551 million likes.

The 11-year-old dog has been UT mascot since 2012 but is retiring from his position this spring. Due to the time commitment his job required of him, Smokey has never been able to chase his dream of attending college. After working hard to get his GED in 2022, Smokey finally sent in his application to UT.

In early March, Smokey received word from the university that he had been put on the waitlist. After coping with his grief, the long-eared dog decided to “stay positive” and take this opportunity to “find himself.” First, though, he used TikTok to share his story.

Smokey made a video about his admissions status under the username @TheGoodestBoy on March 29. The video begins with Smokey lip syncing “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston and ends with Smokey reading a poem he wrote about his current emotional state.

In the viral TikTok, Smokey lays on his back with his paws in the air while tears stream down his furry face. After a clip of his emotional performance, he stands up, grabs a piece of paper from off camera and begins reciting a poem he wrote titled “I Love Tennessee, But Tennessee Don’t Love Me.”

“Tennessee, oh Tennessee. Wherefore art thou, Tennessee? Were my test scores not enough? Is it because I have too much fluff?” Smokey rhymed. “You don’t have a pup studies major. Why are you such a hater? Puppies are people, too. And now I’m going to sue.”

Smokey disclosed that his poem was meant to be funny, and he does not have plans to sue the university.

Smokey explained that he has longed to attend UT as a student since his first game of fetch in Neyland Stadium. He described this memory in great detail.

“Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof,” Smokey said.

Some students believe that Smokey is to blame for his spot on the waitlist. UT sophomore Mark Clark claims that Smokey did something to “ruin” his chances of being accepted into UT.

“I know exactly why Smokey didn’t get into UT. He stepped on the seal,” Clark said. “Smokey goes on walks all the time, and I’ve seen him walk on the seal tons of times. Everybody knows that if you step on the seal, bad things happen. This is Smokey’s bad thing.”

Comments on Smokey’s TikTok included mostly encouragement, but a few viewers echoed Smokey’s lamentations. University of Florida business major Albert Gator commented on Smokey’s video telling him that UT was his first choice when applying to colleges, and he was waitlisted as well.

“They waitlisted me last year dude. I go to Florida because it was the only school I got accepted into. UT is way better, and I wish I had gotten to go there. Stay strong bro,” Gator commented.

Smokey said he’s going to take Gator’s advice. He has plans to reapply to UT next year because he “cannot imagine” going to any other university. 

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