Pre-game dinner. Everyone seems pretty sedated. Buddy comes over to the coach's table and asks to speak to Eric alone for a second. They go over by the window -- and in Hair Watch: Season Finale, Coach has at last ventured to let his hair out of its cage, but we still have not gotten a clear look at it, as it always seems to be pushed out of the frame somehow or other -- and Coach launches into self-defense mode. He tells Buddy that he took the job at Dillon thinking he'd be there for five years, but reminding Buddy that he never got the same kind of assurance from the boosters. He reminds Buddy that he pretty much felt like he might be out of a job when they lost that second game of the season and so defends his choice to put his career in front of Dillon Panther Football. Buddy pauses, and then says he just came by to tell him how much he's going to miss him: "You're a fine football coach."
Cut to Buddy introducing Eric to the podium at dinner. "The man, who has taken this team to state this year, his first year as the coach of the Dillon Panthers, my friend, Eric Taylor." Eric stands before the microphone -- his hair unleashed, rearing up like a stallion on his head, and yet somehow also quite skeptical -- a skeptical mustang? -- and tells everyone that he's going to cut the crap. He starts talking about dreams, about how he knows the boys have dreams, and about how he has long had a dream to coach a Division One football team. He says he knows that they must all be mad, and he says they have a right to feel that way. He declares that he doesn't like the press, "never have," and that this information should have come out differently: "I apologize it wadn't." And then he sits down. Well. Okay then. Buddy leads the slow-to-realize applause while Matt Saracen walks out of the room and the rest of the players look around in confusion, all to the forced chant -- led by Buddy -- of "Panthers! Panthers! Panthers!"
In the hotel lobby, the players sit around watching press coverage of the "shocking news" that Taylor is leaving Dillon. Tim declares that it's pretty pathetic and The Galoot agrees. But Jason jumps in and tells them to quite whining, that any one of them would accept any offer TMU gave them. Smash agrees and tells his teammates that Coach earned this new job, and that now "it's up to us." Tim calls attention to Voodoo and Crew rolling through the lobby. It's kind of difficult to look tough while walking amidst hotel ficuses and mauve marble. Voodoo sways up to Smash and asks to talk to him. The two go off to the side and basically Voodoo tells Smash that he's not there to trash-talk, but instead to propose that, next year, Smash come play for West Cambria along with Voodoo. Tatum tells Smash that West Cambria has set him up real nice with a swimming pool and a dishwasher. He says that the two of them on the same team would be like nothing the state has ever seen. Smash literally glowers at the kid and says, simply, "I'm a Panther." Voodoo tells Smash that "it's just a uniform. I mean, look at your coach. I don't see him sticking around." Smash says, simply, nothing.