Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tennessee Volunteers Midseason Revisit

The Vols have made it through 7 games and have been almost as predicted except for a great effort and overtime loss to Georgia and upset against the then #11 South Carolina Gamecocks.

Coach Butch Jones has kept a great recruiting effort going and the team seems to have fully bought into the philosophy of the new coaching staff and also seem to be getting better every game so far this year. The Vols have made it through the gauntlet of Oregon, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina with a 1-3 finish and almost beat Georgia, only losing by a literal inch. They are setting at 4-3 because of a 23-21 victory over the Gamecocks, while most predictions preseason had them setting at 3-4. Coach Jones has the team riding on the emotions of the upset going into Tuscaloosa this weekend against the #1 Crimson Tide. Nobody is giving the Vols much of a chance to win, and an upset would be unlikely, so lets go ahead and say we end up 4-4 after the game and finishing up one of the toughest stretches in college football this season by any team.

Now the bad news.

At the beginning of the season most people, be it fans, experts, etc. had the Vols winning against Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Kentucky, and going 2-3 against mediocre teams in Mizzou, Auburn, and Vandy. Since we have pulled an upset against USCjr, we should theoretically be sitting pretty for a bowl game in the new coaching staffs first year. The problem now is that Auburn and Mizzou are highly ranked and playing lights out. Mizzou is undefeated and ranked #5 in the nation, Auburn comes in with only 1 loss and scoring a lot of points on offense. Kentucky looks terrible, and while Vandy has played well and did beat Georgia, the Bulldogs were missing many of their starting players.

 Lets take a closer look at the rest of the way for the Vols.

There isn't much to say here. The Vols are playing well and Alabama looks vulnerable at times, but the talent level is so far apart it would take a miracle for the Vols to pull this off. I will say that if you are a betting person the Tide is favored by 26.5, smart money would take the points, I don't think the Vols can win but no way they lose by 26 points. Alabama is good but they are no Oregon or FSU on offense.

This is such an unfortunate turn of events for a rebuilding program. Many people, myself included, had this as a win this year for Tennessee. Now enter the likely undefeated Tigers and the game to be played in Columbia. This is gonna be a tough one and I'm not very optimistic after watching the Tigers destroy other SEC competition. Looks like we are 4-5 after this one.


Right now Auburn is a 1 loss team and plays with a high octane offense. This is Tennessee's homecoming game and the crowd at Neyland will be in full force. Tennessee's defense is much improved this year and it won't be as easy to score as Auburn is used to. Tennessee can and will stop the Tigers with the defense and crowd. I think we end up 5-5 after this close homecoming victory.


Vandy has new-found success and a very outspoken coach in James Franklin. Vandy smoked UT last year when the team gave up on Derek Dooley. That won't happen this year, I am biased and I am happy Vandy thinks they are accomplishing great things. Trust me on this, The Vols will decimate and embarrass the Commadores, it will be hard for a Vandy fan to watch. Coach Jones will do it for the fans, the upperclassman will do it for revenge, the Vols will roll in this one. I would go as far to say that they will run up the score to a point, and do everything they can to pitch a shutout. I'm not saying it will be 70-0, only because I think Jones will let off the gas and get younger people playing time. 45-0 is well within the realm of possibility and this will be our 6-5 bowl invite.


Oh boy, UK. Dooley let a wide receiver play quarterback 2 years ago and beat us for the first time in decades. Kentucky is bad this year, they have a new coach with good experience and a bright future in Lexington. Stoops inherited a mess with the Wildcats, and I truly believe he will do well there. This isn't the year they do well though, Tennessee will win this game big.

This puts the Vols at 7-5 and still a huge improvement over the last 3 years. Coach Jones is bringing in a huge recruiting class in 2014 and with a real coach and players buying into the program, the Vols will be competing for the East in the next 2 years. The Vols are a team on the rise and the nation is already starting to take notice.