Well. The Vols, rebuilding to begin with and then losing most of their only difference-makers to various stupidities and injuries, lose 38-7 to the #1 team in the nation. Some are freaking out, but I have no idea why. What did we expect? I for one expected 18 fewer points from the Tigers, but where I was wrong is both good and bad news: The defense actually played better than I expected in the first half; they just got completely worn out by a more powerful offense in the second. Probably should have seen that coming.
How many rushing yards did we expect? It really wasn't negative to expect negative yardage. That particular prediction was rooted in recent historical truth. Yet the Vols rushed for 111 yards. No, it's not where we want to be, but it's better than we should have expected with this team under current circumstances against an elite defense carrying a team that's contending for a national championship.
How many sacks did we expect Matt Simms to take? Nobody predicted none, which is what we got. Simms had a tough game, going 6-20 for 128 yards, two interceptions (and what should have been a third), and no TDs. He missed receivers, both in reads and in accuracy. It was not a good day for Simms, but the offensive line protected him so there's that.
Did we expect improvement in special teams? If you're like me, your answer to this is, "Of course. I've been expecting special teams to improve for a decade," but that's like concluding that quitting smoking is easy because you do it all the time. Devrin Young as a kick (and probably punt) returner is a legit star in the making. Add him to the Tyler Bray-Justin Hunter-Da'Rick Rogers list of difference-makers. Just keep him off the injury list. Pretty, pretty, pretty please.
This was a tough day, but we should have known it would be.