Tennessee beat a highly-ranked South Carolina team on Saturday, offering proof that the Vols are much-improved. And yet, the rest of the league -- most notably Missouri and Auburn -- continue to show that they, too, are much better than we thought they'd be at this point. With all of those teams showing that they're ready to take on the higher echelon of the SEC, what we thought would be a less-competitive back half of the SEC season is shaping up to be just as exciting and full of opportunity as the first half.
Here's what our future opponents did this weekend and how it impacts our outlook for the remainder of the season.
Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 SEC, #1)
- Week 1: Roasted the Hokies, 35-10.
- Week 2: Decided that they needed a break after one game. Or decided that they wanted to stockpile arms and diagram particularly mischievious and devious methods of embarrassment for that Johnny Football guy.
- Week 3: Beat #6 Texas A&M, 49-42.
- Week 4: Beat Colorado State, 31-6.
- Week 5: Beat Ole Miss, 25-0.
- Week 6: Beat Georgia State, 45-3.
- Week 7: Beat Kentucky, 48-7.
- Week 8: Beat Arkansas, 52-0.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: SAME. Even with the Vols significantly improved, we're not there yet. LOSS.
@Missouri Tigers (7-0, 3-0 SEC, #14)
- Week 1: Beat the Murray St. Racers (zoom!), 58-14.
- Week 2: Beat Toledo (poor Toledo), 38-23.
- Week 3: Off. What's with everyone taking a break almost as soon as the season begins?
- Week 4: Beat Indiana, 45-28.
- Week 5: Beat Arkansas State, 41-19. Play an SEC game already, won't you, Missouri?
- Week 6: Beat Vandy, 51-28.
- Week 7: Beat Georgia, 41-26.
- Week 8: Beat Florida, 36-17.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: WORSE. Don't look now, but these Missouri Tigers are 7-0 overall with three impressive consecutive victories over SEC teams. I really hate to switch this game from a preason predicted win to a loss right after the Vols have a big upset win over the Gamecocks. But if the Vols are going to get this win, it's really looking like they're going to need to get it by getting another upset. LOSS.
Auburn Tigers (6-1, 3-1 SEC, #24)
- Week 1: Beat Washington State, 31-24.
- Week 2: Beat the Arkansas State Red Wolves, 38-9.
- Week 3: Beat Mississippi State, 24-20.
- Week 4: Lost to LSU, 35-21. Does anyone else find it simply astonishing that Les Miles string more players into a team than he can words into a coherent sentence? I know that's not breaking news or anything, but he somehow continues to reach new heights of huh. Anyway . . .
- Week 5: Off.
- Week 6: Beat Ole Miss, 30-22.
- Week 7: Beat Western Carolina, 62-3.
- Week 8: Beat Texas A&M, 45-41.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: SAME. I changed this from a preseason prediction of Win to Loss three weeks ago, and I'm keeping it there after a big win over the 7th-ranked Aggies. Basically, I feel the same way about this game as I do the Missouri game. Tennessee's better than we thought they'd be, but so are both Missouri and Auburn. We can win this one, but we'll likely have to do it via upset. Which stinks, and yet sets the stage for another big game.
Vanderbilt Commodores (4-3, 1-3 SEC, NR)
- Week 1: Lost to Ole Miss, 39-35.
- Week 2: Beat Austin-Peay, 38-3.
- Week 3: Lost to South Carolina, 35-25.
- Week 4: Beat UMass, 24-7.
- Week 5: Beat UAB, 52-24.
- Week 6: Lost to Missouri, 51-28.
- Week 7: Off.
- Week 8: Beat Georgia, 31-27.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: SAME. WIN. The Georgia team Vanderbilt just beat is not the same team Tennessee played just a few weeks ago. The Bulldogs took some major punches against Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU, Tennessee put them on the canvas, and they've been reeling ever since. Still a WIN for the Vols over the Commodores.
@Kentucky Wildcats (1-5, 0-3 SEC, NR)
- Week 1: Lost to Western Kentucky, 35-26.
- Week 2: Beat Miami of Ohio, 41-7.
- Week 3: Lost to Louisville, 27-13.
- Week 4: Off.
- Week 5: Lost to Florida, 24-7.
- Week 6: Lost to South Carolina, 35-28.
- Week 7: Lost to Alabama, 48-7.
- Week 8: Off.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: SAME. WIN.
Conclusion after Week Eight
Hey, look. The chart below includes a predicted L with a corresponding actual W. Woo.
The Vols are performing better at a faster rate than I had originally believed. Unfortunately, so are Missouri and Auburn. At the beginning of the season, we figured that the schedule would lighten up after Alabama, but it's doing no such thing. Instead, Missouri and Auburn are going to be ranked as high or higher than Georgia and South Carolina were at the times we played them. That stinks, because it means that although Tennessee is coming off a huge, confidence-building victory, it means that I'm actually changing expectations to offset the extra unexpected win. At the same time, it also means that UT will have more opportunities to show that it's in the same category as these teams and belongs in the Top 25 even now. So the current prediction is now one game different from the preseason prediction thanks to an unexpected win over SC but changed predictions for Missouri and Auburn. I'm still guessing 6-6, but with remaining losses to Alabama, Missouri, and Auburn.
|Opponent||Preseason Prediction||Revised Prediction||Result|
|South Carolina||L||L (but W)||W|