Timing is...Everything.

Timing is …everything.

I am trying to find some solace the day after the Missouri game.

So, I decided to review 2013 the schedule. It is after all….."A very difficult schedule"…a phrase (and fact) intended to offer some empathy to a Vol fan. Right now...I'll take it.

Week 1 opponent: Austin Peay: Certainly no nightmare on any D-1 team’s schedule (1-0). But:

Let’s remember the AP preseason poll and identify the future Vol opponents:

@ # 1: Alabama, @ # 3 Oregon, # 5 Georgia at home, # 6 South Carolina at home, and @ #10 Florida. At preseason when the weather was hot, there are only five (5) ranked teams to deal with in 2013, albeit five highly ranked teams. A game at Missouri and home game with lowly Auburn in November could be wins based on that team’s prior year performance and of course we should defeat Vandy and Kentucky. Add those wins to our 3 non-conference games and we are hopefully looking at a 7-5 season. Maybe we can knock off someone else along the way?

Week 2 opponent: Western Kentucky proves to be a lesser threat and monster than we had originally imagined. (2-0)

Polls future Opponents:

While some subtle changes were made in the polls, Alabama and Oregon are now # 1 and # 2, respectively, while South Carolina remains # 6, Georgia drops to # 11 after the Clemson loss and Florida wins but drops to # 12. Still a formidable schedule, but the prospects for 7-5 remain unchanged.

Week 3 opponent: @ # 2 Oregon: Oregon gets a 1st place vote for # 1, but remains # 2 in the polls after destroying Virginia on the road. We found out real fast how good # 2 was or possibly how far we have to grow. (2-1)

Polls future opponents:

Alabama remains # 1 though they did not play. Georgia moves up to # 9 after defeating Carolina who drops to #13. Florida shows a chink in the armor loss @ Miami but is ranked # 18. Good grief…Ole Miss is # 25 this week…wait…we don’t play them…thank goodness. Vols are still on plan for 7-5.

Week 4 opponent: @ 18 Florida. For the first time in 2013, Vols start a freshman QB. Other than that, same old Florida song and dance (2-2)

Polls: Future opponents:

Alabama #1. Georgia # 9. South Carolina # 12. It would be nice to beat Florida, but 7-5 is still alive.

Week 5 opponent: South Alabama, playing for nothing to lose. Vols win ugly, but win (3-2)

Polls: Future opponents:

# 1 Alabama; # 9 Georgia (up next); #12 South Carolina. Oregon is still # 2, but Florida slips to # 20. 2 ranked teams down…three to go…7-5 still attainable.

Week 6 opponent: # 6 Georgia…up 3 places after beating LSU the week before. While banged up, Georgia regains it preseason position and Vols lose in OT (3-3)

Polls: Future opponents:

Yeah yeah…Bama is still # 1. South Carolina is # 13. 7-5 is still out there.

Week 7 opponent: Bye Week

Polls: Future opponents:

Ho-hum- # 1 remains Alabama. The Tide is on the Vol schedule horizon. South Carolina slips to #14. But wait….what is this@ # 25….Missouri….where did they come from? Are you kidding me? Undefeated. Surely it’s a mistake. Beat Vandy 51-28 on the road? Yeah, but it’s Vandy. 7-5 is still on the docket, for now.

Week 8: opponent: # 11 South Carolina, fresh off a big road win at Arkansas. Finally, a ranked team goes down in Neyland. The "unexpected win". (4-3)

Polls: Future opponents:

# 1 Alabama is still there and waiting for the Vols. Is that Missouri up to # 14? Ahead of Georgia at #15. Good Grief. Another surprise? Auburn is ranked # 24. How is this happening? So, two new ranked teams make it to the Vol schedule making a total of seven (7) for the season. Hmmm? 7-5 is still out there, hopefully.

Week 9: opponent: @ # 1 Alabama. This allows the Vols to be the only team in the 2013 season (at this point) to play both the # 1 and # 2 ranked FBS teams…and just to add spice, both on the road. Again we learn that a # 1 ranking means something. (4-4)

Polls: Future opponents:

Well, according to the plan at the beginning of the season, the Vols should be finished with ranked teams on their way to cleaning up the season. But Mizzou jumps up to # 5 while Auburn now jumps to # 11. Not that it matters at this point, but previous SEC east foes, Georgia and Florida (ranked # 6 and # 18 when they played the Vols) are now unranked to make room for future Vol foes, Missouri and Auburn.

Week 10 opponent: @ # 10 Missouri. Ouch. Fly in the ointment. Vols start a freshman QB for the 2nd time this season on the road AFTER a beat down by # 2 and # 1, respectively. Now, Auburn has passed the Tigers and now occupies # 8. At the moment there is no sign of Vandy and or Kentucky being ranked to close out the 2013 schedule but the way it's going, who knows?

Next up: # 7 Auburn.

OK: this means Tennessee will have played 6 teams that were not only ranked in 2013, but at some point in the season they were ranked in the top 7. 7 of the Vols opponents were ranked top 10 at least for one week in the season: The word "brutal" comes to mind, but I don’t think Butch will make excuses.


· Oregon: # 2 when we played them/ # 2 today

· Florida: # 18 when we played them/ not ranked today

· Georgia: # 6 when we played them/ not ranked today, but "receiving votes"

· South Carolina: # 11 when we played them/ # 13 today

· Alabama: # 1 when we played them/ # 1 today

· Missouri: # 10 when we played them/ # 9 today/ NOT RANKED at the beginning of the season

· Auburn: # 7 when we will play them/ NOT RANKED at the beginning of the season.

C’mon 7. Go Vols.

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