How the Vols' future opponents did this week: Florida

Double portions of this, please. - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I Know What You Did Last Week: A quick look at how Tennessee's remaining opponents performed this past weekend.

This weekly exercise is therapeutic for me. No matter the emotions that bubble up during a game, it can be calming to go back and see that that's pretty much what I expected, and re-realizing that somehow makes me feel better. I say "pretty much," though, because there are things you can learn during a game that aren't what you anticipated at all, despite being right about the final outcome, and those things can certainly influence your expectation for future games.

So before we take a look at how perceptions of our future opponents may have changed this weekend, let's take a look at our beloved Vols. I'm likely in the majority in that I had anticipated a big loss to the Ducks but was still surprised at just how bad that big loss actually looked and felt. On the other hand, I believe that Oregon's style is to find an advantage (it often doesn't have to look past its first preference, which is speed and space) and exploit it over and over again, and that its mindset is to keep bringing the hammer down until it hits 50 points or is up by four scores. Basically, it's designed to outscore other elite teams and to mercilessly dominate non-elite teams. There is little middle ground. So, although the loss was hard to take, I feel only a little worse about Team 117 this week. That "little worse" comes from having your primary weaknesses on the big screen for all future opponents to see and from watching our defensive line continue to evaporate. Still, it's only a "little worse," because it doesn't really change things very much at all in how I look at the rest of the season.

Now on to our future opponents.

@Florida Gators (1-1, 0-0 SEC, #19)

  • Week 1: Beat Toledo, 24-6.
  • Week 2: Lost to Miami, 21-16.
  • Week 3: Off.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: The above-mentioned "LITTLE WORSE" just due to the Vols' showing against the Ducks. That's still a "little better" than it was before the season began, but still not quite enough to believe we should win or to believe too hard in an upset. The Gators are currently between a 17- and 18-point favorite. Loss.

South Alabama Jaguars (2-1, 0-0 Sun Belt, NR)

  • Week 1: Lost to the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, 22-21.
  • Week 2: Won at Tulane, 41-39.
  • Week 3: Beat Western Kentucky at home, 31-24. WKU threw three interceptions, so maybe it was them more than us.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: WORSE, BUT STILL NOT BAD. You would have wanted them to lose to the WKU we just beat, but they didn't. Still, we beat the Hilltoppers by a lot more, and . . .  I can't believe I'm having this conversation about about South Alabama. This is still a win, but we better take them seriously.

Georgia Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 SEC, #9)

  • Week 1: Lost at Clemson, 38-35.
  • Week 2: Beat South Carolina, 41-30.
  • Week 3: Off.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: A LITTLE WORSE. Georgia's still Georgia, meaning predictions are especially questionable. There's still a possibility of an upset, but they could also embarrass us. Who knows? But I'm still calling this one a loss.

South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC, #13)

  • Week 1: Beat North Carolina, 27-10.
  • Week 2: Lost at Georgia, 41-30.
  • Week 3: Beat Vanderbilt, 35-25.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: THE SAME, meaning still our best opportunity for an upset. The Gamecocks' victory over the Commodores was closer than it should have been, and although they had much better stats than Vandy, and although the Vols may struggle, I think Tennessee will realize this is its last opportunity at a big catch for the season, so the Vols will be as ready as they can be and amped up to 11. That's why it's not "a little worse," but "the same."

Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0, 1-0 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.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: A LITTLE WORSE, and it was already bad enough. Elite teams are going to run over this team. Sorry. Another big loss. The tide will turn, but not this year.

@Missouri Tigers (2-0, 0-0 SEC, NR)

  • 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?
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: THE SAME. Win, but we better be ready.

Auburn Tigers (3-0, 1-0 SEC, NR)

  • Week 1: Beat Washington State, 31-24.
  • Week 2: Beat the Arkansas State Red Wolves, 38-9.
  • Week 3: Beat Mississippi State, 24-20.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: WORSE, BUT NOT WORSE ENOUGH YET TO CHANGE HIS MIND. Still a win. For now.

Vanderbilt Commodores (1-2, 0-2 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.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: THE SAME. Win.

@Kentucky Wildcats (1-2, 0-0 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.
  • Joel feels __________ about this game this week: THE SAME. Win.

Conclusion after Week Three

Not much changes for me this week. Still predicting 7-5 with losses to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. Auburn is now approaching the wrong side of the bubble, though, so keep an eye on them.

Opponent Preseason Prediction Revised Prediction Result
Austin-Peay W W W
Western Ky. W W W
Oregon L L L
Florida L L
South Alabama W W
Georgia L L
South Carolina L L
Alabama L L
Missouri W W
Auburn W W
Vanderbilt W W
Kentucky W W
Record 7-5 7-5 2-1 (0-0)
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