Before we look at how our future opponents fared this weekend, let's talk about the Vols' performance this weekend and what impact it has on our outlook for the rest of the season independent of the opponents. After letting it sit for a day, I still have to concede that the outlook is a bit more dire this week than last. Yes, we're at the same 3-2 record this series of posts had projected before the season began. And yes, teams that are rebuilding everything from players to schemes to individual mental makeup to winning culture should expect to take a hit both on the scoreboard and in the heart when playing teams like Oregon. And yes, we shouldn't be completely surprised when such a team fails to take advantage of some opportunities when they are presented like they were against Florida. And finally, yes, it's not to be completely unexpected when such a team struggles at times against teams it should beat.
But when those things all begin to accumulate, it does take on a sort of momentum of its own, and it's hard to shake the feeling that things are still a long way from getting better in a way that is measurable on the final scoreboard. All of that said, though, I haven't lost hope or enthusiasm for the season. I also haven't lost hope for an upset because I'm with I_S when he points out that we're better than other teams who have beaten top 15 teams. An upset is by definition an unexpected result. I don't expect one, but all hope for one is not lost.
What has taken a hit, though, is an expectation that we will in fact beat the teams we previously expected to beat. Teams like Missouri, Auburn, and Vanderbilt. After the South Alabama game, I'm much more concerned about Team 117's ability to put a game away as a favorite. So let's look at how our future opponents did this weekend.
Georgia Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0 SEC, #9)
- Week 1: Lost at Clemson, 38-35.
- Week 2: Beat South Carolina, 41-30.
- Week 3: Off.
- Week 4: Beat North Texas, 45-21.
- Week 5: Beat LSU, 44-41.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: WORSE, but still adamant about what I've been saying about Georgia for weeks, which is that as soon as you feel confident about Georgia, that's the time to start being concerned. That win over LSU was most impressive, and the win over South Carolina, too, is big. How much did it drain them? They have to feel like they'll be able to mail it in against a Tennessee team that nearly blew a game against South Alabama. Maybe they won't mail it in, and they are so talented that they can probably win even if they do, but there's a chance that they're on an empty emotional tank after last week, and I'd rather play this Georgia team mailing it in than the Georgia team that played LSU last week. So yeah, WORSE, meaning expect a loss and brace for a bad loss, but show up because sometimes things happen. LOSS.
South Carolina (3-1, 1-1 SEC, #12)
- Week 1: Beat North Carolina, 27-10.
- Week 2: Lost at Georgia, 41-30.
- Week 3: Beat Vanderbilt, 35-25.
- Week 4: Off.
- Week 5: Squeaked by UCF, 28-25.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: THE SAME, meaning still our best opportunity for an upset. If we hadn't struggled to close things out against South Alabama, I would have felt a little better about the chances for an upset in this game, but the two results taken together cancel each other out. LOSS.
Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0, 2-0 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.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: SAME. LOSS.
@Missouri Tigers (4-0, 0-0 SEC, NR)
- Week1: 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?
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: A LITTLE WORSE. If the Tigers would have played a meaningful game this season, I'd know more how to feel about them. As it is, I'll I have is how I feel about the Vols. So do I change this one from W to L? Not yet, I don't. WIN.
Auburn Tigers (3-1, 1-1 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.
- 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.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: Last week, Joel felt, "WORSE, AND GETTING CLOSE TO CHANGING HIS MIND." The Tigers didn't play, so there's no new information about them, but I am going to go ahead and switch this one from a preseason prediction of win to a loss. I'm hoping to be able to change it back later. LOSS.
Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2, 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.
- Week 4: Beat UMass, 24-7.
- Week 5: Beat UAB, 52-24.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: A LITTLE WORSE BUT NOT WORSE ENOUGH. WIN, hopefully.
@Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1 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.
- Joel feels __________ about this game this week: ONLY A LITTLE WORSE. Still a WIN.
Conclusion after Week Five
So there's some change for me this week, but most of it is in degress of confidence, although I am changing Auburn from preseason WIN to LOSS. New prediction goes from 7-5 to 6-6 with remaining losses to Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and now Auburn.
|Opponent||Preseason Prediction||Revised Prediction||Result|