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Rocky Top Talking Points: Friday edition

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34 hours, folks, until Erik Ainge and the Volunteers get to start writing on a clean slate.

  • In the poll over there on the right sidebar, the QB position (29%) has edged out the offensive line (26%) as the most important unit against Cal in the minds of most Rocky Toppers.  The two units are, of course, inextricably intertwined.
  • NCAA football blog Every Game Counts has, according to, snagged Former Vol Peyton Manning to be its guest celebrity today.
  • Sunday Morning Quarterback has picked Cal over Southern Cal for the Pac-10 title, so Vol fans should view this game like it was against Southern Cal.  Cal is that good.  Tomorrow's game should be a great one, and while the Vols have question marks all over the place, they at least do not have terrible injury concerns despite one of the most physical preseasons of the Fulmer era.  Linebacker Jerod Mayo (sprained ankle) is the only starter who's questionable.
  • College Football News has its Keys to the UT-Cal game up: (1) Tennessee's ability to stop underrated Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, more specifically, to re-route him to the outside and then to actually tackle the beast. (2) Erik Ainge's ability to exploit a possible weakness in the Cal secondary.  On one side, the cornerback will be All-Pac-10 Daymeion Hughes.  On the other will be one of two understudies, Randy Bundy or Syd'Quan Thompson, who will be filling in for All-Pac-10 Tim Mixon, who recently tore an ACL at practice. (3) Cal middle linebacker Desmond Bishop's ability to stop UT running back Arian Foster.  CFN is picking Cal to win, 26-24.
  • The forecast for tomorrow's game right now is 79 degrees and partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain and/or thunderstorms.
  • The Sporting News' Matt Hayes says tomorrow's game against Cal could be the beginning of Fulmer's unhappy ending or "enough to change the course of a team and a coach headed for divorce."  Hat tip to Voluminous.  It's an important game, but it's not that important.  Where we finish in the SEC is really what matters this season.