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Tennessee-Auburn Final Score: Tigers 55, Vols 23

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The Vols emerge from the other end of a historically difficult college football schedule reeling but goals still intact.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Auburn Tigers rolled up 444 rushing yards on their way to a dominating 55-23 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium this afternoon, sending the Vols to a 4-6 overall and 1-5 SEC record. The Vols now get a week off to recuperate before finishing the season with a home game against Vanderbilt and a trip to Kentucky.

We have been through the ringer. Assume for the sake of argument that Tennessee was a really good team. How many losses do you think the Vols might have against this year's schedule? One, against Alabama? Maybe even two, ata Alabama and at Oregon? Even if they had three (those two and one of the other ranked opponents), you could still make the case that they weren't a bad team. And yet we know that the 2013 Vols are not yet a very good team and they still have to play that schedule. What did we expect, going through that ringer?

It's funny -- maybe that's not the right word -- how we can recognize that going in but completely forget it while getting squeezed. I guess it was the victory over the Gamecocks or the close call versus the Bulldogs, but somehow we were surprised at getting stomped by Alabama, Missouri, and Auburn, who I will remind you are all being flashed regularly on your TV screen when the announcers are told by the producers it's time to discuss the BCS rankings. And as bad as that looks and hurts, none of it has any real bearing on Tennessee's ability to beat Vanderbilt or Kentucky, who I will remind you are not being discussed during those BCS segments.

So one more time, snap and clear. The real goal begins with the next two games. Beat Vandy and Kentucky and get bowl eligible.