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Weighing the Vols' chances against their remaining schedule: Week 8.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Well crud. Last weekend was about the worst possible scenario for feeling good about most of the rest of the schedule, what with Alabama finding its legs and Missouri stealing Tennessee's rightful role of putting the last nail in Will Muschamp's coffin. So how do we feel now about the Vols' remaining schedule? We rank the remaining games, again with our own 5-30 point scale.

10/25/14: Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC, #4)

  • Week 1: Beat West Virginia, 33-23.
  • Week 2: Beat Florida Atlantic, 41-0.
  • Week 3: Beat Beat Souther Miss, 52-12.
  • Week 4: Beat Florida, 42-21.
  • Week 5: Bye.
  • Week 6: Lost to Ole Miss, 23-17.
  • Week 7: Beat themselves, but also beat Arkansas, 14-13.
  • Week 8: Dominated Texas A&M, 59-0.
  • Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): 9. Sigh. Last week, Alabama looked like it had come down with some terrible illness, having lost to Ole Miss and almost given the game away to Arkansas. This week, they were on pace for a 90-0 victory at halftime before coasting to a 59-0 shutout over a Top 25 team. So glad you're feeling better, he says with contempt in his heart. This one is at home, though, so there's that.
EARLIER PREDICTIONS - ALABAMA
W4 W5 W6 W7 W8
8 10 10 13 9

11/01/14: @South Carolina (4-3, 2-3 SEC, NR)

  • Week 1: Got pinned against Texas A&M at home, 52-28.
  • Week 2: Beat East Carolina, 33-23.
  • Week 3: Beat Georgia, 38-35.
  • Week 4: Beat Vanderbilt, 48-34.
  • Week 5: Lost to Missouri, 21-20.
  • Week 6: Lost to Kentucky, 45-38.
  • Week 7: Bye.
  • Week 8: Beat Furman, 41-10.
  • Week 9: At Auburn.
  • Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): I'm moving this down to 18 just because of Tennessee's offensive ineptitude.
EARLIER PREDICTIONS - SOUTH CAROLINA
W4 W5 W6 W7 W8
15 21 21 21 18

11/8/14: Bye

11/15/14: Kentucky (5-1, 2-1 SEC, NR)

  • Week 1: Beat UT Martin, 59-14.
  • Week 2: Beat Ohio, 20-3.
  • Week 3: Barely lost to Florida in the Swamp, 36-30 in triple overtime.
  • Week 4: Bye.
  • Week 5: Beat Vanderbilt, 17-7.
  • Week 6: Beat South Carolina, 45-38.
  • Week 7: Beat UL Monroe, 48-14.
  • Week 8: Lost to LSU, 41-3.
  • Week 9: Mississippi State.
  • Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): 19. I've been wary of these guys for weeks, not skeptical of their success but worried about their ability to sneak up on us and get a win. But I've also been saying that we really wouldn't know who they were until Week 8, and the early returns after Week 8 are that they are, indeed, Kentucky. Of course, that could be me falling into the very trap I warned myself to stay away from. Losing to LSU, #1 Mississippi State, and #9 Georgia merely means that you're somewhere between Bad and #10. So I'm moving this up, but I'm still eyeing that trap.
EARLIER PREDICTIONS - KENTUCKY
W4 W5 W6 W7 W8
20 20 20 20 19

11/22/14: Missouri (5-2, 2-1 SEC, NR)

  • Week 1: Beat South Dakota State, 38-18.
  • Week 2: Beat Toledo, 49-24.
  • Week 3: Beat UCF, 38-10.
  • Week 4: Lost to Indiana, 31-27.
  • Week 5: Beat South Carolina, 21-20.
  • Week 6: Bye.
  • Week 7: Got shut out and gave up 34 to a Todd Gurley-less Georgia, losing 34-0.
  • Week 8: Beat Florida, 42-13. Two pick sixes and two special teams touchdowns helps explain 42 points on barely over 100 yards on offense. Good news and bad news for Tennessee.
  • Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): 20? I have no idea what to do with these guys. Lost to Indiana, barely beat South Carolina, actually got it done mostly through unconventional means against Florida. Anywhere between 6-29 would earn a shrug from me.
EARLIER PREDICTIONS - MISSOURI
W4 W5 W6 W7 W8
18 18 18 23 20

11/29/14: Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-4 SEC, NR)

  • Week 1: Lost to Temple, 37-7.
  • Week 2: Lost to Ole Miss, 41-3.
  • Week 3: Beat UMass, 34-31.
  • Week 4: Lost to South Carolina, 48-34.
  • Week 5: Lost to Kentucky, 17-7.
  • Week 6: Lost to Georgia, 44-17.
  • Week 7: Beat Charlie Southern. By a point. 21-20.
  • Week 8: Bye.
  • Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Moving this back down to 24. Call it offensive jitters.
EARLIER PREDICTIONS - VANDERBILT
W4 W5 W6 W7 W7
27 27 24 25 24

Copying and pasting this from last week:

The next two weeks are going to test our collective mettle, the precise definition of which, by the way, is strangely comforting: "A person's ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way." Hey, let's do that spirited resilience thing.

A nice reminder after that Ole Miss game, no? I did also say that the Alabama game may prove to be a Maxim 1 game, but this week it's looking more like a Joel's Maxim 1 game: "The team that is a lot better usually wins."

Still, if we can be resilient as a team and as fans, it gets easier the rest of the way. This week, we cheer on the team against Alabama and hope the Vols win. And then, if they lose, we don't freak out and aren't somehow shocked because the team did exactly what we expected them to do. Because then come four winnable games against South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. We need three of those four.

Mettle, men.

The Vols' chances of winning each of the rest of their games, on a scale from 5-30, plus new columns for Reaction to Loss and Immediate Overreaction (defined below).

PREDICTIONS
5-30 SCALE W5 W6 W7 W8 RL* IO**
5
6
7
8 Ole Miss
9 Ole Miss Alabama Alabama
10 Alabama Alabama
11
12
13 Alabama
14
15
16
17
18 Missouri Missouri South Carolina South Carolina
19 Ole Miss Kentucky Kentucky
20 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Missouri Missouri
21 South Carolina South Carolina South Carolina
22
23 Florida (L) Missouri
24 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
25 UTC (W) Vanderbilt
26
27 Vanderbilt
28 UTC
29
30 Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt

*RL: Reaction to Loss. How bad we should feel if we lose.
**IO: Immediate Overreaction. How shocked we'll be if they lose regardless of RL.