The defense we've been seeing all season plus an offense capable of putting up nearly 400 yards of balanced offense against Alabama's defense? I'll take it. But let's take a look at what our remaining opponents did this week before we adjust our expectations and rank the Vols' chances of beating them on our proprietary and infallible 5-30 point ranking system..
11/01/14: @South Carolina (4-4, 2-4 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: Lost at #5 Auburn, 42-35.
- Week 10: VOLS.
- Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Last week I moved this down to 18, citing Tennessee's offensive ineptitude. This week, I'm keeping it there because the Gamecocks hung with Auburn at Auburn.
|EARLIER PREDICTIONS - SOUTH CAROLINA|
11/15/14: Kentucky (5-3, 2-3 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: Lost to Mississippi State at home, 45-31.
- Week 10: At Missouri
- Week 11: Georgia.
- Week 12: VOLS.
- Week 13: Bye.
- Week 14: Louisville.
- Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Again, I'm leaving this where it is at 19 because these guys were game against a top-ranked team. That trap I've been talking about each week right here in this paragraph is really beginning to entice, but fortunately, those 31 points against a #1 team shout WARNING just loud enough.
|EARLIER PREDICTIONS - KENTUCKY|
11/22/14: Missouri (6-2, 3-1 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.
- Week 9: Beat Vanderbilt, 24-14.
- Week 10: Kentucky.
- Week 11: Bye.
- Week 12: At Texas A&M.
- Week 13: VOLS.
- Week 14: Arkansas.
- Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): I'm moving this one up to 22 from 20 this week. A ten-point win over Vandy means to me at this point that you're more Vandy than Vandy had a good game. I expect Missouri to get beat by Kentucky this week, so we'll see whether I have them pegged or not.
|EARLIER PREDICTIONS - MISSOURI|
11/29/14: Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-5 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.
- Week 9: Lost to Missouri, 24-14.
- Week 10: Old Dominion.
- Week 11: Florida.
- Week 12: Bye.
- Week 13: At Mississippi State.
- Week 14: VOLS.
Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Wait, we get these guys a week after they're at Mississippi State? Moving this back to 27.
|EARLIER PREDICTIONS - VANDERBILT|
A mettle-tested Vols team emerges from the meat of the schedule with hope for bowl eligibility intact and pinned to the health and consistency of Josh Dobbs. The season really begins in earnest now, as Tennessee needs three wins in its next four games to get eligible for the postseason. The most difficult of those is likely the first, away and against a team who just gave #5 a real fight. Lose that one and the margin for error disappears and opens the door for the kind of nerves that lead to foot-shooting. So let's get the first one, and then lets get the rest of them. I'd love to see a bunch of Vols fans in Nashville knowing a bowl game is already secured.
The Vols' chances of winning each of the rest of their games, on a scale from 5-30.
|8||Ole Miss (L; 34-3)|
|9||Ole Miss||Alabama (L; 34-20)|
|18||Missouri||Missouri||South Carolina||South Carolina|
|21||South Carolina||South Carolina||South Carolina|
|23||Florida (L; 10-9)||Missouri|
|25||UTC (W; 45-10)||Vanderbilt|