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Recalibrating expectations for the Vols after the bye week

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The Vols' past opponents made Tennessee look good Saturday, and the rest of the way looks . . . pretty much the same as it did last week. But how much do we fear 21 points on three pick sixes?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Recalibrating the Vols after the Bye Week

Here's what the Vols' former opponents did this weekend:

  • Bowling Green moved to 5-2 (one bad loss to Tennessee and one close loss to now 6-0 (and Top 25!) Memphis) with a 59-10 win over Akron. They've averaged Baylor points in their last two games.
  • Oklahoma beat Kansas State 55-0 and moved to 5-1.
  • Florida did exactly what we needed them to by looking good against LSU but losing 35-28. They're now 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC.
  • Arkansas was off.
  • Georgia beat Missouri 9-6.

So the Bye Week made both the Vols' losses and the Vols' wins look better. I don't think I'm going to move anybody anywhere just yet based on all of that, but it did have a way of sort of confirming that we have things in the right place.

Recalibrating the Vols' remaining opponents

So what about Tennessee's future opponents? First, the chart. Details on each are below.

PREDICTIONS
5-30 SCALE PRESEASON W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7
5
6
7 Alabama Alabama Georgia Georgia
8 Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama
9 Georgia (W; 38-31) Alabama
10 Georgia
11 Georgia
12 Georgia
13 Arkansas
14 Oklahoma (L; 31-24 2OT)
15 Arkansas Missouri
16 Oklahoma Florida Missouri
17 Missouri Florida Florida (L; 28-27)
18 Arkansas Missouri
19 South Carolina South Carolina Arkansas (L; 24-20)
20 Florida Kentucky
21 Arkansas Kentucky
22 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Vanderbilt Missouri Kentucky Kentucky
23 South Carolina Vanderbilt Missouri Vanderbilt Missouri Missouri
24 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilit South Carolina South Carolina Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
25 Bowling Green (W; 59-30) South Carolina
26 South Carolina South Carolina
27
28 North Texas North Texas North Texas North Texas North Texas
29 Western Carolina Western Carolina

Western Carolina
(W; 55-10)

North Texas North Texas North Texas
30

10/24/15: at Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC, #8)

  • W1: Beat #20 Wisconsin, 35-17.
  • W2: Beat MTSU, 37-10.
  • W3: Lost to #15 Ole Miss, 43-37.
  • W4: Beat UL Monroe, 34-0.
  • W5: Beat Georgia, 38-10.
  • W6: Beat Arkansas, 27-14.
  • W7: Beat Texas A&M 41-23 on the strength of three pick sixes.
Sat, Oct 24 vs Tennessee
Sat, Nov 7 vs LSU
Sat, Nov 14 @ Miss St
Sat, Nov 21 vs Charleston So
Sat, Nov 28 @ Auburn

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): You know what? I'm going to go ahead and bump these guys into the 9 spot, right where Georgia was when we beat them. Look, 41-23 is a nice-looking score and all, but if you remove the three pick sixes, Bama loses by three. Yeah, I know you can't just remove stuff you don't want to see, but A&M is a passing team. We're a team built to run the ball and protect it. If memory serves, Josh Dobbs has thrown only one pick all season, and that was a ricochet. Bottom line, Alabama's not getting 21 points on interceptions next week. Still, they are the Crimson Tide, and I'm only moving them one spot. But it's a lucky spot.

PREDICTIONS - ALABAMA
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7
8 7 7 8 8 7 8 9

10/31/15: at Kentucky (4-2, 2-2 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Beat UL-Lafayette, 40-33.
  • W2: Beat South Carolina, 26-22.
  • W3: Lost to Florida, 14-9.
  • W4: Beat Missouri, 21-13.
  • W5: Beat Eastern Kentucky, 34-27 in overtime.
  • W6: Off.
  • W7: Lost to Auburn, 30-27.
Sat, Oct 24 @ Miss St
Sat, Oct 31 vs Tennessee
Sat, Nov 7 @ Georgia
Sat, Nov 14 @ Vanderbilt
Sat, Nov 21 vs Charlotte
Sat, Nov 28 vs Louisville

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): I think we have these guys right where they should be.

PREDICTIONS - KENTUCKY
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7
22 22 22 22 20 21 22 22

11/7/15: South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Squawked by UNC, 17-13.
  • W2: Lost to Kentucky, 26-22.
  • W3: Lost to Georgia, 52-20.
  • W4: Beat UCF, 31-14.
  • W5: Lost to Missouri, 24-10.
  • W6: Lost to LSU, 45-24.
  • W7: Beat Vandy, 19-10.
Sat, Oct 31 @ Texas A&M
Sat, Nov 7 @ Tennessee
Sat, Nov 14 vs Florida
Sat, Nov 21 vs The Citadel
Sat, Nov 28 vs Clemson

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Wondering if the coach-is-gone feeling sets in after a trip to A&M on Halloween. Keeping the Gamecocks where they are for now.

PREDICTIONS - SOUTH CAROLINA
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7
19 19 23 24 24 25 26 26

11/14/15: North Texas (0-6, 0-3 C-USA, NR)

  • W1: DNP.
  • W2: Lost to SMU, 31-13.
  • W3: Lost to Rice, 38-24.
  • W4: Lost to Iowa, 62-16.
  • W5: Lost to Southern Miss, 49-14.
  • W6: Lost to Portland State, 66-7.
  • W7: Lost to Western Kentucky, 55-28.
Sat, Oct 24 @ Marshall
Sat, Oct 31 vs UTSA
Sat, Nov 7 @ LA Tech
Sat, Nov 14 @ #25 Tennessee
Sat, Nov 21 @ Mid Tennessee
Sat, Nov 28 vs UTEP

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Hey, they scored 28 points this week.

PREDICTIONS - NORTH TEXAS
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7
28 28 28 28 28 29 29 29

11/21/15: at Missouri (4-3, 1-3 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Beat SE Missouri State, 34-3.
  • W2: Beat Arkansas State, 27-20.
  • W3: Beat UConn, 9-6.
  • W4: Lost to Kentucky, 21-13.
  • W5: Beat South Carolina, 24-10.
  • W6: Lost to Florida, 21-3.
  • W7: Lost to Georgia, 9-6.
Sat, Oct 24 @ Vanderbilt
Thu, Nov 5 vs Miss St
Sat, Nov 14 vs BYU*
Sat, Nov 21 vs Tennessee
Fri, Nov 27 @ Arkansas

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Less afraid of their offense after this week but more afraid of their defense. Status quo, yo.

PREDICTIONS - MISSOURI
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7
17 15 16 18 23 22 23 23

11/28/15: Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-3 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Lost to Western Kentucky, 14-12.
  • W2: Lost to Georgia, 31-14.
  • W3: Beat Austin Peay, 47-7.
  • W4: Lost to #3 Ole Miss, 27-16.
  • W5: Beat MTSU, 17-13.
  • W6: Off
  • W7: Lost to South Carolina, 19-10.
Sat, Oct 24 vs Missouri
Sat, Oct 31 @ Houston
Sat, Nov 7 @ Florida
Sat, Nov 14 vs Kentucky
Sat, Nov 21 vs Texas A&M
Sat, Nov 28 @ Tennessee

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Keeping these guys right where they're at.

PREDICTIONS - VANDERBILT
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7
24 24 24 23 22 23 24 24