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Recalibrating 2015 expectations for the Tennessee Volunteers after the Arkansas loss

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So how does the rest of the season look now?

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Recalibrating the Vols after the Arkansas game

This weekend, all of Tennessee's former opponents made the Vols look good. Bowling Green improved to 3-2 with a 28-22 win over Buffalo. The Falcons' only non-Vols loss is to undefeated Memphis by three points. Oklahoma looked great in a convincing 44-24 win over #23 West Virginia, and Florida surprised everyone with a huge, 38-10 blowout victory over #3 Ole Miss.

Unfortunately, Tennessee didn't make itself look good against the Razorbacks. I don't know whether Saturday's game means the Vols are worse than we thought they were (it certainly feels like it) or whether it means the Hogs were more the team we thought they were at the beginning of the season than the one we thought they were after losing three straight. Walking back to my car after the game last night, my mental draft of this post included only thoughts of the former, and I was going to move every team but North Texas up the chart at least a few spots. Now that I'm looking at it, though, I'm thinking that the 19 spot might just be the red line between wins and losses this season. That puts the Vols at 7-5, with 8-5 after a bowl game a possibility and also provides a one-game cushion for bowl eligibility. But if the coaches don't fix several serious issues in a hurry, the wheels could come off.

Bottom line, I really didn't think we were going to lose the game against Arkansas, but I also don't think that it necessarily means we're going to lose any others we didn't already expect to lose.

A quick aside on the Florida win over Ole Miss. Either Florida's a lot better than we thought or Ole Miss isn't as good as we thought. Every team can have an off game, but the Rebels have had two in a row, so it may well be the latter, which is actually good news because it means that teams like Georgia or Alabama can be beat by teams that aren't as good. I'm not going to go in to either the Georgia game or the Alabama game thinking we will win, but I will go and watch because you never know, and you don't want to miss it if it happens. And by the way, Georgia is only a 2.5-point favorite (at the time I drafted this). Make of that what you will.

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
5
6
7 Alabama Alabama Georgia Georgia Alabama
8 Alabama Alabama Alabama
9 Georgia
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
23 South Carolina Vanderbilt Missouri Vanderbilt
24 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilit South Carolina South Carolina
25 Bowling Green (W; 59-30) South Carolina
26
27
28 North Texas North Texas North Texas North Texas North Texas
29 Western Carolina Western Carolina

Western Carolina
(W; 55-10)

North Texas
30

10/10/15: Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC, #19)

  • W1: Beat UL Monroe, 51-14 before the game was called due to a second lightning delay.
  • W2: Beat Vanderbilt, 31-14.
  • W3: Beat South Carolina, 52-20.
  • W4: Beat Southern, 48-6.
  • W5: Lost to Alabama, 38-10.
Sat, Oct 10 @ Tennessee
Sat, Oct 17 vs Missouri
Sat, Oct 31 vs Florida*
Sat, Nov 7 vs Kentucky
Sat, Nov 14 @ Auburn
Sat, Nov 21 vs Ga Southern
Sat, Nov 28 @ Georgia Tech

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): This weekend's game made it pretty clear who between Alabama and Georgia was better, but I'm not sure it does much to tell us how much either is better than Tennessee. I'm swapping the two teams and putting one spot between them based on the margin of victory. 9.

PREDICTIONS - GEORGIA
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5
12 10 11 7 7 9

10/17/15: Bye

10/24/15: at Alabama (4-1, 1-1 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.
Sat, Oct 10 vs Arkansas
Sat, Oct 17 @ Texas A&M
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): See the explanation for Georgia immediately above. 7. Also, really interested to see what Arkansas can do against these guys.

PREDICTIONS - ALABAMA
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5
8 7 7 8 8 7

10/31/15: at Kentucky (4-1, 2-1 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.
Thu, Oct 15 vs Auburn
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'm moving Kentucky down the chart a spot for needing overtime to beat Eastern Kentucky. 21.

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

11/7/15: South Carolina (2-3, 0-3 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.
Sat, Oct 10 vs LSU
Sat, Oct 17 vs Vanderbilt
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): Pretty resounding defeat at the hands of a questionable Missouri team, so I'm moving them down another spot to 25.

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

11/14/15: North Texas (0-4, 0-2 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.
Sat, Oct 10 vs Portland State
Thu, Oct 15 vs W Kentucky
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): Still not worried about this one. Actually moving them to 29.

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

11/21/15: at Missouri (4-1, 1-1 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.
Sat, Oct 10 vs Florida
Sat, Oct 17 @ Georgia
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): Nice win, Missouri, but it's SoCar, and there's still the matter of that loss to Kentucky, so I'm still a bit skeptical. Which is how it always is with you right up until the time you beat us and go on to win the SEC East. Moving you up one to 22 because the way I just described you made you sound like Predator.

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

11/28/15: Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2 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.
Sat, Oct 17 @ South Carolina
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): Yeah, MTSU. Swapping your place with Missouri.

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