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.
|14||Oklahoma (L; 31-24 2OT)|
|17||Missouri||Florida||Florida (L; 28-27)|
|19||South Carolina||South Carolina||Arkansas (L; 24-20)|
|24||Vanderbilt||Vanderbilt||Vanderbilit||South Carolina||South Carolina|
|25||Bowling Green (W; 59-30)||South Carolina|
|28||North Texas||North Texas||North Texas||North Texas||North Texas|
|29||Western Carolina||Western Carolina||
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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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|