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Recalibrating expectations for the last regular season Vols' game

There's only one minor recalculation to make for the Vols this season, and it's a positive one.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Recalibrating the Vols after the Missouri Game

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

  • Bowling Green lost to Toledo, 44-28. It's the Falcons' third loss of the season, but one was to the Vols, and the other two were to two other national surprises, Memphis and Toledo.
  • Oklahoma beat #18 TCU, 30-29, one week after beating #6 Baylor, 44-34. These guys get another shot this week against #6 Oklahoma State. Let this be a lesson to us all: Don't decide anything about the Big 12 until the last three weeks of the season.
  • Arkansas lost a 51-50 heartbreaker to Mississippi State in the final seconds on a blocked field goal that should have been easily made.
  • Florida embarrassed themselves, us, and the SEC with an overtime win over Florida Atlantic. I don't even want to talk about it.
  • Georgia embarrassed themselves, us, and the SEC with an overtime win over Georgia Southern. If you force me to talk, I'll spit out something about the end of the season being about endurance and survival. Seriously, though, doesn't it seem like things get wonkier the later into the season we get? Let this be a lesson to us this week as we prepare for Vandy.
  • South Carolina embarrassed themselves, us, and the SEC with a one point loss to The Citadel. Sigh.
  • Alabama used Nick Saban's experience to win a game against Charleston Southern on Wednesday that they didn't play until Saturday. No embarrassment or overtime for them.
  • Kentucky beat Charlotte, 58-10.
  • North Texas got beat by MTSU, 41-7.

So Oklahoma made Tennessee look good this week, but nearly everybody else soiled the Vols' resume. When everyone else finds ruin in the meteor shower, the only thing you can do is survive, and the Vols actually did a bit more than that, thriving in a tricky game against an emotional opponent with a terrific defense. And let me say this: A lackluster 24-0 win over North Texas is worlds better than anything that happened to Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina this weekend.

Recalibrating the Vols' final opponent

First, the chart. Details on Vandy are below.

PREDICTIONS
5-30 SCALE PS W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12
5
6
7 Alabama Alabama Georgia Georgia
8 Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama
9 Georgia (W; 38-31) Alabama (L; 19-14)
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) Vanderbilt
20 Florida Kentucky
21 Arkansas Kentucky Missouri (W; 19-8) Vanderbilt
22 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Vanderbilt Missouri Kentucky Vanderbilt
23 South Carolina Vanderbilt Missouri Vanderbilt Missouri Kentucky
24 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilit South Carolina South Carolina Vanderbilt Missouri Missouri
25 Bowling Green (W; 59-30) South Carolina Vanderbilt Missouri
26 South Carolina South Carolina (W; 27-24)
27 South Carolina Vanderbilt
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 North Texas North Texas North Texas (W; 24-0)
30

11/28/15: Vanderbilt (4-7, 2-5 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.
  • W8: Beat Missouri, 10-3.
  • W9: Lost to #18 Houston, 34-0.
  • W10: Lost to Florida, 9-7.
  • W11: Beat Kentucky, 21-17.
  • W12: Lost to Texas A&M, 25-0.

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): I feel much better about this game, both because of the Vols' performance against Missouri that proved North Texas was just a breather and that they could flip the switch when they need to, and because Vanderbilt struggled so much this weekend against A&M. I don't think we'll blow them out, but I do think we'll be able to make it difficult for them to score, and I think the Vols can get 20 points or so.

PREDICTIONS - VANDERBILT
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12
24 24 24 23 22 23 24 24 25 27 22 19 21