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Recalibrating expectations for the Vols after the South Carolina game

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The expectations for the end result didn't change much this week, but we do expect a bit more of a roller coaster ride the rest of the way.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Recalibrating the Vols after the South Carolina Game

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

  • Bowling Green beat Ohio, 62-24. They are 7-2, their only losses to us and a surprisingly good Memphis team that just lost its first game this week.
  • Oklahoma dominated Iowa State, 52-16. One fluky loss to rival Texas. Otherwise, no one but Tennessee has given them a game.
  • Florida struggled against Vandy, but beat them 9-7. They have one loss, to a very good LSU team.
  • Arkansas beat a ranked Ole Miss team in overtime, 53-52.
  • Georgia got back on track against Kentucky, beating them 27-3.
  • Alabama beat #2 LSU fairly easily, 30-16.
  • As I said before, Kentucky lost to Georgia.

Most of that, with the exception of Florida struggling against Vanderbilt, makes me feel pretty good about the Vols' resume to date.

The Tennessee-South Carolina game, though, makes me much more nervous the rest of the way for the Vols. I am completely confused about how the offense can look like perfection for two drives and then vanish into thin air. All season, we've hypothesized explanations for this phenomonon -- the coaching staff goes conservative too early, the team can't adjust to the opponent's adjustments -- but I don't know anymore. It could be something else entirely. Focus? An offensive line that gets worn out early?

Anyway, I still feel the team is awesome at full strength and focus and should win the rest of its games, but I'm not nearly as confident after the Gamecocks game that the team will consistently be the team it should be at any given moment. I'm moving two of the three remaining opponents back toward the middle just because of the uncertainty.

Recalibrating the Vols' remaining opponents

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

PREDICTIONS
5-30 SCALE PS W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10
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)
20 Florida Kentucky
21 Arkansas Kentucky
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
30

11/14/15: North Texas (1-8, 1-5 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.
  • W8: Lost to Marshall, 30-13.
  • W9: Beat UTSA, 30-23.
  • W10: Lost to LA Tech, 56-13.
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): I just ran the comparison chart for Thursday's statsy preview. Spoiler alert: This is the worst team we've played this season in every category except Rushing Offense, in which they're two yards better per game than Bowling Green. Yeah. 29.

PREDICTIONS - NORTH TEXAS
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10
28 28 28 28 28 29 29 29 29 29 29

11/21/15: at Missouri (4-5, 1-5 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.
  • W8: Lost to Vanderbilt, 10-3.
  • W9: Bye
  • W10: Lost to #20 Mississippi State, 31-13.
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): The offense did score a touchdown this week, but I think they're still just a good defensive team with a suspect offense. I am moving them a spot, though, based on the Vols' inconsistency.

PREDICTIONS - MISSOURI
Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10
17 15 16 18 23 22 23 23 24 25 24

11/28/15: Vanderbilt (3-6, 1-4 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.
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): Does this mean Vandy is dangerous, or was this just a fluky game for Florida? I'm splitting the difference there, and combined with feeling a little spooked with the Vols, I'm moving these guys to 22 for now.

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