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Recalibrating expectations for the Vols based on Week 1 results

Week 1 has tempered our view of the rest of the season for the Vols. To a degree.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

So now we have at least a little data to inform our wild guesses as to the outcomes of the rest of the Vols games. Before we look at what the future opponents did this week, let's recalibrate the Vols a bit.

I said on our podcast last week that first games are only a little better than spring scrimmages in telling you anything about your team, and in trying to unravel what happened in Nashville, I keep emphasizing that point to myself. Until opponents start playing other teams that have played other teams, you don't really know anything. Is our offense unstoppable? Has our defensive line forgotten how to rush the passer? Are our cornerbacks in real trouble the rest of the way? Or is Bowling Green's defense horrible and its offense poised for a terrific season? I'm guessing that our offense isn't nearly as good as they looked Saturday in Nashville, and I'm both guessing and hoping that components of our defense aren't as bad as they looked. Go Falcons.

Still, saying that the Falcons are better on offense and worse on defense than we thought are both guesses themselves, so we have to acknowledge that passing defense could be a very real concern going forward. For that reason, I'm recalibrating everything down a bit based on the Vols' performance this week. I'm starting by moving all of the Coin Flip games down two spots, along with the Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida games. Alabama's dropping only one spot because it's pretty close to the bottom already anyway. South Carolina got moved back up due to their own performance this week. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's this week's chart. Details and shaky rationales follow below.

7 Alabama
8 Alabama
10 Georgia
12 Georgia
13 Arkansas
14 Oklahoma
15 Arkansas Missouri
16 Oklahoma Florida
17 Missouri
19 South Carolina South Carolina
20 Florida
22 Kentucky Kentucky
24 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
25 Bowling Green (W; 59-30)
28 North Texas North Texas
29 Western Carolina Western Carolina

9/12/15: Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12, #19)

  • W1: Beat Akron, 41-3. For what it's worth, we beat the Zips 47-26 in 2012. The relevant keywords for that time period are "Derek Dooley," "Tyler Bray," and "Sal Sunseri."
Sat, Sept 12 @ #25 Tennessee
Sat, Sept 19 vs Tulsa
Sat, Oct 3 vs West Virginia
Sat, Oct 10 vs Texas*
Sat, Oct 17 @ Kansas State
Sat, Oct 24 vs Texas Tech
Sat, Oct 31 @ Kansas
Sat, Nov 7 vs Iowa State
Sat, Nov 14 @ #4 Baylor
Sat, Nov 21 vs #2 TCU
Sat, Nov 28 @ Oklahoma State

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Let's take a wild stab in the dark here and posit that the new Oklahoma Air Raid offense is as good right now in its infancy as whatever that frightening thing was we just saw in Nashville against Bowling Green. Then let's say that the Sooners defense is, you know, like a regular good defense as opposed to whatever that glorious thing we just saw in Nashville against Bowling Green. So they get about the same number of points as the Falcons did, maybe a few more, and we don't score as many. Which makes it about an even game. Which is another way of saying what we said last week: Coin flip. Adjust for the secondary (probably double-dipping on this, but hey), and we're down to 14. Go Vols.

Preseason W1
16 14

9/19/15: Western Carolina (1-0, 0-0 Southern, NR)

  • W1: Beat Mars Hill, 41-14.
Sat, Sept 12 @ The Citadel
Sat, Sept 19 @ #25 Tennessee
Sat, Oct 3 vs Presbyterian
Sat, Oct 10 vs Mercer
Sat, Oct 17 @ Wofford
Sat, Oct 24 vs Samford
Sat, Oct 31 @ Chattanooga
Sat, Nov 7 vs Furman
Sat, Nov 14 @ Texas A&M
Sat, Nov 21 @ VMI

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): If the only way for me to have an informed opinion about your last game is to look up your opponent on Wikipedia, you get no points for it. Still a 29 for you, Catamounts.

Preseason W1
29 29

9/26/15: at Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Beat New Mexico State, 61-13.
Sat, Sept 12 vs ECU
Sat, Sept 19 @ Kentucky
Sat, Sept 26 vs #25 Tennessee
Sat, Oct 3 vs #17 Ole Miss
Sat, Oct 10 @ #24 Missouri
Sat, Oct 17 @ #14 LSU
Sat, Oct 31 vs #9 Georgia*
Sat, Nov 7 vs Vanderbilt
Sat, Nov 14 @ South Carolina
Sat, Nov 21 vs FAU
Sat, Nov 28 vs #10 FSU

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Well this was disappointing. I was really hoping to see Florida struggle out of the gate with a new coaching staff, but no. Sure, it's New Mexico State, which the longer I look at it, the more I think I need to independently confirm that it is actually a state. Does anything really happen between Texas and Arizona? I don't think so. Still, 61 points for a recently revived offense mostly dead of Will Muschamp Disease is discouraging for those wanting to bury the thing in a shallow grave under cover of night. Boo. I'm changing you to Coin Flip and giving you an 16. I liked you better before you played.

Preseason W1
20 16

10/3/15: Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 SEC, #18)

Sat, Sept 12 vs Toledo*
Sat, Sept 19 vs Texas Tech
Sat, Sept 26 vs Texas A&M*
Sat, Oct 3 @ #25 Tennessee
Sat, Oct 10 @ #3 Alabama
Sat, Oct 24 vs #6 Auburn
Sat, Oct 31 vs UT Martin
Sat, Nov 7 @ #17 Ole Miss
Sat, Nov 14 @ #14 LSU
Sat, Nov 21 vs Miss St
Fri, Nov 27 vs #24 Missouri

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): This was mildly disturbing as well, but mostly in a, "Yep, they're going to be tough, and oh great, they've learned how to pass, too" way. I'm more worried about this one than I was, but it's primarily due to the flashbacks of seeing new cornerbacks chasing taller receivers from behind. 13.

Preseason W1
15 13

10/10/15: Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC, #9)

W1: Beat UL Monroe, 51-14 before the game was called due to a second lightning delay.

Sat, Sept 12 @ Vanderbilt
Sat, Sept 19 vs South Carolina
Sat, Sept 26 vs Southern
Sat, Oct 3 vs #3 Alabama
Sat, Oct 10 @ #25 Tennessee
Sat, Oct 17 vs #24 Missouri
Sat, Oct 31 vs Florida*
Sat, Nov 7 vs Kentucky
Sat, Nov 14 @ #6 Auburn
Sat, Nov 21 vs Ga Southern
Sat, Nov 28 @ #16 Georgia Tech

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): About what I thought they were. Moving to 10 due to secondary concerns.

Preseason W1
12 10

10/17/15: Bye

10/24/15: at Alabama (1-0, 0-0 SEC, #3)

W1: Beat #20 Wisconsin, 35-17.

Sat, Sept 12 vs Mid Tennessee
Sat, Sept 19 vs #17 Ole Miss
Sat, Sept 26 vs UL Monroe
Sat, Oct 3 @ #9 Georgia
Sat, Oct 10 vs #18 Arkansas
Sat, Oct 17 @ Texas A&M
Sat, Oct 24 vs #25 Tennessee
Sat, Nov 7 vs #14 LSU
Sat, Nov 14 @ Miss St
Sat, Nov 21 vs Charleston So
Sat, Nov 28 @ #6 Auburn

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Again, not a huge surprise here, but the Tide do get points for beating a real team and doing so fairly comfortably. I'm moving them down only one to seven because we're already pretty close to "Not going to happen" territory anyway.

Preseason W1
8 7

10/31/15: at Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 SEC, NR)

W1: Beat UL-Lafayette, 40-33.

Sat, Sept 12 @ South Carolina
Sat, Sept 19 vs Florida
Sat, Sept 26 vs #24 Missouri
Sat, Oct 3 vs E Kentucky
Thu, Oct 15 vs #6 Auburn
Sat, Oct 24 @ Miss St
Sat, Oct 31 vs #25 Tennessee
Sat, Nov 7 @ #9 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): Even for a program commonly abbreviated "You'll Laugh," and which shares a logo with Chili's, this has to be really disconcerting for Kentucky fans. I'm totally ignoring our secondary problems and keeping these guys right where they were last week at 22.

Preseason W1
22 22

11/7/15: South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 SEC, NR)

W1: Squawked by UNC, 17-13.

Sat, Sept 12 vs Kentucky
Sat, Sept 19 @ #9 Georgia
Sat, Sept 26 vs UCF
Sat, Oct 3 @ #24 Missouri
Sat, Oct 10 vs #14 LSU
Sat, Oct 17 vs Vanderbilt
Sat, Oct 31 @ Texas A&M
Sat, Nov 7 @ #25 Tennessee
Sat, Nov 14 vs Florida
Sat, Nov 21 vs The Citadel
Sat, Nov 28 vs #12 Clemson

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Much too close for the Gamecocks, so again, I'm keeping them right where I had them. 19.

Preseason W1
19 19

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

  • W1: DNP.
Sat, Sept 12 @ SMU
Sat, Sept 19 vs Rice
Sat, Sept 26 @ Iowa
Sat, Oct 3 @ Southern Miss
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): Points to the Mean Green for opening the season with a Bye. I admire your innovation, sir, but your reward is remaining at 28.

Preseason W1
28 28

11/21/15: at Missouri (1-0, 0-0 SEC, #24)

  • W1: Beat SE Missouri State, 34-3.
Sat, Sept 12 @ Arkansas State
Sat, Sept 19 vs UConn
Sat, Sept 26 @ Kentucky
Sat, Oct 3 vs South Carolina
Sat, Oct 10 vs Florida
Sat, Oct 17 @ #9 Georgia
Sat, Oct 24 @ Vanderbilt
Thu, Nov 5 vs Miss St
Sat, Nov 14 vs BYU*
Sat, Nov 21 vs #25 Tennessee
Fri, Nov 27 @ #18 Arkansas

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Invoking the Wikipedia rule and giving them no points for playing. Moving them down two for our secondary concerns. 15.

Preseason W1
17 15

11/28/15: Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-0 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Lost to Western Kentucky, 14-12.
Sat, Sept 12 vs #9 Georgia
Sat, Sept 19 vs Austin Peay
Sat, Sept 26 @ #17 Ole Miss
Sat, Oct 3 @ Mid Tennessee
Sat, Oct 17 @ South Carolina
Sat, Oct 24 vs #24 Missouri
Sat, Oct 31 @ Houston
Sat, Nov 7 @ Florida
Sat, Nov 14 vs Kentucky
Sat, Nov 21 vs Texas A&M
Sat, Nov 28 @ #25 Tennessee

Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Question. Does one need a secondary against Vanderbilt? No? Okay, then. Still 24.

Preseason W1
24 24