How do you write a post about what to expect from a team that consistently achieves expected results in wholly unexpected ways? Pretend you know exactly what's going on.
Explanations are below, but here's the updated chart for this week:
|5-30 SCALE||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6|
|13||Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|14||Georgia||Florida (W; 38-28)||Texas A&M|
|15||Texas A&M||Texas A&M||Georgia||Texas A&M|
|17||Florida||Georgia (W; 34-31)|
|21||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech (W; 45-24)||South Carolina|
|24||Kentucky||Vanderbilt||South Carolina||South Carolina||Kentucky|
|25||Appalachian State (W; 20-13 (OT))||Missouri||Vanderbilt||Vanderbilt||South Carolina|
|28||Ohio||Ohio||Ohio (W; 28-19)|
|29||Tennessee Tech||Tennessee Tech||Tennessee Tech||Tennessee Tech||Tennessee Tech||Tennessee Tech|
Recalibrating the Vols after Florida
Well, it's an odd week to recalibrate Tennessee. On one hand, this whole spotting the opponent an entire half thing really feels like it's going to bite them in the butt at some point. On the other hand, when this team wakes up and gets rolling, it seems like they can almost do no wrong. And that mysterious fate thing that rode shotgun with us in the '98 season seems to have gotten a little nostalgic and come home. Let's hope he's on a binger. And if Jauan Jennings wants the ball, Jauan Jennings is getting the ball.
So based on the feeling after five games that we still haven't seen this team at its peak performance, I'm adjusting everything toward the hope side of the continuum. But not too much.
Recalibrating the Vols based on new results from past opponents
You can't read too much into this considering the opponents' opponents, but everybody either won or rested this week.
Appalachian State (3-2, 1-0 Sun Belt, NR)
- W1: Lost to Tennessee in OT, 20-13.
- W2: Beat Old Dominion, 31-7.
- W3: Lost to #25 Miami, 45-10.
- W4: Beat Akron, 45-38.
- W5: Beat Georgia State, 17-3.
Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0 ACC, NR)
- W1: Beat Liberty, 36-13.
- W2: Lost to Tennessee, 45-24.
- W3: Beat Boston College, 49-0.
- W4: Destroyed East Carolina, 54-17.
- W5: Bye.
Ohio (3-2, 1-0 MAC, NR)
- W1: Lost in 3OT to Texas State, 56-54.
- W2: Beat Kansas, 37-21.
- W3: Lost to Tennessee, 28-19.
- W4: Beat Gardner-Webb, 37-21.
- W5: Ohio (not Miami) beat Miami (Ohio), 17-7. :-)
Not much to see here, but the Bobcats have taken care of business since losing to the Vols.
Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC, #18)
- W1: Beat UMass, 24-7.
- W2: Trounced Kentucky, 45-7.
- W3: Beat North Texas, 32-0.
- W4: Lost to Tennessee, 38-28.
- W5: Beat Vanderbilt, 13-6.
Jim McElwain compared this game to an ugly baby, which, well okay. The Gators still only have one loss in the SEC, but them looking bad provides hope that someone else may give us some cushion there in case we need it. They have LSU this week and still have to play Arkansas, who's looking pretty good as well.
10/1/16: Georgia (3-2, 1-2 SEC)
- W1: Beat North Carolina, 33-24.
- W2: Barely beat Nicholls, 26-24.
- W3: Came back late to squeak out a win against Missouri, 28-27.
- W4: Lost to Ole Miss 45-14.
- W5: Lost to Tennessee, 34-31.
Recalibrating the Vols' future opponents
10/8/16: Texas A&M (5-0, 3-0 SEC, #8)
- W1: Beat #16 UCLA in OT, 31-24.
- W2: Beat Prairie View A&M, 67-0.
- W3: Beat Auburn, 29-16.
- W4: Beat Arkansas, 45-24.
- W5: Beat South Carolina, 24-13.
Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Both teams were playing without multiple key players, so it's hard to read too much into this game. It was a ho-hum game against Will Muschamp's team, but I'm only moving this game down one spot because GO VOLS.
|PREDICTIONS - TEXAS A&M|
10/15/16: Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC, #1)
- W1: Clobbered #20 USC, 52-6.
- W2: Beat Western Kentucky, 38-10.
- W3: Beat Ole Miss, 48-43.
- W4: Beat Kent State, 48-0.
- W5: Beat Kentucky, 34-6.
Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Nothing new from these guys. A week full of distractions and sleep-walking through much of the first half had almost no impact. Moving the game down one for the GO VOLS bump.
|PREDICTIONS - ALABAMA|
10/29/16: South Carolina (2-3, 1-3 SEC, NR)
- W1: Beat Vanderbilt, 13-10.
- W2: Lost to Mississippi State, 27-14.
- W3: Survived East Carolina, 20-15.
- W4: Lost to Kentucky, 17-10.
- W5: Lost to Texas A&M, 24-13.
Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Eh, losing to a good Texas A&M team without a bunch of your key players is nothing to be ashamed of. Having Will Muschamp as your coach, though, is a different question. Ba dump bump. But I already punished them for losing to Kentucky, so they're only getting the one spot GO VOLS bump this week.
|PREDICTIONS - SOUTH CAROLINA|
11/5/16: Tennessee Tech (2-3, 2-1 OVC, NR)
- W1: Lost to Wofford, 21-7.
- W2: Beat Austin Peay, 41-7.
- W3: Lost to Mercer, 34-27.
- W4: Lost to UT Martin, 44-23.
- W5: Beat Eastern Kentucky, 33-30 in OT.
Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): I'd bump them the one GO VOLS spot, but they already have a toe across the NEVER line, so they're staying put.
|PREDICTIONS - TENNESSEE TECH|
11/12/16: Kentucky (2-3, 1-2 SEC, NR)
- W1: Collapsed and lost to Southern Miss, 44-35.
- W2: Lost to Florida, 45-7.
- W3: Beat New Mexico State, 62-42.
- W4: Beat South Carolina, 17-10.
- W5: Lost to Alabama, 34-6.
Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Hey, it was Alabama vs Kentucky. One GO VOLS bump.
|PREDICTIONS - KENTUCKY|
11/19/16: Missouri (2-3, 0-2 SEC, NR)
- W1: Lost to West Virginia, 26-11.
- W2: Beat Eastern Michigan, 61-21.
- W3: Lost to Georgia, 28-27.
- W4: Beat Delaware State, 79-0.
- W5: Lost to LSU, 42-7.
Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Ah, some breathing room against the sneaky ones. IT'S A GREAT DAY FOR TIGAH FOOTBAW. I'm docking Missouri the one GO VOLS point and also taking back some of the sneaky points they accumulated over the prior weeks. 22.
|PREDICTIONS - MISSOURI|
11/26/16: Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2 SEC, NR)
- W1: Lost to South Carolina, 13-10.
- W2: Beat MTSU, 47-24.
- W3: Lost to Georgia Tech, 38-7.
- W4: Beat Western Kentucky, 31-30 in overtime.
- W5: Lost to Florida, 13-6.
Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): Hey, that's not a bad showing for Vandy. I may even be inclined to zero out their GO VOLS point, but it's crowded there with South Carolina and Kentucky, so I'm going to put them at the head of the kids in detention. 23.
|PREDICTIONS - VANDERBILT|