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Recalibrating expectations for the Vols after Kentucky

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Heading into the last two weeks of the regular season, we’re feeling pretty good about Tennessee.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

A good-news-bad-news game for the Vols coupled with a whatever shrug between its two remaining opponents causes us to tweak our expectations slightly in the positive direction this week.

Explanations are below, but first here's the updated chart for this week:

PREDICTIONS
5-30 SCALE Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12
5
6 Alabama Alabama Alabama
7
8 Alabama
9 Alabama
10 Georgia
11 Alabama
12 Georgia
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 (L; 45-38 2OT) Alabama (L; 49-10) Kentucky
16
17 Florida Georgia (W; 34-31) Vanderbilt
18 Florida
19 Missouri Missouri Missouri Missouri
20 South Carolina Florida
21 Virginia Tech Virginia Tech (W; 45-24) South Carolina Kentucky (W; 49-36)
22 Kentucky Missouri Kentucky Vanderbilt
23 South Carolina Missouri Vanderbilt Kentucky Vanderbilt Missouri Vanderbilt Missouri
24 Kentucky Vanderbilt South Carolina South Carolina Kentucky Kentucky Vanderbilt
25 Appalachian State (W; 20-13 (OT)) Missouri Vanderbilt Vanderbilt South Carolina Vanderbilt South Carolina (L; 24-21) Missouri
26 Vanderbilt Kentucky Kentucky South Carolina
27 Missouri Tennessee Tech (W; 55-0)
28 Ohio Ohio Ohio (W; 28-19)
29 Tennessee Tech Tennessee Tech Tennessee Tech Tennessee Tech Tennessee Tech Tennessee Tech Tennessee Tech Tennessee Tech
30

Recalibrating the Vols after Kentucky

The Vols' offense was basically unstoppable against the Wildcats this weekend, while the Tennessee defense went extreme kapotasana, testing out just how bendy a bend-don't-break defense can be before it ends up in the ER. The end result of the game simultaneously gives one some anxiety about having to stop Missouri next week (and Vanderbilt the week after that) while also instilling some additional confidence that no matter how many yards the defense decides to spot the other team, the offense can still save them. At least we hope.

Recalibrating the Vols based on new results from past opponents

Yes, the Vols STILL own the nation's toughest schedule, despite some prior opponents not having the best week.

Appalachian State (7-3, 5-1 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.
  • W6: Bye.
  • W7: Beat LA-Lafayette 24-0.
  • W8: Beat Idaho, 37-19.
  • W9: Beat Georgia Southern, 34-10.
  • W10: Beat Texas State, 35-10.
  • W11: Lost to Troy, 28-24.

Virginia Tech (7-3, 5-2 ACC, NR)

Ohio (7-3, 5-1 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. :-)
  • W6: Beat Bowling Green, 30-24.
  • W7: Lost to E Michigan, 27-20.
  • W8: Beat Kent State, 14-10.
  • W9: Beat Toledo, 31-26.
  • W10: Beat Buffalo, 34-10.
  • W11: Bye.

Florida (7-2, 5-2 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.
  • W6: Postponed their game with LSU.
  • W7: Beat Missouri, 40-14.
  • W8: Bye.
  • W9: Beat Georgia, 24-10.
  • W10: Lost to Arkansas, 31-10.
  • W11: Beat South Carolina, 20-7.

Look at this schedule. It is pitiful, especially with Georgia sitting at 6-4. And yet, they are 7-2, ranked, and have the wheel headed toward Atlanta. I feel pretty good about LSU knocking them off this week, but it shouldn't come down to that.

10/1/16: Georgia (6-4, 4-4 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.
  • W6: Beat South Carolina, 28-14.
  • W7: Lost to Vanderbilt, 17-16.
  • W8: Bye.
  • W9: Lost to Florida, 24-10.
  • W10: Beat Kentucky, 27-24.
  • W11: Beat #9 Auburn, 13-7.

10/8/16: Texas A&M (7-3, 4-3 SEC, #22)

  • 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.
  • W6: Beat Tennessee, 45-38 in double overtime.
  • W7: Bye.
  • W8: Lost to Alabama, 33-14.
  • W9: Beat New Mexico State, 52-10.
  • W10: Lost to Mississippi State, 35-28.
  • W11: Lost to Ole Miss, 29-28.

10/15/16: Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC, #1)

  • W1: Clobbered #20 USC, 52-6.
  • W2: Beat Western Kentucky, 38-10.
  • W3: Beat #19 Ole Miss, 48-43.
  • W4: Beat Kent State, 48-0.
  • W5: Beat Kentucky, 34-6.
  • W6: Beat #16 Arkansas, 49-30.
  • W7: Clobbered #9 Tennessee, 49-10.
  • W8: Beat #6 Texas A&M, 33-14.
  • W9: Bye
  • W10: Beat LSU, 10-0.
  • W11: Beat Mississippi State, 51-3.

10/29/16: South Carolina (5-5, 3-5 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.
  • W6: Lost to Georgia, 28-14.
  • W7: Bye.
  • W8: Beat UMass, 34-28.
  • W9: Beat Tennessee, 24-21.
  • W10: Beat Missouri, 31-21.
  • W11: Lost to Florida, 20-7.

11/5/16: Tennessee Tech (4-6, 4-3 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.
  • W6: Lost to Jacksonville State, 40-21.
  • W7: Lost to E Illinois, 30-24.
  • W8: Beat SE Missouri St., 21-20.
  • W9: Bye.
  • W10: Lost to Tennessee, 55-0.
  • W11: Beat Tennessee State, 44-16.

11/12/16: Kentucky (5-5, 4-4 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.
  • W6: Beat Vanderbilt, 20-13.
  • W7: Bye.
  • W8: Beat Mississippi State, 40-38.
  • W9: Beat Missouri, 35-21.
  • W10: Lost to Georgia, 27-24.
  • W11: Lost to Tennessee, 49-36.

Recalibrating the Vols' future opponents

11/19/16: Missouri (3-7, 1-5 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.
  • W6: Bye.
  • W7: Lost to #18 Florida, 40-14.
  • W8: Lost to MTSU, 51-45.
  • W9: Lost to Kentucky, 35-21.
  • W10: Lost to South Carolina, 31-21.
  • W11: Beat Vanderbilt, 26-17.

Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): I'm not sure exactly what to make of Missouri beating Vanderbilt and setting both of their SEC records to 1-5, so I'm just going to give the Tigers the head-to-head over the Commodores and move them both down based on the Vols doing what they were supposed to two weeks in a row. 23.

PREDICTIONS - MISSOURI
W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W9 W10 W11 W12
19 25 23 19 19 22 23 27 19 25 23

11/26/16: Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5 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.
  • W6: Lost to Kentucky, 20-13.
  • W7: Beat Georgia, 17-16.
  • W8: Beat Tennessee State, 35-17.
  • W9: Bye.
  • W10: Lost to #9 Auburn, 23-16.
  • W11: Lost to Missouri, 26-17.

Expectations for a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): See above. 24.

PREDICTIONS - VANDERBILT
W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W9 W10 W11 W12
26 24 25 23 25 23 25 23 17 22 24