Tennessee’s going to upset somebody – but not UGA

OU freshman Samaje Perine rushed for 67 yards against UT. (Sue Ogrocki/AP photo)

OU freshman Samaje Perine rushed for 67 yards against UT. (Sue Ogrocki/AP photo)

OU freshman Samaje Perine rushed for 67 yards against UT. (Sue Ogrocki/AP photo)

When you’re charged with compiling a preseason Top 25, you’re always on the prowl for Surprise Teams — if for no other reason than to ward off compiler’s boredom. (Most such listings, as I’m sure you know, are but a roundup of the usual suspects, and what self-respecting pseudo seer wants to be predictable?) I really wanted to pick Tennessee to do something big, for two reasons:

1. The Volunteers just had a major recruiting haul, Rivals ranking the 2014 class No. 5 nationally.

2. With Florida doomed to Muschamp mediocrity until Jeremy Foley finally sees the light, there seemed space for some team to break upward in the SEC East.

Then I checked Tennessee’s schedule, and I thought, “So who else looks promising?”

The Vols play at Georgia on Saturday, and some folks were calling the Bulldogs the best team in the land not so long ago. Tennessee last played at Oklahoma, which some folks believe is now the best team in the land. Still upcoming for the Big Orange: Home dates against Florida, Alabama and Missouri, plus road dates with Ole Miss and South Carolina. The famous Phil Steele ranked Tennessee’s as the second-toughest schedule, trailing only Notre Dame, and who am I to argue with Big Phil?

At SEC Media days, the consensus among those who cover the Vols was that Tennessee would do well to go 6-6. The belief back then was that the opener against Utah State could easily be a loss. Turns out it wasn’t. The Vols won 38-7, and that caught some eyes. So, albeit to a lesser degree, did the 34-10 loss to Oklahoma in Norman, which some figured would be much worse. (Tennessee was driving to make it 27-17 in the fourth quarter when Justin Worley’s tipped pass became a 100-yard interception return.)

Which brings us to Saturday’s game between the ol’ hedges. Georgia fans live in fear of early kickoffs in Athens — last season’s crushing loss to Missouri had such a start time — and there’s reason to be wary of the Vols. They can move the ball. Worley had a rough night in Norman but was excellent against Utah State, and Tennessee always has good receivers. Lest we forget, the Bulldogs’ SEC debut under defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t a success: They yielded 447 yards and lost 38-35 at South Carolina.

Nobody expects Georgia, which is favored by 17 points, to lose. But Tennessee is young enough and talented enough that it’s going to beat somebody good sometime soon. If this game were in November, the Bulldogs might be in for a long day. It still being September, I’d guess they’re in a for a long first half.

Reader Comments 1

181 comments
BigKat75
BigKat75

We need to get this kid Chubb more carries!

BigKat75
BigKat75

Hard to believe some here are giving the Gators love..smdh!

BigKat75
BigKat75

Hutson mason seems to have a much better grasp of the offense!

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

Georgia is overconfident and doomed with all the predictions of an easy win.  As a 42-season Georgia fan, and recognizing Mark Richt's uncanny ability to play down to the competition, the game tomorrow will come down to the last five minutes. Georgia will probably play terrible, have multiple unforced errors and will be lucky to win.  50/50 shot.  Why I know this is my gut feels the same as 2004.  Tennessee is not as good as 2004, but hey, in 1992 they rolled into Sanford overmatched, gave up over 600 yards to Georgia (who had 9 turnovers that day), and won 34-31 with freshman QB Heath Shuler.  Cost Georgia the SEC East and potential opportunity to play Bama in the inaugural SEC Championship Game.  Hoping for a win, but preparing for an embarrassing, Richt-back-on-the-hot-seat loss.  Overconfidence and lack of focus bites again.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Chuck_UGA

Your concerns are valid--especially in light of the debacle at Columbia 2 weeks ago. The Vols have spoiled more than a few fall weekends in Athens. They had a nine-game winning streak against us at one point. No other team--not even the hated gators--has accomplished that vs the Dawgs. If they let Tenn stay in it tomorrow, history may well repeat itself.

RockyTopp
RockyTopp

@Chuck_UGA  Chuck.....I had to rub my eyes to make sure I read your u bupost correctly. It actually makes sense. Did you bump your head today or something? : )

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

 "Worley had a rough night in Norman but was excellent against Utah State"


Georgia ain't Utah State. Tennessee has beaten two cream puffs and now all of a sudden people are believing in them again. They play a decent team and get smashed 34-10. UGA wins big tomorrow. 

CedricM
CedricM

take this to the bank---the dogs gonna beat tennessee like a rented mule---these dogs are ready to start a roll and win the sec east, which is way down this year.  fla sucks, south carolina had trouble with lowly vanderbilt and missouri lost to a terrible indiana team.  SC will lose 2 more games and the dogs only tough game left is auburn---they are overrated.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JaySly

You're a fool if you overlook fla. Their worst team in decades took us to the wire last year, and you already know who's owned the series over the past quarter-century.

oldtimedog
oldtimedog

Do you guys think there might be a NC without anSEC team?  Before ou call me crazy think about this!! SEC east champ will probably have two losses, when they play in the SEC championship if they upset the west team will that eliminate the west champion and the east champion be ignored because of 2 losses?

PigIron
PigIron

@oldtimedog

The only crazy part is the East/West upset. I think that the #5 team from the West would defeat the #1 team from the East.

ARdawg
ARdawg

@oldtimedog I don't believe it. I'd say no losses or possibly 1. No way two. A two loss SEC team wouldn't deserve the playoffs

PigIron
PigIron

@ARdawg

It is not out of the question for every conference champion to end the season with 2 losses.

Superguard
Superguard

@PigIron @oldtimedog Georgia could beat every team in the West.  Just because they lost to USC doesn't mean they can't.  They lost to USC basically 35-0 in 2012 and Bama needed a prayer to pull out the SEC title game. 

ARdawg
ARdawg

@PigIron @ARdawg I don't think you're being realistic. How often has it happened? Conceivably the SEC could have 1 loss in all probability, possibly 2 but, then they shouldn't play for the NC. 


I know teams get better toward the end of the year but that's no excuse. All the games should count

PigIron
PigIron

@ARdawg

Auburn was a 1 loss team last year. It's not unusual for the SEC Champ to have 1 loss -- 2 losses is only 1 more. LSU won an NC as a 2 loss SEC Champ.

Dawg350
Dawg350

It surely won't be Ohio st in those playoffs..especially after the bearcats whip them Sat

ARdawg
ARdawg

@PigIron @ARdawg It is not unheard of for the SEC champ to have 1 loss, that is true. But, IMHO, all of the games should count. Early ones as well as late ones. Luckily for LSU that year most of the entire top 6-8 had a loss as well. That's just the way it worked out. I thought LSU should have been excluded that year after the loss to Arkansas. I was at that game. They were flat beaten. But they won the SEC championship. 


One loss more than two is three. Do you let a 3 loss SEC champion into the playoffs? A two loss team doesn't deserve a shot, IMO

GTBob
GTBob

@oldtimedog If your scenario happened then yes, there would likely be no SEC team even in the final 4.

PigIron
PigIron

@ARdawg

In my opinion, the best 4 teams should be seeded for the playoff, regardless of their conference affiliation or W/L record.

Early games do count. I don't understand the point that you're trying to make in asserting that they don't. Obviously, a late loss doesn't offer the opportunity for redemption that an early loss does.

LSU was the best team in the SEC in 2007. Both of their losses were close, triple overtime losses. I'm sure you would have preferred for Georgia to represent the SEC in 2007, but they were boat-raced by Tennessee in a 35-14 loss. That was an early game that counted.

ARdawg
ARdawg

@PigIron I'm all for having the 4 best teams in the playoff. That's the way it was formatted and designed. However, once a team has lost two games they pretty much forfeit the right to be called playoff worthy,even if they play better late in the season (as did UGA in 07). The exception would be if the other top teams had 1/2 losses as well

ARdawg
ARdawg

@PigIron BTW, UGA had only lost one game but, didn't get to play for a conference championship. Too bad so sad. Yeah I thought they were likely the best in the country but, they didn't win the game they needed when it counted FWIW

PigIron
PigIron

@ARdawg

No. Georgia lost to both South Carolina and Tennessee in 2007. That's why they didn't get to play for the SEC Championship.

ARdawg
ARdawg

@PigIron @ARdawg 

I stand corrected.

But, arguably the two best teams in the country at the end of the year was Georgia and USC. Most folks would agree to that but given their records and lack of conference championships that game wasn't even an after thought.


Neither team deserved to play for the title IMHO. That would have been a good game to see though

PigIron
PigIron

@ARdawg

Well, the 2 loss team that DID play for the NC in 2007 boat-raced OSU and won the NC.

So there's that...

ARdawg
ARdawg

@PigIron @ARdawg Yup. There's that. We've had gross inconsistencies I think, thanks to ESPN and the media darlings complex which both of those teams were. Georgia didn't deserve to play for the title. Neither did LSU. IMO, two losses should exclude (especially conference losses) any team from the title game. Again just my opinion but, there's that

PigIron
PigIron

@ARdawg

ESPN has never chosen the participants for the BCSCG. By your logic, the trophy should have just been handed to OSU in 2007 without them having to play for it.

Obviously "everybody" didn't agree that UGA and USC were the best two teams at the end of the regular season in 2007, or they wouldn't have been ranked #7 and #8.

As I said, LSU's 2 losses were both very close games that went to triple overtime. Had Georgia or USC's losses been that close, then things might have turned out differently.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ARdawg  A 2 loss SEC champ will be excluded if there is an undefeated team and 3 more with 1 loss each.  That is a scenario that many have put forth.  If everybody has at least 1 loss then it will be a close call as to who the 4th team will be.  Who you beat will play a big role in the decision.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@PigIron

How can you determine the "4 best teams" without considering their W/L record?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DawginCO @ARdawg

All the more reason to STOP playing Coastal Carolina, New Mexico St, Louisiana-Lafayette, Idaho St, Tennessee Tech, Central Michigan, Western Carolina, App St, North Texas, Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Ga Southern, UAB, Western Ky, Troy, Charleston Southern, blah blah blah.

ARdawg
ARdawg

@DawginCO @ARdawg It is very conceivable to have a two loss SEC champ and have a 1 loss SEC team that didn't play for the SEC championship. Thus eliminating both

ARdawg
ARdawg

@DawgNole @PigIron That's pretty much been my argument to pigiron but he seems to be holding to his guns

PigIron
PigIron

@DawgNole

Well, obviously the W/L record would be part of the assessment. If you're comparing two teams that each have the same W/L record, then SOS and margin of victory in the losses would also come into play.

In the example of 2007, LSU, USC and UGA all had 2 losses, but only LSU had close losses that ended in ties in regulation play and continued into 3 overtimes. That's quite different from losing a game by a score of 35-14. LSU also won the SECCG that year, but ARdawg (and many other UGA fans) seem to think that Georgia should have played for the BCS Championship, rather than LSU. I can't follow that logic.

ARdawg
ARdawg

@PigIron 

I couldn't have been any clearer, I never said Georgia should have played for the championship in 07. Quite the opposite, I said they shouldn't have and didn't deserve to play for the NC. Neither did LSU

DawgNole
DawgNole

@PigIron @DawgNole "Well, obviously the W/L record would be part of the assessment."

_____________________

Uh, yes--that's exactly what I implied in my question. NOW you say W/L would "obviously" be part of the assessment, but what did you initially say that prompted my question? Here, I'll refresh your memory:

"In my opinion, the best 4 teams should be seeded for the playoff, regardless of their conference affiliation or W/L record."

REGARDLESS of their . . . W/L record. That IS what you said, right?

Your inconsistency should all be coming into focus for you now. Just take a deep breath.

And I said nothing about your "example of 2007."

We can only hope that SoS will come into play. That's the lone chance FBS fans have of seeing decent OOC competition--instead of the usual fare of Coastal Carolina, New Mexico St, Louisiana-Lafayette, Idaho St, Tennessee Tech, Central Michigan, Western Carolina, App St, North Texas, Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Ga Southern, UAB, Western Ky, Troy, Charleston Southern, blah blah blah.


PigIron
PigIron

@DawgNole

So then, you agree that a 2 loss team should not be allowed to play for the NC?


I apologize for accusing Dawg fans of arguing that they should have played for the NC in 2007. Lord knows, I've NEVER seen that delusional whine on the AJC blogs.

class80olddog
class80olddog

I am not worried  about Tennessee WINNING,  I am worried about Georgia LOSING!  Like two weeks ago,

OH-IO
OH-IO

What is it w/ dog  AD's and red panties?

Dawg350
Dawg350

Who cares! Go worry about your own team....tech!

greenedefense
greenedefense

Tennessee will beat South Carolina. That will be the upset.

greenedefense
greenedefense

You never know what is going to happen until the game is played. Everything else (opinions) is just speculation.

SmyrnaGuy
SmyrnaGuy

I don't see the Dawgs loosing this one, but definitely expect to be out coached at least 1 more time this year.  We'll probably play Auburn down to the wire, but drop that one.  Reality/history trumps rose colored lenses

DawgNole
DawgNole

@SmyrnaGuy

I don't see them "loosing" it either. On the other hand . . . .

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Phillipdj I see things all day long now and i don't mention them, when i started blogging on here i was shamed on a constant basis.....kind of petty.

ARdawg
ARdawg

@gtcaryd @ARdawg @Phillipdj Baptist? So, that means you recognize the holy trinity but you don't recognize the Methodists at the liquor stores or at Hooters?

Dawg350
Dawg350

It's raining today...rain is good for the slop...piggy boy

HowlinDawg
HowlinDawg

@SmyrnaGuy It's losing, as in: Ohio State is losing its image as a premier football program. Not loosing, which really isn't a word ... but can be used as .... Todd Gurley will break loose on several long runs against the Vols Saturday. 


And then there's loosening, as in: the loosening of recruiting restrictions on Div-1 football teams will make it more like a pro league than in the past. 

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

Why do so many people not get lose/loose? Drives me nuts.