Tennessee faces a prove-it game versus Oklahoma

Butch Jones at the podium, helmet at the ready. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Butch Jones at the podium, helmet at the ready. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Butch Jones at the podium, helmet at the ready. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Butch Jones casts a wary eye for “tangible evidence.” (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fair warning: I picked Tennessee to win the SEC East. Most folks are picking Georgia. What happens Saturday in Knoxville will have no bearing on the SEC East standings, seeing as how Oklahoma plays in the Big 12, but what happens Saturday in Knoxville could offer the first sign of how the SEC East will play out.

It has been so long since Tennessee beat anyone of quality — Chris Low of ESPN notes that it has lost 33 of the past 35 games against ranked teams — that nobody’s sure if the Volunteers can actually manage it. At SEC Media Days in July, this correspondent asked Butch Jones if a coach can ever know when/if his team is primed to break through. The first four words of Jones’ response: “That’s a good question.”

Then this: “There has to come a defining moment when everything you’ve been preaching and preaching comes to fruition … There needs to be tangible evidence.”

Off the strength (or weakness) of Tennessee’s opener, such evidence isn’t yet evident. The Vols beat Bowling Green 59-30 but yielded 557 yards. Only nine FBS teams yielded more in Week 1. Bowling Green is a nice mid-major program — it played for the Mid-American championship last season, losing 51-17 to Northern Illinois — but Bowling Green isn’t Oklahoma.

Then again, is Oklahoma still Oklahoma? Last season, the Sooners entered October ranked No. 4 nationally; they were unranked in the final polls, having lost five of their final nine games. Two of the victories came against Iowa State and Kansas, which were awful. OU was routed at home by Baylor and beaten 40-6 by Clemson in the Citrus Bowl.

Still, the Sooners come to K-Town ranked No. 19 to Tennessee’s No. 23 and are a slight road favorite. If the Vols are going to compete for their division title, they need to give the watching world — and themselves — some tangible reason to believe. That evidence could come Saturday. Or it mightn’t come at all.

Reader Comments 0

57 comments
Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

I knew Orange Pumkins was chokers. Always was and always will be. But they still might be better this year then Visor Boy and the chicken littles. Haha! They got whooped at home by Kens Tuck. Visor Boy gone long in the tooth and need to hang up and get in rocking chair. Now Dawgs take him out to woodshed and put that SCAR program out a misery this week.

Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

And dont forget the Arkansas chumps with Bilema. That just embarrassing that they deserve for even hiring Peturdo at all. Speaking a Peturdo. ROFLMOA! Beaten by Phi Slamma Jammin basketball school. Few more looses like that and he need go be carreer as Evil Knevil full time instead of motorcycle crash ups as just practice embarrassments.

OH:IO
OH:IO

The SEC! SEC! is embarrassed even if they come back and win it. 


Can't wait for that little crap Finebaum to eat this one. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

FBS owns the SEC! SEC!


#6 my butt


OVER-rated anyone??



Grant1296
Grant1296

The Barn looks really good...

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

Not ready for prime time....  Sgt Carter cant get it done, at least not this year (and how long before he moves on to another place...)

TOJacket
TOJacket

Over on Dawgnation there is a nice stroll down memory lane "article" about DJ Shockley winning the last Dawg SEC title 10 years ago.................As Bob Hope always said..........."Thanks for the memories"

OH:IO
OH:IO

Oklahoma wins but Rocky Top beats dogs and the SEC! SEC! LEAST

Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

ROFLAMO You must a replaced that 5 pointed Buckeye leafs with a 7 point leaf and then be smoking it.

No way Vols even stay in game against Dawgs and just hoping they dont pull a Vol this week and embarrass SEC this week like Vandy Commodes did last week.

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

@OH:IO @Hairy Dawg Since you have absolutely no knowledge of anything we certainly cannot learn anything from you.... (by the way, who was stupid enough to hire you as an employee - they should be fired)

Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

Orange Pumkins goning lose and embarrassing SEC just like always. They not even been respectably since Manning and Cutclift bailed out a listening to Rocky Slop and that like 2 decades ago.

canon ball
canon ball

A Message for Tennessee Fans.....SOONER or later you have to play Oklahoma to  improve your national standings...Hope you win.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

I think Tennessee is getting the poll votes because they have an established QB in Joshua Dobbs, unlike the other contenders in the SEC East other than Missouri. It is incredible that schools with immense resource bases like Florida, LSU and Texas cannot field a quarterback of FBS-starter quality for years at a time.

MikeS777
MikeS777

I suppose it is, but UT really has been in this same position ever since Dooley's second year.  "Prove it time" only to see them nose dive in SEC play.

Two weeks after this game, they have a gauntlet that includes @Florida, Arkansas, and UGA in consecutive weeks.  They have long running losing streaks to UGA, Florida, and Alabama.  They are 0-3 vs Missouri since the Tigers joined the East.  They've even had problems with Vandy in recent years.

Other than a two game win streak on South Carolina, I have no idea where this ranking is coming from for UT.  At least OU has the talent on the roster, although Stoops hasn't won a big game in a decade other than upsetting Bama two years ago.

No to me if anyone is going to surprise this year in the East, I think its Florida.  McElwain inherits an awesome defense.  If he can even get an average offense on the field, they should be UGA's toughest competition.  But then here again for the third year in a row, Missouri draws the weakest West slate (Arkansas and Miss St.).  Its served them well the past two years.  They've won the East twice in a row despite losing to the second place team both years.  Not playing the likes of Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, or Bama the past two years helps.


Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

Mizz been lucky with schedule like having Arkansas last year while we got to play Awful Burn. That there difference work out to 2 full games.

Grant1296
Grant1296

Alcorn State, and Tulane POAD???

LMFAO....

Everyone has UGA with a stronger SOS than the bugs...

Your little brother syndrome is out of control....

Grant1296
Grant1296

You "whipped" Alcorn State Caryd...

You don't "whip"a team in overtime...

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Grant1296 Louie Monroe, Southern, Ga Southern, Vandy and Kentucky? Really?

Grant1296
Grant1296

Vandy would crush Alcorn State and Tulane POAD...

Grant1296
Grant1296

Vandy would beat most teams on your pathetic schedule ...

Wreck13
Wreck13

@Grant1296 sure keep telling yourself that since it is nothing more than a guess. 

Grant1296
Grant1296

I'm in Denver at the moment...

Great town...

Guyon
Guyon

Tennessee will lose to Oklahoma and UGA.

southgabrave
southgabrave

TN wins this game in a close one 38-35. Oklahoma is an average mid level power at this point. They haven't shown much the past couple years. Still The toughest game the Dawgs play in regular season is the TN game, not because how good they are but because the battle between the top 2 SEC teams the week prior! Bama is the toughest test and the emotions will be spent in that game. The DAWG-BAMA game should have a lot to do with the NC. They could easily face each other again in Atlanta with the winner of the rematch in the playoffs

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

I can understand Tennessee being ranked in the top 25.  They actually won 4 of their last 5 games last season, including their bowl game.  How Auburn loses 4 out 5 of their games in '14 (lone win Samford) including their bowl game against measily Wisconsin and is ranked is beyond anyone with a lick of sense.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Another big test for Ol' Floppy Top before they win the East.

SurfConcept
SurfConcept

tennessee---good, not great. OU--overrated as usual. Stoops will figure a way to choke away the game.

GTBob
GTBob

@SlackTown Stoops chokes in big games. Not as much against peons like Tennessee.

Grant1296
Grant1296

Or Duke and North Carolina...

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

Stoops has switched to the Air Raid offense this year with Baker Mayfield at QB. That should set up the running game nicely.

Jmonty
Jmonty

I don't see TN stopping Oklahoma's rushing attack.  It will be close, but I think Oklahoma wins 38-34

GTBob
GTBob

Tennessee should just play Auburn in the overrated because we are in the SEC bowl.

DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

I don't need to "Say it ain't so'...Georgia and CMR will take care of that this year. What I want to know is where are your loyalties Hooch? Cause it damn sure isn't what they're calling being part of DawgNation. I mean if you want to be a hater just so you can say 'I told you so' should Georgia 'not', then I wonder just what fun do you get out a Georgia football season? Now if you're not a Dog fan at all, then that answers part of the question...but regardless - Dawg or no Dawg - I wanna see just what your're made of when Georgia runs the table and you have to sit down to a big-a$$ serving of Crow-sheet pie...will you guys be man enough to eat it - in other words 'eat yours' - or will you just change your handle and move on?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgWhistle I always have fun when y'all hang the annual Pre-season NC banner........35 and counting.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@TOJacket @DawgWhistle No Dawg fan does that but the forever UGA obsessed nerds like yourself always bring it up as a fact even though it's a lie

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@DawgWhistle I am a UGA alum who has the ability to think with his head and not just his heart when it comes to the Dawgs. My loyalty is with the Dawg players and I refuse to blame them when their HC costs them games with his mind boggling crunch time decisions and inability to manage close games. 

TOJacket is correct about our hanging the annual Pre-season NC banner. Every year we look at our schedule in the weak as water east division and all the talent we have and declare, "This is the year!", but we fail to factor in the Richt factor. That's not being a "hater", that's looking objectively at a 14 year track record of ridiculously talented teams either under performing against inferior opponents or spilling their guts and having defeat jerked from the jaws of victory by their HC.