Archive by Author | Fred

Should Tennessee be playing Appalachian State?

It was reported today that Appalachian State will be coming to Knoxville to play the Vols on September 3, 2016.

This is a topic that we here at VITF have discussed before multiple times: Tennessee’s non-conference foes. I have always been against Div I schools playing lower division opponents (OK, we’re now talking FBS and FCS). And I’m sure most Michigan fans would agree with me.

So, normally, I would not be happy with this recently announced schedule addition.

But now it’s OK with me, because in 2013, the football Mountaineers began a 2-year transition to the FBS, with FBS bowl eligibility beginning in 2015. What a way for Appalachian State to begin the second season of their new status as a member of the top echelon — with a trip to Knoxville and a big huge pile of cash as a reward.

And, being a former ASU student myself (just a year before moving up to the big time), I’m thrilled that the folks in Boone will be making the trip over the Smokies.

Maybe the UTAD should legalize pot for the away section on that game day just to make the Appy crazies feel at home!

But I digress… What do you think?

What did we learn from Saturday night in Norman?

Oklahoma 34 Tennessee 10

Saturday September 13, 2014 / Memorial Stadium (Norman) /  85,622


UT vs OUSpeed kills. This used to be an SEC mantra because the conference OWNED this aspect of football. But it’s everywhere, on both sides of the ball. “They can’t match our speed” is a long forgotten boast of the South.

Continuous defensive pressure wins games. The Sooners’ defensive front seven completely suffocated Tennessee’s hopes of doing practically anything with the ball. Combine that with size and deceptive looks and you have a recipe of how to get to the post-season playoff.

You don’t need piped in music to make a great college football atmosphere. I’ve been to many games in Norman. It’s not as loud as Neyland on its best day, but it always was an exciting venue. The OU band plays nice little hooks that are fast-paced snippets of energy. Tennessee is going in the wrong direction on this issue. The Pride of the Southland enabled this turn of direction because of their slow-paced, boring choices of sound.

Tennessee finally has a bona fide leader in Justin Worley. The guy was pressured all night long and took an amazing amount of physical punishment. But he blamed no one and kept on believing that his teammates could win. Seemingly out of it with 11:20 left in the game, Worley and his Vols were a tipped pass away from making it really interesting.

Cam Sutton is your next Volunteer on an All-American team. His Twitter handle is “Orange Swarm.” For good reason.

These are not your Dooley’s Vols. This group of players and their coaches are too legit to quit. No slumped shoulders. No sitting off by yourself (e.g., Tyler Bray). A lot of effort, everywhere all the time. Fight Vols fight with all your might / For the Orange and White / Never falter, never yield / …

The future is bright, but… Tennessee gained a lot of respect with their effort in the nighttime den of perhaps one of the best three or four teams in the land. But it’s still about baby steps. We are four wins away from a bowl game. The question is where they will and can come from. Vanderbilt and Chattanooga are a given. That leaves two to go. Notice I didn’t include Kentucky (see Saturday night in Florida). The season hinges on two home games: Florida and Missouri. Barring key injuries, it’s better than 50-50 that we are playing post-season football.

Give me your thoughts.

Want some reading material while waiting for Saturday night’s kickoff?

Tennessee vs Oklahoma 1939 Orange Bowl Program CoverIt was January 1939. The world was crawling back from an economic depression and also headed toward war. Meanwhile, a fledgling college football bowl (only its fifth) was trying to make its mark on the nation’s consciousness and compete with the big bowls such as the Rose. The Orange Bowl succeeded because of the Tennessee-Oklahoma clash in 1939. It was a classic, rough and tumble affair involving two of the nation’s unbeaten teams.

Here are links to three accounts of that famous bowl game, won by the Vols 17-0 and making “Tennessee Vols” a national brand of great college football.

A recent article from Outkick the Coverage.

A detailed game summary from SoonerStats.

A Pittsburgh newspaper article from AP.


How do you see the likely result of Saturday’s primetime game?

Tennessee at (4)Oklahoma

Saturday September 13, 2014  8:00 pm EDT  ABC

In the mind of Bob Stoops, this game is all about his conference vs the SEC. In the mind of Butch Jones, this game is one more opportunity to showcase the improvement of his program to a primetime national audience and add another brick to the foundation he is building in Knoxville.

sooner_schoonerOklahoma’s balanced, powerful offense has outscored their first two opponents 62-3 in the opening 30 minutes. Tennessee’s opponents are only 7-for-31 on third-down situations, a marked improvement over last season’s underwhelming defense. On the other side of the ball, the Sooners have allowed only 74 rushing yards a game with 4 INTs added for good measure. Tennessee’s attack is fueled by the passing game as the rushing attack appears languid against mediocre competition. Unfortunately, injuries to WR Von Pearson and TE Ethan Wolf create a challenge for the Vols’ most productive portion of their offense.

So, the bottom line is that I may be leaving my couch just a tad early for Saturday dinner out as my prediction is Oklahoma 47 Tennessee 14.

Look for Stoops to run up the score. Then it will be our turn to have a burr up the butt to carry forward when Oklahoma comes to Knoxville next season.

What say you?

p.s., After this game, you will better understand why our opponents hate “Rocky Top.” Oklahoma’s “Boomer Sooner” is as obnoxious as a fight song can get.

How about revised instructions for “Stripe the Stadium”?

Yes we can.

My brilliant friend Rick (see his comment in the previous post) has given me a wonderful idea…

Revised Instructions For Stripe The Stadium:

oklahoma-stipe-the-stadium-instructions-with orange


What say you?

Are you afraid of stripes?

The University of Oklahoma is asking its fans attending Saturday evening’s game against Tennessee in Norman to wear red if they are sitting in certain sections or wear white if they are sitting in adjacent sections.

This request is dubbed an OU tradition known as “Stripe the Stadium.” Here is the instruction chart…

Oklahoma Stipe the Stadium Instructions

Some consider this a “must win” for the Sooners in their 2014 campaign.

Frankly, I’m deeply honored that the OU football program is taking the Vols so seriously. [Have they seen our offensive line? special teams?]

Will this make any difference to the gargantuan point spread that is likely to be realized by an Oklahoma squad that is stacked to the hilt with talent?

What say you?

Do you fear that Butch Jones could bolt for another job?

This question is prompted by a comment I heard about, and the specific worry is that Butch might be lured back to his home state of Michigan.

The Wolverines football program has fallen to sub-standard, and their head coach might be shown the door by season’s end.

Could the powers in Ann Arbor come knocking for a certain head coach in Knoxville?

Well, perhaps they could. But to fully flush this out, you would be talking about a contract renegotiation/extension/buyout clause change as a way to protect what we have. And that prompts the next questions: What do we have? And is what we have worth a potential elaborate increase in an already lucrative contract?

Those ‘next questions’ are objectively premature, but I think all signs point to ‘we got the real deal now’.

And just like the case of Jon Gruden, why would Butch Jones even want to go to the University of Michigan? Yes, Michigan is his home state, but he didn’t attend/play for the University.

All such talk at this stage of the game is complete hooey. It is prompted by a nervous fan base that got spurned by Kiffin’s one-and-done (which in the opinion of many has turned out to be a GOOD thing).

Or, to be more accurate, if the VolNation has nothing to worry about, they will create something to worry about. Nothing new here.

What say you?

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