I always keep up with future Vols opponents on a weekly basis. The trick is whether or not any of it has any bearing on what will happen when Tennessee eventually faces that particular winner or loser.
Relevant or not, those are the first scores that I look for when reviewing the Sunday paper.
Here’s what Tennessee’s future opponents did this past week, in order of the Vols schedule.
Before the last two seasons, I felt fairly confident of my pre-season predictions, both 6-6. There really wasn’t much thought about it at the time. It was too obvious. But for the Lexington Embarrassment, I would have had a perfect score. It wasn’t really anything to be proud of, because the cards seemed turned over before either of those seasons started. Low-hanging fruit.
But this season is an entirely different story. The 2012 season is impossible to predict with any gut-feeling of confidence. Anywhere between five and nine wins won’t make me blink. Which is why I have looked at the components of this team in much more detail than in the previous seasons.
But it isn’t all about us on paper. We do have opponents, and our status as a Southeastern Conference member has not changed.
So hear is a split-second look at each of Tennessee’s 12 opponents followed by my prediction for the final won-loss tally.
I keep track of upcoming schedules for college football as they are announced. Recently, I noticed an oddity. UNLV added a game to its 2012 schedule this week, booking a home contest for September 8 against Northern Arizona. It will round out a 13-game schedule for the Rebels. Allowed? Here is what I found out, which jogged my memory a bit. It isn’t just about creating an opportunity to take program officials, coaches, players, and fans to paradise for a week.
Reminiscent of the fears over schedule changes as a result of SEC conference expansion and partial divisional realignment, the Pac-12 Conference left a lot to be desired when it released its schedule for 2012 on Wednesday. Next season, Stanford and Cal will play on October 20. Yes, the 2012 Cal-Stanford game will be played on the third saturday in October.
The two conferences that are historically linked by the Rose Bowl have announced an admirable scheduling agreement. By 2017 (yes, that is six years from now), this alliance, as far as football goes, comprises an annual inter-conference affair. Translation — each school will play an opponent from the other conference every year.
The 2012 schedule for the Vols was announced today. We already knew who the opponents were going to be. It was only the dates that was keeping us in suspense to the point of frustration after the SEC didn’t followup on its original promise of schedules being made public before Christmas.
Let’s break it down.
NC State are one of those teams that better programs fear. Their turnover margin during the regular season was +1.17, which is more than enough to carry a mediocre program to the post season. It is a remarkable statistic made even more remarkable because the Wolfpack lost 11 fumbles and 11 interceptions. That’s 22 times this season that State turned the ball over, yet they still maintained better than a plus-one per game margin.
After this week’s bye week, the Vols will host the mighty Buffalo Bulls of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). That gets me back up on my soap box.
UT-Martin comes to town this Saturday.
Who? Right. We’re playing one of our cousins. Baseball? OK. Basketball? Fine. Football? No. There are only 12 games in a regular football season as opposed to baseball and basketball, which play significantly more times during their seasons. Thus, why waste our time playing a family member? Such a question doesn’t apply to schools like Cal (think UCLA).
College football games played at neutral sites are nothing new. (NOTE: A ‘neutral site’ is herein defined as a stadium that is not the home stadium of one of the two teams even though one of the schools may be located in the same city.) But by the list below, there seems to be an unusual number of such games scheduled for the 2010 season. Read More…
My lovely wife of a quarter-century is a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Who wouldn’t be proud to have graduated from such a fine institution that is considered one of the best state universities in the country? On top of that fact, having a storied history in athletics – men’s basketball and women’s soccer immediately come to mind – makes the Tar Heel alumni happy to don the powder blue for just about anything (God is a Tar Heel – he made the sky Carolina Blue). They are a proud bunch.
So, when I read today that my beloved state university’s Athletic Director (the modifier ‘beloved’ refers to the institution, not the cited individual) intends to replace UNC with the University of Buffalo for the 2011-12 home-and-home series, I tried to fathom a way to defend my alma mater in anticipation of the onslaught. Read More…