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What have the Vols’ opponents done this season?

Wins:

  • Utah State (9-4)
  • Arkansas State (7-5)
  • Chattanooga (9-3) FCS Div I-AA Southern Conf. Winner
  • South Carolina (6-6)
  • Kentucky (5-7)
  • Vanderbilt (3-9)

Losses:

  • #18 Oklahoma (8-3) Plays 5-6 Oklahoma State Saturday
  • #15 Georgia (9-3)
  • Florida (6-5)
  • #13 Mississippi (9-3)
  • #1 Alabama (11-1) SEC West Champs
  • #14 Missouri (10-2) SEC East Champs

AP rankings are shown.

Are you feeling positive or negative?

Tennessee 24  Vanderbilt 17

It was ugly. It was infuriating at times. And it left you wanting a lot of what we obviously don’t have.

But the bottom line is that the Tennessee Volunteers are going to a bowl game for the first time since the 2010 season.

Orange bowling pins

That in and of itself is enough for me to feel (somewhat) positive.

How are you feeling?

What kind of win will this be for Tennessee?

Tennessee at Vanderbilt

Saturday November 29, 2014 | Nashville | 4:00 ET | SECN

Except for the last two seasons, Tennessee has had a nearly embarrassing amount of success against its in-state rival Vanderbilt. What is surprising is how many of these games have been close even when the two teams were far apart in talent and season records.

Sure, Tennessee has beaten Vanderbilt by scores of 65-0, 48-0, 45-0, 41-0, 38-0, etc.

But there have been the surprising close games…

The 1951 National Championship season comes to mind, during which, on December 1, the Vols hosted the Commodores. Tennessee needed a victory to achieve another unbeaten regular season and have a shot at being voted the national champion. Vandy was only 6-4, ready to embark on a 6-decade long age of futility (Vandy had only 6 losing seasons up to 1951, but it would suffer greatly by only having 11 winning seasons after 1951).

The Vols hung on for a 35-27 win and the ultimate glory.

Since that game, Vandy defeated Tennessee 8 times whereas the Volunteers won 53 of those games against the Commodores, many being by very close scores.

But all that matters is what is happening right now.

Vanderbilt is sitting on a two-game winning streak against its biggest rival – the first time that the Commodores have defeated the Vols in consecutive seasons since 1926 (the year Vandy won its 6th straight over Tennessee).

And Butch Jones desperately needs a win Saturday in Nashville in order to reach a bowl game invitation with the chance of achieving the first winning season since 2009.ut for the first time in three seasons, it looks like the natural order of all things Tennessee vs Vanderbilt is being restored, with the Vols improving and the Commodores devolving back to their place down in the bottom.

I’d like to predict an all-time rout by Tennessee, but I see this game as somewhere in the middle.

Go Vols.

Tennessee 39 Vanderbilt 23

Are blackouts a big deal to you?

Here is an excerpt from GoVolsXtra.com. I find it concerning, because in this case I would never believe a word coming from the player, a coach, etc.

*****

Tennessee sophomore cornerback Cameron Sutton came off the field and had to sit out a series during Saturday’s game against Missouri on Saturday night. Sutton made a somewhat startling revelation as to why during Monday’s media availability.

“I just blacked out,” Sutton said. “It happens from time to time. … This is the first time it’s ever happened in a game. They ran a couple of things on the sideline just to make sure I was OK, and I just got back out there.”

A Tennessee spokesperson said that Sutton would not have been allowed to return to the field if he were showing concussion symptoms, but did not provide any further comment Monday.

Sutton said he’s had the blackouts for some time, but wasn’t specific. They usually occur elsewhere other than the football field.

“It just happens throughout the course of the day,” Sutton said. “I might black out. I just keep walking and nothing ever happens. It’s the first time it’s ever happened in a game. But you know, I can’t let that stop me from going back out there and finishing the rest of the game. … It just happens from time to time. It doesn’t happen every day. For the two seconds it does happen, I just black out, come back, keep going about my business.”

Sutton said he doesn’t think it’s a big deal and said he doesn’t know why it happens.

“It’s not a problem at all,” Sutton said. “It just happens. I don’t think it’s an issue or anything like that. Nothing to be looked into or made a big deal out of .”

How ugly was that?

Missouri 29 Tennessee 21

If all football games were that ugly, I would have stopped watching football a long time ago.

That is not really a knock on either team’s will or desire. It’s just that the elegant side of football was completely missing Saturday night in Knoxville. What was left was ineffective offenses and hard-nosed defenses, with a truckload of mistakes thrown in for bad measure.

It was tedious to the point where I just wanted to leave my living room for long stretches of time.

But I suffered through the entire evening, glad that this was not the end of the season, not the end of Version 2.0 of Team 118.

Or better yet, perhaps we could nock it back a notch to something like Version 1.2.

That is a lot better than Version 1.0, which might have left us trying to avoid an 8 loss season next week in Nashville.

Instead, we have a nearly certain bowl bid awaiting after the Vols meet one of the worst Vandy teams in history.

Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Did I hear that right?

Tennessee vs Missouri

Saturday November 22, 2014 | Neyland Stadium | 7:30 pm | ESPN

The Missouri Tigers are nearing their second consecutive appearance in the SEC Championship game as the conference’s East champion. Last season, the Tigers won their last four contests to make it to Atlanta, beginning with a thrashing of the Vols in Columbia. This season Mizzou has to defeat Tennessee on Saturday night and then dispose of Arkansas to make the title game a reality again.

Tennessee is just trying to get to a bowl game. Any bowl game. One more win of its last two and the Vols will be playing post-season football for the first time in four years.

So it would seem as Saturday’s game under the Neyland Stadium lights would be a one-sided affair for the visitors based on their relative positions heading to the end of the regular season.

But wait… Tennessee is favored by 3 or 4 points depending on the oddsmaker. Did I hear that right?

Apparently I did. But why?

It all comes down to two things: (1) Neyland Stadium, and (2) Josh Dobbs.

The interesting thing about Version 2.0 of Team 118 is that we really don’t know how good they are.

And that is exciting. For now. Because we are going to find out Saturday.

And I say they are pretty good, but perhaps not good enough to keep Mizzou out of Atlanta, but good enough to play some December football (the Vols, barring injury, will roll Vandy).

Missouri 32 Tennessee 27

 

Why we can’t have nice things, nor cast stones

Tennessee 50 Kentucky 16

Unfortunately I couldn’t watch the game live and had to wait until this evening. But I had no knowledge of any football scores, so it was just like a Saturday afternoon this Monday evening. And of course after watching the game, I read some articles to catch up on Vols news, which caused me to once again to ask myself why I care at all…

First the game.

I remember the annual Kentucky game over the years as a hard-hitting affair. And the 2014 installment was no different. It seemed like there were bodies down every other play.

It was a fun game to watch. Tennessee doesn’t win games 50 to 16 very often anymore. But what is even better is watching the future.

Astro Dobbs completed 19 of 27 passes for 297 yards, including 3 TDs and no INTs. He also averaged nearly 5 yards per carry on 10 runs, one of which was a touchdown.

Jalen Hurd just keeps getting better and better while running for 129 yards on 25 carries, including a TD. And he’s starting to remind me of Montario Hardesty in the way that he finishes runs with strength.

Wide receivers Von Pearson, Jason Croom, and Pig Howard had productive performances.

Freshman DE Derek Barnett is starting to remind me of a former Vol DE whose number and name is featured on the rim in Neyland Stadium.

And Tennessee has truly discipline on the field. The Vols were flagged only three times.

But Tennessee off the field is unfortunately becoming a different kind of story…

*****

Linebacker A. J. Johnson and cornerback Michael Williams were suspended Monday from all team activities for being part of an investigation into an alleged rape and sexual assault after Saturday’s game. No charges have been filed against either player. County prosecutors will decide that detail after the Knoxville Police Department finishes their investigation and hands it over to the District Attorney.

Two women are apparently involved – one woman indicating that she had been raped by two males and the other woman saying that she was a victim of sexual assault. The woman who indicated she was raped is a UT student and she met with police. The other woman that reported she was the victim of a sexual assault has decided not to prosecute and returned to Florida where she attends college.

Regardless of the legal details, it is highly disturbing to hear about A. J. Johnson being involved in this news, mainly because of how he has been portrayed as a leader. If charges are filed, which will reflect compelling evidence, I hope Mr. Johnson is immediately expelled from the University, all his records erased from the book, and his letterman’s pin taken from him.

And the same goes for Mr. Williams.

It’s the second year of Butch Jones’ tenure as Tennessee Head Coach. He needs to be decisive and unwavering in his commitment to all of the things he says about building a program full of young men with character. Jones must be willing to risk anything and everything by telling the Athletic Department that he will not tolerate this kind of thing.

The University is not a court of law – you shouldn’t have to be found guilty of a crime before being excommunicated and your name forever erased from the school’s memory.

In cases like this, especially when it comes to domestic abuse/rape/sexual assault, the number one rule is no mercy. None.

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