Gameday on Rocky Top Podcast

The Gameday on Rocky Top Podcast: Most expected outcomes for Tennessee-West Virginia


Yeah. I meant “shorter,” not “fewer.” D’oh.




Joel Hollingsworth: [00:00:02] This is the Gameday on Rocky Top podcast, I’m Joel Hollingsworth. And I’m with Wil Shelton this evening. How are you doing Will.


Will Shelton: [00:00:09] I’m doing great. This is the best time of year. How are you.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:00:12] This IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR. I’m I’m very well. I wanted to ask you one question What is the last thing that you ate.


Will Shelton: [00:00:19] What is the last thing that I ate.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:00:20] The last thing


Will Shelton: [00:00:21] I


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:00:21] The


Will Shelton: [00:00:21] Had I had some frozen grapes about five minutes ago the really good


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:00:26] You know frozen grapes are really under under appreciated because grapes are good by themselves but you


Will Shelton: [00:00:33] Yes


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:00:34] Freeze those babies. Good stuff.


Will Shelton: [00:00:36] Yes they’re very good. I broke it tooth off on a frozen grape once where I had a cavity and I didn’t realize it. So the fact that I still eat them despite a catastrophic event in my mouth about 10 years ago on a frozen grape is the best advertisement I can give. Best endorsement I could give to frozen grapes.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:00:53] Very good. Are you with the red grape persuasion or the White slash green


Will Shelton: [00:01:01] I don’t do the white slash Green. Frozen. I like I prefer the white slash green on the unfrozen grape. But for a good frozen grape you need the red


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:01:11] Ok.


Will Shelton: [00:01:11] Is my


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:01:12] All right well that’s like just like your opinion man.


Will Shelton: [00:01:17] Yeah right


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:01:19] All right. So vol stuff I wanted to ask. This is going to be a quickie podcast. So I wanted to ask what you thought your most realistic expectation for the upcoming West Virginia game is and if that doesn’t make sense. Let me explain mine real quick. I think that after I looked at the stats that I think the 10 or the nine and a half to ten and a half line is maybe a little bit high. I know that if you’re just looking at stats from last year you got real problems because you know that was last year but I think we’re going to be a little bit better. And I think West Virginia is going to be a little bit better because their stats are based on three games without will Greer. But on balance I think that it’s not going to be that much different or I don’t have a lot of reason to think there’s going to be a lot different. So my stats machine says between three and four OK. So my most realistic expectation for the game is that West Virginia wins by three or four. But I also think that because they’re so powerful on offense and especially in the passing game that if they identify a weakness and exploit it over and over again they could run away with it. So that’s my second most realistic expectation. But because it’s only three or four points. I also think that Tennessee could actually steal a close one too. So my top three in sort of expectations for the game. Least surprising outcomes is that West Virginia wins by 3 or 4 1 2 that they run away with it and three that Tennessee pulls out a close one. So those are my three what what would be your top 1 and what are sort of your backup plans as far as expected outcomes.


Will Shelton: [00:03:21] All right. Let me give it to you with a little less data there. The outcome I expect most is we come out of the West Virginia game thinking Tennessee is going to have an opportunity to beat Florida. Whether that is via you know certainly if we beat West Virginia I have no problem thinking we’re going to be Florida. But I expect Tennessee is a good goal for this game state Tennessee to play well enough that we come out of this thing thinking. All right. In a couple of weeks we can give this thing a run for its money against a little lighter competition at home et cetera et cetera. So I think that’s I think that’s number one. I will say on the on the stats front the updated S&P rankings Bill Connelly the SB Nation also have West Virginia down to like four and a half.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:04:12] Oh, cool.


Will Shelton: [00:04:13] That’s a big jump from 10. Tennessee got a boost from guessing here. I know he got a boost. I’m guessing the boost comes from Brandon Kennedy’s insertion as a transfer some of West Virginia loss. Those kinds of things so


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:04:29] And foot


Will Shelton: [00:04:29] That


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:04:29] And mouth


Will Shelton: [00:04:29] Number was


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:04:30] Disease that’s got to be worth


Will Shelton: [00:04:31] Right


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:04:31] A couple of points.


Will Shelton: [00:04:32] Fred right. It’s worth at least two tenths of a point. So you know that is encouraging to me. I said this on the radio on Friday. When you when we try it out there. Hey none of the advanced models like West Virginia as much as the eye test. Let’s remember first of all the eye test loves West Virginia because they’re so much fun to watch. You know like of course we love West like they’re super fun to watch. So yeah they’re naturally going to be overrated in that sense. But if you’re going to throw advance stats in the mix yes advanced stats don’t like West Virginia as much as human polls and the tests do. But advanced stats really hate Tennessee. So you know you have to you have to kind of balances things out because what’s going into those bad stats is all those games last fall that Tennessee played that we did care about the outcome after South Carolina but the computers don’t care that we had moved on from Butch Jones who were more worried about our head coach. They’re using all that data to say hey Tennessee was terrible and all that’s going in the machine. So you got to kind of take both sides of that. So I think I would expect Tennessee to play well enough that we feel good about Florida.


Will Shelton: [00:05:41] I would I would still I don’t know if I’m just getting old or what it is but like this is the first year where I’ve still got six days here but I haven’t added on a win like I’ve thought we were 6 and 6 in April. And this is August 26 and I think we’re probably six and 6. So I’ve been about three out of 10 on West Virginia which is to say I think if they play it ten times I think we win three maybe three and a half. And I think you take those you know like that’s that’s thought. I’m happy to know because if you’re taking three and a half that’s essentially saying if we play it three times we win one. So you know I think that’s that’s a good spot for Tennessee to be in. So I would say we can’t we can’t talk ourselves into so much year where we get disappointed with a good performance in this game if it doesn’t end up in victory. But I will say there’s just a nice little you know it will be a lot of fun to win on Saturday. It would be a nice cozy little victory without any any attachments of yeah but or.


Will Shelton: [00:06:48] Well we won this game but we’ve already lost three others that we shouldn’t loss or that sort of stuff. So I think those two things for sure. And then I think just we will learn a lot about. I think Tennessee’s relative strengths and some of their relative weaknesses. For instance if Tennessee really wants to run the ball 60 65 times in this game and just line it up and go they you know they’re going to have opportunities to do that against West Virginia that they won’t against Florida. How many times will they actually just say you know what let’s just light up and go let’s go right at them and see if they can stop it. If Tennessee is legitimately bad in the passing game here and they just can’t cover West Virginia man to man they can’t get pressure on the quarterback that sort of stuff. I think that’s a relative weakness but it may not be an overall weakness because we’re not going to see the sort of passing game again for a while. So even if you know on the one hand if Tennessee runs for like four hundred fifty yards I don’t know that that means that we’ll run for 450 yards against Florida. And if we get house in the passing game and we think oh no Alontae Taylor’s terrible and all this other stuff I don’t know that that means that he actually is it may just be West Virginia is really good.


Will Shelton: [00:08:03] So there will be even if he wins and rolls via the ground game that may not be a huge sign of things to come and if West Virginia rolls and rolls US up through the air that may not be a huge sign of things to come. So I think there are there’s just a lot of unique qualities about this particular game where you know winning or losing. You never want to do with the first game anyway. But I think winning or losing. You don’t want to lean too much on it. So I think those are kind of I don’t know if that answers your question but those are kind of the three things I think the most Tennesse is going to play well enough that we come out of it feeling good about our chances against Florida. I would I would say Tennessee wins this game 3 3 out of 10 times. And I think we may see some relative strengths and some relative weaknesses but I wouldn’t put too much stock in that. You know going forward from here


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:08:54] Yeah I was going to ask. Although I think you just answered it but maybe a little more ambiguously. Let me let me ask that go ahead and ask the second question which was going to be supposed that Tennesse only loses by three or four or that maybe even a win. What sort of impact does that have on the rest of the season. I know you just said you don’t want to put too much stock in the one game you don’t know that it might mean anything against Florida but does it change your overall expectation for the entire season very much does it does it just the sort of general feel of confidence. Does that do anything for you the rest of the season.


Will Shelton: [00:09:38] I think it would do a couple of things. If Tennessee wins. First of all winning against West Virginia creates the expectation that you will go to a bowl game. It would move from the hope to the expectation for one reason because you’re already one to know at that point you’ve got one you know you’re going to get three against easiest you use happen and Charlotte. So that’s for now you’re just talking about OK if we to be Kentucky and Vanderbilt we’re six and six. So a Tennessee beats West Virginia. Then the expectation becomes going into a bowl game


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:10:10] And


Will Shelton: [00:10:10] Because


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:10:10] If


Will Shelton: [00:10:10] I


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:10:10] You


Will Shelton: [00:10:10] Mean


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:10:10] Can


Will Shelton: [00:10:10] You


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:10:10] Beat


Will Shelton: [00:10:10] Just think


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:10:10] West


Will Shelton: [00:10:10] About


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:10:11] Virginia you think you should be able to be Vandy and Kentucky right.


Will Shelton: [00:10:14] Yeah I mean that would be really disappointing right. Barring catastrophic injuries which Lord knows we’ve seen them but that would be really disappointing to beat West Virginia and still finish five and seven. I mean something something really bad has has to happen there. That would mean one in seven in the SEC if ifs or some sort of unforeseen disaster against YouTube or Charlotte or ETSU. If you beat West Virginia and don’t go to a bowl your one in seven in the SCC. So that’s that’s no good. You know we should just said it’s a piece inside here to say if Tennessee wins again like I say it would be the sort of celebration that we haven’t seen around here in in the Florida win in 2016 would certainly be bigger than Georgia when the way it ended bigger. But I think you’d have to go back to Butch’s first year against South Carolina to find that sort of a win like that made you say like hey this is going to work. You know before there were strings attached to it or negative perceptions or anything like that. So just to sort of win that you could totally enjoy without having to factory and all the other stuff. It’s


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:11:24] Yeah.


Will Shelton: [00:11:25] Been a minute for that. And you got to go back to Butch’s first year good South Carolina which ultimately didn’t stand up. Kiffin against Georgia. That first year ultimately didn’t stand up because Kiffin left. You know it’s it’s it’s been a long time since something like that.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:11:41] Right.


Will Shelton: [00:11:41] And you could still have. Again I’ve made this point several times that people Kirby Smart. They beat North Carolina in Week 1 in his first year in Atlanta was a huge win. It was not a pretty game but it was a big sort of initial win for them that North Carolina seems not as good as this West Virginia at all. But winning that game helped them manage losing to Vanderbilt later in the year. That was part of part of the process. They were seven and five. You know but they got that first one they got off that momentum. So you know Georgia hasn’t been through nearly what we’ve been through the last year years so there will be a whole separate thing there. That winning would do. But I do think this too about playing close this. It feels a little bit to me like the 2014 Oklahoma game at Oklahoma where I think Tennessee was like a 19 point underdog in that game or something like that and actually lost by 24 was a late score. That made it 34 to 10. But I remember most of those coming out of that game and I wrote about ourselves you know Tennessee was competitive in that game for about three quarters.


Will Shelton: [00:12:51] There was there was a costly drop or an interception in the end zone in that game. I don’t I don’t. Maybe just Jason Croom was involved on that play. I can’t remember exactly what happened but we had a shot in the endzone that didn’t work out where the game could have been closer or something like that. But I remember coming out of that Oklahoma game and thinking OK we can we can do some damage as you were going to be good and that’s a game we lost by 24. Now that Oklahoma team again not a one to one comparison they were much better than his West Virginia team should be but if Tennessee loses by 9 in this game again I think we’re going to come out of it saying OK we can we can beat Florida 1 and 2 we can we can we can invest in this team. We can watch this team maybe not against Alabama but we can watch that same week to week with the expectation that they’re going to have a chance to win. So I think those are the things that that a close game even if you don’t win a close game will provide you with those sorts of things.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:13:52] Yeah it not only would be a big win if we won or sort of you know. Nobody likes the term moral victory. But you know some validation it wouldn’t just be a big win if it happened. It would also be validation of the hope you know that we’re wanting to put in to prove that oh we made the right decision and we can expect good things. Maybe not against Florida this year or whatever but we can expect good things over the next couple of years that that will be a big thing. So anything you want to add to that for I cut you loose.


Will Shelton: [00:14:32] No I think it’s again. I feel like I have been more level we should all be you know now by now after all these coaching changes and all this I don’t I don’t feel like this is again the line is going to have roots in people that are totally unbiased. S&P like say he’s got it down to four and a half. I mean this isn’t crazy talk. It’s hey we’re going to go play a team that were between four and a half and ten points an underdog to on a neutral field with a brand new coach who knows what’s going to happen but I think there’s enough possibility that this isn’t this isn’t crazy talk is not grasping at straws it’s a like saying you played 10 times I think he went three and you hope that Saturday turns into turns into one of those three.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:15:15] All right well that’ll do it for this edition of the Gameday on Rocky Top Podcast. Follow us Subscribe via iTunes or soundcloud. Give us a rating. Give us a review. Bonus points for using the word room Mamma Mia. I don’t know. I just was in the mood to give bonus points and I


Will Shelton: [00:15:38] Sure.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:15:39] And I started down that road before I thought it out. So


Will Shelton: [00:15:42] That’s right.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:15:43] Mamma Mia it is. You use the word Mamma Mia. You get bonus points is like Whose Line Is It Anyway. Know the points don’t matter. But hey there they are. So anyway. That’ll do it. We will have actually a another podcast or two. This week we’re going to be doing fewer but more often and the next one will be with Brad probably go live on Tuesday or Wednesday so stick around for that subscribe. Be sure to read all week we’re into game mode starting tomorrow morning Monday morning and hope you have a great evening. Think I’ll do a different. I wonder how many how many season tickets Dave Ramsey has canceled just on his own because you


Will Shelton: [00:16:30] Should


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:16:30] Can’t


Will Shelton: [00:16:30] Have


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:16:30] Put you can’t put him on the credit card.


Will Shelton: [00:16:33] Threat should have should have asked him that. But I’ve met him a couple of times I should have asked him either of those times. But alas it has not has not worked out. So.


Joel Hollingsworth: [00:16:42] Yeah how many lives has he ruined. Yeah.


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Will Shelton

My favorite from this edition of the robo-transcript: Me at 4:32 saying, “Fred right.” I agree Fred. Good talking to you.