Here comes a fun week:
It’s the midway point of the regular season, and chances are you’re projecting Tennessee to finish with more wins than you did in Week 1. It’s especially impressive considering the way optimism tends to sneak its way in during fall camp, no matter how far down you’ve been, or for how long. We’re living all that good news right now.
When’s the last time you were more optimistic overall in Week 7 than Week 1? Speak of the devil, Lane Kiffin’s 2009 season kicked into high gear with the 45-19 beat down of Georgia on October 10, but by that point the Vols were 3-3 with a disappointing loss to UCLA. So you felt much better at this point 12 years ago, but probably weren’t projecting a better finish for that team than you did in August.
I think you have to go back 15 years to 2006, when the Vols rebounded from a 5-6 disappointment the year before to blow out #9 Cal in the opener. The Vols lost to eventual national champion Florida by one, but played the perfect fourth quarter in rallying to beat #10 Georgia 51-33 in Athens on October 7. That team was ranked #23 in the preseason AP poll, and was #7 at this point in the season.
Back in the present day, it was a Saturday of mixed results for the rest of Tennessee’s schedule. Alabama’s loss and Tennessee’s continued success should drive those numbers up north of…well, 1% or so. But how far? Not sure we’re ready for that yet.
Meanwhile, after disparaging Kentucky’s win over Florida in this space last week, you’ll find no such thing from me this week. The Cats got an incredibly efficient performance from Will Levis and ran for 7.3 per carry on the Tiger defense in a 42-21 win.
And what do we do with Ole Miss?
We’ll spend the rest of the week answering that one. As always, leave your win totals in the comments, and we’ll see just how good we’re feeling this week.