KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Derek Dooley took great pains not to overstate the importance of Friday night’s win against North Carolina State.
The victory, while impressive, has already drawn comparisons to last year’s game against Cincinnati, when the Vols sliced up the Bearcats before the season quickly went downhill.
That said, I’ve long believed that the two biggest games of the season for UT were the opener Friday and the Week 3 game against Florida.
You can see why in the estimates below. I’ve made a few tweaks, although I’ve tried not to make dramatic overreactions to the first week of games. The biggest bump I gave the Vols was for the final game against Kentucky.
For background on this unscientific estimate, click here.
Odds of winning…
vs. N.C. State — W, 35-21
vs. Ga. State — 99 percent
vs. Florida — 55 percent
vs. Akron — 99 percent
at UGA — 35 percent
at Miss. State — 56 percent
vs. Alabama — 20 percent
at S. Carolina — 38 percent
vs. Troy — 98 percent
vs. Missouri — 62 percent
at Vanderbilt — 65 percent
vs. Kentucky – 80 percent
That gives Tennessee 8.07 wins, which is considerably better than the preseason tally of 7.43. Nine is certainly within reach.
Here are the recalculated odds…
Chance of UT starting season 3-0: 54.5 percent
Chance of UT starting season 4-0: 54 percent
Chance of UT starting season 5-0: 18.9 percent
Chance of UT starting season 6-0: 10.6 percent
Chance of Tennessee going 12-0: 0.236 percent
Chance of UT closing season with 4 consecutive wins: 31.6 percent
Chance of UT going 0-3 against UGA, Alabama and South Carolina: 32.2 percent
Chance of UT starting the season 3-0 and ending the season 4-0: 17 percent
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(Photo credit: Michael Patrick, News Sentinel)