Tag Archives: Florida Gators

Here’s one not-so-optimistic projection for Vols in 2014

The Vols during a practice at Neyland Stadium this spring (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In 2013, most preseason predictions for Tennessee seemed to fall between 5-7 and 7-5. (I split the difference and picked 6-6).

With an equally tough schedule and plenty of roster turnover in 2014, I expect most picks this summer will fall in that same range.

However, there’s already an outlier, and it’s not a good one for fans trying to be optimistic in their outlook for 2014.

Football Outsiders post-spring projections have the Vols going 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the SEC. (The full post is available only for ESPN subscribers).

The complete formula for the projections is proprietary, but here’s how Football Outsiders describes it in the post: “Factors include five-year program ratings, returning starters, recruiting success and quarterback reliance — statistical indicators of teams that may take a step forward or step back next season.”

The projection model expects solid seasons from South Carolina, Georgia and — perhaps surprisingly — Missouri in the SEC East. Less surprisingly, the model has Alabama, LSU and Auburn atop the West.

I’m much more optimistic about Florida having a bounce-back year than the Football Outsiders model seems to be. And I’m probably less convinced that Missouri will be a major factor in the SEC East.

Football Outsiders has some very cool metrics for both NFL and college football that are worth checking out.

Ranking SEC teams in recruiting over last 4 years: Vols fare better than you might expect

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdE9EanlXQk1fU1N4QVVRNHVPaWctaWc&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”400″]

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Now that National Signing Day is in the books, let’s take a step back and look at recruiting in the SEC over the last four years.

These are the players — if they’re still around — who will have the greatest impact on a team’s success in 2014.

The numbers don’t lie: Alabama has dominated the recruiting game just as it has on the field.

That’s not a surprise. But Tennessee’s ranking relative to the league average might be better than many expected.

We used the 247Sports Composite rankings in order to get a broad perspective from all the major recruiting services. We also wanted to go beyond a simple ranking to see the relative strength of each class as it compared to the rest of the league.

A few takeaways:

1. Tennessee’s recruiting ratings are above the league average over the last four years both collectively and individually. The Vols have been above the league average in three of the last four years.

2. On the negative side, the Vols suffered serious attrition in the 2012 class. Some of it was natural (Cordarrelle Patterson) but there were also plenty of washouts. Also, some of the higher rated players from 2011 and 2012 simply haven’t lived up to expectations.

3. Florida, despite last year’s debacle, still has plenty of talent. If they can fix a few issues from 2013, they could be right back in the title race.

4. Auburn can still lean on several solid classes and has every reason to expect to be in the mix for the SEC championship again.

5. Texas A&M has put together three consecutive solid classes that should help mitigate the departure of Johnny Manziel.

6. The bottom of the conference is largely what you would expect. Despite recent improvements in recruiting from Kentucky and Vanderbilt, relative to the rest of the league, their ratings are still low.

7. Missouri’s recruiting may not be impressive on paper, but it’s worth remember that the Tigers won the SEC East in 2013 using classes that were ranked near the bottom of the league.

Mizzou’s case, of course, is why factors like retention and development and coaching still matter.

But if we were to judge the 2014 season solely by its inputs, here’s what the standings would look like. Just for fun, we’ll use the four-year relative score (with 100 being average) and give 10 points to the home team in each game.

SEC East

1. Florida, 7-1

2. Georgia, 7-1

3. South Carolina, 5-3

4. Tennessee, 3-5

5. Missouri, 2-6

6. Kentucky, 2-6

7. Vanderbilt, 0-8

SEC West

1. Alabama, 8-0

2. Auburn, 6-2

3. LSU, 5-3

4. Texas A&M, 4-4

5. Ole Miss, 3-5

6. Mississippi State, 2-6

7. Arkansas, 2-6

It would be hard to imagine Missouri and Vanderbilt plummeting so quickly, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Florida make a dramatic rebound.

Before you prepare your hate mail, remember this is just a “fun” excercise that does not necessarily reflect my actual opinion, nor does it have any effect on the real world.

10 best SEC games ever broadcast on CBS? Vols-Gators game in 2001 lands at No. 9

Travis Stephens dives over the goal line in the first quarter of the Vols’ victory over Florida in 2001. (News-Sentinel file photo by Michael Patrick)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Are we in a golden era for SEC football?

This list would seem to suggest that we are.

CBS Sports Network will run a countdown of the 10 best SEC games broadcast by CBS starting on Dec. 26 at 8 p.m.

The list was selected by a panel of experts, presumably including writers Bruce Feldman, Dennis Dodd, Jeremy Fowler and Tony Barnhart.

The first thing that stands out about the list is how many of the game occurred in just the last three years. Also, notice how many times Auburn and Alabama are included. I figure that’s appropriate for a state that is going for its fifth consecutive national title next month.

Tennessee makes the list with its thrilling 2001 victory over Florida. Current UT running backs coach Robert Gillespie was a senior on that Gators squad.

Here’s the full list, with game descriptions from CBS:

10. No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M (9/14/2013) – Airs Thursday, Dec. 26, 8 p.m.

Alabama got revenge on Texas A&M with a 49-42 win in College Station behind AJ McCarron’s four passing touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Johnny Manziel threw for five touchdowns and registered 562 yards of total offense.

9. No. 4 Tennessee at No. 2 Florida (12/1/2001) – Airs Friday, Dec. 27, 8 p.m.

Tennessee visits Gainesville as 17.5-point underdogs and upsets Florida to jump into national title contention. The Vols stop the Gators’ two-point conversion attempt with 1:10 left to seal a 34-32 victory.

8. No. 1 LSU at No. 12 Alabama (11/5/2011) – Airs Saturday, Dec. 28, 5 p.m.

The “Game of the Century” didn’t feature any touchdowns, but it had an exciting finish in prime time as LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 on a 25-yard field goal in overtime.

7. SEC Championship: No. 4 Florida vs. No. 1 Alabama (12/6/2008) – Airs Saturday, Dec. 28, 8 p.m. 

Tim Tebow’s three touchdowns lead Florida to a 31-20 upset win over Alabama and gives the Gators a shot at their second national title in three years.

6. No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama (11/10/2012) – Airs Sunday, Dec. 29, 5 p.m.
Johnny Manziel is spectacular in leading Texas A&M past top-ranked Alabama in the Aggies’ first ever trip to Tuscaloosa.

Continue reading

Tennessee’s 2014 football schedule: A closer look

Butch Jones

Butch Jones talks to special teams players during practice on Aug. 16, 2013, at Haslam Field.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s 2014 football schedule may be a tad easier than this year’s slate, but that’s only by the cutthroat standards of the SEC.

The Vols now have Florida and Alabama at home, not on the road.

A trip to Oregon is replaced by a trip to Oklahoma.

The full schedule was released Wednesday by UT and the league office.

Here’s a closer look:

Continue reading

SEC Media Days: Florida’s Will Muschamp says coaches ‘100 percent responsible’ for their players

HOOVER, Alabama — Florida coach Will Muschamp said coaches are “100 percent  responsible” for the off-field behavior of their players, even though he acknowledged it’s impossible to monitor every moment of their lives.

The arrest of Aaron Hernandez, a former Florida football player, has been the unspoken element of every question about “off-the-field behavior” during SEC Media Days on Tuesday.

“I can’t possibly know everything that happens every single night with our football team. You also can’t stick your head in the sand and pretend everything is OK, either,” Muschamp said. “You need to be very aware of the kind of guys your guys are hanging out with. I encourage our assistants, our life skills coordinator, Terry Jackson, to be with our guys, help them grow and mature.”

Continue reading