Anyone can be a Monday morning quarterback. We can all look back on the disastrous Dooley regime and wonder how anyone could ever consider hiring such a coach.
I find it more fun to be the Friday morning quarterback. I like to break down every possibility before any team takes the field and then pick the most logical aspect. You read my prediction on the Notre Dame/Alabama national championship. And I wasn’t far off on that one, was I?
This week, we return to glory on 365SIO. We begin writing for another year.
Throughout the next month you’ll see me break down each Tennessee opponent and predict the most logical of outcomes.
But today, we try something a little different. Everybody knows how a single play can change the course of an entire season. Just ask Terrence Cody when he blocked that Tennessee field goal. A Vol win would have kept the Crimson Tide out of a National Championship.
So today, we talk about what happens if the breaks go our way, we break down and what’s the most logical ending to Butch Jones honeymoon season.
Outcome: SEC Championship loss
This is the best case scenario for the Tennessee Vols. In all reality, this is pure delusion. But if all the breaks (and a few miracles occur) it could happen. Here’s how:
1. Butch Jones is a genius: We all know Butch Jones can coach. The difference between a good coach and a great coach is great coach’s win games they are not supposed to. CBJ has done that. He has taken a Bearcat team with less talent and depth than many others and just flat out-coached superior teams. But the fact is, this is the SEC and the coach’s here, are all really good. So Butch would have to be a genius to be able to do it.
2. Josh Dobbs is a Manning/Tebow hybrid: If you look at Josh Dobbs on paper, he has all the tools necessary to be the next great college quarterback. He is athletic, has a cannon arm, can run and can scramble out of pressure situations. What makes him a cut above is his prowess in the classroom. The man is smart, and that never hurts a QB in a game-time situation. Best case scenario, Dobbs comes in, shows instant flashes of greatness and becomes our rallying cry on Rocky Top. But that can only Happen if…
3. MarQuez North, Pig Howard become the next great receiving combo: For Dobbs to be able to do great things, North and Howard have to become the next greats at Wide Receiver U. We’ve already seen that Pig can do great things and we are hearing how North is impressing everyone already at camp. Don’t get your hopes up though; even though this could be (and is the most likely thing on this list) it will take time in all likelihood.
4. The Defense Explodes: This is the most unlikely thing on the list. Tennessee was downright awful last season, and the Vols just don’t have the depth. But, in a best case scenario, all the pieces fit together, the 4-3 is perfect for the Vols, big Dan McCullers, AJ Johnson and Curt Maggitt all step up and dominate. Yep. Long shot.
5. The SEC is hurting because of all the talent lost: It’s no secret a ton of SEC teams lost a lot of talent in this year’s draft. But we all know how loaded from top to bottom the SEC really is. So for this to happen, all those new players stepping in to fill the void, would have to be terrible. That’s not going to happen, but once again, this is best case. So that’s how the Vols have a one loss season and go to SEC championship. It’s the longest of long shots, but keep a check list around. And if the season ends with only one loss and an SEC championship run, see how close this is too true.
Don’t go jumping off a cliff just yet, this is just as likely as Tennessee finishing 11-1. But in football, sometimes the breaks don’t go your way. And this is how Tennessee gets to a 3-9 season.
1. Butch Jones is not right for the SEC: Jones is untested. He has done great things on the recruiting trail so far, but what if he is just god-awful in the SEC. His style just collapses and everyone just runs circles around him. This is not very likely, but, hey worst case.
2. The SEC is rebuilding faster than Tennessee: like it or not, Tennessee is in the same boat as Kentucky, Missouri, Auburn and below Vanderbilt. If Missouri can find it’s footing in the SEC, Kentucky made the right hire in Stoops and Auburn uses all those high rated recruits right, Tennessee could be in for a world of hurt.
3. Injuries: This happens every year. It always leaves us saying “what if?” What if Justin Hunter didn’t injure himself in that Florida game? What is Bray hadn’t broken his finger? What if, considering Tennessee’s limited depth, we lose those players we have come to rely on. What if Tiny goes down? What if Aj Johnson goes down? We could be looking at a nasty season. Yes, a lot less has to happen for the worst case compared to the best case, but it’s all very unlikely. Let’s keep our fingers crossed this isn’t how we finish.
THE UGLY (Truth)
This is the most likely outcome for Tennessee this season. Yes, it’s not what we want, but it’s a bowl game. And like CBJ says, #brickbybrick. Here’s how Tennessee finishes at .500.
1. Tennessee wins all the games they are supposed to: Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Missouri, Auburn and Kentucky have to fall to the Vols because we are always supposed to beat them. The only exception to “always” is Auburn, but they had a worse season then Tennessee, so a win when both programs are rebuilding is a must for CBJ first year.
2. Tennessee loses all the games they are supposed to: Vanderbilt is a loss as it stand now. They have built well, recruited well and are on a roll. Can we beat them, sure. As it stands now, I would say no. Is there a chance to sneak in a win against a Florida team that lost so much talent on the defensive side of the ball, yes. Is it likely, no. I could even see Tennessee shocking a Oregon team on the road. I mean, they are going through a coaching change too. Hey crazier things have happened, but let’s stick with the more likely outcome of a loss.
All that being said, Tennessee could finish 8-4 just as easily as 6-6. Vanderbilt has done a great job of building up their program lately, but as a Tennessee fan, I will never concede a loss to the Dores. Especially when the Justin Beiber of coaching anchors down that team.
So there you have it. Stay tuned as we break down the Vols 2013 schedule week by week. Feel free to comment at the bottom of the page by logging in on face book. Until next time, GO BIG ORANGE.