Adams: UCLA gains more than UT in schedule change

The University of Tennessee rearranged its football schedule last week in the interest of national exposure. That makes sense, right?

You bet. But it makes even more sense for UCLA.

The Bruins don’t look capable of winning the game. Yet they should dominate the pregame.

In case you’re wondering, the No. 1 storyline for the nationally televised season opener won’t be: “Will Arian Foster break UT’s rushing record?”

Instead, it will be a love fest for new UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel. When ESPN-types aren’t talking up the Neuheisel comeback, they will be talking about the Norm Chow comeback.

Neuheisel is returning to his alma mater as its head coach. Chow is returning to Los Angeles as an offensive guru.

From a UCLA perspective, those are both vastly superior storylines to: “What’s it like to play second fiddle to UCLA basketball?” Or, “What’s it like to play second fiddle to Southern Cal football?”

UCLA is so overshadowed by USC in the fall, it might as well be playing in San Diego. And now, it’s opening its season on national television on Monday night against UT. That’s a giant step up from ending your season in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl.

There’s another benefit to the change in the schedule. Originally, the Bruins had to open the season against Fresno State before playing UT a week later. That likely would have meant playing Top 25 teams back-to-back.

Is that anyway to break in a new era of UCLA football?

Not when you return only 10 starters from a 6-7 team.

The Vols also should gain more than exposure. Never mind the time zone. Opening the season on the road against UCLA isn’t nearly as daunting as last year’s opener in Berkeley.

Cal’s talented, experienced offense was matched against an inexperienced UT defense, which was overwhelmed from the outset. UCLA might have Chow as a play caller, but it doesn’t have Cal’s caliber of offensive players. Conversely, UT’s defense, especially in the secondary, will be more experienced.

But UT will lose something by revamping its early-season schedule. In the original schedule, it played UAB and UCLA the first two weeks with an open date before Florida. The open date now comes before UAB.

You could argue that an open date before Florida rarely has worked to UT’s advantage. But an open date is still preferable in this case, particularly since Florida will have two weeks to prepare for the Vols.

Florida will open the season against Hawaii and play Miami in what could be a very difficult second game. The Gators then will have two weeks to correct whatever has gone wrong and to rehab minor injuries.

UT should get used to that setup. Vanderbilt is the only SEC East opponent that won’t have two weeks to prepare for the Vols.

UT’s second open date is between Wyoming and Vanderbilt. What a godsend, huh?

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or

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Comments » 40

VolPride_13 writes:

Wow!! I didn't know that every team in the East has a bye before we play them (except for Vandy)!! That hurts!! BUT we'll pull three of them out at least!!! GO VOLS!!!

thesavageorange writes:

I didn't realize that either.In honor of tngeoff......

VOLS85 writes:

For one, I'm glad we don't have an open date before florida. They did a hell of a job catching us on our heels after a bye week last year, so I think this bodes well for us. We can stay in rhythm, and this team has begun to learn how to deal with a spread offense: insert LSU. They ran a version of the spread in the SECCG and our defense handled it well, if only ainge knew that the guys in ALL ORANGE were the ones you want to throw to...

rrvolfan#230816 writes:

Shut John Adams...I really don't give a phooey about what you have to say...

TommyJack writes:

Outstanding article, Adams.

murrayvol writes:

Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks John and have a great week at KNS.

T0MMYJACK writes:

Ah, yes. Groundbreaking. Provocative. I sense a "major award" is afoot.

Perhaps a leg lamp for the esteemed Mr. Adams. Ice-cold Buds for all you fritter-pounders.

Stay the course.

swclaw writes:

Dang man, you are right Adams. We should fire Fulmer for moving this game around which gives UCLA this huge advantage now. Amazing journalism!!!!

cdldoc#211897 writes:

John Adams???

TommyJack writes:

cdldoc: Yeah, Adams. He wrote the article above that you just read.

FlushTheJohn writes:

Adams you are trash!! I didn't read the article, but I know that it sucks because you wrote it!

Flush The John - get rid of Adams!!

JohnyLobo34 writes:

I think Adams is making a huge mistake saying UCLA "doesn't look like it can win" this game. The Bruins Defense was solid last year & with Chow & Neuheisel, both offensive guys, I expect them to be ready. Love the setting: Pasedena, the Rose Bowl, great California Weather. But this has ambush written all over it.

rusty_shackleford writes:

johnny boy said "Originally, the Bruins had to open the season against Fresno State before playing UT a week later. That likely would have meant playing Top 25 teams back-to-back." So flipping the order means UT and FS WON'T both be Top 25? Again, your logic (or lack thereof) is astounding.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

JohnyLobo34 - Nailed it. What is up with saying Bruins "don't look like they can win the game"????

They don't need any bulletin board material.

Adams - you, sir, are a provocateur.

Of a high order.

rusty_shackleford writes:

pd, you'll have to define "provocateur" for johnny boy. I'm sure he won't have a clue.

dfreeman writes:

speaking of tngeoff what happened to him??

TommyJack writes:

dfreeman: He's on a long bidness trip.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

TJ, How are the doldrums looking around Boerne?

All I can garner from the antiseptic reports of spring practice is....well......we need the practice. A lot.

rootin4volz writes:

Dang, I thought they weren't going to let Adams write on football unless he wrote his apology article. What happened? phooey.

TommyJack writes:

PD: Doldrums abound. Spring practice seems, well, like spring practice. Offense will catch up. Hope the D is as effective against real teams. Warm enuf yet to break out an I beat Adams tee? (medium...)

invisiblekid writes:

Rusty, the Fresno State game was moved up 3 weeks. The Bruins have BYU and Arizona after they play the Vols so Adams is likely correct that the won't be playing 2 top 25 teams back-to-back.

Bigger_Al writes:

John Adams drives 45 MPH in the fast lane with his left-turn-blinker on.

invisiblekid writes:

Adams is also correct in calling it a "love-fest" between Neuheisel and ESPN. He was one of their announcers and they basically allowed him to campaign for that job on the air. I think it is a lose-lose situation for the Vols. If they win, then they beat a rebuilding program that is working it's way back. And if they lose, it's a matter of not taking care of business against a team that, on paper, they should beat.

TommyJack writes:

Kid: Agree about the love-fest. Barf. Never really got it about Neuheisel, but media always liked the guy. But I think a win on Natl TV is still a plus. I DO see this game as a win for us.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

TJ, I can't decide if UCLA is one of my 5's or 7's.

Chow scares me more than Neuheisel. We must get a push against their O-line. Bud Light will rule early that day, then maybe a touch of Maker's Mark. Do I need to practice saying "Dang"??

Lovefest for Rick N, think about how Corso was always handled since he was good for a "quote".

TommyJack writes:

PD: True. And Corso was also a lousy coach. Wish he had been better. Maybe we have been spared his mouth all these many years. "Not so fast my friend" azz.

invisiblekid writes:

TJ, ANY game on national TV is a plus for the Vols at this point, not real crazy about PPV. I think it is a plus for the Vols if they win obviously but it gets downplayed for the reasons I mentioned earlier. After all, they have to protect Wonderboy Neuheisel and his "passion bucket", which by the way is one of the most stupid terms in sports history IMO. It sounds more like something you'd find laying around a house of ill-repute or some of the less savory movie theaters.

BTW, I am playing the role of tngeoff for this post.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

invisiblekid-12:48 that's a large mantle of "Official You-Tuber" to assume. I expect another 30-40 offerings per day while you practice. LOL

invisiblekid writes:

Corso.....barf, 'nuff said. The Chow-Chavis matchup does look to be the real story of who wins the game though.

invisiblekid writes:

LOL PD, note I did say for that one post only, I couldn't possibly match that level of output.

Silent_Fulmer writes:

Yawn, Cue the Fulmer boycott from talking to anyone in the natioanl media approach...Wait, they don't want to talk to him anymore.

99gator writes:

i hate to point out the obvious.....


who cares about ucla and if they talk to neuheisel.

you want media attention. you want national respect, with espn folks and other college football pundits, etc, talking about tenn.

win or lose to ucla.....beat florida. tenn beats florida and tenn will have the national media's full attention.

beat ucla. the media will raise its interest. then go out and lose to florida, knoxville will be a media ghost town.

beat florida. it's that simple.

Ralph_Crampton writes:

For National interest the Vols-UCLA game will give the Vols exposure...but the Fla-Vol game does not attract that much attention around the country...Fans from afar look upon SEC games as back yard brawls, Ho Hum! But it must be said that the series that began over 40 years ago, should end after the Bruins play in Knoxville in 2009. The series has been unfair to the Vols..with UCLA averaging about 40,ooo fans at home against the that with 100,000 or more at Neyland stadium...the Vols have been suckers long enough.

invisiblekid writes:

"beat florida. it's that simple." Unfortunately, that's easier said than done as the record over the past 15 years or so would attest 99Gator. As far as caring whether they talk to Wonderboy or not, on Sept. 1st, it won't matter. Just making idle conversation on a lazy Sunday.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

99gator- Beat Fla is a task. We always seem to be 2-3 plays behind. Probably tuffest big game team is Auburn, they just usually fly under the radar.

I think Auburn at the Loveliest Village on the Plains is the hardest place to win in. Ask Bama!

What's your fearless prediction for Tebow & Co? I've stepped out and said we'll go 7-5. Oh well, it'll sell a lot of cold Bud.

99gator writes:

invisible and pd

i was not saying that to be smug either. i joke about the florida-tenn game being the biggest game of the year, for the following reason.....

win, you play most of the rest of your games on cbs.

lose, and you play most of the rest of your games on jp or espn.

my comment really was because, florida, happens to be the first big game of the year on tenn's schedule (unless ucla is considered a big game). what captures national attention is a big win over a highly ranked team.

99gator writes:

beating florida or auburn should make people take notice though.

SFOrange writes:

in addition, its likely to have a major effect on the number of UT fans (east or in cal) that can attend the game. I live in the Bay Area--attended last years game with about 15K in LA on a Monday night...with the holiday weekend over, well--it'll look great on tv.

TommyJack writes:

Many obstacles loom on the horizon. Auburn will be brutal with Tommy Tube...probably the best pure coach in SEC. He's sort of the reverse of Les Miles...wins more with less. Anything can happen. That's why we play. Selah.

invisiblekid writes:

99gator, didn't take you as being smug and you're overall point is something with which I agree totally. My take is win the big games and a team will get respect. No doubt that the UT-FL matchup is not the marquee television event it was in the 90's but it is still crucial to the season for both teams.

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