If you think Alabama is Tennessee's biggest remaining threat, you obviously aren't a football coach on the hot seat.
Maybe Alabama will come into Neyland Stadium unbeaten. And perhaps super coach Nick Saban will be at his intimidating best.
But they won't be nearly as scary as Mississippi State and coach Sylvester Croom.
The Vols are 2-4. Coach Phillip Fulmer is under fire. And Croom is about as welcome as the Grim Reaper.
Croom wouldn't look any more terrifying to Fulmer if he carried a large scythe and wore a black robe and hood into Neyland Stadium on Saturday night.
Croom doesn't need a costume. He's got a reputation.
You think Steve Spurrier was tough on opposing coaches when he dominated the league in the 1990s at Florida? All he did was beat, embarrass and needle them.
Croom gets them fired.
You want references?
How about Ed Orgeron, who lasted only three years at Ole Miss? His last game was a 17-14 loss to Mississippi State.
Before Orgeron, there was Alabama coach Mike Shula who was rewarded with a raise and contract extension after leading the Tide to a 10-2 season in 2005. What happened next?
The Tide was 7-3 before it lost to Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2006. Shula didn't win another game and was fired after four consecutive losses.
Ron Zook ended his career at Florida on a three-game winning streak. Unfortunately, he had lost to Mississippi State a couple of weeks earlier. The trip home from Starkville to Gainesville was long enough for Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley to figure out that he needed a new head coach.
If you lose to Croom, you better have the mother of all buyouts or a basketball school for an employer. Either that or coach at Vanderbilt.
How do you know Kentucky is a basketball school?
One answer: Because it sells out Rupp Arena every game.
A better answer: Because football coach Rich Brooks lost to Croom in 2004 and 2007 but kept his job.
It's a wonder Croom didn't faint when he saw Brooks at the following SEC spring meetings.
Since Croom has become the SEC's version of the Terminator, his name is apt to become as much a part of coaching contracts as buyouts and bowl bonuses.
As shrewd as Auburn's Tommy Tuberville and Saban are, they probably have lines in their contracts that read, "I can't be fired following a season in which I lose to Sylvester Croom."
Maybe Fulmer has that line in his contract, too. If not, I suggest his agent, Jimmy Sexton, and UT athletic director Mike Hamilton have an emergency business lunch and Croom-proof the contract.
If Hamilton says he can't make it, the coach at least will know where he stands.
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.