If Tennessee had beaten Memphis 49-14 and Ole Miss 48-14, would Tennessee fans be as excited about their sudden outburst of offense? I don't think so.
But 50-14 and 52-14 victories? That's different.
I'm not sure why the gap between 49 and 50 points is so pronounced in college football. Perhaps it's because former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer never threatened to hang "two fifths of a 100" on an overmatched opponent. But "half a hundred" still resonates.
"Let's hang half a hundred on 'em" became the Sooners' pregame rallying cry in the Switzer era (1973-88) during which they scored 50 or more points 29 times. Sometimes they hit 50 and didn't slow down, as members of the 1980 Colorado team might remember. The Buffaloes had the distinction of scoring 42 points on Oklahoma and losing by 40.
In what would be considered the live-ball era of UT football, 50 points wasn't such a big deal. The 1912 Vols opened the season by hanging a full 100 plus one on King, the 1915 Vols matched that against Carson-Newman, and the 1913 team opened the season with 58-0, 95-0 and 75-0 victories.
Bet those teams didn't open the season with an all-new offensive line and add a true freshman quarterback for the last third of the season.
While no one should be taken aback by UT's 4-6 record, so many other numbers don't add up with this team. For example, who would have thought a team incapable of winning an SEC game in September or October would score 52 points against Ole Miss?
That's the third time this season UT has scored 50 or more points in a game. Only six other teams in school history have accomplished that.
Freshman quarterback Tyler Bray has been the most prominent figure in the last two 50-point productions. In the last two and a half games - two of which he started - he has thrown 10 touchdown passes.
The stat becomes even more impressive when you contrast it with the production of other SEC quarterbacks, only seven of whom have thrown for more touchdowns.
Imagine if you had predicted in preseason that Bray wouldn't start until the ninth game of the season, yet would throw more touchdown passes than Florida's John Brantley. The most likely response would have been: "Yeah, if Brantley suffers a season-ending injury in September."
It hasn't worked out that way.
Brantley has thrown 280 passes, but only eight for touchdowns. Ten of Bray's 114 passes have gone for touchdowns.
Bray has thrown more touchdown passes than UT's Matt Simms, who started the first eight games, as well as Mississippi State's Chris Relf and LSU's Jordan Jefferson, both season-long starters. Bray has only two fewer touchdown passes than Ole Miss' Jeremiah Masoli and four fewer than South Carolina's Stephen Garcia.
Bray's numbers also are noteworthy when you compare them to former UT quarterbacks.
Sophomore Heath Shuler threw 10 touchdown passes in his first season as a starter. Freshman Peyton Manning, who started seven games in 1994, threw 11 touchdown passes that season. Casey Clausen threw 15 touchdown passes as a freshman starter, and Erik Ainge threw 17.
That's not to suggest Bray will have a comparable career to any of those guys. It's just to put his recent touchdown production in perspective.
There should be more touchdown passes to come for Bray in the last two regular-season games. Up next is Vanderbilt, which is last in the SEC in total defense. Then comes Kentucky, which is allowing 34.6 points per game in league play.
Bray isn't the only Vol with surprising statistics. Who would have thought Tauren Poole in his first season as a starter would have more yards rushing at this juncture than either Mark Ingram or Trent Richardson of Alabama?
Or that Denarius Moore would have as many touchdown receptions (seven) as South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and three more than Alabama's Julio Jones?
Freshman wide receiver Justin Hunter also has more touchdown receptions (five) than Jones, even though he has caught just 14 passes overall. Hunter has more touchdown receptions than anyone on Florida's team, and only 56 fewer receiving yards than Deonte Thompson, who leads the Gators in that category.
Hunter, Moore, Poole and Bray have accumulated those statistics behind an offensive line that has relied heavily on four freshmen and two sophomores, which bodes well for the UT offenses to come.
But this is no time to be looking too far ahead. The 2010 Vols still have two more chances to hang half a hundred on somebody.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at htpp://twitter.com/johnadamskns.