John Adams: Preseason magazine has Vols, Gators lacking star power

The first preseason SEC football magazine on the newsstands picked Tennessee fourth in the East and didn’t have a Vol on its all-conference team. But Lindy’s isn’t altogether discouraging reading for UT fans.

If it’s right, then the Vols are actually gaining ground on Florida, an astonishing development given the recent history of the series. The Vols haven’t beaten the Gators in six years, during which their biggest divisional rival has won two national titles and had three 13-win seasons.

Lindy’s picks Florida third in the East. And it doesn’t have a Gator on its preseason all-conference first team, either.

The Vols have had a significant talent drop-off and are rebuilding under second-year coach Derek Dooley, the program’s third coach in the last four seasons. But Florida’s non-representation on the first-team is more striking.

In 2009, the Gators had seven players named to the coaches’ All-SEC first team. Moreover, they repeatedly accumulated top-five national recruiting classes under Urban Meyer, who resigned after last season and was replaced by first-time head coach Will Muschamp.

Despite the change in coaches, the Gators seemingly should have talent stockpiled.

Yet when you check SEC depth charts, there’s no obvious all-conference Gator. Even the selection of Andre Debose on the second team as an all-purpose player seems like a stretch. You also might debate Jon Bostic’s inclusion as a second-team All-SEC linebacker.

UT’s second-team picks are offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, who started last season as a freshman, and Malik Jackson, the transfer from Southern California who established himself as the Vols’ best defensive lineman.

The absence of Vols and Gators isn’t all that sticks out on the all-conference predictions. Georgia has as many players (nine) on the first- and second All-SEC teams as Alabama, which the same magazine picks to finish second nationally.

If you give Georgia credit for that much talent, how can you put South Carolina ahead of it, especially when you look at its conference schedule outside the division? Georgia won’t have to play the West’s big three of Alabama, LSU and Arkansas — all with top-10 possibilities — and it gets South Carolina, Auburn and Mississippi State at home.

The favorable schedule aside, Georgia inspires little confidence, and not just because it went 6-7 last year. It has had too many inexplicably awful games the last few years — for example, losing to a less-talented UT team 45-19 in 2009 and dropping consecutive games to the Gators by a combined count of 90-27. Over the last three seasons, it’s an obvious choice as the most under-achieving program in the conference. That helps explain why coach Mark Richt will make everyone’s coaches-on-the-hot-seat list.

Nonetheless, if suspended South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia isn’t reinstated for the season, you might have to pick Georgia to win the East by default. If divisional transfers were allowed, perhaps a second-tier team from the West would win the East.

That’s how far removed the SEC is from its divisional roots.

The first 10 years from 1992 through 2001 were distinguished by the Florida-Tennessee rivalry in the East. The Gators often had the upper hand, but the Vols were good enough as a runner-up to finish in the top 12 nationally four times and eventually won a national title of their own.

In seven of those 10 years, Florida and UT comprised the top two. Georgia broke through in 2002, winning the division for the first of three times in four years.

Still, after the first 18 years of divisional play, Florida had 10 divisional titles; UT had won the division five times and had finished second eight times.

The all-conference teams often reflected that success. Ten years ago, 11 of the 24 All-SEC first-team picks were from either UT or Florida.

Such history never comes to mind while perusing Lindy’s preseason preview, which predicts South Carolina will repeat as East champion. That pick, which likely will be repeated by most preseason publications, is based mainly on the Gamecocks’ nucleus of outstanding players: running back Marcus Lattimore, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and pass rusher Devin Taylor.

The Vols can’t match that kind of star power. But neither can the Gators.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 46

VOLliven2it writes:

Ironic has to be the mood when neither Tennessee, who is going through rough times and challenges, nor Florida is expected to win the SEC East. It will be interesting to see who does. From recent history it looks as though whomever the East winner is, they will have a tough time against LSU, Alabama, or the winner from the West. So it should be an adventuresome conference year.

vut56#231073 writes:

Guess there is not much to quibble about here, as JA is just reviewing someone else's work. As if we could not form our own opinions...if we were interested enough to look.

Seems results are usually determined on fall fields, not in May musings.

Atuss writes:

I like Lindy's because they have pictures of the cheerleaders. Other than that the only value of the preseason magazines is for toilet reading. In all seriousness, the East is up for grabs this year. Who's healthy and plays the best defense will probably determine the winner.

bigdisbig writes:

This is not surprising at all considering Dooley's top recruit was a 4 star rated 79th in the nation. Unless he can coach like Boise State's Peterson (who can win with 2 and 3 star recruits with a weak schedule) we are in for a long frustrating haul with Dooley. Hopefully he can coach these guys up and win a few SEC games. He won't win any titles unless he can recruit some strong thoroughbred horses but he can bring us back to winning games.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Atuss:

I like Lindy's because they have pictures of the cheerleaders. Other than that the only value of the preseason magazines is for toilet reading. In all seriousness, the East is up for grabs this year. Who's healthy and plays the best defense will probably determine the winner.

Vandy could play exemplary defense and not win the East. Ditto for Kentucky.

madrigal writes:

Blah blah blah. More John Adams column filler, good at most for the compost heap.

Atuss writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Vandy could play exemplary defense and not win the East. Ditto for Kentucky.

It's a given that any discussion of SEC East contenders does not include Vandy and UK.

bigdisbig writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I wasn't trashing Dooley for I like the guy. I hope he wins and wins big....time will tell. Its not his fault that the big time recruits aren't interested in UT. Hopefully if he wins they will turn their heads from Bama, LSU, FLA, Auburn and now even SC.

doh writes:

I am not worried about the fourth prediction. UT is getting back to where it was but it will take some more time. Fulmers last few classes werent that good and alot didnt pan out. Kiffins class didnt do much better. I like Dooley and the staff he has. They will get it done.

Huttdawg100 writes:

DOWN GOES TRESSEL!

SEC1 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

transplantiam writes:

SEC1, You have to be looking in the mirror when you say...you idiots. Leave the "s"" off and you will be spelling correctly too!

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

I pick jonhboy adams dead last in the reporting dept!!!pitful

hcjournals#206623 writes:

The campaign has begun. We will have the best chance to beat Florida we have had in 5 years. Excuses and all. I hate Alabama and Florida. But the one thing you have to admire is that they don't make excuses. Even in down years. When we beat Bear Bryant after an eleven game skid he retired. Coincidence? Yes. When we beat Steve Spurrier, he went to the NFL. Mere happenstance? Yes again. But it's fun to think we had something to do with it. When the game begins with these two, it's all dog. They know it. we know it. We don't need excuses. The fact that we are young just means the players get to enjoy it longer as they get ready for the NFL. And another thing I won't take an excuse for is if Bray isn't 20 to 30 pounds heavier with muscle. If he doesn't want to eat, assign a nutritionist to carry his books for him. Like I've said......Haagen Daaz and Burgers. And whole wheat pizza from Stefanos. It sure as heck worked for me....hehehehehehehe.....

hcjournals#206623 writes:

And get Peyton on Tyler's case. Peyton knows how to eat...Because ....When it all comes down to it....You have to....Wait for it......Let the big dog eat.....Yes, I said it.....Late....

jzt writes:

Justin Hunter, Darick Rogers, Taureen Poole, Tyler Bray aren't star material.

Orange_Scooter writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nippy weather? Figures... hey look buddy, there's this new invention called pants. I know wearing pants instead of jorts is confusing to you. Most people in the nation have figured this new phenomena of nippy weather out. Might want to look into it.

CCLC writes:

This is just bad reporting:
1. “The favorable schedule aside, Georgia inspires little confidence, and not just because it went 6-7 last year. It has had too many inexplicably awful games the last few years — for example, losing to a less-talented UT team 45-19 in 2009” [ 2010 Dawgs 41-14 this 27 point spread from CMR only loosing 6-7 team….. ]
2. “and dropping consecutive games to the Gators by a combined count of 90-27[ Dawgs beat Gators last in 2007, Vols did it last in 2004 as did the Dawgs. Vols have lost 6 straight to Gators. Lets go back to that date 2004 when both teams have beat the Vols.
Gators 199-Dawgs 146 (2004-2010)
Gators 219- Vols 111 (2004-2010)
3.“Over the last three seasons, it’s an obvious choice as the most under-achieving program in the conference”
Last three seasons
UGA’10 Unranked 6-7- UT unranked 6-7, Dawgs first losing season in a decade….Vols 3rd.
UGA’09, #25 8-5-UT #32 7-5.
UGA‘08 ,#10 10-3- UT 5-6 , unranked.
4. “That helps explain why coach Mark Richt will make everyone’s coaches-on-the-hot-seat list.”
Mark Richt 2001-2010 2 conf 4 East Titles 10 bowls 7 wins , 5 top ten finishes, last two in 07(#2) ‘08(#10) 1 loosing season attributed to complete new Defensive staff and philosophy worst record before that was 8-5-Seven ---ten win or better seasons. Coach Richt in top 5 of active winning coaches at .732. Coach Vince Dooly at .682 when he retired.
College football is cyclic. UT is on their third coach in baseball, basketball, football in the last five years. LSU has the D coordinator from Tennessee and judging by the performance of the LSU offense (look where they rank in the SEC) he is the reason why they are winning. Richt will be at Georgia until he retires . If opposing fans want to point and say I hope they keep Richt so they keep losing fine. I hope Tennessee hangs on to their AD too. ;-)
Just sayin’

CroKev writes:

Again, assuming we win the games we should, we’ll be 6-0. Then there are those 6 tough SEC games (3 home: UGA, LSU, USCe; 3 away: UF, Bama, Ark.). If we can win just 1 of those home games and 1 of the away games, we’ll finish 8-4 and go New Year’s bowling. That would be a good season with a couple of marquis wins that will help us with recruiting. I then think we have a solid shot at 10+ wins in 2012 and 2013.

Speaking of recruiting, I just looked at all the 5 & 4 star recruits for DT and UT is in the running for every one of them but one and we’re going after the LBs as well. Dooley’s guys are on the campaign trail more than anybody and it looks like we’ll be back in the BCS discussion in a couple of years for a long time to come.

Finally, it looks like we’re in a lot better situation than Ohio State after the resignation today. Who would have thought that a month ago?

CroKev writes:

in response to CCLC:

This is just bad reporting:
1. “The favorable schedule aside, Georgia inspires little confidence, and not just because it went 6-7 last year. It has had too many inexplicably awful games the last few years — for example, losing to a less-talented UT team 45-19 in 2009” [ 2010 Dawgs 41-14 this 27 point spread from CMR only loosing 6-7 team….. ]
2. “and dropping consecutive games to the Gators by a combined count of 90-27[ Dawgs beat Gators last in 2007, Vols did it last in 2004 as did the Dawgs. Vols have lost 6 straight to Gators. Lets go back to that date 2004 when both teams have beat the Vols.
Gators 199-Dawgs 146 (2004-2010)
Gators 219- Vols 111 (2004-2010)
3.“Over the last three seasons, it’s an obvious choice as the most under-achieving program in the conference”
Last three seasons
UGA’10 Unranked 6-7- UT unranked 6-7, Dawgs first losing season in a decade….Vols 3rd.
UGA’09, #25 8-5-UT #32 7-5.
UGA‘08 ,#10 10-3- UT 5-6 , unranked.
4. “That helps explain why coach Mark Richt will make everyone’s coaches-on-the-hot-seat list.”
Mark Richt 2001-2010 2 conf 4 East Titles 10 bowls 7 wins , 5 top ten finishes, last two in 07(#2) ‘08(#10) 1 loosing season attributed to complete new Defensive staff and philosophy worst record before that was 8-5-Seven ---ten win or better seasons. Coach Richt in top 5 of active winning coaches at .732. Coach Vince Dooly at .682 when he retired.
College football is cyclic. UT is on their third coach in baseball, basketball, football in the last five years. LSU has the D coordinator from Tennessee and judging by the performance of the LSU offense (look where they rank in the SEC) he is the reason why they are winning. Richt will be at Georgia until he retires . If opposing fans want to point and say I hope they keep Richt so they keep losing fine. I hope Tennessee hangs on to their AD too. ;-)
Just sayin’

Are you sayin' that Richt is as "loved" by the UGA faithful as Hamilton is by the Orange faithful?
Just askin'

SEC1 writes:

in response to CroKev:

Again, assuming we win the games we should, we’ll be 6-0. Then there are those 6 tough SEC games (3 home: UGA, LSU, USCe; 3 away: UF, Bama, Ark.). If we can win just 1 of those home games and 1 of the away games, we’ll finish 8-4 and go New Year’s bowling. That would be a good season with a couple of marquis wins that will help us with recruiting. I then think we have a solid shot at 10+ wins in 2012 and 2013.

Speaking of recruiting, I just looked at all the 5 & 4 star recruits for DT and UT is in the running for every one of them but one and we’re going after the LBs as well. Dooley’s guys are on the campaign trail more than anybody and it looks like we’ll be back in the BCS discussion in a couple of years for a long time to come.

Finally, it looks like we’re in a lot better situation than Ohio State after the resignation today. Who would have thought that a month ago?

grizzles=w
cinny=pic em
gators=seven in a row
buff=w
ga=l
lsu=l
bama=l
cocky=l
mtsu=w
hogs=l
vandy=w 24-17
kentucky=w 24-21

write it down..... auto zone bowl 40 and raining enjoy

CCLC writes:

in response to CroKev:

Are you sayin' that Richt is as "loved" by the UGA faithful as Hamilton is by the Orange faithful?
Just askin'

+1. LOL

CCLC writes:

"Nonetheless, if suspended South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia isn’t reinstated for the season, you might have to pick Georgia to win the East by default. If divisional transfers were allowed, perhaps a second-tier team from the West would win the East.

DUDE! where have you been..... he's been suspended 5 times.... the backup just ain't cuttin' it.... the kid from NC is not comin'.................and then there is this:
"In a shocking development, Stephen Garcia wil now be allowed to participate in voluntary workouts this summer at South Carolina."
Pay attention: Georgia's D will be much improved and will take that East title by storm. AHhHHHhhh.... the off season leaves much to our imaginations.

kman29 writes:

I will be one of the first to say that I do go out and buy those preseason magazines only for the summer entertainment and lack of football. But in the end they mean nothing. Its funny at the end of the season to look back at some of these magazines and see how far off they were on their "predictions". So when I read that UF doesn't have any all conference selections in the preseason, who cares. In the end a healthy Jeff Demps is all conference, a QB in brantley if he gets his confidence right again is a potential all conference QB in Weis's system. Matt Elam (S), Ronald Powell (OLB/DE), Sherrif Floyd (DT), Dominique Easley (DT), Andre Debose (WR), Xavier Nixon (OT), Jordan Reed (TE) ect..are all potential all conference players for season end when it really matters if they play to their potential.

bbfn writes:

in response to Atuss:

It's a given that any discussion of SEC East contenders does not include Vandy and UK.

I suspect November 19, 2011 could be a shocker for UT, when Vandy might pull an upset right there in K'ville.

CCLC writes:

in response to bbfn:

I suspect November 19, 2011 could be a shocker for UT, when Vandy might pull an upset right there in K'ville.

Dang man..... Don't believe I would have said that. You must be buying into Phil Steels preseason all sec report. Yet both teams have the same number of players on his team at 5. R you saying Vandy is ready to take on the VOls.

orangeman1 writes:

So is the article right that UT finished 1st or 2nd in the East 13X's in 18 years? I know UT didnt finish 1st or 2nd the last 2 years so that means UT finished 1st or 2nd 13x in the 16 years Fulmer coached. Thats pretty amazing considering the tough schedule UT played every year. I cant wait till the Fulmer firing starts paying off and UT can compete for the East again soon. I think Dooley can do it, but I just hope people dont expect too much from him like they did Fulmer. I would pick UT 3rd or 4th in the East this year and around 8 wins, but next year no excuses, UT should be back to competing for the East.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Atuss:

It's a given that any discussion of SEC East contenders does not include Vandy and UK.

Dang, I knew that. Pardon the interruption. :)

murrayvol writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

By season 3 CWM will be looking a lot like the Zooker and the FU fans will be......upset.

murrayvol writes:

in response to CCLC:

"Nonetheless, if suspended South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia isn’t reinstated for the season, you might have to pick Georgia to win the East by default. If divisional transfers were allowed, perhaps a second-tier team from the West would win the East.

DUDE! where have you been..... he's been suspended 5 times.... the backup just ain't cuttin' it.... the kid from NC is not comin'.................and then there is this:
"In a shocking development, Stephen Garcia wil now be allowed to participate in voluntary workouts this summer at South Carolina."
Pay attention: Georgia's D will be much improved and will take that East title by storm. AHhHHHhhh.... the off season leaves much to our imaginations.

Not to worry. Garcia will be under center come September. It is written.

murrayvol writes:

in response to bbfn:

I suspect November 19, 2011 could be a shocker for UT, when Vandy might pull an upset right there in K'ville.

Now that's a bet I'll take.

volinlouisiana writes:

in response to orangeman1:

So is the article right that UT finished 1st or 2nd in the East 13X's in 18 years? I know UT didnt finish 1st or 2nd the last 2 years so that means UT finished 1st or 2nd 13x in the 16 years Fulmer coached. Thats pretty amazing considering the tough schedule UT played every year. I cant wait till the Fulmer firing starts paying off and UT can compete for the East again soon. I think Dooley can do it, but I just hope people dont expect too much from him like they did Fulmer. I would pick UT 3rd or 4th in the East this year and around 8 wins, but next year no excuses, UT should be back to competing for the East.

That is fair.

volinlouisiana writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Definitely revisionist history happening here. Vandy was down 17-3 until they scored near the end to make it appear closer than it was, then Tn promptly scored again to settle the Final at 24-10 (which even you probably can calculate is a 2 score victory). We also beat Ky by 2 scores. You failed to mention that we were actually leading at the end of regulation over LSU and UNC. We drilled Ole Miss and actually Florida needed the momentum of a fake punt in the second half to pull away. We were drilled by the good teams we played like Alabama and Oregon, and GA did soundly beat us as well. UAB was just embarrassing, but at least we won.
We should be significantly improved with improvements made to the defensive backfield, line, and o line. Also, we will have another year under this system. We will probably win 8 games and finish just ahead of the Gaytas.

flatrock writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen.

mtowntim writes:

Predictions (opinions) and aceholes...well you know the rest.

How often do any preseason predictions pan out to be accurate?

SEC1 writes:

in response to flatrock:

Amen.

i agree ut will win championships with dooley..... the state of tennessee championship with wins over vandy, mtsu, and the ut-martins of the world

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

in response to jzt:

Justin Hunter, Darick Rogers, Taureen Poole, Tyler Bray aren't star material.

you sound like some darned ole bammer fan LMAO,youll see they will all be big ole stars and 1st round draft picks!

stormblast writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It should be cozy for gator fans in the Georgia Dome for the Chickfila Bowl.

stormblast writes:

Tennessee goes 8-3 in 11'.

Florida goes 7-5 in 11'.

History Channel shows the premiere of the third season of "Swamp People" with highlites of Tennessee going gator hunting in the swamp.

UT 45, Florida 24.

Bray throws 5 touchdown passes.
"Tha's som good shootin son!"

stormblast writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee fills up 45 tags next September.

Tennessee 45, Florida 24.

Jediphysics writes:

By the way and completely off topic... anyone out there still upset we 'whiffed' on recruiting Prior to UT? Anybody?

iadvol writes:

in response to doh:

I am not worried about the fourth prediction. UT is getting back to where it was but it will take some more time. Fulmers last few classes werent that good and alot didnt pan out. Kiffins class didnt do much better. I like Dooley and the staff he has. They will get it done.

Fulmers last 3 classes and kittens class destroyed UT. We need two more top 15 classes (including 2012) to compete at a high level. I think Dooley is getting UT back on track.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

When the polls come out, don't forget the troll poll.

Take your pick............

Bodeane
02 Chump
SEC 1 ( the kid )
Cantstandhimself - Saban - or anyone
Mama calls me precious ( but is blind )

plus many "honorable" mentions

BigBadVol writes:

Mama_Calls_Me_Precious has to answer his own posts. LOL! Nobody pays attention to him. Poor little thing. LOL! What a loser. VFL!

mbain13 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is not surprising at all considering Dooley's top recruit was a 4 star rated 79th in the nation. Unless he can coach like Boise State's Peterson (who can win with 2 and 3 star recruits with a weak schedule) we are in for a long frustrating haul with Dooley. Hopefully he can coach these guys up and win a few SEC games. He won't win any titles unless he can recruit some strong thoroughbred horses but he can bring us back to winning games.

Seriously? You're gonna base the season on which team has more stars. I wish we could go back to the old days where there were no such thing as stars and just recruit players because they fit into the system. Just because somebody is a 5 star doesn't mean they'll fit into the system. Cam Newton would not have fit in here. Its all about coaching and making the system work.

runninmill writes:

in response to mbain13:

Seriously? You're gonna base the season on which team has more stars. I wish we could go back to the old days where there were no such thing as stars and just recruit players because they fit into the system. Just because somebody is a 5 star doesn't mean they'll fit into the system. Cam Newton would not have fit in here. Its all about coaching and making the system work.

I hope you're joking that Cam Newton wouldn't have fit in here. Hell, with a guy like that you fit the system around him!
You don't need to lecture us on the star system and how it works. But it's funny that there wasn't even one 5 star that would 'fit' into Dooley's system? I think it's more like sour grapes that we couldn't get any to commit.

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