John Adams: Vols take on Alabama and LSU again

John Adams

The loyalty of Tennessee fans will be tested this evening. They can go to Neyland Stadium and watch the Vols slug it out with Middle Tennessee State or stay home and watch No. 1 LSU play No. 2 Alabama.

I can appreciate the lure of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-up. But there are a couple of advantages to attending the UT-MTSU game.

If you have an affinity for offense, do you really want to spend three and a half hours watching LSU and Alabama trade punts, turnovers and concussions? The Vols might score more than both teams combined.

Also, you can't dismiss the possibility of a rematch for the national championship. So tonight's game could be meaningless.

No matter what happens, there will be no UT-MTSU rematch.

LSU 20, Alabama 17: Another tribute to the coaching genius of Les Miles, who will chow down on Bryant-Denny Stadium turf while Tide coach Nick Saban chews on his nearest assistant coach.

You aren't supposed to win a national championship by rotating quarterbacks. But Miles keeps succeeding by defying standard coaching procedure as well as common sense.

An LSU offense that seemed set with Jarrett Lee at quarterback has been improved by Miles' fondness for the illogical. By alternating Lee and Jordan Jefferson, an already-effective offense has flourished.

Both have something Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron doesn't — game experience against an opponent comparable to Alabama.

Tennessee 38, Middle Tennessee State 7: The Vols might be on a four-game SEC losing streak, but they still own the state of Tennessee.

Since 2005, UT is 7-0 against in-state teams. And it has outscored them by an average of 24 points.

Florida 27, Vanderbilt 24: UT fans shouldn't be so caught up in their own problems that they fail to appreciate how badly things are going for one of their most hated rivals.

Never mind that October was an awful month for the Vols. It was even worse for the Gators.

At least, UT won a game. Florida was 0-4 in October.

Florida didn't just lose games last month. It lost two more players.

Wide receiver Robert Clark and tight end Gerald Christian became the eighth and ninth players to transfer since Will Zook — uh, Muschamp — became the head coach last December.

Ole Miss 28, Kentucky 20: Too bad, the Rebels and Wildcats are tangling on the same day as Alabama and LSU. Otherwise, an exceptional matchup would receive more attention.

Rarely do you have two winless teams in conference play meeting this late in the season. Kentucky is 0-4 in the league while being outscored 165-36; Ole Miss is 0-5 and has been outscored 179-74.

Kentucky is last or tied for last in the conference in nine statistical categories. Ole Miss is last or tied for last in seven statistical categories.

Both teams have thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes. And both have a signature quarter.

Kentucky has been outscored 69-22 in the first quarter. Ole Miss has been outscored 91-21 in the third quarter.

Arkansas 31, South Carolina 23: Here's another game that won't receive nearly the recognition it deserves. In fact, this might be the most under-appreciated top-10 match-up in SEC history.

The 10th-ranked Gamecocks are leading their division. The eighth-ranked Razorbacks are still in the running for a championship despite their early-season loss to Alabama.

But neither team looks as good as its ranking.

South Carolina's offense minus running back Marcus Lattimore plods along at such a distressing pace, you have to check the sideline to remember that offensive guru Steve Spurrier is the head coach. And Arkansas can't seem to function unless it falls at least 10 points behind.

Georgia 34, New Mexico State 7: The Bulldogs began the season with a stand-in mascot. Now, they are down to walk-on running backs.

Three of their top four running backs are suspended for violating a team rule and the fourth is out with an injury. None of that will matter against the Aggies, who have given up 93 points the last two games.

Mississippi State 38, UT Martin 10: If you have to play three top-10 teams in your own division, it's not so hard to rationalize a ridiculously easy non-conference schedule.

It's paying off for the Bulldogs, who are only two victories short of bowl eligibility — due to a non-conference schedule comprised of four teams with a combined 9-24 record.

Top 25: Oklahoma State 56, Kansas State 31; Oklahoma 48, Texas A&M 24; Stanford 45, Oregon State 15; Boise State 63, UNLV 7; Oregon 45, Washington 24; Nebraska 48, Northwestern 25; Michigan 34, Iowa 20; Michigan State 48, Minnesota 17; Houston 55, UAB 10; Wisconsin 52, Purdue 14; Arizona State 38, UCLA 24; Cincinnati 38, Pittsburgh 31; West Virginia 37, Louisville 24.

Record: 121-25 (.829) overall, 77-55 (.583) against the spread.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284.

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Comments » 10

bUTchVFL writes:

I love the Will Zook.....Muschamp reference. Misery loves company.

snakeplissken writes:

Why would anyone want to go watch Tennessee - MTSU play when we've already watched high school football tonight? I think Maryville could beat either one of them!!!
I'm not wasting my time going to Knoxville to sit among the 50,000 fans to watch a sorry game when I can watch REAL football on TV.

stevefrommemphis writes:

Please get a turnstile count, KNS. I'm very curious. Man, I hope you're right about the LSU-Bama outcome. I live 10 miles from Alabama and 550 from Baton Rouge. An easy choice. Geaux Tigers.

Typical Bama - I work with one and he said he is very nervous. I said: "Yeah, I used to get nervous when Tennessee played big games." His response: "Oh, this is bigger than big. This is huge," implying that since I'm not a Bammer, I could NEVER understand what being a fan of a team in a big game is all about. Typical arrogant Bama. Beat them by 40, LSU.

powert#205805 writes:

"Rarely do you have two winless teams in conference play meeting this late in the season."

There's about a 99% chance that you will have two winless teams in conference play meeting even later in the season when UT meets UK for UT's first conference win. Thank goodness for the Mildcats so the Vols can get an SEC win.

rootin4volz writes:

Wow! Really going out on a limb picking LSU, aren't you, John? Shocking. Shocking as all get out that you would pick LSU.

arkyvol writes:

i'd rather watch two sec teams with real coaches.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

adams your pitful,why dont you go home and NEVER COME BACK.you little butt buddy lame kitten misses you lots and lots

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

I will be watching my Vols and not whinning about an unfortunate down cycle. GBO! and thanks for hanging tough during hard times.

FWBVol writes:

in response to Tau_of_Tennessee:

I will be watching my Vols and not whinning about an unfortunate down cycle. GBO! and thanks for hanging tough during hard times.

I'm with you. But I'll probably be channel hopping on the commericals and I might record the LSU-Bama game...just in case it turns out to be a classic.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

Why would anyone want to go watch Tennessee - MTSU play when we've already watched high school football tonight? I think Maryville could beat either one of them!!!
I'm not wasting my time going to Knoxville to sit among the 50,000 fans to watch a sorry game when I can watch REAL football on TV.

Don't worry. I doubt you will be missed.

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