Remember when Tennessee's season openers were informative?
It wasn't that long ago — just three years, in fact.
In 2008, the Vols opened their season by wasting four first-half interceptions and blowing a fourth-quarter lead in an overtime loss to UCLA, whose dearth of talent had been compounded by one serious injury after another. Right then, you probably had a hunch the Vols weren't bound for glory — or even the Chick-fil-A bowl.
Don't expect tonight's opener at Neyland Stadium to be as illuminating, although Montana might be an improvement over the last two opening opponents, whom the Vols beat with such ease that a spring-game rerun would have provided more insight.
You want insight and information? Wait till next week. You want to revel in an inflated victory? Then, bring on the Montana Grizzlies, the No. 2-ranked team in their state and a slight upgrade over UT Martin (2010) and Western Kentucky (2009).
Tennessee 50, Montana 13: After outscoring the Skyhawks and Hilltoppers 113-7 combined in the last two openers, what's another half a 100?
LSU 24, Oregon 20: You could call today's game in Arlington, Texas, the Willie Lyles Bowl. He's the "scouting director" who supposedly has been helpful to both the Ducks and Tigers in their recruiting.
After tonight, Oregon might want a partial refund on that $25,000 it paid Lyle. Compared to LSU, it got shortchanged on linemen.
It also might have gotten shortchanged on shoes based on the 49 pairs that police found in the apartment of suspended LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson. He apparently had everything but getaway shoes.
Georgia 27, Boise State 20: Mark Richt's coaching hot seat will reach scorching proportions if the Bulldogs lose their first two games. This will be the best opportunity for a coolant, because SEC East favorite South Carolina is up next.
South Carolina 45, East Carolina 20: It's a close call whether Gamecocks senior quarterback Stephen Garcia has been a bigger newsmaker or playmaker in his college career. He has been suspended more times than Derek Watson and completed more passes than all but two South Carolina quarterbacks. After all the incidents and completions, he's still competing for a starting job in the opening game of his final season.
Alabama 45, Kent State 7: Coach Nick Saban's alma mater should consider the day a success if it manages to get Tide running back Trent Richardson on the ground at least once.
Florida 45, Florida Atlantic 7: The Gators' offense should be well ahead of last year's pace by the end of the day. They didn't have 30 yards after three quarters of the 2010 season opener against Miami of Ohio.
Vanderbilt 34, Elon 7: It's all good for the Commodores. Not only is this a sure win, they don't have to worry about Elon fans taking over their stadium.
Auburn 41, Utah State 17: A huge drop-off is expected from the Tigers after their 14-0 national championship season. But Auburn's millionaire offensive magician Gus Malzahn is full of surprises. Maybe he can make another athletic 6-foot-6, 250-pound quarterback appear.
Arkansas 55, Missouri State 10: Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino has three things in common with former Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt. Both of their fathers were coaches, both like to call plays and both have benefited from playing Missouri State.
BYU 27, Ole Miss 24: The real rebels will be on the visitors' sideline at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Cougars have declared their independence from all conference affiliations and will fly solo through the 2011 season.
The Ole Miss Rebels are perfectly content to stay on SEC welfare.
Top 25: Oklahoma 58, Tulsa 27; Florida State 51, UL Monroe 7; Stanford 48, San Jose State 10; Oklahoma State 57, UL Lafayette 7; Texas A&M 41, SMU 30; Nebraska 48, Chattanooga 0; Virginia Tech 42, Appalachian State 13; Ohio State 48, Akron 7; Notre Dame 30, South Florida 23; Missouri 32, Miami (Ohio) 16; West Virginia 37, Marshall 13; USC 38, Minnesota 13.