GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Tennessee and Florida might as well have waited to open the season against each other. Their fans wouldn't be any more in the dark.
UT fans think they have a terrific passing attack. Florida fans think they have a dominant defense.
But that's based on games against noncompetitive opponents.
The uncertainty surrounding the Vols and Gators isn't related solely to feeble competition. Both teams are so young.
Florida is expected to start 14 freshmen or sophomores. UT will start 12.
This isn't business as usual in a rivalry that once dominated the SEC East. This is a surprise package.
UT fans should embrace the uncertainty. It signifies progress for a program that has lost six consecutive games in the series and five in a row by double-digit margins.
Tennessee 27, Florida 20: In the Vols' six-game, regular-season winning streak, they have outscored opponents 155-52 in the first half. Another fast start could work wonders on Saturday in The Swamp.
It would do more than bolster the Vols' confidence. It could quiet a crowd that can be the loudest in college football.
UT fans know just how loud. They've been listening to it for the last two decades. The decibel level has ranged from just loud to so loud I can't hear the person next to me in the press box.
But the volume can drop drastically when Florida is struggling as it did last year in a rare five-loss season.
Their fans have been spoiled by the success of a program that won national titles in 2006 and 2008, and was one victory short of a third in 2009. They don't go to The Swamp to see a struggle.
The Vols will need to change the volume before they change the course of the series.
Ole Miss 24, Vanderbilt 20: Commodores coach James Franklin hasn't yet become a household name in Nashville despite his team's 2-0 start. But he's at least the second-best-known James Franklin in college football behind the Missouri quarterback by the same name.
If you aren't impressed, you haven't been paying attention. The previous six Commodores coaches started out either 1-1 or 0-2.
Alabama 38, North Texas 0: The statues tell you all you need to know about the disparity between the programs.
Alabama has statues of coaches like Nick Saban. The Mean Green has a statue of a flying Eagle.
Georgia 45, Coastal Carolina 10: The Bulldogs will make school history by playing back-to-back games against teams with chicken mascots.
The Chanticleers are actually distant relatives of the South Carolina Gamecocks, who rallied to beat Georgia in the fourth quarter last Saturday. Coastal Carolina was a branch of the South Carolina University until 1993, which southern historians know as the year of the Chicken Rebellion.
South Carolina 40, Navy 24: The Gamecocks have uncovered a new scoring threat in 280-pound defensive lineman Melvin Ingram, who had two touchdowns against Georgia last week. But they continue to alternate two quarterbacks — Good Stephen Garcia and Bad Stephen Garcia.
Kentucky 23, Louisville 17: If there's a worse 2-0 team in the country than the Wildcats, it's playing in a cave. And thanks to Louisville's ineptitude, they're about to become the worst 3-0 team in the country.
Kentucky fans should savor the moment. Up next: Florida, LSU and South Carolina in succession.
Auburn 34, Clemson 30: Clemson will have the home-field advantage. That won't outweigh Auburn's coaching advantage.
Nor will it overcome Auburn's fourth-quarter magic, which quarterback Cam Newton apparently donated to the school upon his departure. It has come from behind to win 10 of its last 16 games.
Arkansas 51, Troy State 17: The Trojans gave up an average of 46 points per game in one four-game stretch last season. Forty-six points would be an off day for the Razorbacks.
There's no such thing as an off day when the Razorbacks are playing a Sun Belt Conference team. In the last 20 years, Arkansas is 16-0 against current members of the Sun Belt.
Top 25: Oklahoma 41, Florida State 24; Wisconsin 42, N. Illinois 17; Oklahoma State 45, Tulsa 17; Texas A&M 48, Idaho 14; Nebraska 38, Washington 23; Oregon 63, Missouri State 13; Virginia Tech 38, Arkansas State 14; Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 30; Ohio State 34, Miami 20; West Virginia 34, Maryland 31; Baylor 52, Stephen F. Austin 17; South Florida 40, Florida A&M 14; Illinois 34, Arizona State 30; TCU 42, Louisiana-Monroe 17; Texas 31, UCLA 24.
Record: 40-3 (.930) overall, 20-12 (.625) against the spread.