John Adams: Avoiding Oregon would be worse than losing to it

John Adams

Recruiting is Butch Jones' main order of business now that he has assembled a coaching staff. But at some point, he might get around to scheduling.

There's nothing he can do about what the SEC throws at you one Saturday after another. The non-conference schedule is a different matter.

It has basically assured the Vols of an extra loss per season for the next three years. Next season, they will play at Oregon in September. Then come games against Oklahoma in 2014 and 2015.

How tempting it must be for a new coach to suggest buyouts.

The Vols could replace Oregon with some low-level FBS team or maybe even a program that just took up organized football in the last decade. That way, UT could improve its won-lost record and cash in with another home game.

The backlash wouldn't be worth it, though, especially since the Vols already have employed that strategy.

In 2010, coach Derek Dooley's first year at UT, then-athletic director Mike Hamilton chose to buy out of the North Carolina game the following season and replace it with a winnable home game.

The move proved to be both embarrassing and unproductive. Fans were offended that their Vols would run away from a basketball school; the team finished 5-7 anyway.

I couldn't imagine current UT athletic director Dave Hart doing that. He has said he wants Tennessee to play an attractive non-conference opponent each season. And having been involved with programs at Florida State and Alabama, he's more conditioned to fight than flight.

Dropping a prominent opponent also would run counter to the image Jones seeks to project. He wants to build champions, not avoid them.

You still might wonder whether the Vols will keep their date with Oregon. So might Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

In the fall of 2011, Kelly told reporters UT was buying out of the game. Not so, UT said.

"Good," Kelly must have thought. In fact, he probably wished the game could have been moved up to 2012. The Ducks rank No. 4 in total offense; the Vols, No. 109 in defense.

The disparity shouldn't be quite as great in September unless former UT defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri sneaks into the coaching booth, commandeers a headset and starts barking out more bad strategy for old time's sake.

Since an average SEC opponent (see Vanderbilt for details) could manage 40 points on the Vols in 2012, the possibility of the Ducks scoring 60 on them next fall isn't farfetched.

But there are worse outcomes than that. Would giving up 60 points to Oregon be worse than losing to Kentucky in November of 2011? Or losing to Arkansas 49-7 the same month? Or buying out of the game

with the big, bad Tar Heels?

Moreover, projections for Tennessee will be so dire against Oregon, that just making an occasional tackle will be worthy of commendation. And if the Vols can prevent Oregon from surpassing the 62 points Florida scored against them in 1995, a record-setting defeat will be avoided.

Playing Oregon would put your image in harm's way. But buying out of the game would be more damaging.

I can just hear South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier saying, "You can't spell buyout without a 'u' and a 't.' "

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.

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 109

eVOLved writes:

Watch them kick the s#!t out Oregon next year.

VolinCalif writes:

Butch will not start his UT career with this nonsense He and this staff are there to make a team and they will do just that.The Vols have some talent on the team and they are very use to playing against very good teams. Org. don't need to look for a give-me. It will not happen.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to eVOLved:

Watch them kick the s#!t out Oregon next year.

I hope I can see that game. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vols win it going away.

imw8n4u writes:

As far as I know, there has been no mention of trying to buy out of this game, so why even write this story? A couple of seasons ago we were completely dominating the Ducks until mother nature stepped in and gave them a chance to re-group. Yeah - in typical Dooley fashion the game got away from us in the 2nd half, but I fully expect to be competitive with them next year.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to RedBankAlchovol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wrong again twinkle toes. There are a bunch of top 15 teams that are very glade the Vols played a 3-4 and not a 4-3 this last yer. We would have had a 9-3 at the least. The Ducks aren't in the same class as some of those teams. So go hang your stockings and be a good boy so you don't get a lump of coal.

CoverOrange writes:

My god, will someone from Lakeshore come collect John Adams.

dvols writes:

just do whatever ESPN wants TN to do....

thats who runs college football now and the future..

rb4346 writes:

in response to RedBankAlchovol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How can you call yourself a Vols fan, maybe a troll with your attitude. Tennessee is not afraid to play any team, so you need to stick your head back in the sand with the other trolls!!!

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Play 'em. Play Oregon next year, then Oklahoma the next two years after that. And any other powerhouse for that matter. Let recruits know that we are going to play the best teams we can, inside the conference and outside as well. Recruiting will greatly improve, the fanbase will get hungrier, and you'll see Tennessee playing toe-to-toe with these teams sooner than you think.

scvols writes:

Just win 6 games so we can go to a bowl, 6 games.

allvol8 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

My god, will someone from Lakeshore come collect John Adams.

Lakeshore is closed...Moccasin Bend might take him.

SummittsCourt writes:

Well according to JA, the weasel boy but kisser, there is no need to even show up against Oregon or Oklahoma. Instead of buying out, why not just forfeit?

JA, you are joke.

atnvol#283282 writes:

in response to scvols:

Just win 6 games so we can go to a bowl, 6 games.

Amen.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

It's utterly amazing how much you can tell about a writer by just his story headline. I tried several years ago to avoid John Adams' totally negative articles by switching to the Knoxville Journal and as luck would have it, they folded about a month later. Living in Ohio and wanting to follow Tennessee sports I had no choice but to switch back. My solution was to only read his headline story and decide then if it was worth reading and 95% of the time it wasn't.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to scvols:

Just win 6 games so we can go to a bowl, 6 games.

around 80 teams go to bowls now so thats hardly a noteworthy accomplishment--------a non-losing record on its own is just as meaningful as going to any 3rd or 4th tier bowl even UT fans couldnt get interested in-----going to a bowl now is not anything to beat chests over since most do

VFLVFLVFL writes:

I would like to see John Adams on the football field. Id knock this S**t out of him. Probably even pull out the Albert Haynesworth stomp in the end.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

If a bunch of slow athletes at Stanford can slow down Oregon, certainly UT could compete against them..GBO!!

philgreen5#410561 writes:

If the Vols want to get back to the top, we won't do it playing Austin Peay and Western Kentucky. To be the best, you have to beat the best, why not start with next year. I think we win these games, not lose them! GBO..VFL!

nocleats writes:

However, Vanderbilt drops its game against Ohio State and everybody talks about how smart a decision this is with Vanderbilts tough SEC schedule, and are even ready to proclaim James FRanklin as the greatest coach around.

6972 writes:

I don't think many fans enjoy paying big prices for tickets, tanssportation,food, etc to watch us play cupcakes. I would rather watch us play Oregon/ Okla and take our chances than to play a glorified high school team and win. But, that's just me.

Pickwick-Vol writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

around 80 teams go to bowls now so thats hardly a noteworthy accomplishment--------a non-losing record on its own is just as meaningful as going to any 3rd or 4th tier bowl even UT fans couldnt get interested in-----going to a bowl now is not anything to beat chests over since most do

Yeah, bowls are a waste of time! Don't see why any school would ever want to play in one of those darn things!

VolinCalif writes:

in response to 6972:

I don't think many fans enjoy paying big prices for tickets, tanssportation,food, etc to watch us play cupcakes. I would rather watch us play Oregon/ Okla and take our chances than to play a glorified high school team and win. But, that's just me.

Well 72 Grad. That was once called to playing to see who was the best. But with the current structure, it is just a business so, they want to look to see where the most money can be made. But this old 56 guy doesn't need to tell you that.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Any team... anywhere.

GO VOLS!!

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

I think it's only fair that somebody put those stats in some perspective.

Yes, Oregon scored a lot of points and put up a lot of offense, 4th in the country. However, if you look at their opponents, they didn't exactly face a lot of SEC quality defenses. In fact, they only played one team in the top 20 in total defense (Fresno State finished at #19). Seven of their opponents finished in the bottom 50 (53, 64, 83, 94, 121, 122 plus TN Tech's 466 yards allowed per game equals #108 if they were FBS -- of course, they would certainly have given up even more yards than that if they played an FBS schedule). Their other opponents ranked 21, 26, 30 and 32. Overall, not even counting Tn Tech, their average opponent finished ranked 60th.

Our offense faced #1, 5, 12, 17, 27, 59, 60, 61, 80, 96, 101, and our FCS opponent gave up almost exactly the same yards/game as theirs.

Sometimes stats can be misleading if not taken in context.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

I think it's only fair that somebody put those stats in some perspective.

Yes, Oregon scored a lot of points and put up a lot of offense, 4th in the country. However, if you look at their opponents, they didn't exactly face a lot of SEC quality defenses. In fact, they only played one team in the top 20 in total defense (Fresno State finished at #19). Seven of their opponents finished in the bottom 50 (53, 64, 83, 94, 121, 122 plus TN Tech's 466 yards allowed per game equals #108 if they were FBS -- of course, they would certainly have given up even more yards than that if they played an FBS schedule). Their other opponents ranked 21, 26, 30 and 32. Overall, not even counting Tn Tech, their average opponent finished ranked 60th.

Our offense faced #1, 5, 12, 17, 27, 59, 60, 61, 80, 96, 101, and our FCS opponent gave up almost exactly the same yards/game as theirs.

Sometimes stats can be misleading if not taken in context.

Smarty. Do you think that the naysayers even know what you are saying?

hikerdude writes:

Oregon will probably beat us, but buying out of the game would be really stupid for all kinds of reasons.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to allvol8:

Lakeshore is closed...Moccasin Bend might take him.

Obviously I've been out of Ktown a long time. Didn't get that newsletter.

Point is, no one should be giving anything JA says in this article any credence. He is just goading for a reaction.

golfman1975 writes:

Oregan scored at least 41 points this year...except Stanford who did not have the fastest defense. They scored 14 points. I always say...you don't win games on paper, that is why the games are played.

Banner writes:

Oregon is in a different league than UT at this point. For fans to suggest that UT will win this game going away is insane.

When was the last time UT beat a quality opponent? In all seriousness. I can't remember.

Dumb article and dumb responses.

golfman1975 writes:

Also...no one in the SEC, East or West played a tougher conference schedule than us. It has been that way for years now. It was always stacked with a very cruel Oct. We had opportunities to win USC, Miss St, Missouri and Georgia. We did beat a favored NCSt to open the season. During the coverage of the NCSt game they kept talking about how they had the best secondary in the country but we smoked them like cheap cigar. We had the potential but critical plays cost us those games.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Banner:

Oregon is in a different league than UT at this point. For fans to suggest that UT will win this game going away is insane.

When was the last time UT beat a quality opponent? In all seriousness. I can't remember.

Dumb article and dumb responses.

Take two more swigs and go to bed.

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to scvols:

Just win 6 games so we can go to a bowl, 6 games.

In all Honesty I don't think we will win more than 3-4 games next year.

Reasons why is because we barely won 5 with the Big 3 plus Rivera,and Rodgers catching the football. We lose those guys which means that high octain Offense will take 2 steps back,and even if we run the 4-3 our guys will still be slow compared to the offenses we play.

Since we are basically starting over with new guys on offense and still have slow guys on defense it will be an ugly season.

MY buddy predicted our 2010-2012 seasons perfectly,and unfortunatly is predicting a 2-3 win season for us next year. Sad part is he's usually right. Western Kentucky is looking like a Troy game for us, especially since they are much better than Troy.

So a Team better than Troy vs a Vols team worst than this seasons = a possible upset! Scary thought for VOLS fans! But I'm leaning more on year 2 to get 6-7 wins and then move forward to 8-9 wins in year 3.

It will get better but don't count on a team with less talent to do better than this team we had this year.

Classof72 writes:

"I can just hear South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier saying, "You can't spell buyout without a 'u' and a 't.' " "

I can't. But, I could imagine Spurrier saying, "You can't spell buyoUT without UT".

Lawrence Welk might have said, "...a U and a T". Nobody else.

The worrisome fact about going to Oregon is that you can't spell "blowoUT" without UT, either.

golfman1975 writes:

in response to Banner:

Oregon is in a different league than UT at this point. For fans to suggest that UT will win this game going away is insane.

When was the last time UT beat a quality opponent? In all seriousness. I can't remember.

Dumb article and dumb responses.

I realize you have good points. However, the game is decided on the field and not on paper. If a game plan is developed to our strengths and not try trick plays and plays outside the talent, anything can happen. The Vols have had many upsets through the years so dont throw in the towel. I promise right now the staff is looking at film and developing a plan...especially film from the Stanford game this year against Oregon. They pulled it off. Oregen gave up 51 the the USC Condoms............er, Trojans. Also the Arkansause Fighting Red Wolves scored 34. Never say never.

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to golfman1975:

Also...no one in the SEC, East or West played a tougher conference schedule than us. It has been that way for years now. It was always stacked with a very cruel Oct. We had opportunities to win USC, Miss St, Missouri and Georgia. We did beat a favored NCSt to open the season. During the coverage of the NCSt game they kept talking about how they had the best secondary in the country but we smoked them like cheap cigar. We had the potential but critical plays cost us those games.

True, BUT we won't have that same Talent that Torched NC Stats secondary next year. We take a significant step backwards on offense, and defense will still be pretty slow in certain areas. Defense should be better but not by much. And certainly not enough to stop a track team like Oregon.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

Guys, it is time to just let our numbers do the talking. John Adams is in any way considered relevant ONLY because of how many hits his articles get and how many responses he gets. IF WE STOP CLICKING ON HIS ARTICLES AND THEREBY STOP MAKING ANY COMMENTS TO HIS ARTICLES, I guarantee you that he will become irrelevant and a liability for KNS.

But we need to be collectively committed to it and go through with the boycott. This is how change is enacted. John Adams is nothing more than an instigator, and doesnt show journalistic integrity. I think we should show him that we have the power to get him kicked off.

What do you say, Vol fans?

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

He will try really hard to use attractive headlines that will be aimed at tricking us into clicking on his articles...but we need to stay strong, avoid all his articles, and watch our collective strength do the talking.

tdvol1989 writes:

I am not predicting the outcome, but there is much talk of more NCAA probing and Chip Kelley running to the NFL ala Pete Carroll. The expectations will be low and Butch Jones seems to understand the game. He will have a stable staff and he is chasing some JUCO contributors. I expect he is going to spend every day between now and next fall preparing for Oregon and Florida.

Do I think we will win those games? It isn't likely, but it won't be impossible. Making a good showing in those will excite fans. I truly believe you will see max efforts in those games. And if Oregon is facing some penalties with a new coach, then ...

golfman1975 writes:

in response to Supersayin1:

True, BUT we won't have that same Talent that Torched NC Stats secondary next year. We take a significant step backwards on offense, and defense will still be pretty slow in certain areas. Defense should be better but not by much. And certainly not enough to stop a track team like Oregon.

I also posted it will be critical for our team to play within their talent level. IF you go to your strengths it is possible to move the ball on anyone...a great offensive call against a defense can make a difference. Keep the O on the field...dink em to death. Dinking can open other chances offensively. First downs. Frustrate um...out think um. We probably will not win and I am not predicting a win. It will be decided on the field during warm weather...not the cold of winter. Many good thoughts tonight...thanks for your response and I hope we find a way to compete or win some way. We still do not know what talent we have coming in so it will be interesting. With CP and Hunter gone, this could mean we get some Juco's or talented freshman to fill in quick. Let's wait for a final judgement and not get our exercise by by jumping to conclusions.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

A couple of points 1) don't be cowards 2)and we don't have the money to do it. As a side note,there is a very big concern among Duck fans that Kelly won't even be the Oregon coach. He will be coaching a NFL team next year. I live in Portland, and I will be at the game, please don't do this to me.......I will catch Holy ______ if we run away. Bonzaivol

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to imw8n4u:

As far as I know, there has been no mention of trying to buy out of this game, so why even write this story? A couple of seasons ago we were completely dominating the Ducks until mother nature stepped in and gave them a chance to re-group. Yeah - in typical Dooley fashion the game got away from us in the 2nd half, but I fully expect to be competitive with them next year.

Yes there has. See Vol Nation for details.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

You people giving Adams heII are wrong. There is discussion about buying out this game. You might be suprise how many "fans" think it's a good idea.
Quote (more or less)"Vols have a better chance to go to a minor podunk bowl without a buttkicking by the Ducks. Maybe we can play UTC instead, might beat them. Recruits rather see the Vols in the Podunk Bowl even though they are CHICKEN"
Not what I want or expect of my Vols. Read the thread on VN, it might make you want to puke.
But no, J.A. did not make this up. Some of the VFL super fans started it.

Give em heII Butch

Vol_in_Mich writes:

I expect the Vols to win every game they play. I've been a Vol fan for over 60 years, I'm used to disappointment, but I still expect wins.

I read something the other day that said a lot about people that post on sports boards. A fan said something like "Yeah, they didn't think the Vols should be on the same field as Miami the year we stomped their butts in the Sugar Bowl" the response "Well I wasn't born in '85 so I wouldn't know about that"
There is the main problem with message boards, not Gator trolls.

Another thing, you don't shoot the messanger so lay off of Adams, he's just doing his job. You don't have to agree with him, but you don't have to attack him. I can't believe I just said that ;-)

Vol_in_Mich writes:

Just in case the world DOES end today, it's been nice knowing ya, Vol fans!

Maybe in the next world the Vols don't hire Dooley.

GBO

OLROCKYTOP writes:

Lets just play the game. Remember John, stranger things have happened. Kelly, from what I have heard may bolt for the NFL.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to OLROCKYTOP:

Lets just play the game. Remember John, stranger things have happened. Kelly, from what I have heard may bolt for the NFL.

Agree. And if he bolts, our chances for an upset greatly improve.

allvol8 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Obviously I've been out of Ktown a long time. Didn't get that newsletter.

Point is, no one should be giving anything JA says in this article any credence. He is just goading for a reaction.

I was agreeing with you;)..I think he has the obnoxious personality disorder..

Sir_Spanky writes:

"And having been involved with programs at Florida State and Alabama, he's more conditioned to fight than flight".

You missed on that one, John. Anybody that would choose to be in the P-WASTE ACC, is in "flight" mode all the way.

rbwtn writes:

Let's get something straight I don't like to put my tail between my legs and RUN. What if we beat Oregon. The Vols have never ran from anyone until the former AD Hamilton changed the schedule which made for Boring games and no TV coverage however I'd rather play those teams than not. You never know what may happen so STOP the Stinking Thinking and go for it!

rabidvol1998 writes:

I'll be there cheering them on. VFL. Go Vols>

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