John Adams: Vols should hope for lighter October in new SEC schedule

The Tennessee bench rushes the field as they celebrate a touchdown in overtime by defensive back Eric Gordon (24) against Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. UT won the game 27-21.(AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

The Tennessee bench rushes the field as they celebrate a touchdown in overtime by defensive back Eric Gordon (24) against Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. UT won the game 27-21.(AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennesseee football practice, Oct. 2, 2012

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley at the UT Quarterback Club

What's your feeling about the Vols after the Georgia game?

See the results »

View previous polls »

When the SEC finally gets around to firming up its 2013 football schedule, Tennessee can only hope it won't include four consecutive games against nationally ranked teams.

The Vols shouldn't be optimistic, though. There's no such thing as an easy schedule in the SEC. There's just tough and tougher. This stretch is especially taxing since Saturday's open date is the only thing between the Vols and four consecutive Saturdays against top-25 teams.

No matter how the new schedule shakes out, UT knows it will have to play East rivals Georgia, South Carolina and Florida — none of whom appear to be dropping out of the top 25 anytime soon. Its conference schedule is further exacerbated by having recurring powerhouse and current No. 1 Alabama as its permanent opponent from the West.

The relevant question regarding the new schedule isn't "Whom will you play?" It's "When will you play them?"

Every school in the conference is waiting on the answer.

SEC officials began working on a new long-term schedule after the spring meetings last June. More than three months later, they're still at it.

"The sooner the better for everybody," said Mark Womack, the conference's executive associate commissioner, when asked for a completion date.

The project hasn't been limited to SEC administrators. They confer with school officials, who provide input on their preferences.

"We may not be able to accommodate all of those things," Womack said.

But they're obviously giving it their best shot, which helps explain why it's taking so long.

October is a reminder that Tennessee could benefit from a change or two. By the end of the month, the Vols likely will have played 11 nationally ranked teams in October during a four-year stretch. In the other two months combined, they probably will play six nationally ranked opponents during the same period.

October is too brutal. September and November are too light, at least compared to October.

So maybe the Vols should be lobbying to play Vanderbilt in September and Florida in November. They also would be better served by playing Georgia in September — as they did this season — rather than in October. The rest of a best-case conference schedule would include Alabama and South Carolina in October with an open date in between, The Vols then could take a chance on their date with a rotating opponent from the West.

Moving the Florida game out of September would be more advantageous than ever next fall. The original 2013 schedule has the Vols playing at Oregon the second week of the season and playing at Florida in Week 3.

Autzen Stadium and The Swamp are two of the most hostile venues in the country. Moreover, Oregon and Florida, will return about two-thirds of their starters from teams currently ranked in the top 10.

If the new schedule leaves the Florida game where it is, perhaps Tennessee could do something about Game 2. Wonder how much the Ducks would take for a buyout?

The Vols could spin it as a move necessitated by the new SEC schedule.

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.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 61

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

No matter how a new SEC schedule lines up, I still would like to see the Vols keep their date with Nike Tech. It might be like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, but then again, it might be a little more like Sam Houston getting the drop on unsuspecting Santa Ana. Vamanos, Big Orange.

SeminaryVol writes:

in response to decades_vol:

No matter how a new SEC schedule lines up, I still would like to see the Vols keep their date with Nike Tech. It might be like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, but then again, it might be a little more like Sam Houston getting the drop on unsuspecting Santa Ana. Vamanos, Big Orange.

Haha well said. Having been to an Oregon game, their fans are as loud an 'ornery as any in the SEC.

lomas98 writes:

When you move teams around on the schedule, what happens if they are better or worse than expected. I think everyone would have been complaining if Arkansas was left on the schedule based on how last season ended. How different would we feel now with an Arkansas home game instead of traveling to Starkville? What if Missouri had beaten ga or sc this year? They would be another ranked opponent. Playing in the sec there is just not an easy stretch.

Fryinpansvols writes:

Florida in November would be sweet! Just like in 2001, when Travis Stephens and Company drained The Swamp! GBO!

orange_eVOLution writes:

Move the Florida game. I still want the Ducks!

GO VOLS!!

SummittsCourt writes:

8 games against SEC opponents is difficult for anyone. Pac 12, Big 10, Big 12 teams do not have to deal with 8 difficult games every year. It's murders row but we wouldn't have it any other way! Go Vols!

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to Fryinpansvols:

Florida in November would be sweet! Just like in 2001, when Travis Stephens and Company drained The Swamp! GBO!

I hear ya brah...

I can stil see Spurrier's face when Stephens took off on that long run. We had a great offensive line.

Mainly, we beat Florida in the Swamp in Spurrier's last season there. SWEET.

Rumblefish writes:

Please correct me if I'm wrong....

Tennessee already bought out their "home and home" with Oregon. Got replaced by Tennessee Tech this year in Eugene.

And I agree...move the FL game till later in the year. So many times has the TN season been defined by the 3rd game of the year.

foodexpert writes:

You all need to check out the New Original Brother Jacks Pig Burgers and gourmet sauce at Food City. We did a tailgating party and everybody loved them I'm going to get some more after this bye week. Hopefully will get it together after the Bye week.GO VOLS!!!!!!

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

in response to Fryinpansvols:

Florida in November would be sweet! Just like in 2001, when Travis Stephens and Company drained The Swamp! GBO!

The 2001 game wasn't played in November. It was played December 1st. I'm not surprised you didn't know that. After all, you're a ut fan. Keep up the solid work.

(And you wonder why we laugh)

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to decades_vol:

No matter how a new SEC schedule lines up, I still would like to see the Vols keep their date with Nike Tech. It might be like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, but then again, it might be a little more like Sam Houston getting the drop on unsuspecting Santa Ana. Vamanos, Big Orange.

As good as Oregon has been, it's still really hard to take a team seriously when their uniforms look like they lost a war with a highlighter pen.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

The 2001 game wasn't played in November. It was played December 1st. I'm not surprised you didn't know that. After all, you're a ut fan. Keep up the solid work.

(And you wonder why we laugh)

Yes, it's good that you point out the really important fact, rather than, I don't know, WHY it was played then.

laraccoon writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

The 2001 game wasn't played in November. It was played December 1st. I'm not surprised you didn't know that. After all, you're a ut fan. Keep up the solid work.

(And you wonder why we laugh)

you call him a chump for not being able to remember what date a game was played on 11 years ago. sounds like he has a life, it also sounds like you dont !

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to laraccoon:

you call him a chump for not being able to remember what date a game was played on 11 years ago. sounds like he has a life, it also sounds like you dont !

BOOM!

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

In other words, if nothing changes, UT is guaranteed to start 1-2 next year.

wononta writes:

Nobody outside the SEC cares about strength of confrence or strenght of schedule. It's a non-issue.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to Fryinpansvols:

Florida in November would be sweet! Just like in 2001, when Travis Stephens and Company drained The Swamp! GBO!

2001 was a nice win in a great game for UT. They've gone 2-9 versus Florida since, with those only two wins coming v Ron Zook (no wonder he's your favorite UF coach).

During UF's 8-game winstreak, they've outscored UT 250 to 126. That's an average margin of 16 points per game. Domination, and it hasn't been close.

But great win way back in 2001!

govolsn3 writes:

Bring on the DUCKS, USC, NEBRASKA, OHIO ST., MICHIGAN, NOTRE DAME, and on and on. No more Akron, Buffalo, Troy. I want the hardest schedule that you can muster. It worked for coach PAT SUMMITT all these years and it made them better for it. GO VOLS...VFL

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

2001 was a nice win in a great game for UT. They've gone 2-9 versus Florida since, with those only two wins coming v Ron Zook (no wonder he's your favorite UF coach).

During UF's 8-game winstreak, they've outscored UT 250 to 126. That's an average margin of 16 points per game. Domination, and it hasn't been close.

But great win way back in 2001!

UT won back-to-back games in the Swamp in '01 and '03; meanwhile, the Gators won in Knoxville in '00 and '02. '03 was more of a surprise if I recall correctly.... I believe that was also the year we went down to Miami and beat the U, after which Kellen Winslow JR made his infamous "soldier" comment....

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Speaking of pleasant surprises, I'm waiting for the one that happens when I no longer see your screenname. One can only hope.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

I have to disagree with moving certain games though. I'm of the philosophy that a team is as good as its record indicates. If the team is good enough, theoretically it shouldn't matter when we play Florida or Oregon or Alabama. That's what makes winning championships challenging.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to wononta:

Nobody outside the SEC cares about strength of confrence or strenght of schedule. It's a non-issue.

Really? Actually, I think it matters quite a bit. I'm pretty sure the Florida States and the Oregons of the world would benefit from a weaker SEC. There's a reason why the National Champion has come out of the SEC the last 6 years (Texas was the last non-SEC school to win the NC, BTW). For example, If Bama rolls through a schedule consisting of 6 SEC teams, all of which are in the top-25, they're probably more likely to retain a #1 ranking than, say, if they rolled through an SEC schedule where they were the only SEC school in the top 25 (just being hypothetical; the SEC has had down years, but never THAT down, I don't think); I'm not putting you down, I'm just respectfully disagreeing with you.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Speaking of pleasant surprises, I'm waiting for the one that happens when I no longer see your screenname. One can only hope.

I agree but like all trolls toddygirl will have another screen name soon after

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to govolsn3:

Bring on the DUCKS, USC, NEBRASKA, OHIO ST., MICHIGAN, NOTRE DAME, and on and on. No more Akron, Buffalo, Troy. I want the hardest schedule that you can muster. It worked for coach PAT SUMMITT all these years and it made them better for it. GO VOLS...VFL

I don't know how far out the schedules are made, but I believe honestly we got the schedule we needed the last 2-3 years. The team simply wasn't ready for a brutal schedule (which is funny, because the 3 SEC west teams we played last year were 1,2,3 in the BCS at one time); anyway, I think in another year or so we'll be ready for a tougher schedule. Of course, "another year" usually triggers the trollage, so I'm usually hesitant to use such a phrase.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to VolFanInTheBoro:

I agree but like all trolls toddygirl will have another screen name soon after

Good point....a troll by any other name......

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

govolsn3,
Unless you believe it was the schedule that attracted CPS's recruits, I think you're comparing apples and oranges. CPS got the top athletes because she was CPS. Dooley hasn't built up the "street cred" yet. I don't know that he ever will, but I guess you can also use the chicken or the egg argument.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

govolsn3,
Unless you believe it was the schedule that attracted CPS's recruits, I think you're comparing apples and oranges. CPS got the top athletes because she was CPS. Dooley hasn't built up the "street cred" yet. I don't know that he ever will, but I guess you can also use the chicken or the egg argument.

I wish I could get an honest assessment beyond this blog as to the sentiment regarding Dooley from High Schoolers around the nation. Do they think he's the laughingstock that many on this blog do? Or do they see a character guy who is committed to turning the program around? So far, it appears to be the former, unfortunately.

OrangeHeart writes:

Don't change the schedule. Don't worry about balancing the schedule. In the SEC there is NO SUCH THING as an easy schedule. Whether our team is up or down we take our schedule as it is. It's SEC football, and I personally wouldn't want to have it any other way. You become the best by beating the best, even if that means taking some "A** Whoopin's" along the way.

arkyvol writes:

instead of worrying about juggling the schedule, the vols could concentrate on fielding a team that these behemoths wouldn't reasonably consider an automatic w. in other words, become the vols of old. unfortunately, that requires something called a coach.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to arkyvol:

instead of worrying about juggling the schedule, the vols could concentrate on fielding a team that these behemoths wouldn't reasonably consider an automatic w. in other words, become the vols of old. unfortunately, that requires something called a coach.

Wow...if only UT HAD a coach... hmmm...oh, wait, THEY DO!

CrankE writes:

Two things I'd like to see for Tennessee in the new schedule:

1) UF needs to move. Make it the season opener, or move it to November and swap Vandy.

In the past, the lizards whined on the one hand that they have to also play FSU in November and therefore it would be unfair to them to have UT in their November stretch run. On the other hand, UF boasts that UT is never a challenge, so what is the legitimate complaint with moving the UT game-regardless of where it is on the schedule? UF wants it both ways. That's a valid point to make with the league office.

Perhaps the league should also ask themselves whether 3 non-confernece, season-ending rivalries, with 3 SEC teams in the same division (UGA-GT, SC-Clemson, UF-FSU), are going to be given primacy above conference scheduling.

I note as well that UF was vehemently opposed to adding ANY Florida school to the SEC. Why? Is competition now a BAD thing? What's the most populous state in the SEC? And how many SEC teams are in that state? How many other SEC states have more than one SEC team?

Given that the status quo is so favorable to UF, I can see why they'd never want to change anything.

2) UT's open date must be in October-preferably late October. In the past, UT has gotten September open dates which are simply too early. This has put UT in the situation of having to play about on 7-8 consecutive weeks to close the season-or 9 weeks when they've been fortunate enough to make it to the dome. Everybody else's open date seems to come in October or November, UT's should too. If the tough stretch is October, then that's where the open date needs to be.

govolsn3 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

govolsn3,
Unless you believe it was the schedule that attracted CPS's recruits, I think you're comparing apples and oranges. CPS got the top athletes because she was CPS. Dooley hasn't built up the "street cred" yet. I don't know that he ever will, but I guess you can also use the chicken or the egg argument.

All I am trying to say is a tougher schedule makes your program tougher in the long run, not comparing the coaches as much as comparing what a tough schedule makes you prepare for. Coach DOOLEY is in no way ever going to be compared to Coach SUMMITT because he hasn't been here long enough. Judging his start and what he started with, this VFL says he is doing a great job and who knows what the future could bring. GO VOLS...VFL

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to govolsn3:

All I am trying to say is a tougher schedule makes your program tougher in the long run, not comparing the coaches as much as comparing what a tough schedule makes you prepare for. Coach DOOLEY is in no way ever going to be compared to Coach SUMMITT because he hasn't been here long enough. Judging his start and what he started with, this VFL says he is doing a great job and who knows what the future could bring. GO VOLS...VFL

Yeah, I agree he's doing the best job he can do under the circumstances (I've never been on the "fire Dooleave" bandwagon); I still don't think 3 or even 4 years is adequate considering the fact he's dealing with a brand new defensive alignment that from what I understand takes a year or two to learn. He's one heck of a motivator if nothing else. They didn't quit in Athens when the going got tough, and to me, that's a very good sign.

govolsn3 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Yeah, I agree he's doing the best job he can do under the circumstances (I've never been on the "fire Dooleave" bandwagon); I still don't think 3 or even 4 years is adequate considering the fact he's dealing with a brand new defensive alignment that from what I understand takes a year or two to learn. He's one heck of a motivator if nothing else. They didn't quit in Athens when the going got tough, and to me, that's a very good sign.

Totally agree.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to govolsn3:

Totally agree.

LOL. If only the rest of the world possessed our brilliance!

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL... I don't even get offended at you or DC3 anymore. I just laugh it off. Yeah, you guys have our number right now. I never understand the sense in repeatedly rubbing it in on the fans of one single team, though, because when it gets right down to it, only one fan base is really happy at the end of the season, and it hasn't been you guys in a while.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

...and while I predicted a Vols victory over UF, I wasn't so bold as to predict a blowout. SEC games are as unpredictable as the MegaMillions lottery (you have to admit that deep down somewhere, a little part of you thought the Vols might win this year).

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ah, but Bray might enter the draft this year.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Ah, but Bray might enter the draft this year.

...and BTW, I don't think Peyton the Magnificent is thinking much about being 0-4 against the Gators these days.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to Jeff_Driskel_For_Heisman88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Next year's gonna be a doozy for sure...Of course, Bryant-Denney can be deafening as well.

absgovols writes:

in response to UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST:

The 2001 game wasn't played in November. It was played December 1st. I'm not surprised you didn't know that. After all, you're a ut fan. Keep up the solid work.

(And you wonder why we laugh)

Who is we? You should change your user name to "sensitiveone" and troll elsewhere...

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to absgovols:

Who is we? You should change your user name to "sensitiveone" and troll elsewhere...

Could be Schizophrenia.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

I wish I could get an honest assessment beyond this blog as to the sentiment regarding Dooley from High Schoolers around the nation. Do they think he's the laughingstock that many on this blog do? Or do they see a character guy who is committed to turning the program around? So far, it appears to be the former, unfortunately.

What do you base your last statement on? The "UT don' need time fer rebuildin' cause we're UT" club is surely a laughable thing to any potential recruit whose worth recruiting anyway! Only near functional illiterates with depressed mental capacity resulting in a total inability to comprehend that 'multiple issue complex network problem solving' even exists join that club anyway. Easily seen through by 99.9% of high school scholar/athletes.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

What do you base your last statement on? The "UT don' need time fer rebuildin' cause we're UT" club is surely a laughable thing to any potential recruit whose worth recruiting anyway! Only near functional illiterates with depressed mental capacity resulting in a total inability to comprehend that 'multiple issue complex network problem solving' even exists join that club anyway. Easily seen through by 99.9% of high school scholar/athletes.

So, in English, you're basically saying that recruits aren't picking UT because........

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, I think Driskel was a find for you guys. He's very impressive and will only get better. Maybe next year is our year, who knows?

TNVol71 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

As good as Oregon has been, it's still really hard to take a team seriously when their uniforms look like they lost a war with a highlighter pen.

Although Oregon is a very formidable opponent, your post was laugh out loud funny. Thanks for adding the humor.

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to govolsn3:

Bring on the DUCKS, USC, NEBRASKA, OHIO ST., MICHIGAN, NOTRE DAME, and on and on. No more Akron, Buffalo, Troy. I want the hardest schedule that you can muster. It worked for coach PAT SUMMITT all these years and it made them better for it. GO VOLS...VFL

Swapping akron, ga state and troy for any of those you list is swapping 3 sure Ws for 3 sure Ls.

So we enter the last 2 games at 0-10 and hope to beat beat the commodes and ukittins? They dropped unc last year for a cupcake for a reason.

This year we may get 7 Ws (nc st, ga st, akron, troy, commodes, uk, mo) and not beat a team with a winning record, or at least close to the top 50. Playing tough nonconference teams is fine when you got the team to compete, but look at our results last year vs oregon.

We better keep servin' up the cupcakes for a while longer if we want a bid to the Sani-Flush Toilet Bowl anytime soon.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Jeff_Driskel_For_Heisman88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Better stock up on body bags.

allvol8 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Yes, it's good that you point out the really important fact, rather than, I don't know, WHY it was played then.

I believe it was due to a hurricane...which one I don't remember

govolsn3 writes:

in response to HopeisNotaCourseofAction:

Swapping akron, ga state and troy for any of those you list is swapping 3 sure Ws for 3 sure Ls.

So we enter the last 2 games at 0-10 and hope to beat beat the commodes and ukittins? They dropped unc last year for a cupcake for a reason.

This year we may get 7 Ws (nc st, ga st, akron, troy, commodes, uk, mo) and not beat a team with a winning record, or at least close to the top 50. Playing tough nonconference teams is fine when you got the team to compete, but look at our results last year vs oregon.

We better keep servin' up the cupcakes for a while longer if we want a bid to the Sani-Flush Toilet Bowl anytime soon.

Was anyone on this VFL site talking to you?????

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features