John Adams: UT pulling off a road upset has a nice ring to it

John Adams

Noisy stadiums are taken for granted in the SEC. But the noise will be different today.

The roar will become a ring.

The cowbell chorus is the main reason Mississippi State is underrated as a hostile venue in SEC circles. Fifty thousand fans with cowbells can be as distracting as 90,000 fans equipped with nothing more than passion and a voice.

Expect the ring tone to be on high this evening.

Tennessee is accustomed to playing nationally ranked opponents in the conference, but this is a rare occasion for the Bulldogs. They have been 5-0 only three times, most recently in 1999 when they finished 10-2. Before that, their only previous 5-0 starts were in 1919 and 1944.

Given that history, it's not farfetched to bill this as one of the biggest games ever in Starkville.

Tennessee 37, Mississippi State 27: The Vols couldn't beat Georgia two weeks ago in Athens. But in a 51-44 defeat, they demonstrated the kind of resilience the program has so often lacked recently.

The Bulldogs' 5-0 record says as much about their schedule as their skill level. Their biggest victory has come against 1-4 Auburn.

Alabama 34, Missouri 7: The Tigers seem capable of winning one conference game in their first SEC season. This isn't it.

No matter how bad it gets for the Tigers, they can be encouraged by their schedule, which will give them two weeks to prepare for Kentucky on Oct. 27.

No. 1 Alabama shouldn't complain about its schedule, either. Tennessee might be the best team it plays before the last month of the season.

South Carolina 17, LSU 16: The Gamecocks soared to new heights in last week's rout of Georgia. But how can you expect them to beat top-10 teams on back-to-back Saturdays?

Before answering that, picture coach Les Miles on the LSU sideline, then picture coach Steve Spurrier on the South Carolina sideline.

That's how.

Arkansas 34, Kentucky 17: Good thing for Razorbacks coach John L. Smith this game isn't in Lexington. His creditors would be lined up outside Commonwealth Stadium.

Kentucky land deals gone bad have left Smith with $40 million in liabilities, and that doesn't include the Arkansas defense.

The Wildcats can at least make his defense look stable.

Ole Miss 27, Auburn 23: Has any coach in SEC history gone from an unbeaten, national championship season to the proverbial hot seat as fast as the Tigers' Gene Chizik?

Just two years after a 14-0 season, Chizik is presiding over a 1-4 team that ranks last in the SEC in offense and 12th in defense.

Florida 27, Vanderbilt 7: The Gators' ascent has been as sudden as Auburn's descent. A popular pick to finish fourth in the SEC East, Florida is now ranked fourth nationally.

Texas A&M 45, Louisiana Tech 41: The most unlikely top-25 match-up of the season also could be the most entertaining game of the weekend. Louisiana Tech is averaging 53.2 points per game, and Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel is the most exciting player in the SEC.

Top 25: West Virginia 52, Texas Tech 41; Oklahoma 38, Texas 34; Kansas State 34, Iowa State 27; Oregon State 20, BYU 17; Stanford 27, Notre Dame 24; Ohio State 45, Indiana 22; Southern California 38, Washington 20; Florida State 38, Boston College 13; Rutgers 30, Syracuse 23; Louisville 23, Pittsburgh 20; Michigan 41, Illinois 24; Cincinnati 41, Fordham 10; Boise State 34, Fresno State 31.

Record: 99-19 (.842), 52-47 (.525) against the spread.

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.

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Comments » 3

cgbtn writes:

Give me Cam Newton at QB, and I would look as good as Chizik did. U do not get one of those every year.

dholder writes:

Let's see if Dooley can right this ship.
Check out this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BedKZU...

Lizardgrad89 writes:

John, you predicted 86 points in the TAMU La Tech game. That's a LOT of points. How crazy is it that you were under by 30 points?

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