Evan Woodbery: Vols only favored in only one matchup against South Carolina

Tennessee kicker Michael Palardy (1) kicks the extra point after a touchdown closing Mississippi State's gap to 17-14 in the second quarter at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee kicker Michael Palardy (1) kicks the extra point after a touchdown closing Mississippi State's gap to 17-14 in the second quarter at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Quarterbacks

Whatever his struggles, Connor Shaw is still the best option for the Gamecocks, and after a brief spat last week, his coach, Steve Spurrier, seems to realize that as well. The same likely could be said for Tennessee. Tyler Bray needs to shake off his recent struggles and get back to the playing like he did a month ago. Edge: South Carolina.

Running backs

Rajion Neal's return should help the Vols' rushing attack, although backup Marlin Lane had some hard-fought yards in his absence last week. But Marcus Lattimore — even a dinged-up Marcus Lattimore — is one of the best backs in the nation. Edge: South Carolina.

Wide receivers/tight ends

Justin Hunter seemed less than pleased with coach Derek Dooley's frank criticism this week, so we'll see if that sparks a better performance. The Gamecocks have a trio of short but speedy receivers in Ace Sanders, Bruce Ellington and Damiere Byrd. Edge: Even.

Offensive line

Tennessee's line, which has allowed only three sacks all season, will face another difficult test this week. The only team in the country to allow fewer sacks than the Vols is Air Force, which hardly ever passes. Edge: Tennessee.

Defensive line

End Jadeveon Clowney has 7 1/2 sacks and 14 tackles for loss this season. His partner on the other side of the line, senior Devin Taylor, has been nearly as good. Edge: South Carolina.

Linebackers

A.J. Johnson has been a warrior for the Vols, but the linebacking corps has failed to meet lofty expectations for this season. Shaq Wilson and Reginald Bowens are the most prolific tacklers in Carolina's senior-heavy unit. Edge: South Carolina.

Secondary

On the surface, Tennessee's defensive woes seem firmly rooted in the secondary and it's apparent there will be no quick fixes this season. The Gamecocks' secondary is relatively anonymous compared to the rest of the defense, but the defensive backs help clean up what the front seven can't handle. Edge: South Carolina.

Special teams

Michael Palardy did quite well on kickoffs, field goals and punts, so perhaps the solution to Tennessee's special teams questions was easier than anyone anticipated. Alabama kept kicking to Cordarrelle Patterson last week, almost as if they were trying to prove a point. Edge: Tennessee.

Coaching

Steve Spurrier used to taunt Tennessee for only making the Citrus Bowl (now called the Capital One Bowl). It's been years since that was even a reasonable aspiration. Edge: South Carolina.

Intangibles

Both teams have hit rough patches in the season. Tennessee is trying avoid an 0-5 start in the SEC. The Gamecocks have lost two games in a row. South Carolina playing at home gives them the edge in this category. Edge: South Carolina.

Pick

South Carolina 42, Tennessee 27

South Carolina's performance last week was pitiful, but it's worth remembering how dominant the Gamecocks looked earlier in the season. Tennessee's porous defense offers Shaw and Carolina the perfect opportunity to get back on track.

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Comments » 21

voodoo101 writes:

"Evan Woodbery: Vols only favored in only one matchup against South Carolina"

Hmmmm, one edge TN Off Line; one edge TN Special Teams. I think 1+1 still equals 2; but with all the craziness lately, who knows.

tnsportsman writes:

GRUDEN on MONDAY! GO VOLS, VFL!

tnwolfpup68 writes:

When Spurrier was with Florida - him and his big mouth aggravated the tar out of us (trying to be nice).....So who would have thunk that we would all be thinking this time around - yea USC will win, and we have to accept there's not one thing we can do about it. And before I get called a TROLL...I've only been a UT for just over 20 yrs - BUT I always bleed orange.....and I will take whatever ugly win we can skin out of this one. GBO ALWAYS!!!

6972 writes:

Is it going to be 0-5 in the SEC? The spread is 14. That would be a tough pill to swallow. Many would gag on it. Go Vols...beat the roosters.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I always thought the definition of a troll is someone who pretends to be a fan of the team they attack on that team's site? The above post does not sound like an attack to me.
Just being honest about who you think will win is not trollish.lol Nor is being honest about what you think on any subject pertaining to the article. To me what is trollish is attacking UT on UT's site when you aren't a UT fan. Especially when you're pretending to be a UT fan. For some it's obvious they're not UT fans for others well I guess they are sneakier.

Honesty is good tho fans can disagree. But troll is just a word. None of us think they really exist. Right? It's a made up kind of being.

However being a believer in UT's ability to win this year does NOT make you a Doolaider either.hehe Wanting the continuity of the lack of coaching changes isn't a bad thing. Thinking UT can beat SCar is a part of being a fan of UT for most UT fans. Thinking UT will lose is ok. I just don't tell everbody.lol

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Were you one of those calling for Richt's head last year? Muschamp's? You DO realize that some called for Spurrier's job last year and probably this year too. Are you on everybody's team site calling for other team's coaches to be fired? Is that your job? Are you being paid to create chaos? well congratulations because it's working it would seem. Who know's? Maybe we'll get a new coach. If we do I'll support him/her too. UT will still be a team to beat and we will be back. Go VOLS. Gooly we may comeback at SCAR! Wouldn't that be great? then we could keep our darned coach.

kwcoach writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dooley will be fired on Sunday or Monday if Eavn's score is correct.

6972 writes:

in response to kwcoach:

Dooley will be fired on Sunday or Monday if Eavn's score is correct.

If Hart sends him on the way, I think he waits till the end of the season. But I don't claim to have a crystal ball. Call it an uneducated guess. I just think if he fired him in mid season,it would cause too much turmoil to an already troubled circumstance.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to kwcoach:

Dooley will be fired on Sunday or Monday if Eavn's score is correct.

No he won't. See, the thing about Hart is that he has some understanding of the situation. If a coach's record against ranked teams was this bad when the program wasn't in any kind of rebuilding mode, that coach would clearly deserve to get the boot in a major way. When a program trying to rebuild from its worst circumstances in history has that record, it's much different. What would get Dooley fired would be losing to unranked teams with regularity, and getting blown out by all the ranked teams, while showing no improvement, which is something he hasn't been doing.

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to 6972:

If Hart sends him on the way, I think he waits till the end of the season. But I don't claim to have a crystal ball. Call it an uneducated guess. I just think if he fired him in mid season,it would cause too much turmoil to an already troubled circumstance.

I agree. The correct thing to do is at the very end of the season if he has already made up his mind to replace Dooley. That would mean he already has his replacement secured or hired which nobody except Hart knows the answer. We will know come monday morning. My guess is he will be coaching next Saturday. I am not saying he will not be replaced but I don't think it will be at mid season. That is not cool and it will upset alot of ticket holders.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

"End Jadeveon Clowney has 7 1/2 sacks and 14 tackles for loss this season."

That is pretty impressive.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to SummerfieldVol:

I agree. The correct thing to do is at the very end of the season if he has already made up his mind to replace Dooley. That would mean he already has his replacement secured or hired which nobody except Hart knows the answer. We will know come monday morning. My guess is he will be coaching next Saturday. I am not saying he will not be replaced but I don't think it will be at mid season. That is not cool and it will upset alot of ticket holders.

Let me help you. Athletic Directors do not hire or fire a football coach or basketball coach on this level. It is done by money people. If there is a replacement already picked then those responsible would know. See Haslem and Anderson.

VolzsFan writes:

Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Miss State have a combined record of 27-1. Lone loss...Georgia to South Carolina. South Carolina has 2 losses....Florida and LSU. The 5 opponents of UT will have losses but to only each other + LSU. So geniuses, who in all of college football would beat all or any of those 6 teams? Oregon? No. Kansas State? No. Notre Dame? No. Interesting.

The absurd expectations at UT are a product of Phillip spoiling everyone. Prior to the Hall of Famer, this was a mediocre program with a big stadium. UT has a lifetime of 65% winning %. But I guess if we lose to those teams that will only beat each other this year and not lose to anyone else in college football, we should fire the coach. Anyway, even if Gruden comes UT will still be about 6-6 next year. Can he recruit the type kids from other states and get them here? That is the only way he or anyone else can win here. Time will tell.

flatrock writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

No he won't. See, the thing about Hart is that he has some understanding of the situation. If a coach's record against ranked teams was this bad when the program wasn't in any kind of rebuilding mode, that coach would clearly deserve to get the boot in a major way. When a program trying to rebuild from its worst circumstances in history has that record, it's much different. What would get Dooley fired would be losing to unranked teams with regularity, and getting blown out by all the ranked teams, while showing no improvement, which is something he hasn't been doing.

Excellent post. Vol losses have come to teams with combined record of 27-1. Lack of depth and mediocre kicking have been the main culprits. If Vols can escape Columbia without losing any key players, U.T. will finish 7-5 maybe 8-5 with a bowl win. That would be a plus-three improvement
over last year and would be a boost to recruiting.

AlpharettaVol writes:

in response to kwcoach:

Dooley will be fired on Sunday or Monday if Eavn's score is correct.

This won't happen. Who would finish out the season as interim head coach? Sunseri? Chaney? I don't think anyone believes this would be the right thing to do. These two guys are the only names that are criticized more than Dooley on this board.

iowavol writes:

A win would be nice.

Hopeful for balls thrown to our guys, passes caught by receivers, blocks on defensive ends, backs falling forward holding the ball and refs making good calls.

Oh yeah, wouldn't mind seeing orange defenders tackle a guy on first contact, intercept a pass, sack a quarterback. Hopeful for all, anticipating something less.

volinlm writes:

If the Vols can run the ball, use screens effectively perhaps, and keep the ball away from SC then Spurrier will jack up the pressure on Connor Shaw, Shaw will do what he does best..self destruct. Those are big ifs, but anythings possible.

underthehill writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Let me help you. Athletic Directors do not hire or fire a football coach or basketball coach on this level. It is done by money people. If there is a replacement already picked then those responsible would know. See Haslem and Anderson.

I think you make a valid point that is often overlooked by most ordinary football fans who know little of how business works...I sometimes mistakenly think of UT football as a school sport..wrong..

underthehill writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am not a Dooley fan but I think 7-5 and he gets another year...

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Miss State have a combined record of 27-1. Lone loss...Georgia to South Carolina. South Carolina has 2 losses....Florida and LSU. The 5 opponents of UT will have losses but to only each other + LSU. So geniuses, who in all of college football would beat all or any of those 6 teams? Oregon? No. Kansas State? No. Notre Dame? No. Interesting.

The absurd expectations at UT are a product of Phillip spoiling everyone. Prior to the Hall of Famer, this was a mediocre program with a big stadium. UT has a lifetime of 65% winning %. But I guess if we lose to those teams that will only beat each other this year and not lose to anyone else in college football, we should fire the coach. Anyway, even if Gruden comes UT will still be about 6-6 next year. Can he recruit the type kids from other states and get them here? That is the only way he or anyone else can win here. Time will tell.

So if your opponents are good it's OK to get smoked by them on an annual basis? Interesting thinking. Dooley's done, so if they go down in flames today, Hart should go ahead and dismiss him this evening, move Jim Chaney to the interim position, and press hard to get the right leader in here to get this program off the mat. He probably should have proceeded with this last week before the 50,000 or so Alabama fans could get out of Neyland Stadium.

TooDlems writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Were you one of those calling for Richt's head last year? Muschamp's? You DO realize that some called for Spurrier's job last year and probably this year too. Are you on everybody's team site calling for other team's coaches to be fired? Is that your job? Are you being paid to create chaos? well congratulations because it's working it would seem. Who know's? Maybe we'll get a new coach. If we do I'll support him/her too. UT will still be a team to beat and we will be back. Go VOLS. Gooly we may comeback at SCAR! Wouldn't that be great? then we could keep our darned coach.

Nancy you need to calm down a little bit and take a Midol or something. The Vols will most likely lose to USC and Doofus will be fired next week so just relax and enjoy the process. The good thing is that the game is early today and not many people will be watching.

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