John Adams: What comes later bigger challenge for Vols, Gators

John Adams
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks on as the Vols take on the Georgia State Panthers at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. Tennessee 51-13 over Georgia State. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks on as the Vols take on the Georgia State Panthers at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. Tennessee 51-13 over Georgia State. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Vols talk about Tennessee vs. Florida

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Tennessee and Florida are back in the top 25. GameDay is returning to Knoxville.

Just like old times, huh?

Not exactly.

Never mind that the Vols (23rd in The Associated Press poll) and Florida (18th) are both in the top 25 the week of their game for the first time since 2007. The rivalry hasn't suddenly been transported back to its glory days.

In the glory days, Tennessee and Florida ruled the division; Georgia and South Carolina provided only a slight upgrade over Kentucky and Vanderbilt. From 1993 through 1999, Tennessee and Florida were a combined 27-1 against Georgia and South Carolina. Only once in those seven seasons did the winner of the UT-Florida game fail to win the SEC East.

The division is topsy-turvy now. And Georgia and South Carolina are on top.

The winner of the UT-Florida game won't even emerge as the division favorite. It merely will become a more viable threat to the Bulldogs and Gamecocks, who are both ranked in the top 10.

UT vs. Florida still matters, though. And it will matter most to the loser.

In the 1990s, UT and Florida had sufficient talent and confidence to rebound from the worst of outcomes in their rivalry. For example, the Vols lost to the Gators 62-37 in 1995 and still finished 11-1 and second in the country, thanks to some bizarre ballots in the coaches' poll.

These Vols and Gators aren't as talented. And you can't expect them to be as confident after totaling 13 losses last year. They hadn't combined for more defeats in a season since 1979 when UT was 7-5 and Florida was 0-10-1.

Both programs have made headway since then. The Vols opened their season by beating a supposedly competent North Carolina State team by 14 points

while ending a six-game losing streak in the Georgia Dome. Florida overcame injuries, a hostile environment, and a 10-point deficit to beat Texas A&M at College Station last Saturday.

But, after last season, you have to wonder how these teams would handle an early season defeat. The loser of this game is assured of adversity, which invariably follows closely on the heels of failed expectations.

History tells us Florida is supposed to win. Odds-makers tell us UT is supposed to win.

If the Vols can't win at home as a favorite against a Florida team handicapped by injuries, you might wonder if the Gators' seven-game winning streak in the series is destined to reach 70. If the Gators can't prevail in a rivalry they have owned, what other calamities could be forthcoming?

In the 1990s, you knew what was coming after Florida vs. Tennessee: winning streaks. From 1995 through 1999, Tennessee's winning streak post-Florida averaged 8.4 games; the Gators averaged a winning streak of 5.2 games after the Vols.

Now, when you look at the two teams' schedules, winning streaks don't come to mind — just tougher opponents.

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 » 40

VolinCalif writes:

Yep it's the SEC

rabidvol1998 writes:

Interesting analysis. Let's just make sure the follow up analysis is about what happens when the Vols win! GBO.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

This is Adam's way of saying he believes UT will win. Now he has to cheapen the win by berating UT & FU's relevance in the SEC East. John's Back to trolling GVX style under his pen name this time..

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

This is Adam's way of saying he believes UT will win. Now he has to cheapen the win by berating UT & FU's relevance in the SEC East. John's Back to trolling GVX style under his pen name this time..

Witch Doctor say and its only tuesday and besides Adams probably has 4 Polls before Friday! Witch Doctor been real busy in very important Voodoo project last couple of weeks just now getting head back..came Fedex today. Witch Doctor first gotta give kudos to Rich Rollins for calling the Darylick Rogers cancer thingy. Witch Doctor say ole boy had enough chances. Witch Doctor say now on to skinning some gators..Witch Doctor hope Bray uses a dull dull knife! haha
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Can't wait to see who the guest picker is on gameday. I'm hearing rumors that it might be Lee Majors.I heard this story back in the 70's and went to Lee Majors biography on idmb to confirm:

Lee Majors was born in Wyandotte, Michigan, Harvey Lee Yeary [Lee took his acting name Lee Majors, from the University of Tennesse football coach Johnny Majors], on the 23rd of April 1939,. He grew up in Middleboro, Kentucky, where he had been adopted by relatives after the death of his parents, when he was less than three years old.

"Majors chose his stage surname because of his childhood hero Johnny Majors who was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy at the University of Tennessee and was later the head football coach."
Raised in KY, but still pulled for the Vols!

You will be hearing about Lee Majors soon and I think every Vol should know this.About the time the SMDM was widely popular Pittsburgh was also having their championship season with Tony Dorsett in the backfield. From what I remember Majors and Majors struck their friendship at that time and it carried on once Johnny came home. I remember seeing him on the sidelines a few times.

In Middlesboro. The HS Field was named after Lee when he donated the money to redo the turf. (Bradner Stadium-Lee Majors Field). Lee came back to the dedication of the field on Homecoming and escorted and kissed (on the cheek) the homecoming queenHe bought his Aunt Mildred (or mom to him because she raised him) a new Gold Cadillac every 3 or 4 years. Mildred worked with my friends mom at Commercial Bank.

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

Oh BTW, I forgot to mention, Lee went by Harvey Lee all thru HS where he was a good football player. (Most famous to come out of Middlesboro were Ig and Ug Fuson- who both played at UT). Ig and Ug were nicknames and short for Ignorant and Ugly

My friends housekeepers nephew broke out 2 of Lees teeth in a fight because Lee went out with a girl who dated his best friends 3rd cousin! (He's the 6.5 million dollar man) ha

Lee went to Eastern Ky Univ to play football and tore up a knee as a freshman after 625 yds rushing in 3 games. Got into acting at EKU and was discovered there by Rock Hudson. Rumors swirled later in life, but none were ever proven true. However Rock did refer to having a huge crush on a blue eyed young man from Kentucky in his autobiography. Everyone from home always assumed it was Harvey Lee....again, pure speculation. Rock is definately the one who got Lee his break on The Big Valley!

Farrah was the hottest women ever, and the clerk at the exxon on Washing says he met her when he was 10

Enough useless info But finally, Lees favorite quote is....... fbama and fthegators

Richmonds_Wannabe_Brother writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

Oh BTW, I forgot to mention, Lee went by Harvey Lee all thru HS where he was a good football player. (Most famous to come out of Middlesboro were Ig and Ug Fuson- who both played at UT). Ig and Ug were nicknames and short for Ignorant and Ugly

My friends housekeepers nephew broke out 2 of Lees teeth in a fight because Lee went out with a girl who dated his best friends 3rd cousin! (He's the 6.5 million dollar man) ha

Lee went to Eastern Ky Univ to play football and tore up a knee as a freshman after 625 yds rushing in 3 games. Got into acting at EKU and was discovered there by Rock Hudson. Rumors swirled later in life, but none were ever proven true. However Rock did refer to having a huge crush on a blue eyed young man from Kentucky in his autobiography. Everyone from home always assumed it was Harvey Lee....again, pure speculation. Rock is definately the one who got Lee his break on The Big Valley!

Farrah was the hottest women ever, and the clerk at the exxon on Washing says he met her when he was 10

Enough useless info But finally, Lees favorite quote is....... fbama and fthegators

I grew up in Richmond. My father was a department head at EKU. Hall of Fame coach Roy Kidd lived right down the street from me and his son Keith was one of my best friends growing up. We used to work at the stadium as coke-hawkers during Colonels home games. Good money.

Lee Majors was at EKU just before my time, but I'm pretty sure the injury was a back injury and he was actually paralyzed briefly. He was a dang good player though before that.

Wow! It just occured to me that Keith is currently the Director of Pro Scouting for the Denver Broncos......hmmm.......I wonder......

Rumblefish writes:

So....Adams is saying that the Vols and Gators won and ruled the SEC for a while, and now they're not. Wow...what insight.

I wish I got paid for being this obvious in my writing.

<Jack Lail....do you seriously approve of this filler???>

Rumblefish writes:

Rumors of Tennessee wearing black against the Gators are being spread.

From the Times Free Press via Lost Letterman:
http://www.lostlettermen.com/vols-to-...

1998 writes:

Loved all the stuff about Lee Majors.
On another subject, can anybody remember Peyton ever wearing a black and gold jersey, perhaps in an all-star game? A friend has such a jersey, and I cannot figure out where Peyton would have worn that jersey. Can anybody solve this issue?

123forVOLS writes:

Hey John, we will be concerned with what happens after the UT/FL game after the UT/FL game. I can't wait to get it going. No matter who the mystery picker is, the game still has to be played and that is what matters most.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Adams' cute little remark about the 'streak' reaching 70 is appropriate for him. Another case of struggling to find something to say. Sure, he was trying to be funny, but he's funny in a not so funny way.

Certainly hope the black uniform look is nothing more than a rumor. Gimmicks don't win games. This team has all the ingredients to take this game. No reason for any intimidation IMO.

gillblog writes:

Although Lee Majors would be a good choice as guest picker I would personally like to see Fulmer on the spot. No one other than the Ole Ball Coach himself has a more intimate and continuing knowledge of these two teams over the past couple of decades.

BTW; reading "-radio's" narrative made me think the spirit of William Faulkner had joined this site. Lots of stories there.

Orange_Power_T writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Rumors of Tennessee wearing black against the Gators are being spread.

From the Times Free Press via Lost Letterman:
http://www.lostlettermen.com/vols-to-...

Not sure I'd be too crazy about all black as the article suggests, but the black jerseys didn't bother me at all against SC. In fact I kinda liked them as a one time deal per season. I was there that night against SC and it electrified the stadium. Call it a gimmick, whatever you want, but it made that game- that night- special. I read all the negative posts on here from the traditionalists and I consider myself one to a degree. One home game per season is fine if it helps pump up the team.

ncvol59 writes:

I'm good with pink and green if the Orange beat the Gators!

BigOrangeJeff writes:

in response to 1998:

Loved all the stuff about Lee Majors.
On another subject, can anybody remember Peyton ever wearing a black and gold jersey, perhaps in an all-star game? A friend has such a jersey, and I cannot figure out where Peyton would have worn that jersey. Can anybody solve this issue?

It's probably an Archie Manning jersey from when he played for the Saints.

smokeygrowl writes:

LETS WAIT UNTIL END OF THE SEASON BEFORE WE CROWN GEORGIA ND SC THE WINNERS OF THE EAST JOHN. I BET YOU FLORIDA OR TENNESSEE FINISH AHEAD OF THEM ESPECIALLY SOUTH CAROLINA. MAYBE BOTH TEAMS WILL FINISH AHEAD OF SC AND POSSIBLY THE DAWGS AS WELL.

PUL4VOLS writes:

I don't care what the jerseys, uniforms, etc. look like. I'm interested in the team looking like an SEC ready bunch of head-knockers. All the trimminings and trappings will make little difference when the clock runs out in the fourth quarter. GO BIG ORANGE! Only 3 days to go.

AllforTenn writes:

I'm all "Go Big Orange." Heck with black jerseys. We are the Big Orange!
And South Carolina is overrated again.

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Rumors of Tennessee wearing black against the Gators are being spread.

From the Times Free Press via Lost Letterman:
http://www.lostlettermen.com/vols-to-...

Honestly I loved the Black Jerseys, but feel as though since this is a Traditional Rivalry, we should wear the Home Orange Jerseys.

But I would like to wear the Black Jerseys once a year, maybe against S.Carolina or Mizzou this year.

Vol86 writes:

The winner of this game could win the East?

Troll_Here writes:

Jeez! I came here to read about all the hype and get excited for the game. This article just dumps a bucket of cold water on the whole thing. Thanks JA!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say and its only tuesday and besides Adams probably has 4 Polls before Friday! Witch Doctor been real busy in very important Voodoo project last couple of weeks just now getting head back..came Fedex today. Witch Doctor first gotta give kudos to Rich Rollins for calling the Darylick Rogers cancer thingy. Witch Doctor say ole boy had enough chances. Witch Doctor say now on to skinning some gators..Witch Doctor hope Bray uses a dull dull knife! haha
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

Welcome back, Witchy! Hope your voodoo seminar went well and you came back with some new spells to cast on Vol opponents. Looks like a great season unfolding. Burn a little extra potent incense--or whatever!--to cloud the Gators' minds for their tussle with the Vols! GBO!!! BNL!!!

johnlg00 writes:

Gotta say I am with the ones who hope the black jerseys are merely a rumor. There is quite enough hype for this game without resorting to gimmicks. I too was kinda tickled when the Vols broke them out for USCe, but I was glad it didn't turn into a regular thing. I want all those Gators under the piles on Saturday to see nothing but Big Orange standing over them. And by that, I DON'T mean orange on top and bottom! Or orange shoes! I want them to look like the champion Vols of old. No better way to show that the Big Orange is back, baby! GBO!!! TCB!!!

Smokey_Told_Me writes:

Am I the only one that noticed that against N.C. State both teams wore their home color jerseys (i.e. neither team wore white jerseys). I hope that this will continue with other games on the schedule.

Off topic - - Welcome back Witch Doctor.

...Smokey knows where the bones are buried.

pcorange writes:

While true, why write such a negative article? The Vols are in the best shape they've been in more than 5 years, and things are looking up for a change. Are we going to beat Georgia and SC? Maybe. We've got a good shot, anyway. Are we gonna beat Bama? Not likely, but it isn't totally out of the question. At this point, barring a season ending injury to a key player, I see no reason the Vols couldn't finish the season with 9 or 10 wins. That would be a vast improvement and something to be happy about. So, be a little kinder to the Vols, John.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say and its only tuesday and besides Adams probably has 4 Polls before Friday! Witch Doctor been real busy in very important Voodoo project last couple of weeks just now getting head back..came Fedex today. Witch Doctor first gotta give kudos to Rich Rollins for calling the Darylick Rogers cancer thingy. Witch Doctor say ole boy had enough chances. Witch Doctor say now on to skinning some gators..Witch Doctor hope Bray uses a dull dull knife! haha
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

Welcome back Doc. Carry on.

VolFanInAtl writes:

Rumor... Helmet: Matte black with gloss black T

tomcollins28#554986 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say and its only tuesday and besides Adams probably has 4 Polls before Friday! Witch Doctor been real busy in very important Voodoo project last couple of weeks just now getting head back..came Fedex today. Witch Doctor first gotta give kudos to Rich Rollins for calling the Darylick Rogers cancer thingy. Witch Doctor say ole boy had enough chances. Witch Doctor say now on to skinning some gators..Witch Doctor hope Bray uses a dull dull knife! haha
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

Aren't we cocky after beating two subpar and non SEC teams! I wouldn't discount the fact that our next opponent will have a REAL DEFENSE! So let's not count our chicks yet! Go VOls!
...

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to tomcollins28#554986:

Aren't we cocky after beating two subpar and non SEC teams! I wouldn't discount the fact that our next opponent will have a REAL DEFENSE! So let's not count our chicks yet! Go VOls!
...

Witch Doctor fair and down the middle. Witch Doctor didnt pick the Vols last two seasons(one before for sure..pretty sure I didnt last season either.KNS likes to screw Witch Doctor.haha). Witch Doctor say this year different as young team finally grows up and has no excuses. Witch Doctor say if team stays healthy for four quarters the talk Monday will be all about the Muschomp hiring and not Dooley. lol
Go Vols.
Bones never lie.

voloffaith writes:

in response to tomcollins28#554986:

Aren't we cocky after beating two subpar and non SEC teams! I wouldn't discount the fact that our next opponent will have a REAL DEFENSE! So let's not count our chicks yet! Go VOls!
...

How many Tom Collin's have you had? How many does it take to have you cut n paste same post in multiple article? On topic, As I posted last week, Ray Stephens version of 'The Streak" can continue,but VOLS end the minus7 streak Saturday... Not sc gamecock fan....believe we are up enough and they are down enough that we prevail 4-7 pts.

FanNotSheep writes:

Wasn't that impressed by the Gamecocks. The winner of UT and Florida could easily win the East, but Alabama looks like the class of the SEC so far. The Vols could really help themselves with a big win Saturday. National audience, exciting offense and a full house could help recruiting this year and years to come. Florida might be on the way back too. We don't know if either school has found the right coach yet, but both have resources to get back in the mix soon -- if the NFL hasn't entirely stolen UT's sugar daddy away.

DavidB writes:

The black uniform rumour comes out every year now. Dooley doesnt seem like the type to use them. He commented on it last year.

Adams article may be somewhat negative but it should fire up Vols. Lets fill the stadium this weekend and prove we are behind this team. Sure last weekend was not a big challenge but it sure was disapointing looking up into the stadium and seeing so many empty seats. I remember the days when it did not matter who we played the stadium was packed.

leedsvol2007 writes:

The facts are the game is important in that a win shows the program has bottomed and is coming back along with keeping us in contention for an Eastern Division title.

It will also give potential recruits more cause to believe we are moving forward to our previous levels.

Florida has the same goals.

All programs have ups and downs hopefully our trend line now is headed upward. A win against the Gators Saturday is another step in getting us back to championship contender status.

GoVols!

FLORIDAGATORHATER writes:

We can't run. We can't kick. Our defense is above-average. The passing game is all we have. Something tells me Florida is going to plan for this and plan well. Will be close, but they have more talent in the trenches, which wins games. Hate to say it, but Florida 28, Vols 24.

Vol43 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say and its only tuesday and besides Adams probably has 4 Polls before Friday! Witch Doctor been real busy in very important Voodoo project last couple of weeks just now getting head back..came Fedex today. Witch Doctor first gotta give kudos to Rich Rollins for calling the Darylick Rogers cancer thingy. Witch Doctor say ole boy had enough chances. Witch Doctor say now on to skinning some gators..Witch Doctor hope Bray uses a dull dull knife! haha
Go Vols!
Bones never lie.

Eh, What's up Doc? Good to see you doctor man. Bout time you poked your nose out of that hut. We've missed you like crazy!

Vol43 writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Perhaps you and floridagatorhater should play spin the bottle.

tulelakevol writes:

If you have a car containing a Gator wide receiver, a Gator linebacker, and a Gator defensive back, who is driving the car?

The cop.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Wasn't that impressed by the Gamecocks. The winner of UT and Florida could easily win the East, but Alabama looks like the class of the SEC so far. The Vols could really help themselves with a big win Saturday. National audience, exciting offense and a full house could help recruiting this year and years to come. Florida might be on the way back too. We don't know if either school has found the right coach yet, but both have resources to get back in the mix soon -- if the NFL hasn't entirely stolen UT's sugar daddy away.

When SC QB Connor Shaw and RB Marcus Lattimore are completely healthy, the Gamecocks are pretty good. But Shaw has already been dinged pretty hard this season and Lattimore is still favoring his surgically-repaired knee. SC's #2 QB clearly showed he is not ready for SEC play. If either Shaw or Lattimore is not 100%, the Vols have an excellent chance against them.

UGA looks pretty good right now, but we will worry about them when the time comes. Lots can happen between now and then. Right now, the only game I would say belongs firmly in the loss column for the Vols would be Bama, but even then, you just never know.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Florida is one-dimensional on offense as well. The Vols' one dimension--passing--is better than Florida's one dimension--running, especially if Gillislee isn't 100%. Avoid mistakes, always a Vol killer against FU for some reason, and the Vols win, and possibly by a lot.

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