John Adams: SEC will be chasing Bama again next fall

John Adams
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012, file photo, Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) is taken down after a first down run by Western Kentucky defensive back Tyree Robinson (22) and defensive back Jonathan Dowling (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  With the national championship on the line, two throwback offenses will slug it out. No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama rely heavily on the run, and that doesn't figure to change in the biggest game of the year. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012, file photo, Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) is taken down after a first down run by Western Kentucky defensive back Tyree Robinson (22) and defensive back Jonathan Dowling (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. With the national championship on the line, two throwback offenses will slug it out. No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama rely heavily on the run, and that doesn't figure to change in the biggest game of the year. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

The SEC can identify with Notre Dame this week. It knows all about trying to keep up with Alabama.

But Notre Dame will have to do it for only one game — Monday night for the BCS national championship. The SEC has to do it all year long.

And that's not getting any easier. Tennessee knows that as well as anybody. The Vols are 0-6 against the Tide since it hired Nick Saban and have been outscored by an average of 24 points per game.

The rest of the conference isn't exactly flourishing against Alabama, which is one victory away from three national championships in four years.

The conference's current stretch of football dominance didn't start out that way. LSU won national championships in 2003 and 2007. Florida won in 2006 and 2008. Auburn went unbeaten in both 2004 and 2010.

But what began as a group venture has turned predominantly crimson. It's as though Saban has recreated the Bear Bryant era.

So when you look past Monday's national championship game all the way to next season, how can you envision anyone in the SEC surpassing Alabama? Unless Saban leaves for the NFL, there's no reason to think anybody else would be favored to win the conference title in 2013.

Never mind that Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M should be good again. Or that the Tide will have to rebuild what might be the best offensive line in college football. Replacing players hasn't been a problem for Alabama, which will have three proven playmakers returning on offense in quarterback AJ McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper. And it can build another formidable defense around linebackers C.J. Mosley and Adrian Hubbard.

As if the Tide doesn't have enough going for it, the schedule offers another advantage. Having Alabama for an annual non-divisional rival has become an increasingly significant disadvantage for Tennessee. Conversely, the drop-off in UT football has become another plus for Alabama.

Alabama will play UT and Kentucky from the East this season. LSU, it's biggest divisional rival, will play Georgia and Florida from the East.

Here's an early, early guess at how the SEC standings should look at the end of next season:

East

Florida

South Carolina

Georgia

Vanderbilt

Missouri

Tennessee

Kentucky

West

Alabama

LSU

Texas A&M

Ole Miss

Mississippi State

Auburn

Arkansas

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 » 45

Supersayin1 writes:

WOW!! Sad but true about where my VOLS will finish next year!! Coaching can't make up for the loss of true atheletes! None of our WR's can replace Patterson, Hunter, Rivera,and Rodgers! And Worley may not be as good as everyone is making him out to be. 2013 will most likely end similar to 2012 with a possibility of 1 more loss. I wanna be optimistic, but I have to be a realist first! GO VOLS GO CBJ!!

Supersayin1 writes:

My SEC List Ranking for 2013 though it pains me to be a realist!
EAST
1. South Carolina
2. UGA
3. Florida
4. Vandy
5. Mizzou
6.Tennessee
7.Kentucky

We could flip flop with Mizzou if we get a lucky break to win against them at home.

WEST
1.Alabama
2. Texas A&M
3. LSU
4. Ole Miss
5. Miss St.
6. Arkansas
7. Auburn

takespix writes:

Way wrong!! Texas A&M will not only win the conference, but win the BCS.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

Once again we stand mute, eyes wide, mouths agape at the blinding genius of John Adams. He is the Stephen Hawking of sports analysis.

cloudodust writes:

On the contrary, going forward having Alabama on a yearly schedule is just what the Vols need. It's helped Vandy, Mississippi and Mississippi State elavate their game. Granted, I'd say those teams have >5% chance of beating Saban but Tennessee can elavate bigger than those guys. Texas A&M had a Johnny Football package this season and LSU, well, that's their own yearly dilemma...

golfman1975 writes:

JA...once again getting his exercise by jumping to conclusions. Aren't you tired yet?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to pomp_and_circumstance:

Once again we stand mute, eyes wide, mouths agape at the blinding genius of John Adams. He is the Stephen Hawking of sports analysis.

In that, I suppose, you mean sitting in a chair, speaking through artificial means, dreaming up things no one else can?

golfman1975 writes:

And the blind man said to the deaf mute....I can see what you are talking about.

eduardo writes:

Great hire morons! Went on the cheap once again! My gosh this is ridiculous. Our once proud program is at the bottom of the sec because of idiot hirings. Could of had Brian Kelly, could have had Kevin Sumlin. Tried to hire Louisvilles coach and instead had to settle for a guy who was schooled by the worst coach in program history. Cant tell me that they had no chance at Gruden. No way too much smoke!!!!

golfman1975 writes:

What goes up must come down...also, what goes down must come up. I know that is very deep but I don't ask that you agree with me...only that you think about it.

utluke1 writes:

If Louisville, Northwestern, and Clemson can beat SEC teams, so can Tennessee with Butch. His haircut alone will win a game or two next year. Look at Ole Miss, a good coach makes more difference than the individuals mentioned above that are leaving.

I hope you poopers stay at home and off my campus next year.

wayne.kearney#1414428 writes:

I think everyone will be in for a BIG surprise this coming year. May not win the east but we will contend for it. Players that are there will have a lot to prove and i think they are ready to prove it.

BigOrangeSports writes:

I disagree, John. I think the West will be won by TAMU and I haven't seen what CBJ and staff can do yet, so I'm not willing to rate the Vols on current players or recruits. I don't expect UT to win the East, but I'm also not going to put them towards the bottom of the ranks either.

marVOLous writes:

in response to golfman1975:

What goes up must come down...also, what goes down must come up. I know that is very deep but I don't ask that you agree with me...only that you think about it.

I've heard UT football compared to the SS Titanic.

It still hasn't risen.

volaholic45 writes:

Chasing Bama? Gotta catch Vandy before we're able to see Bama's dust. What a revolting situation!

RockVegas writes:

As much as I hate to admit everything above is true.Alabama has been kicking tail and asking questions later,what else can you say.I hope CBJ works out,I really do as they say time will tell.We have fell off big time,all the other SEC schools seem to be moving foward but us,we seem to be going backwards.I was looking at Vandy recruits,they are not the laughing stock of the SEC anymore,all I could say was WOW....GBO.

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

I do not agree.Tennessee will not be near bottom.I see them around second.In the West it is up for grabs.

Sir_Spanky writes:

Three thoughts:
1.) I'm sick of hearing about Alabama and Nick Saban, and will soon be even sicker of hearing about Notre Dame.
2.) The only good thing about the upcoming NC game is that one of these 2 will get their hind-ends beat.
3.) If the overpaid individuals that have been in charge of UT athletics the last 5 to 7 years were paid commission only, based on performance, they'd all be on food stamps.

SevenT writes:

Once Upon a time Tennessee could play with the big boys, those days are OVER.

rtrchatt writes:

Coach Saban will retire from the Capstone and once again the CT will rewrite SEC fb history during his tenure. Win or lose Monday night the runaway train stays on track. Roll Tide abd great article JA.

jmaples54 writes:

it all goes back to recruiting, i thought last night watching randall cobb and harrison smith in the nfl playoffs. gotta get those hometown boys. didn't watch smith at nd but he is very impressive with the vikings.

arkyvol writes:

in response to eduardo:

Great hire morons! Went on the cheap once again! My gosh this is ridiculous. Our once proud program is at the bottom of the sec because of idiot hirings. Could of had Brian Kelly, could have had Kevin Sumlin. Tried to hire Louisvilles coach and instead had to settle for a guy who was schooled by the worst coach in program history. Cant tell me that they had no chance at Gruden. No way too much smoke!!!!

gruden? what is it about 'no' that you can't understand. and btw, i'm not so sure that if he could have been had, it wouldn't have been one of the all time fiascos (and a damned expensive one to boot).

arkyvol writes:

in response to volaholic45:

Chasing Bama? Gotta catch Vandy before we're able to see Bama's dust. What a revolting situation!

amen.

arkyvol writes:

the modern day vols remind me of those stock car races i used to go to on saturday night when i was a kid. in the money races everybody knew who the two or three who had a chance were. the rest just filled in the field. the sec is beginning to look like one of those races.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to SevenT:

Once Upon a time Tennessee could play with the big boys, those days are OVER.

Oh TiT, i TawT i Taw a puddy TaT ... "over" ?????!! .. only a youth or an individual with little or no understanding could make such a statement. Tennessee's offense showed it is one the big boys this year. A little better defense and a different tune would be playing now. "over" ????!!! CBJ has the makings of a competitive program and has shown his "system" works at two different schools, winning conference championships at each. "over" ????!! Since you present yourself as having about 2 years worth of experience following NCAAF -having started when you were 10 - you should save your words to show your kids and teach them that is how not to be so they aren't an embarrassment to the rest of the family ... like you are now ... but then maybe your and individual with no understanding.

pcorange writes:

Hell, guys. We've got a good coach now. We haven't had a good coach since 2008. 2013 may or may not be a good season, but we've got a guy that is a proven head coach, and he wants to be the coach at UT. Heck, he even spurned two other universities just hoping he would get a shot at this job. Instead of keeping on with the poor mouthing, let's get behind him and push this program back to the top!

Pompey writes:

....it is not fair to the Vols to compare them to Alabama. The two programs have never been equal. Nine national championships vs two is not equal. That can only begin to change when the Vols put as much emphasis on the product as they put on 'bricks and mortar".....it also wouldn't hurt to have better oversight of the athletic department to prevent another Mike Hamilton....!

djohnnyg writes:

I know most here feel like it's UT's birthright to be a national power and it's only a matter of time before "we're back" in our rightful place, but in some cases programs...teams...DO just....die.

It won't happen becuz karma owes us. Getting back to the top will be becuz good coaches are good recruiters and the talent UT used to take for granted will choose UT over other schools.

Fulmer should've been kept on as a face of the program similar to what Paterno and Bowden were for their schools. Fulmer was an example of stability and success, whether he was good at the x's and o's or not.

They could've kept Fulmer on and let him walk the sidelines and recruit and let the coordinators run the show at the play calling and "coaching" level.

You guys say since Fulmer doesn't get offered other big jobs that it shows how lame he was. Would Bowden have gotten any offers after 1995? How about Paterno after '95 or '96? Or much earlier? NO. Yet they are legends. Some coaches are just good for ONE SITUATION. Such was the case with Fulmer imo.

I realize it's long past time to move on from Fulmer but i still find it weird when I see continued bashing of a guy who gave his life to the school and brought alot of success to it.

You wanna iviscerate the guy for having the gall to have a couple of off years, going so far as to attack he and his family personally with fat jokes and classless comments about his wife.

It amazes me the lack of respect and fairness to a man who will go down in the annals of football history as a legend and will always be inextricably linked and identified with a period of time where UT was a respected and admired national power.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to Pompey:

....it is not fair to the Vols to compare them to Alabama. The two programs have never been equal. Nine national championships vs two is not equal. That can only begin to change when the Vols put as much emphasis on the product as they put on 'bricks and mortar".....it also wouldn't hurt to have better oversight of the athletic department to prevent another Mike Hamilton....!

the fall of pompey -

Tennessee Volunteer
National Championships

1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1967, 1998

try ciferin' this afore ya do more postin' ifn ya can!

jjk writes:

in response to eduardo:

Great hire morons! Went on the cheap once again! My gosh this is ridiculous. Our once proud program is at the bottom of the sec because of idiot hirings. Could of had Brian Kelly, could have had Kevin Sumlin. Tried to hire Louisvilles coach and instead had to settle for a guy who was schooled by the worst coach in program history. Cant tell me that they had no chance at Gruden. No way too much smoke!!!!

Gruden was a pipe dream, Eduardo. Strong probably was on the verge of taking the job, but I think loyalty won out, and you can't fault him for that. I do agree that I shake my head knowing we could have had Kelly or Sumlin. Mike Hamilton pooped the bed on his football hires, and the program will be paying for it with fewer wins and little money for a while. I like Jones, but he WILL need time and should get a pass this coming season.

KDOG1973 writes:

Tennessee will finish 3rd in the East behind Florida and South Carolina. Texas A&M will win West in front of LSU and Alabama. Tennessee will be back on top in 2 more years.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to takespix:

Way wrong!! Texas A&M will not only win the conference, but win the BCS.

Maybe so.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

If Butch let's his wife and kids on the sidelines we're doomed.

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to LCPanthers:

I do not agree.Tennessee will not be near bottom.I see them around second.In the West it is up for grabs.

Lose touch with reality much??
Serioisly I wish we could be in 2nd or better, but we 1. Don't have the talent 2. Don't have the experience at key positions 3. Are breaking in a new coaching staff! Better coaches doesn't mean we compete especially with the loss of true Atheletes!

golfman1975 writes:

If this is true, we should disband the SEC. Have a Have and Have Not division. That way UT won't be playing 5 top 10 teams every year.

KVCrockett writes:

in response to SevenT:

Once Upon a time Tennessee could play with the big boys, those days are OVER.

Time changes everything!

lstbodeanvol writes:

I would not count out Texas A & M this fall but one thing for sure ...Knoxville women will NOT be chasing John Adams... LOL GO VOLS !!!!!!

jawga writes:

in response to KDOG1973:

Tennessee will finish 3rd in the East behind Florida and South Carolina. Texas A&M will win West in front of LSU and Alabama. Tennessee will be back on top in 2 more years.

Dawgs own the SEC East. A repeat next year after losing several off the D to the NFL.

8inarow writes:

in response to Supersayin1:

My SEC List Ranking for 2013 though it pains me to be a realist!
EAST
1. South Carolina
2. UGA
3. Florida
4. Vandy
5. Mizzou
6.Tennessee
7.Kentucky

We could flip flop with Mizzou if we get a lucky break to win against them at home.

WEST
1.Alabama
2. Texas A&M
3. LSU
4. Ole Miss
5. Miss St.
6. Arkansas
7. Auburn

Gators will take the east even if Murray returns. If he does not, it will be UF, SC, UG, UV, UM, UK, UT.

pcorange writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

the fall of pompey -

Tennessee Volunteer
National Championships

1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1967, 1998

try ciferin' this afore ya do more postin' ifn ya can!

Thank you!

jawga writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Gators will take the east even if Murray returns. If he does not, it will be UF, SC, UG, UV, UM, UK, UT.

Murray announced today he's returning in '13. Muschump on hot seat after Dawgs make it a 3-peat in SEC East.

8inarow writes:

in response to jawga:

Murray announced today he's returning in '13. Muschump on hot seat after Dawgs make it a 3-peat in SEC East.

Won't matter. Gators will take the puppies this time.

Muschamp, the 7th coach to turn UT down when you settled on Dooley will get another extension this year.

And, I will have to change my name to 9inarow.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ol' Son ... What set this program back is non-fans like you! No use pointing out one solitary thing to your kind as you're blind to truth and principles of sportsmanship. The kind good people shun. The kind who, if their Power T cap was lifted up, we'd find an air valve on the back of their head and a motor attached to their mouth.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to djohnnyg:

I know most here feel like it's UT's birthright to be a national power and it's only a matter of time before "we're back" in our rightful place, but in some cases programs...teams...DO just....die.

It won't happen becuz karma owes us. Getting back to the top will be becuz good coaches are good recruiters and the talent UT used to take for granted will choose UT over other schools.

Fulmer should've been kept on as a face of the program similar to what Paterno and Bowden were for their schools. Fulmer was an example of stability and success, whether he was good at the x's and o's or not.

They could've kept Fulmer on and let him walk the sidelines and recruit and let the coordinators run the show at the play calling and "coaching" level.

You guys say since Fulmer doesn't get offered other big jobs that it shows how lame he was. Would Bowden have gotten any offers after 1995? How about Paterno after '95 or '96? Or much earlier? NO. Yet they are legends. Some coaches are just good for ONE SITUATION. Such was the case with Fulmer imo.

I realize it's long past time to move on from Fulmer but i still find it weird when I see continued bashing of a guy who gave his life to the school and brought alot of success to it.

You wanna iviscerate the guy for having the gall to have a couple of off years, going so far as to attack he and his family personally with fat jokes and classless comments about his wife.

It amazes me the lack of respect and fairness to a man who will go down in the annals of football history as a legend and will always be inextricably linked and identified with a period of time where UT was a respected and admired national power.

There is much truth in what you say, especially the bits about how shamefully some so-called fans attacked Fulmer and his family personally. However, the point about letting him keep the title while letting the coordinators run the show is a rather complex one. Some would say that is just what he did when he had Cutcliffe and Chavis as coordinators.

After Cutcliffe left and Clawson was hired as OC, much of the talk was that Fulmer did not allow him to go all-out to install his new system, leaving the team stuck between two stools, as it were, with no clear direction to the offense. I also agree that Fulmer, Bowden, and Paterno, were almost uniquely suited for their positions. But to use the fact that Bowden and Paterno weren't offered other positions because of it as a reason why Fulmer wasn't offered other positions is to ignore the fact that Bowden and Paterno were 15 to 20 years older than Fulmer, who was arguably still in his prime coaching years.

Given the long memories and stubborn dispositions of many fans, there will always be disagreements about aspects of Fulmer's career and the circumstances of his fall. It is clear that the short-term consequences have been disastrous. It may become clearer in retrospect that Fulmer's glory days were a unique era in UT football history that will never be duplicated. However, unless UT decides to leave the SEC, we fans have little choice but to get behind Jones and do all we can to help him succeed. Programs rise and fall and rise again everywhere and always. Maybe UT will be the next great football "resurrection" story.

Olddogsrule writes:

Much of how soon Tennessee rises depends on how their fans support the program, coaches, and players. Those who agree with me understand with no further elaboration needed. Those, such as foiblefan are no more than an albatross about the neck of everyone involved with the sport, especially at this critical recruiting time, constantly howling, "Water! Water! Everywhere! And not a drop to drink!" The damage they do to the program is incalculable.

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