John Adams: SEC logo increases UT's worth to Oregon

John Adams
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs past Virginia safety Anthony Harris (8) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Scott Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

Photo by Andrew Shurtleff

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs past Virginia safety Anthony Harris (8) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Scott Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

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Butch Jones' opening statements following win against WKU

The advantages of playing football in the SEC are obvious. But there’s at least one disadvantage worth mentioning in Tennessee’s case.

Its conference affiliation won’t work in its favor this Saturday at Oregon, which has national title aspirations. Again.

Contending for national championships is nothing new for Oregon. But the SEC keeps getting in the way.

Auburn rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Ducks for the 2010 national championship.

Oregon opened the following season with a 40-27 loss at LSU. The game wasn’t as close as the score.

The Ducks’ only recent success against the SEC came at Neyland Stadium in 2010 when it overwhelmed the Vols in the second half of a 48-13 victory.

It would be wishful thinking on UT’s behalf to believe that outcome would make Oregon overconfident when the teams meet Saturday afternoon in Eugene, Ore.

The second-ranked Ducks likely won’t look at the Vols as 48-13 pushovers. Instead, they’re more apt to regard them as a representative of a conference that has caused Oregon so much big-game misery in the past three years.

Wonder how many times the Ducks have heard something like, “You have a great thing going as long as you stay away from the Big Boys of the SEC?”

As if they needed it, they will have more incentive to hang a huge score on Tennessee, which has lost 21 games the past three seasons (Oregon has lost four).

Chip Kelly, the coaching force behind Oregon’s recent success, left for the NFL. In his place is Oregon’s former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

Think he doesn’t have something to prove — especially on offense?

Kelly actually seemed intent on holding down the score last season. Helfrich might not be so inclined — at least, not against an SEC team.

His team has something to prove against the SEC. As a first-time college head coach, he has something to prove against everybody.

And he will have plenty of firepower at his command, including a couple of Heisman Trophy candidates — quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De’Anthony Thomas. There’s also versatile tight end Colt Lyerla, who gives the speedy Ducks a power-running alternative in the Wildcat package and an offensive line that features three all-conference candidates.

As if they needed another boost, the NCAA provided it this summer. The popular take was that the Ducks could get hammered for NCAA violations.

The popular take was wrong.

Oregon was cleared for postseason play and a shot at a national championship. And it hasn’t done anything so far to change that.

The Ducks rushed for 500 yards in a 66-3 victory over Nicholls State in the season opener. In their second game, at Virginia on Saturday, they amassed 557 yards in a 59-10 victory.

Nicholls is a lower-classification program. Virginia is an ACC team coming off a 4-8 season.

So even though the Vols weren’t much better than the Cavaliers last season, they will provide Oregon with a greater opportunity.

That has nothing to do with the “Power T.” It’s all about the SEC logo.

It will give the Ducks their biggest non-conference target of the season.

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Comments » 11

atnvol#283282 writes:

Sometimes it turns out different than one assumes....not that I think the Vols are going to win, but it might be alot closer than people believe. Remember LSU in Dooleys first year? Well, we have a real coach now....so anything can happen.

slb1zellwood#1421797 writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Sometimes it turns out different than one assumes....not that I think the Vols are going to win, but it might be alot closer than people believe. Remember LSU in Dooleys first year? Well, we have a real coach now....so anything can happen.

You are correct about how ones assumptions sometimes work.
Is this Sat. going to be one of those times? Only time will tell so less play the game and see what happens.
If we go down I believe we will have given a good accounting of ourselves.

johnlg00 writes:

Personally, I think the Vols will lose by at least four touchdowns, and I consider myself an optimist regarding this year's Vols. I just hope the roof doesn't fall in before the 4th quarter, nobody gets hurt, and the team survives with their morale more or less intact.

As some have said, the games don't always go as predicted. For example, Virginia beat BYU on the first weekend of the season. Last Saturday, Oregon blew Virginia off their own home field while BYU humiliated Texas. It may well be that Virginia, Texas, and BYU aren't very good this year, but the Vols would be happy to claim a win over any of them at any time.

Die-hard Vol fan that I am, I sincerely hope my prediction doesn't come true and the Vols shock the world, but I wouldn't bet a pup tent on it, let alone the house.

volbald writes:

If Butch Jones can hold the Oregon lead to under 3 touchdowns he has walked on water. Go Vols.

goobervol writes:

in response to volbald:

If Butch Jones can hold the Oregon lead to under 3 touchdowns he has walked on water. Go Vols.

Guys and Gals, let's all agree to leave references, inferences, and innuendos to the Word of God out of our posts. If CBJ can hold the Ducks lead to under 21 pts., both he, all coaches, and the TEAM deserve to be greeted by 25,000+ fans at the airport upon their arrival back to Knoxville!! BTW: At age 76, I still believe in the magic of the impossible being unfolded before our very eyes. Smokey chokes the Ducks.

writer#358485 writes:

I look at it this way. The media and Las Vegas have Oregon favored by 22 points, but both always over-rate West Coast teams, so cut the 22 points to 11. Tennessee has a solid team with excellent coaching so the Vols are better than the media and Las Vegas say, so cut the 11 points to six. Tennessee has one of the best offensive lines in the country and will play ball-control on the hotshots, so cut another six points. I'd say it's about even going in!;-)

JSmith525 writes:

Enough of this guesswork. Vols are going to have smoked Duck for supper. Vols by 10 pts. yep that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
45-35

writer#358485 writes:

in response to JSmith525:

Enough of this guesswork. Vols are going to have smoked Duck for supper. Vols by 10 pts. yep that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
45-35

I like that tune, hum a couple more bars and I'll sing it!

johnlg00 writes:

I am awed by the confidence some posters show in the Vols and I surely hope their predictions prove more accurate than mine for this game. I just hope that if my prediction comes true, the ones who are expecting victory won't turn on CBJ's Vols. Even if they get blown away, I will still be pulling for the Vols all the way, unless perhaps they just lay down in this game and/or the players and coaches start fighting among themselve.

I don't think either of those is at all likely. Win or lose, I expect the whole team and staff to produce their best effort and leave the West Coast with their pride and physical well-being intact. Whatever happens this Saturday, barring any unforeseen mishaps, they will still, IMHO, have a better than fair chance to beat the Gators the following week, and I would gladly trade a pretty good whipping at Oregon for a win over Florida.

UT4prez writes:

I agree with you John. I'd love to believe we will hang in this game and even more so love to see it. Someone said the line is 22. If that's the case I believe Oregon will cover. I do think we will play hard and fairly well. They are just so fast and so talented that we will inevitably give up a few big plays.

Be careful assuming too much about Florida. I'd rather beat them than Oregon too but they could not have made more mistakes than they did against Miami and almost won that game. I hope they do that against us but history suggests they won't. No matter what I'll be watching and cheering them on. And no matter what I'll enjoy it. How could I not? A bunch of hard working kids giving their all for an awesome sport played by my alma mater. Go Vols!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

I agree with you John. I'd love to believe we will hang in this game and even more so love to see it. Someone said the line is 22. If that's the case I believe Oregon will cover. I do think we will play hard and fairly well. They are just so fast and so talented that we will inevitably give up a few big plays.

Be careful assuming too much about Florida. I'd rather beat them than Oregon too but they could not have made more mistakes than they did against Miami and almost won that game. I hope they do that against us but history suggests they won't. No matter what I'll be watching and cheering them on. And no matter what I'll enjoy it. How could I not? A bunch of hard working kids giving their all for an awesome sport played by my alma mater. Go Vols!

I don't think I am assuming too much against the Gators. I surely don't ASSUME that the Vols will win, just that the margin of the Gators over the Vols, if any, will be less than it has been in some previous years, and probably not as great as Oregon will have over them. Like you, I have mostly been looking for indications of better coaching and better morale on this Vol team with less concern about the outcomes of games, and I think we have seen some of that.

As for the UF-UM game, I'm not convinced that Miami is all that much if any better than the Vols. They have had a pretty rough patch themselves lately. I'm not much of one for predicting the outcomes of games, but I would say the Vols are probably closer to parity with their opponents this year than they have been in some time, and I think those factors will eventually break in their favor a time or two when few might expect it.

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