1 Track City: Tennessee has an illustrious history in Eugene — in track and field. The Vols won NCAA outdoor titles here in 1991 and 2001. We mention this because the Vols will find themselves in a track meet of sorts Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Oregon plays football at a sprinter’s pace. Drop the baton and you fall hopelessly behind.
2 TOP: It stands for time of possession. Tennessee has to lean hard on its best unit, the offensive line. It’s imperative that the Vols sustain drives and chew some clock. Even if an eight-play drive doesn’t produce points, it limits Oregon’s possessions.
3 Sub Rub: Oregon’s frenetic tempo on offense often prevents defenses from making substitutions to adjust to down and distance. UT will have to be savvy in figuring out the best personnel groupings.
4 Oregon Trail: As Lewis and Clark discovered, Eugene is a long way (2,541 miles) from Neyland Stadium. Don’t think time zones aren’t a factor. Tennessee was sluggish on both of its recent West Coast trips, at UCLA in 2008 and California in 2007. Only once before has a UT journeyed farther, a 28-6 win at Hawaii on Dec. 6, 1975.
5 Swoosh vs. Stripes: Oregon is the de facto in-house team for Nike, whose world headquarters are just up the road in Beaverton. The Vols roll with adidas. Will Nike boss Phil Knight be on the hotline urging the Ducks to dig in the spurs and make a brand statement? Just something for conspiracy fans to chew on.