Bill Connelly says what I keep saying (although he says it better):
… Then, as the calendar flipped to November, the Vols won four in a row to somewhat miraculously attain bowl eligibility. I’ve mentioned before that late-season heat rather reliably carries over to the next season (as long as the team doesn’t consist of all seniors) … but what if the heat was mostly a mirage?
Tennessee Offense (September): 25.0 Adj. PPG
Tennessee Offense (October): 25.3 Adj. PPG
Tennessee Offense (November): 28.4 Adj. PPG
The offense improved a bit as Tyler Bray got his bearings, but this was far from a surge. You see, Tennessee played about the easiest November schedule that you are allowed to play and remain in the SEC. Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Kentucky were the three worst teams in the conference not named Tennessee, and Memphis was almost the worst team in the country. That the Vols won those games was more a sign that they simply hadn’t fallen apart instead of a serious hint at program momentum…
If Janzen Jackson, UT’s best defender, doesn’t come back, along with the existing problems in the front seven, this is a defense that looks a little on the thin side to me. Couple that with my feeling that Tyler Bray still has a lot to prove about himself, and I have a hard time believing the Vols have a realistic shot at contending for the SEC East title in 2011.