Getting you ready for a holiday weekend with a few tasty morsels…
As always, come and get it.
As I posted yesterday, I’m a little puzzled about the elevated status being assigned to Auburn’s won-loss record in the preseason. But you know what I really don’t get? The breakout predictions for Tennessee.
Sure, Butch Jones has noticeably improved the talent base with his last two seasons of recruiting. But that’s only striking because SOD left the Vols in such a deep hole, talentwise.
And it’s not as if other contending teams in the division have suddenly dropped down a hole. Except for the post-Boom hiccup, Georgia and Florida recruit as well as UT. Missouri is better coached. (Okay, maybe the jury is out on South Carolina a bit.)
So jumping to the top isn’t an easy task, especially when you consider UT’s West draw, Arkansas and Alabama, isn’t as easy as some of the other East contenders. Plus, there’s a rematch with Oklahoma on the schedule.
Then there’s the issue of depth. Those last two classes may be shiny, but even UT isn’t going to fill the two-deep with freshmen. Does that sound like Jones’ team may be more competitive this year? Sure. Does it sound like he’s holding the recipe for ten regular season wins? Eh, not so much.
In other words, call this the Tennessee Conundrum:
I’m guilty of praising a Tennessee team with offensive line and linebacker issues too soon. This is a team that was the definition of thin this spring and hasn’t won more than seven games since 2007. While I think a healthy Tennessee team can certainly compete for the East title, Jones has to show that his highly-ranked recruiting classes mean something.
Derek Dooley, good on teaching personal hygiene, not so good on recruiting and developing talent.
The defense never rests in Gainesville and Knoxville.