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.
And that was not to screw up a job hire as badly as Mike Hamilton used to do. Scratch that.
Tennessee fired men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall for cause Friday morning because it believes the NCAA is likely to charge him with significant violations as a result of its investigation into Tyndall’s former Southern Miss program. Also included in the termination letter obtained by the News Sentinel is that the first-year UT coach deleted emails of NCAA interest.
Jeez. Bruce Pearl, dude. What were you thinking?
UPDATE: The big picture in Knoxville is stunning.
It looks like Butch Jones’ Fourth-and-1 sessions aren’t clicking with their intended audience yet.
Though I’m sure the Vols will learn the right lesson from the punishment Jones doles out to Coleman Thomas.
Chock full of goodies for your reading pleasure.
- According to Khari Harding’s dad, local media sussed on to the problem with the new NCAA transfer rule before Tulsa did. Ugh.
- Five reasons why Tennessee will win the SEC East in 2015… and five reasons UT won’t.
- Here’s Athlon’s Georgia spring preview. Nothing particularly revelatory.
- The NCAA is okay with a crowdfunding project for student-athletes? Count me skeptical; it’s probably more like the NCAA hasn’t figured out a way to shut it down yet.
- Auburn’s home/road splits over the last ten years are rather eye-opening.
- Hoo, boy: “Senior linebacker Jordan Jenkins said he thought there was an underlying issue in the team’s setbacks, though. The players who served as leaders weren’t very good, in his opinion.”
- And this is why they pay Cam Cameron the big bucks, I guess.