In an unusual quirk of the schedule both the Tennessee Titans and Tennessee Volunteers have this weekend off. Even though there are no games, there is still a lot to ponder regarding these two teams.
Tennessee Volunteers: The Vols next game is against Georgia and some are already hyping it as the most important game for Coach Phillip Fulmer in many years. While that remains to be seen, it is definitely a pivotal game in how this season will unfold. I'll write more about that next week.
Of course, many fans have been quite vocal regarding how the season has gone so far. One instance of criticism that gets my vote for the stupidest opinion of the year took place after the Florida game. I was listening to one of the post-game radio shows, and one fan called in and berated quarterback Erik Ainge for "choking." He ripped Ainge for his performance in the game and implied he has been a disappointment this year.
The Vols have had a lot of problems this year, but one of them is not Erik Ainge. True, he hasn't thrown the deep ball enough, but I shudder to think where this team would be without him. The running game, defense, and kickoff/punt return teams have been inconsistent at best. Ainge has been the only part of the team to play at a consistently high level this year. He is the fourth rated passer in the league and leads the conference in passing yardage.
If Ainge were to get hurt and miss games, this season would really go down the crapper. He is that important to us. So, the next time you get frustrated with him throwing too many short passes, think about where we would be without him. He doesn't call the plays, you know.
Tennessee Titans: Everything (just about) is coming up roses for the Titans. They are off to a 2-1 start, and most folks would have taken that three weeks ago.
The good news is the schedule appears to be more favorable in the coming weeks. The next four games are against the Falcons at home, the Buccaneers and Texans both on the road, and then the Raiders at home. Tennessee should win three of those games, which would improve their record to 5-2.
The Titans looked great against the Saints, and if they continue that level of play, the playoffs will be a reality.
SEC picks: Florida over Auburn, Florida State over Alabama, Georgia over Ole Miss, Kentucky over Florida Atlantic, South Carolina over Mississippi State, Vanderbilt over Eastern Michigan, Arkansas over North Texas, LSU over Tulane
NFL picks: New England over Cincinnati, Philadelphia over New York Giants, San Diego over Kansas City, Indianapolis over Denver, Atlanta over Houston
Last week: 9-3 (.750), Overall: 35-9 (.795)