Thursday, September 27, 2007

Titans, Volunteers have this week off, but there is a lot to consider

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)


Joltin' Django said...

I listened to Duncan Stewart and company on 1510 AM whilst cooking this evening. Boy, they were letting Phil Fulmer have it (and by "they" I mean hosts and callers). Here's a point made by Mr. Stewart, with which I tend to agree:

Since 2000, Tennessee ranks number two in the number of players sent to the NFL. During that same time, UT has not won any SEC championships. Thus, it would appear that UT's mediocrity, if you will, stems not from a lack of quality recruiting, but from bad coaching (and some bad luck from time to time).

If Tennessee 2007 winds up like Tennessee 2005 (losing season with a loss to Vandy or KY), I can't imagine that Phil Fulmer will be back. Question is: Will Tennessee go out of the "family" for a new coach? Perhaps they can coax Majors out of retirement!!!

Chris said...

"Will Tennessee go out of the "family" for a new coach?"

Unless the season totally collapses, Coach Fulmer will be back next year. Even if it does collapse, I think he deserves at least one more year because he has earned that opportunity.

If a change is made at some point, Tennessee will almost certainly have to go outside the "family" for a new coach. Is there currently an established coach with Tennessee ties? I can't think of one. I can't even think of a coach at a mid-major with UT ties.

Sjones said...

What about Fred Pancoast? His company advertises during Vandy games, so he seems to be available. Pancoast as head coach and Woody Widenhofer as assistant! Both coaches have "Tennessee" ties.
UT has been classic underacheivers during the last 6-7 years. Fulmer's a great recruiter, but he can't coach on the same level as Spurrier, Sabin, & Meyer. It's time for change.

Speaking of Sabin, maybe UT can lure him from Alabama. By now Sabin must realize what it's like to coach in a state full of prima donna trailer park dwelling fans.