Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tennessee will beat Western Kentucky, but don't get too excited

Saturday's battle between Tennessee and Western Kentucky is the most anticipated season opener for the Volunteers in several years. Of course, Lane Kiffin is making his sideline debut as new head coach, and his approach has fans excited about what they will see.

However, 'caution' is likely the most important word to remember as the season starts. True, there has been a good vibe coming out of Tennessee's camp in recent weeks, but everybody (fans, media, coaches, players, etc.) must be careful not to allow the hype to get ahead of reality.

The Vols were bad on offense last year, and until proven otherwise, we must assume this is what we will get this year. In 2005, the Vols flopped on offense, and after that, it was thought that those problems were fixed. Unfortunately, a lot of the same problems returned last year. Inconsistent quarterback play and an inability to consistently run block doomed the Vols in those seasons.

All eyes will be on freshman running back Bryce Brown to see if he can deliver what is expected. Between him and senior Montario Hardesty, the Vols are deep at running back. This is probably the healthiest Hardesty has been during his Tennessee career.

Reports during preseason practice regarding quarterback Jonathan Crompton have been promising. At this point, all the Vols want from him is consistency. The Southeastern Conference has some real issues when it comes to quarterback play. Other than Florida's Tim Tebow and Ole Miss' Jevan Snead there isn't a lot of depth league wide. If Crompton is consistent, he could be one of the conference's better quarterbacks.

As for the Western Kentucky game, the Vols definitely have more talent despite depth concerns at some positions. Because of this, the Vols should win, but don't expect a lot this early. This is basically the same team that lost to Wyoming and narrowly beat Northern Illinois last year.

Until we see differently, the Vols can't be expected to post big wins even over small opponents.

The pick: Tennessee 24 Western Kentucky 10

Other SEC picks: Alabama over Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State over Georgia, LSU over Washington, Vanderbilt over Western Carolina, Ole Miss over Memphis, Arkansas over Missouri State, Auburn over Louisiana Tech, Florida over Charleston Southern, Kentucky over Miami (OH), Mississippi State over Jackson State

1 comment:

Chris said...

Tennessee 63 Western Kentucky 7. Obviously, Tennessee had an overwhelming edge in talent, but it was nice to see that show up in the performance on the field. That hasn't always been the case in recent years (last year's games against Wyoming and Northern Illinois for example).

If nothing else, we learned that this edition of the Vols can blow out an opponent it is supposed to.