Monday, October 3, 2011

Volunteers showing progress compared to last year

With last Saturday's win against Buffalo, the Tennessee Volunteers have now completed one-third of the 2011 schedule. How does the team shape up compared to where it was last season? Pretty well.

This year's Vols are 3-1 compared to 2-2 at this point last year. Though the Vols played poorly in losing to Florida, the team has also showed progress. A solid win over a pretty good Cincinnati team and thrashings of Montana and Buffalo are much better than last year.

In the first four games last year, the team was convincingly beaten by Florida and Oregon. The Vols were fortunate to beat Alabama-Birmingham in overtime. In that game, the Blazers missed five field goals and dominated the statistics. Truthfully, Tennessee should have been 1-3 after four games last year.

This year, the next four games will make or break Tennessee's year. The next four are: vs. Georgia, vs. LSU, at Alabama and vs. South Carolina. The saving grace of this stretch is that three of the games are at home. However, it is still a daunting stretch.

Last year, Tennessee was soundly beaten by three of those four teams (Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina) while losing a heartbreaking game to LSU on the last play. Unless the running game greatly improves, the Vols may meet the same fate again this year.

These teams are good.

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