Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tennessee win at Mississippi State absolutely crucial on many levels

Big stakes at Mississippi State on Saturday
The Tennessee Volunteers have played several big games already this year.  The opening win against North Carolina State was critical to wash away part of the bad taste of how the 2011 season ended.  The Florida game was an opportunity to show the team could compete on a national stage but proved the Vols were not quite ready yet.  The Georgia game showed the Volunteers are improving on the road but have not gotten over the hump when it comes to winning a big game away from home.

This brings us to this week's road game at Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs are unbeaten and ranked in the Top 20.  Since it is an 8 p.m. game, their fans should have plenty of time to get well lubricated for the game.  This is an opportunity for them to beat a quality program on national television.  Some may argue whether Tennessee is a quality program, but the history of our program guarantees that people still pay attention to what we are doing.  Not all programs can say that.
As for Tennessee, the stakes are high.  A road win against this quality opponent would be another step in the rebuilding of the program. The Vols came close against Georgia, and a win here could be a springboard to an excellent second half of the season.  If we lose, it will be another frustrating loss that drops the team's record to 3-3 with back-to-back games against Alabama and South Carolina coming up.  Additionally, if we lose to State, Bama, and Carolina, the team's record will be 3-5 and the vultures may start circling Knoxville when it comes to head coach Derek Dooley's future.
Personally, I believe Dooley deserves another season when considering the horrible status of the program when he took over.  However, we all know that fairness is not always a part of the college football landscape.  A win would do the program and Dooley a lot of good, but a loss continues the uncertainty we have lived with since Phillip Fulmer was fired.

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