Vols Bowl Season In Jeopardy Now
After seeing 3 losses in the 12 game schedule finds that Tennessee is only three losses from sitting home during post season for a second time in four years.
By: BE Coleman
In late July the talk was the Vols would have something to say about the Eastern Division race with favored Florida and Georgia. After seeing 3 losses in the 12 game schedule finds that Tennessee is only a few losses from sitting home for the second time in four years.
In 2005 the Volunteers were ranked 3rd to begin that season, only to see it all tank with poor quarterback play on a team loaded with NFL draftees.
Flash forward past two seasons into 2008 and Tennessee is in danger of another no post season - season. While its early to be looking ahead into the post season, a reality check finds the Tennessee program is in trouble again.
If the Vols - at their present state - can win 6 games to finish .500 is not an automatic qualifier. Last season South Carolina finished up 6-6 and sat home while a 6-6 Alabama squad was chosen for post season.
Vanderbilt already at 4-0 and Kentucky at 5-0 are both on the verge of making a post season appearance. Tennessee won’t get a nod over the Commodores if both should finish 6-6.
In the west finds Ole Miss and Arkansas are closer to hitting the mark than is Tennessee. The SEC sends 8 to 9 teams annually to post season games and there won’t be room for a struggling Tennessee team with new entries on the 2008-09 listings.
The Vols still must face Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina and both Kentucky and Vanderbilt. What was thought to be a gimme game against NIU this week-end is now critical.
Homecoming foe Wyoming (2-3) and possibly Mississippi State are the only games that the Volunteers will be favored heading into at this juncture in the season.
The first week of October finds one third of the playing season is officially over and in the books. Predicting that Tennessee can win some or part of their conference schedule may be wishful thinking.
Just as in 05 finds the defense can keep them in ball games, a trend that was not present in 06 or 07. 2008 has been comprised of veteran linemen that are not providing adequate protection, allowing penetration off the perimeter.
A veteran running back fumbling games away. A veteran receiving corps that has not figured into the game plan due to a struggling quarterback and also seeing a promising place kicker missing chip shots.
Should the Vols get to 6-6 is no reason to assume anything, teams like Ole Miss and Vanderbilt would be picks due to their post season absences over the past. A 6-6 Tennessee team would not see the fan base travel well.
For Tennessee it is a run of the table or nothing, anything less than eight wins should be a final straw into the coaching regime in Knoxville, by the direct nature of things that include contract requirements.
Continuing to play a poorly performing quarterback and by not having all necessary options already in place that find a quarterback derby in week six, are not positive coaching items on the agenda that was tabulated in early August.
Three losses can lock the Vols out unless the entire conference withers and falters the second half of the playing season – which is highly unlikely. That uphill climb has gotten steeper than it was forecasted two months ago. No one can see tomorrow with the problems of today looming this large in Knoxville. -n-
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