The Big Orange come into town this weekend. It's a big game for our program. If we win, the Rebels could win out. If we lose, we could just as easily lose out.
Yes that's right. This is a stop-loss game. The pendulum of momentum rests almost entirely on this single game. A large portion of our team will be fired up enough for this game just to beat Ed Orgeron, the coach who put them through hell for three years. They will be motivated enough to come out with a chip on their shoulder. A loss in that situation leads to a complete loss of hope. A win reminds the team that they can beat quality football teams.
Click the jump to find out what I think will happen... if you want. I don't care.
When the rumor surfaced that Lane Kiffin was hired, I thought to myself, "please don't bring your father with you." Unfortunately for the SEC, he did. Then, I hoped that he would struggle to transition to the college game. He didn't. Kiffin dismantled a Florida offense and an Alabama offense that appeared very potent up to that point. This week should be even easier for Kiffin. There's already a blueprint to beat us. Load the box (this will work so much better than it does for most teams considering Eric Berry will be the eighth man in the box for UT), keep your remaining safety's eyes fixed on Jevan's eyes, and lean towards putting extra coverage on Shay Hodge. While this strategy will be more difficult to employ, considering that Janzen Jackson's sudden arrest will make Tennessee go with a less experienced free safety, I would guess the Vols will stick with it until we prove to be able to pass.
This will prevent Dexter McCluster from being ridiculous. I'm sure he'll get some good yardage, but I wouldn't expect him to approach 200 yards all-purpose. The Tennessee defense will be too prepared. Junior DE Chris Walker is probably excited about the prospect of facing Bradley Sowell, but I think people rag on Sowell too much. He's not good, but I don't think he's the only reason we have three losses at this point in the season.
As far as pass-catchers go, I imagine that our receivers other than Shay and Dex will continue to have 1 or 2 catches while not being utilized well and not playing well enough to warrant proper utilization anyway.
On defense, I think we should stifle them pretty well. Even with the loss of Greg Hardy, we should be able to get pressure on Jonathan Crompton. Make no mistake about it though. Crompton is actually improving. He doesn't appear to have simply gotte nlucky the past few games. He looks like a decent quarterback. Still, you have to think that our secondary is due for a pick or two.
The big problem is going to be in stopping Montario Hardesty and Bryce Brown. Both backs are very powerful runners who are major home run threats. We can't afford to give away draws and counters just because we want to pressure Crompton. It's killed us all year, and if we do it against Tennessee, we're going to lose.
But that's just what's going to happen. We're GOING to give up those misdirection and timing based runs. We're going... to lose.
Tennessee by ten.
Predictions of your own?