SEC power rankings

We are now past the 11 week mark in the SEC schedule, and this last week had some surprises and it solidified some schools on the top. While some schools fight for a bowl berth, others seem to be coasting to their promise land.

 

1. Atop the list is none other than Alabama. Alabama is undefeated and only has one more big game in the regular season, the Iron Bowl. Assuming they beat Auburn, they should be able to make it to the BCS championship game.

 

2.  At the beginning of the year no one would have guessed Auburn would be in the position they are now. Auburn is second on this list after the beating they put on Tennessee. Auburn is 9-1 with two big games left, home against Georgia and Alabama. Auburn does have a legitimate chance of beating these two with the amazing offense Gus Malzahn is running.

 

3.  Another huge surprise is how well Missouri has played all year. They are a one loss team in the east that is almost certain to be in the SEC championship game. However they do have two tough games left against Ole Miss and TAMU, and after these games are through and the smoke clears, don’t be be surprised to see Missouri 11-1 and in the SEC championship.

 

4.  Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel didn’t have the game they expected to have against Mississippi State, but a win is a win. This is an odd team to watch because of the fact that they run one of the nation’s best offenses and one of the nation’s worst defenses. The expression “defense wins championships” doesn’t seem to resonate well with Kevin Sumlin.

 

5.  South Carolina has a very well balanced team and is well coached, by the ole ball coach. With three games left and one of them being a challenge (Clemson) South Carolina might be able to make the Sugar Bowl is everything plays out perfectly.

 

6.  Louisiana State University had an expected loss against Alabama. LSU has a defense that could contend with the offense of TAMU on November 23 later this month. Also Mettenberger has matured exponentially with the LSU offense and turned LSU from an all-defensive team to a defensive team that has offensive capabilities.

 

7.  The Ole Miss Rebels are performing wonders on the field and in recruiting under the coaching of Hugh Freeze. With a signature win against LSU earlier this year, it is easy to see Ole Miss has a bright future ahead of them.

 

8.  Georgia has had an awful year due to injuries. They have managed to keep an amazing offense working throughout the season with the big help of Aaron Murray. The defense hasn’t been one to gloat about. Georgia has  three games remaining, and could pull off the upset against Auburn.

 

9. Vanderbilt. The fact that the Vanderbilt Commodores break the top ten in SEC power rankings is astounding. James Franklin has done things to Vanderbilt that not many people could even dream of doing. Georgia  AND Florida have lost to Vandy this year and is only one win away from another bowl appearance under James Franklin.

 

10. The Tennessee Volunteers come in at tenth. New coach Butch Jones has one of the hardest jobs in the country coming into this season facing the toughest schedule in the Vols’ history. He managed at least one upset  against the Gamecocks of South Carolina. Jones must win out the season to make a bowl game. The toughest game left on their schedule is a home game against Vanderbilt, which should be a good game.

 

11. Mississippi State comes in close behind Tennessee. They played a great game last week against TAMU, but couldn’t pull through. It is hard to believe that they will make a bowl game due to the fact they need to beat two of their next three opponents, who happen to be Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss.

 

12. Florida. The Florida Gators have somehow managed to keep finding ways to get worse as the year goes on. With an embarrassing loss to Vandy, Florida will most likely miss out on its first bowl game since 1990. An awful offense is the main ingredient of disaster for the awful year they have been having.

 

13. Arkansas. Although they started off very impressive, they soon found themselves losing game after game in the SEC. It is now impossible for this team to reach a bowl game.

 

14. The Kentucky Wildcats are where they usually are, the bottom. But the new coach Mark Stoops, the future doesn’t seem like it will repeat itself with the recruiting he is doing up in Lexington.

Edited by: Will Lomas

Season over for Vols or improvement to come?

Season over after Vols fall to no. 19 Gators?

Francesco Torricelli

 

Sunday’s game against Tennessee’s most hated rival, no. 19 Florida Gators, resulted in a Tennessee loss and brought the Vols to a record of (2-2) and now (0-1) in SEC play.  Many key factors lead to the downfall of the game today for Tennessee and have left questions on where the team stands up in the air.

Tennessee started the game off with a 7-0 pick-six. This seemed to give the Vols the edge they needed to actually upset the Gators in Sunday’s game at the Swamp.  It resembles last weeks blow out loss to Oregon; Tennessee started out with a great drive and put seven up on the board to lead the Ducks in an away game.  The same happened here today; Tennessee put up seven on the board and things were hopeful.  Then it was just downhill from there.

Tennessee opted to start redshirt Freshman, Nathan Peterman against the Gators instead of  junior Justin Worley who started the last three games.  This switch was an attempt to give the Vols a spark on offense that they desperately needed at the QB position.  Well…, it backfired.

Tennessee had an abysmal first half passing the ball and Peterman went 4-11 for 5 total passing yards and 2 interceptions.  This was not the spark or source of offense that Tennessee was hoping for coming into today’s tough match up.  Eventually, regular starter, Worley came in to relieve the struggling freshman QB.  He looked good to start the third quarter, leading drives and standing tall in the pocket. Worley capped the 89 yard drive with a touchdown. Unfortunately, he threw two picks nearing the end of the 4th that killed any momentum Tennessee gained in his previous TD drive.

All in all, Tennessee’s attempts to find some level of consistency and poise, either at the start or down the stretch out of both QBs today backfired. This will likely be the main issue addressed this week for the offense.

Tennessee had troubles on the offensive line against a very energetic and aggressive Florida front seven.  The Florida DE’s were having their way with the Tennessee’s offensive line, and if the Gator line didn’t get to the ball carrier first, their linebackers were there applying pressure and blowing up the backfield. Today was a rocky day for the offense in every phase.

Gator’s starting QB, Jeff Driskel, left the game early on with an ankle injury, and was ruled out for the rest of the season.  In response to this, Florida called upon junior quarterback, Tyler Murphy.  At Florida, Murphy had never taken a snap in his collegiate career and now he was starting against a very solid Tennessee defense.  Murphy went 8-14 for 134 yards and a touchdown as well as rushing for an additional 84 yards with a touchdown.  The 2nd string QB, whom had never touched the ball was leading drives, juking tacklers, and taking control of his struggling Gator offense that desperately needed play makers.  This Tennessee defense coming into today’s game was first in red-zone defense and first in takeaways in the SEC.  Tennessee’s performance, although started impressive with a pick-six, looked completely inexperienced and exhausted the entire game.  Their sluggish play showed and missed tackles were appearing on almost every defensive play for the Vols.  But the most embarrassing issue for this defense, is that they couldn’t even contain a QB that had never previously touched the football in his entire collegiate career.

This was not the showing that was widely predicted by many, prior to today’s game.  Simply put, UT’s offensive passing game was terrible, the offensive line was shaky and unable to gain any ground against a quality Florida front seven, and UT struggled containing the interim Gator QB in his first ever collegiate game.  But this is not the end of the Tennessee’s season.  They fought to the very end today against a very deserving Gator team.  After a Gator missed field goal with just over 3 minutes to go, head coach Butch Jones was firing up his players on the sideline and the Vols were successful in gaining some big pass plays near the end of the game.

Sunday wasn’t the greatest performance by the Vols but it isn’t the end of their season as a whole.  The Vols should put a hard two weeks behind them, and hit practice hard this week and get back to playing football the true Big Orange way.  The Vols have some work to do, especially with this tough October ahead, but they have the talent and will to come back from this, and coach Jones, I know, will do everything in his power to make sure that happens.

 

Despite loss, Vols show improvement

Torrey Cheney

In back to back weeks, Tennessee faced one of the nation’s fastest offenses, and one of the most ferocious defenses in the SEC. After the humiliating defeat at Oregon, there was nowhere for the football team to go except for up. Tennessee proved at Florida that they have done exactly that.

Let’s start on defense. Although the offense we played was nowhere near the caliber of Oregon’s and lost their starting quarterback just a few minutes into the game, the defense still only had one penalty (which was declined), forced turnovers (scored on one), and primarily kept Tennessee in the game a lot longer than they did against Oregon. The key here is keeping the team alive. Tennessee’s defense did their job as best they could, and gave the offense many chances to either take chunks out of the Gator’s lead or take the lead in some cases. Although the defense has improved, they are still miles behind where they need to be to compete every week in the SEC.

The first quarter was a disaster for Tennessee and Florida. Coming into the game Tennessee believed a change in quarterback would improve our offense, that was obviously not the case. A few turnovers and an injured throwing hand later, and Worley is back in as quarterback. You might be wondering where the improvement was in the offense. The improvement wasn’t a quantifiable number that could be jotted down, the improvement was mental toughness.

Butch Jones preaches mental toughness, and I think this game started to show the fruits of his labor. Against Oregon, the Vols fell so far behind so fast, that the players seemed borderline apathetic. Against Florida, however, you could see that even a missed field goal with 2:49 left in regulation, the team was still inspired to win the game. Even with 0:16 left in the game, the offense believed they could make magic happen. Even though they had a strong showing of mental toughness, there is still the reality of turnovers, dropped passes, and getting dominated on the line of scrimmage. These things can’t all be fixed at once, and that is where Jones’ “brick by brick” ideology comes into play. Every week the team will improve, and work really hard to bring Tennessee back to prominence.

I have seen a leap in improvement for this team in comparing the Oregon and Florida matchups. Mainly in mental toughness, that mental toughness is something precious that could very well come in handy later on in the year when Tennessee plays as the underdog. Tennessee will now look to improve even more this week, and prepare for their next game against South Alabama in Knoxville.

 

Edited by: Will Lomas

Late rally not enough for Vols

Despite Tennessee’s first half woes, the Vols were in position to win the game with 6:09 left in the game.

The Vols had reduced the Florida lead to 14 points until a costly Justin Worley interception ended the game.

Worley was only on the field after an inept performance by Nathan Peterman, who had been selected as the starter before the game. Peterman posted a 4-11 day managing only five yards, two interceptions, and one fumble.

The offensive line, usually a spot of pride for Tennessee, had a rough outing against a dynamic Florida front. James Stone in particular had a tough outing against the pride of the Gator defensive line, Dom Easley. Most say rushing yards is the telling stat for the offensive line, and the Vols only managed 66 yards on 23 attempts.

The defense was really the positive for the Vols this week, despite the score reading 31-17. The Tennessee defense forced two fumbles and a pick-six, and held the Gators in check for much of the day. If the Vols hadn’t turned the ball over so many times on offense then this game could have turned out differently.

Aside from the late game interception, Worley had an admirable performance off the bench. He hit receivers in the hands routinely and showed a “never-give-up” attitude. Worley ended the game with 10-22, for 149 yards, a TD, and 2 INTs. Keep in mind that most of his incompletions came late when he was trying to get chunks of yardage to even up the game.

Another praiseworthy Vol was Alton “Pig” Howard. Howard had four receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Howard made big catches in big spots, and he was the rare bright spot on the Tennessee offense.

The Vols will regroup against South Alabama before getting into the “meat” of their schedule, which includes seven SEC teams in a row.

 

 

UT to ban backpacks on game days at Neyland Stadium

by News Sentinel Staff

IMG_0047
Jennifer Brake/TNJN

Fans gearing up for Saturday’s season opener will not be allowed to bring backpacks into Neyland Stadium, University of Tennessee officials confirmed Monday.

UT Police Chief Troy Lane plans to talk about the new policy at a news conference this afternoon with the Knoxville Police Department outside the stadium.

UT has long banned bags larger than 12 square inches, officials said.

The policy change follows similar moves across college football. The University of Kentucky announced last week it would not allow backpacks and large bags into Commonwealth Stadium. Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt all have similar rules, said a UTPD spokeswoman.

Read the full article on knoxnews.com.