Tennessee is still clinging on to the hope of a bowl invitation. A hope that becomes smaller and smaller with each passing week. Derek Dooley’s first year as a head coach has so far been a disappointing one, but I wouldn’t be quick to point the finger at him. This season has felt like a wash since week 1. Not only does the team not seem to fit together, they also don’t seem to care. I know athletes will go to their graves defending how badly they want to win games and that they put in %100 effort every single game. I just don’t believe them.
If this Vols team has been putting in their best efforts all season, then they stand no chance against the Gamecocks, who are currently #1 in the SEC. South Carolina has never played in a SEC championship game. USC will come out fighting hard on Saturday because they have something they are fighting for. That might be enough to defeat Tennessee. A team which hasn’t appeared to be fighting for anything since they played Oregon.
Is November going to be a season changing month for the Vols? There are those who will tell you, yes. They are optimistic. They are willing to compare this Vols team to teams of the past. They want to believe that an easier schedule and knowledge from past experiences is going to be enough to take this team to the end of the season on a positive note. I disagree.
Tauren Poole will once again have to be at his best this week. He hasn’t been playing as well on the road as he has at home. USC is coming off a 3 week road trip which ended last week with a win against Vanderbilt. USC’s quarterback is Stephen Garcia. He’s ranked 5th in the nation with a pass efficiency of 170.2. I won’t even tell you where Matt Simms lands.
If you’re into stats, then you might be pleased to know the Vols have won 7/8 games against USC in their history. Which for the pessimistic like me is a meaningless number, but if your optimistic and also believe in the magic of a four leaf clover, it could be all you need to have faith in this Vols team tomorrow.
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Written by Deniz Kofteci