Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SEC Preview, Part 10: Tennessee Back on Top in 2007

It has been a while since Tennessee has been considered the best team in the east. However, they have their work cut out from them because it will not be an easy road but in the end the Volunteers should make an appearance in the Georgia Dome come December. But keep in mind, it will be close and if they struggle either South Carolina or Georgia could easily take their spot. Tennessee does not have much room for error in what has to be the toughest division in all of football.

The Tennessee program has always recruited well as they did this past year signing the fourth best class in all of college football. According to, they have a three year average of ten. However, keep in mind two out of the last three years they have signed the number three and number four classes in the nation.

Offense: David Cutcliffe has lead the Vols out of the SEC crapper and brought them to the top of the division. Look for QB Erik Ainge to have another stellar year after completing 67% of his passes a year ago. To keep the pressure off of Ainge will be a stock of running backs who are capable of going the distance each time they touch the fall. The biggest question mark facing the offense is the wide receiver corp which lost some key players. The Vols must have a big time receiver step up because opposing defenses will be stacking the line.

Defense: The Vols lost several key members of their secondary but they should be easily replaced. One name to watch for this fall is true freshman Eric Berry who is capable of playing any position on the field. The defensive line needs to improve after only recording 17 sacks last season.

Lamar’s key to a championship

1. Does this team have a solid defense? SPLIT DECISION. I believe the defense will get better as time goes by, but the defensive weakness will be tested in the first game of the season against Cal. If Tennessee can execute a decent pass rush and player good pass coverage in the secondary in the first game they will have answered all my doubts about their football team.

2. Can this team run the football? YES. Tennessee always has a tough running game and this season will be no different. They have several players who can start and make big plays.

3. Does this team have a proven QB? YES. Erik Ainge has proven he can play with the best of them after completing 67% of his passes last season. He should have another big year and lead Tennessee to Atlanta.

Conclusion: If the Vols can show improvement on the defensive side of the ball and pick up where they left off on offense they should win the eastern division. However, they are not a dominate football team and could easily lose to both UGA and USC which would cost them a trip to the dome.

Lamar’s pick: Tennessee will go 11-1 overall with a 7-1 record in the SEC. They will win the SEC Eastern Division championship. They will defeat FL, Ole Miss, USC, Arkansas, Vandy, and Kentucky. They will lose to UGA.

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