So, it's Tennessee vs Vanderbilt tomorrow at high noon and a half eastern time. Vanderbilt rolls into Neyland Stadium on a six game losing streak and out of bowl contention. As it is every year, this is Vandy's bowl game. But the question I have is--which team will show up to play Tennessee? Will it be the one that couldn't get out of their own way fast enough in the first half against Kentucky (please, let it be them) or will it be that one that had confidence early in the year and beat Arkansas on the road on a 4th quarter drive to end game (please, let them have got permanently lost on I-40)?
Funny thing is, I keep hearing how this is a rivallry game. Except really since 1982, it hasn't been that much of a rivallry. Part of a rivallry is that the other team in the contest has to actually fear they could lose to you. And last time I looked, Vandy hadn't won since Reagan was in office. So not exactly putting a lot of fear into the Vols. Of course, in a lot of those cases, Vandy was just playing out a string and the Vols were fighting for a bowl position. Big difference this year--the Vols have to win against Vandy and Kentucky to go bowling at a mid-range to low level bowl. So, suddenly Vandy has some motivation--OK, more than usual. Let's spoil Tennessee's bowl streak, ruin senior day for the Vols and end the season on a win.
Honestly, had Vandy beat Kentucky last week, I'd be a lot more worried. I still think this could be a good game and if (heaven forbid) it comes down to the 4th quarter, the Vols could be behind the eight ball. Outside of LSU, have we done anything in the 4th quarter this year? I mean besides having our rears handed to us....
And just to show you how little I understand of Vegas odds, I still have no clue as to how Vanderbilt is a 12-point underdog to Tennessee. Three to five, I can see that. But 12 points?!? The Vols only beat Ole Miss by double-digits this year. I guess since last week's game was only on pay-per-view and then CSS on Monday night, the Vegas guys didn't see that we barely got past Memphis. You know, if I were Vandy, I'd take that 12 points as a slap in the face, much as Tennesee did being 14 point underdogs to Florida in the Swamp in '01. (And we all remember how that one turned out).
I don't mean to dog my team, but there are some definite trends against us tomorrow. But one trend for us--we've beat Vandy for the past 20 plus years and I think when it all comes down to it, that monkey will climb firmly up on Vandy's back in the end and the Vols will keep our bowl dreams alive for another week. My prediction: UT 24, Vanderbilt 20
posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/18/2005 02:01:00 PM