2012 SEC Sneak Peek: Tennessee VolunteersPublished 10:12am Thursday, June 21, 2012
There are many things we experience in our daily lives that sometimes just have no explanation. One of those things happens to be the Tennessee Volunteer football program.
If you had the privilege of reading this column for the past four years, you know how much I loathed their ex-coach, Phillip (whopper) Fulmer. Now the Vols have a thinner version of Fulmer but the end results are far too similar and the future looks about the same as it did at the end of the Fulmer years.
Derek Dooley is in his third season as head coach and make no mistake about it, he sits on the hot seat with the Tennessee fans.
In Dooley’s two seasons, the Vols are 11-14 and coming off a worst-ever 1-7 SEC 2011 that also say them lose to Kentucky for the first time since 1984.
If anyone can go back to say 1958, the Kingston Trio put out a song called “Tom Dooley.”
Tom unfortunately hung from an oak tree.
They must have been playing that song all over Tennessee because six assistants left for lateral positions and another flat-out retired.
Tennessee has a couple of things going for them in 2012. They return 18 starters from 2011. That may work well for the defense and they ended up with decent statistics overall (28th overall).
The offense was simply pathetic, finishing 104th in the country.
If I was a Tennessee fan, which I am not, returning nine starters on offense would send chills up my spine. They were decent in the passing game and quarterback Tyler Bray is better than average and he can be successful if the Vols can find a running game that finished 116th in 2011.
The other factor that should enhance Dooley’s chances is the favorable 2012 schedule.
I see four SEC games that they should get pummeled in, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.
Mississippi State and Missouri are toss-ups and I will go out on my limb with calling for wins against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
The out of conference games with N.Cc State, Georgia State, Akron and Troy should go into the win column for the Vols.
If Dooley can’t pull out at least a 7-5 season with this schedule, even momma will not be able to save him.
I believe he needs to finish 8-4 to keep his job.
Georgia will win the SEC East and South Carolina should be right there. Missouri and Florida will also finish ahead of the Volunteers, whom I pick to finish fifth, followed by Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
Yes, the schedule is forgiving but if Derek does not want to be turned into a “Tom” by the fans, he needs to deliver.
I wonder if they have any couches left to burn in Knoxville…
Until next time.
The Outlook will feature preview columns of each SEC team leading up to the full Sportz Blitz/Outlook 2012 SEC preview in July.
Meyers is a college football columnist.