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Predicting the 2015 SEC Football Season: Tennessee Vols

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With less than 30 days until the college football season begins, it's never too early to look at the 2015 football schedules and make wild blind predictions.

The only cute thing about Tennessee
The only cute thing about Tennessee
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Fourth installment in the series takes us to Pumpkintown:

Tennessee Logo

Coach: Butch Jones (12–13 in two seasons at UT; 5-11 in SEC)
2014 record: 7-6 (3-5 in SEC, 4th in East Division)
CB969 2014 Prediction: 5-7 "Most Tennessee fans seem to have faith in second year coach Butch Jones and gave him a pass for last season's 5-7 dreck. Could this season result in the Vols' return to a bowl game?" [It did. The TaxSlayer vs. Iowa]

Look back: After starting out 2-0, the Vols were blown out by Oklahoma and proceeded to lose the next four SEC games. A big comeback overtime win at South Carolina saved their season.

Key losses: CB Justin Coleman, LB A.J. Johnson, OT Jacob Gilliam, DT Jordan Williams, the punter [Tennessee had no players drafted into the NFL in 2015].
Returning starters: 10 on offense, 8 on defense, and kicker.
Top returnees:
QB Joshua Dobbs, RB Jalen Hurd, WR Josh Malone, WR Pig Howard, WR Marquez North, LB Curt Maggitt, DE Derek Barnett, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
Top newcomers:
DT Kahlil McKenzie (Concord, CA), DE Kyle Phillips (Nashville, TN), WR Preston Williams (Hampton, GA), RB Alvin Kamara (Hutchinson C.C., KS) [Remember him?], DT Shy Tuttle (Lexington, NC), OT Drew Richmond (Memphis, TN).

Strengths: Having many returning starters, receivers, enthused fanbase, recruiting, post-Oct. 24 schedule.
Weaknesses: Corner, young D-Line, inconsistent O-Line, QB depth behind Dobbs, field goals longer than 40 yards (1 for 6 in 2014), punting, Arky-UGA-Bama in October.

Outlook: Rocky Top returns almost everyone on offense but for what that is worth, they were 93rd (11th in the SEC) in total offense in 2014... Dobbs had a breakout season in 2014. But now that opposing coaches have film on him, will they expose him? ... Can UT find a corner opposite Cameron Sutton? ... Punter is a big question mark.

2015 Schedule:
Sept. 5 Bowling Green* - W
Sept. 12 Oklahoma - W - Okie coach Bob Stoops is feeling some heat in Norman. Lose this one and the temperature goes up.
Sept. 19 Western Carolina - W
Sept. 26 at Florida - W - It's tough to win in the Swamp but UF is going through a rebuild... again.
Oct. 3 Arkansas - L - The Hogs are just too strong for UT.
Oct. 10 Georgia - L - Another home loss but ya never know when Mark Richt will lose control of his program.
Oct. 17 - off week, gotta rest up for Bama
Oct. 24 at Alabama - L - Nick Saban is 8-0 vs. the Orange.
Oct. 31 at Kentucky - W
Nov. 5 South Carolina - W - Be careful here, Smokey.
Nov. 14 North Texas - W
Nov. 21 at Missouri - L - My gut says go with the home team.
Nov. 28 Vanderbilt - W
*Played in Nashville, Tenn.

Let's go Bowling! Yes, Likely somewhere in Florida.

This should be a big year for the Volunteers. However, if they somehow stumble to 6-6 or another losing season, expect to see the fans to take it with humbled grace.

* Fun Fact: Derek Dooley was 15–21 overall and 4–19 in the SEC in three seasons at Tennessee and they wanted his head on a platter.

.......

Other previews:

  • UGA Dawgs
  • Missy State Clanga-Clangs
  • Ole Miss Rebel Ackbar Black Bears

    #RollTide