Fourth installment in the series takes us to Pumpkintown:
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]
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.
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.