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Rocky Top Talk Sep 13, 2016

Tennessee Football 2017 Schedule

LSU on November 18 will change the usual flow of a season’s expectations. We knew the names, now we know the dates: The 2017 @Vol_Football ScheduleMonday Night Football, Vols style! Tennessee kicks off 2017 in ATL vs Georgia Tech pic.twitter.com/WkChOrJiOx— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 14, 2016 The move of South Carolina from Halloween weekend to mid-October is one we’ve seen a few times before, most recently when the Vols beat Steve Spurrier’s eventual #4 Gamecocks in Butch Jones’ first year. The Vols and Georgia Tech will meet in the Falcons’ new stadium to test it...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 13, 2016

Retiring the 'Bust' Label

No VFL who commits himself to the team, graduates, and represents himself, his family, and UT well should ever be considered a 'bust.' In every second-season known as "college recruiting" the star-gazers will pronounce multiple 17-18 year olds as "can’t miss prospects". Inevitably, some of them will not reach the vaunted status put upon them by recruiting experts, and those same kids will find themselves placed on click-bait ‘Top Busts’ lists. During the 2016 NBA Draft, ESPN added Jalen Rose to the commentary team, and while his appearance was panned for a number of reasons, not least...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 13, 2016

Vols Trending Report: Virginia Tech

The big plays were kind to the Vols on Saturday night, but efficiency--starting in the trenches--will hold Tennessee back until its fixed. After a rocky start, the Vols found their footing in a big way, riding a 45-3 run to a 45-24 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night. On the scoreboard, it was a huge statement after needing overtime to squeak past Appalachian State a week before. But the underlying stats show plenty of room for improvement. Where are the Vols getting better, and where are they still struggling? This week's Trending Report is here to...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 12, 2016

Recalibrating expectations for the Vols after the Battle at Bristol

Two games in, how do we feel about the rest of the Vols’ season now? With Week Two in the books, how do we now feel about the Vols' chances the rest of the way? Georgia drops below Texas A&M, Florida gets a small bump, and the misfits of Missouri, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky all jockey for position at the back of the pack. Explanations are below, but here's the updated chart: PREDICTIONS 5-30 SCALE Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 5 6 Alabama Alabama 7 8 9 10 Georgia 11 Alabama 12 Georgia 13 Texas A&M 14 Georgia 15 Texas A&M Texas...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 11, 2016

Seven Maxims Scorecard: Virginia Tech

Grading the Vols' performance as the General might have. Since the 1930's the University of Tennessee has been measuring themselves against seven keys to winning football as first summarized by General Robert Neyland. The Seven Maxim's Scorecard is a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how, relative to that week's opponent, the Vols performed against each of the seven directives. Grading is on a 4.0 scale, with a 4.0 being perfect, which is rare. In this analysis, it's possible for Tennessee to have won without excelling on all fronts, but it is impossible to have performed well in all...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 11, 2016

Tennessee 45 Virginia Tech 24: The Stage

After coming up short in big early season games in the past, Butch Jones and the Vols answered an early challenge from Virginia Tech with an emphatic victory at Bristol. Noise at Bristol Motor Speedway - at least for 22 football players instead of 40 cars on the track - goes up and out. Instead of 156,990 creating the kind of sound and fury 102,455 create in Neyland’s architecture, much of the volume last night was lifted to Colossus and the heavens. The heavens is where many of us were looking when Travon McMillian went 69 yards late in the first quarter to put Virginia Tech up 14-0,...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 11, 2016

Vols Start Slow, Take Checkered Flag at Bristol

It took one quarter, but the Vols found their bearings and rolled in the largest college football game ever, aided by VT’s generosity For 15 minutes, it seemed as though absolutely nothing could go right for the Vols. All it took was one play to turn the game, and possibly the season, around. Tennessee utilized a 45-3 run to overcome an early 14-0 deficit on their way to a 45-24 win over Virginia Tech in front of 156,000+ fans at the Battle at Bristol. The Vols won the toss, and then lost everything else in the first quarter. After pinning the Hokies deep on the opening kick, misdirection...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 10, 2016

September 10 Open Thread

Week two doesn’t have the flash of week one, but there will still be some telling match-ups on this Saturday. We’ve got a separate thread for tonight’s showdown in Thunder Valley between the Vols and Hokies, but here’s a look at what’s coming up before that - if you’re following along at home, we invite you to join us. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 Matchup Time (ET) TV / Online Penn State at Pittsburgh Noon ESPN / WatchESPN UCF at (5) Michigan Noon ABC / WatchESPN Central Michigan at (22) Oklahoma State Noon FS1 / FS Go Lamar at (6) Houston Noon ASN / WatchESPN ...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 10, 2016

Battle at Bristol Game Thread

It’s College Football’s Biggest Ever, and it’s the best place to be tonight at 8:00. The second-best place to be is here. Morning, y'all. We've been looking forward to seeing the Vols play at Bristol Motor Speedway for a decade or more, and we've been anticipating the Battle at Bristol for three years. Today, it's finally here. There's so much noise about this game that you may have missed Will's Ridge and Valley post, which is required reading for today. Seriously, follow that link and read that post. All right. Now you're free to get back to your traffic and parking logistics. If...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 9, 2016

RTT Pick ‘Em Community Trends - Week 2

Congrats to Go Ducks! (wait, what?) who took the week one picks pool via tiebreaker over carolinavol. Yours truly failed to crack the Top 100. Another 20 games are on the slate for week two, and college football owes us an apology for following up such an incredible week one with this random assortment. As such you’ll find far too many games in our pool this week with enormous point spreads, but a few trends to watch for either way this week: Tonight Louisville is a 14.5 point favorite at Syracuse, now running the Dino Babers Bowling Green offense. But only one person likes the ‘Cuse...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 9, 2016

RTT Staff Picks: Virginia Tech

The RTT pickers were burned against App State but are once again optimistic as the Vols face off with the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Battle at Bristol It was a rough opening week for the RTT pickers, with all eight failing to predict Appalachian State covering the spread in a 20-13 overtime loss to the Volunteers. Fittingly, Closest to the Pin is Hunter, whose 35-13 prediction—15 points off on both the margin and the total—didn’t even make it into last week’s article, thanks to an editorial oversight. It was that kind of week. This week, both Tennessee and our staff pickers try to...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 9, 2016

Tennessee vs Virginia Tech in Southern Appalachia: Ridge and Valley

Vols and Hokies share much in common beyond the attendance records set to fall on Saturday night. So yeah, we didn’t have any fun last Thursday and in its aftermath we haven’t had much fun this week. We were so excited about being really good for the first time in ten years we get really cranky when we look anything but. There is much, it seems, to be anxious about. But, even if just for a moment, we should look around - at Bristol Motor Speedway or from the comfort of our own homes - and breathe deeply of this weekend. And smile. The largest crowd to ever assemble to watch a football...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 9, 2016

The Other Games Viewing Guide for Vols fans: Week Two

The Battle at Bristol is the main course this weekend, but here are some other games of interest to Vols fans. Do you remember that awesome opening slate of college football games to open the season last week? Yeah, well that was then. Time to pay up. With the exception of our own Battle at Bristol, this week may be as bad as last week as good. Good thing, though, because it sounds like we’re all going to be stuck in traffic all day anyway. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to watch or record, though. So here’s your schedule for the weekend, carefully curated just for Vols...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 8, 2016

Battle at Bristol: Keys to the Game for the Volunteers

Tennessee needs to find themselves this week against the Virginia Tech Hokies Tennessee's game last Thursday night against the Appalachian State Mountaineers was a rude wake up call both for the team and for the fans. It wasn't one of those sunrise alarm clocks that slowly fades from dark to dawn with birds singing in the background, it was more like jumping out of bed so fast you stick to the ceiling because your bed is on fire. The good news, though, is that we are now awake and alert. Or so we hope. That theory will be tested against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Battle at Bristol...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 7, 2016

Most Important Vol: Virginia Tech

Our writing staff makes its picks for the week’s most important player. Last week Darrin Kirkland Jr. took home the vote, but Mike DeBord’s second place finish was a sign of things to come and earns Chris Pendley a helmet sticker for week one. Micah Abernathy was also an excellent option as it turned out. This week: Bristol. Will Shelton - Butch Jones Relax. It's not about pressure or must-win or any other over-sensationalizing. But the Vols do have a lot of moving parts this week. What's the confidence level of a team full of guys who've never been ranked in the Top 10 before, then...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 6, 2016

2016-17 Tennessee Basketball Schedule

Rick Barnes’ second Tennessee team will face a variety of difficult non-conference foes and the usual SEC grind, as the 2016-17 basketball schedule was released today. Non-conference dates with North Carolina, Gonzaga, and Georgia Tech are the highlights, plus the annually-loaded Maui Invitational field. The Vols draw Kansas State in Knoxville as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The SEC rotation gives Tennessee Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt home-and-home every year. This season the Vols will also play the state of Mississippi twice in the rotation. The full...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 6, 2016

Vols Tumble to #17 in AP Poll

Thursday games are stupid. Well, I guess now we know what happens when you look lousy against a little-respected opponent on the first Thursday of the season. The Vols fell eight spots in the new AP poll released today, basically swapping spots with Georgia (#9, lst wk: #18), and behind the previously-unranked Texas (#11) and Wisconsin (#10). Unsurprisingly Alabama held onto the top spot, with Clemson, FSU, Ohio State and Michigan rounding out the top 5. Elsewhere, Tennessee fell to #14 in the Coaches Poll. But BIll C. still loves us! S&P+ has been updated!(Reminder: Preseason projections...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 6, 2016

Recalibrating expectations for the Tennessee Vols after Appalachian State

With Week One in the books, we now know a little more than the nothing we knew in the preseason, so let's adjust our expectations accordingly. Recalibrating the Vols after the Appalachian State game I took my five-year-old daughter to her first real Tennessee football game last Thursday night. The next morning I asked her to tell me her favorite part of the football game. I waited while she thought about it for a few seconds, thinking she'd settle on the popcorn or Smokey or some other toddler priority, but she said, "We won." That's my girl. And that is, in fact, the best thing about last...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 6, 2016

Tennessee Vols Trending Report: Appalachian State

It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. What trended up, and what trended down in Tennessee's 20-13 season-opening win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers? Tennessee's season opener didn't go quite as smoothly as expected, with the Vols coming back from a 13-3 halftime deficit against a surprisingly frightening Appalachian State squad to escape 20-13 in overtime at Neyland Stadium Thursday night. Since then, we've had a long weekend to digest last Thursday's happenings and observe team after team after team struggle unexpectedly in their openers. So, with four days separation from the heat...
Rocky Top Talk Sep 5, 2016

Tennessee vs Virginia Tech: Who Knows?

The world’s largest football game has had years of anticipation. But with a new coach after 29 years in Blacksburg and plenty of questions after a week one escape in Knoxville, there are now even more unknowns than we thought we’d find in Bristol. The certainty with Bristol is that it will break college football’s attendance record. Everything else is a mystery. Walking out of Neyland Stadium on Thursday, I had visions of something like this for Saturday: Virginia Tech and Wake Forest go to OVERTIME TIED 0-0: pic.twitter.com/FsdcGu8g6O— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November...