I haven't been conducting the Tennessee Volunteers' hype train, but I definitely had a ticket for its trip to Atlanta.
I picked the Vols to win the SEC East (and lose to Alabama in the SEC title game). When I played the season out on paper, I had Tennessee beating Florida in Knoxville on Sept. 24.
So now what? What to think after Butch Jones nearly butchered another game, this time needing a lucky bounce in overtime to escape with a 20-13 win over Appalachian State?
First, the Mountaineers are solid. They're physical and tough. Their strengths matched up well against Tennessee's strengths. The Vols don't air it out, so they couldn't take advantage of what seemed like a mediocre secondary. Miami, for what it's worth, should be able to when Brad Kaaya's Hurricanes play at App. State in two weeks.
Aside from that? Granted, it's only one game. I'm a math guy, so I don't want to read too much into a sample size of one game, against a tricky opponent. But...it sure looks like the same old Tennessee, doesn't it? And that's a good thing for the Gators.
Just check their Twitter timeline from last night:
Wow.. This is our year!!
I still have a lot of questions about UF. The starting quarterback is a two-time transfer with 18 career pass attempts. The next field goal the highly touted kicker attempts in a real game will be his first. The defense lost its top linebacker, top lineman and top safety.
But after last night? The Gators' road to Atlanta sure looks a lot smoother.