Those Tennessee Volunteers are about to teach us something that many may not have expected as they head in Starkville against a solid top 20 Bulldogs squad.
Coming off a much needed bye week where Derek Dooley hot seat discussions are still alive and cooking always makes life interesting, but they have quite the task ahead of them.
They can either start to cook or be cooked with the schedule they have. Alabama, Florida and South Carolina are still on the slate which means another five or six loss season could be ahead.
The Vols did lose seven games a season ago, but the offense under Tyler Bray is much better than Tennessee fans have seen in a long time.
The key matchup will be Bray’s favorite targets against a secondary that is as impressive as any in the country.
The Bulldogs are No. 11 in scoring defense allowing just 13.4 PPG, and a lot of it is thanks to the best defensive back in America.
Johnathan Banks is an athletic freak that is rangy and lanky, that is simply a pest that will not be stopped or slowed down. He is electric and will be locking down on Cordarrelle Patterson and or Justin Hunter throughout this game.
Tennessee does have a solid offensive line (they have allowed just 3 sacks) and Mississippi State is just 84th in sacks registered (8 total, 1.6 per game).
If Bray gets time to relax and set his feet in the pocket, the Vols will play the underdog and dark horse role very well in this critical SEC matchup.
Totaling 11 TD and just 1 INT gives this team an excellent shot at posting double-digit victories this year for Dan Mullen. It was just two full seasons ago where they went 9-4 and finished No. 16 in the finals polls after demolishing Michigan in the Gator Bowl.
I expect even a better record (similar ranking) when things are done, but this game favors the road team in Tennessee (more desperate, just as talented).
Time: 9 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: MST by 3
Danny V’s Pick: Tennessee 31, Mississippi State 27