OK, I know, it was Middle Tennessee State. I also understand that *insert SEC team* would/could have beaten the Blue Raiders by more than Tennessee did Saturday night.
I don’t care.
The Vols desperately needed a win – any win – against anybody at this point in time. The Boys in Orange have been pummeled by successive games against ranked opponents from the Southeastern Conference that would have been an epic mountain for far deeper and more talented Vol teams from either the Majors or Fulmer eras. Alas, the 2011 version of the Volunteers is neither and it shows.
As South Carolina is learning to its discomfiture, an SEC schedule is a campaign of attrition. No matter how talented and flashy a team’s starting twenty-two, there will be casualties and grievous ones at that. The key to consistently winning in the SEC is to have a SECOND twenty-two capable of starting anywhere else in the league. In fact, this writer would go so far as to suggest that the storied Tennessee teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s were THREE deep at many positions and STILL struggled to play consistently on a championship level.