OK, Tennessee fans, what's your excuse this time?
The Florida loss was a fluke because you guys were playing in a monsoon. You lost to Georgia because Surfer Dude didn't play. I'll be nice and give you those two.
But 34-14 to Bama? What happened there? Sure, Clausen's collarbone might still be sore, and Kelley Washington was out. But there's no excuse to get embarrassed like that when you're playing for your SEC lives.
The fact is, Tennessee is mediocre at best this season, and the Vols are lucky to even be where they are now - one missed field goal away from being 0-4 in the SEC.
I'm not claiming that my Gamecocks are world-beaters. We've got our problems, too. But after the Tide exposed your team's weaknesses for all to see, I'm confident that USC has a great chance to come out on top Saturday when it battles the Vols in Williams
The Vols' weaknesses:
- No run defense.
The Vols historically are solid here, but they got pushed around last week by the Tide. And Arkansas' Matt Jones was running circles around your guys for four quarters and six overtimes a few weeks ago.
That doesn't bode well for UT this weekend. If Jones can do what he did, imagine what Corey Jenkins - the hardest working quarterback in college football - is capable of doing. The old man is just licking his chops right now, waiting for the chance to wear your boys out.
And you can bet Andrew Pinnock is ready to redeem himself for last season, when he came up short last on 4th and goal from the 1. He'll get that yard this year.
- No starting tailback.
It looks like you can recruit almost too well. The Vols are missing a No. 1 tailback -- a clear-cut starter like Travis Stephens or Jamal Lewis - and it's hurting an offense that is dying for continuity.
How many guys want to be the man in Knoxville? I count four - Jabari Davis, Cedric Houston, Derrick Tinsley and Gerald Riggs.
I guess it doesn't help, though, that your offensive line is one of your weakest in recent memory.
- No wide receiver opposite Washington.
After "The Future," who is Clausen supposed to pass to? Your best second receiver is a tight end.
That's good for USC because we don't have a second cornerback.
I don't even see Washington doing all that much. Dunta Robinson will be all over him.
Face it, Tennessee fans - you guys are struggling, and there's a strong possibility that your misery will continue this weekend.
You've barely won the past two years with one of your best teams; you might just lose this year with one of your worst.
And what was up with last year? Your team's outright choke in Atlanta cost us the Citrus Bowl. Lou hasn't forgotten - and he's still mad we had to go to the Outback to pummel Ohio State again.
Anyway, I wish your beloved Vols luck this week; they're going to need it, especially when they see a massive wave of garnet in the stands.
I think Saturday's game will be close, and both teams are capable of winning. But, if I have to make a prediction: USC 24, Tennessee 14.
And the teams will combine for 15 turnovers.
Sorry, coach Fulmer. You're just going to have to keep waiting for career win 100.
Sports writer for Gamecocks predicts South Carolina win
Published: Fri Nov 01, 2002 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 04:37 p.m.