"Take a bite – it's gator hater week."

This eloquence explained the green, alligator-shaped loaf of bread that greeted me when I walked into The Daily Beacon offices on Thursday morning.

My knowledge of football is limited – completely irrelevant considering I have kept the No. 1 spot for three consecutive weeks now – but if there is anything I have learned during my two years on campus, it's the dire stakes of the annual Florida-Tennessee game. Last year's match-up brought ESPN's flagship college football program, College Gameday Live, to campus, and the despondent devastation that followed the second half melt down remains the quietest post-game atmosphere in recent memory.

The Gators have chomped the Vols each time the two have met over the past eight years, meaning this year's Pick Em's predictions revolve around one question: is this our year?

Fully believing in the Vols' strengths, Associate Dean of Students Ken Gassiot has UT beating UF by three points. Last weekend, our newest pick em participant predicted the Vols would surpass the Ducks. Although his aspirations did not come to fruition, I greatly admire his confidence and loyalty to the Vols this season.

The loyal Copy Chief, Gage Arnold, doubts the Vols, forseeing a Florida domination over UT just like last year. Sharing the sentiment is Troy Provost-Heron, the assistant sports editor. Despite being a Florida native, Troy ought to have more faith in UT's football team. However, his score prediction is close and reasonable, and that's something he will surely boast about if it comes true on Saturday.

Cortney Roark, our beloved assistant arts and culture editor, has the Vols down for a win against the Gators. Despite her job in arts and culture, Cortney seems to keep up with the Vols relatively closely. (Note: she is in second-to-last place.)

Sports editor David Cobb rounds out the predictors, and wrote in last Friday's Beacon that he "knows exactly what he is doing, even when it appears that he may be lost." Alas, it seems the poor fellow is, indeed, lost, floundering about in the basement of the standings. Although he correctly anticipated Oregon's beat down of UT last weekend and has the Gators down for a win Saturday, let's hope this sports editor has a good reason to change his mind.

The aforementioned column also implies I consult "numerous outside sources for intelligence," which is false. I will admit to asking advice from a select person who fluently speaks the language of football, but my selections in The Daily Beacon are all my own. Plus, I basically only pick the home team to win, just like the song says: "root – root root – for the home team, if they don't win it's a shame."

Despite my own strategy, this week's circumstances for the Vols hold promise. I fully believe in the orange and white.

Melodi Erdogan has only been to one game at Neyland stadium and that was last year's game against Florida. She left that game at halftime. When the Vols were still winning. She can be reached at merdogan@utk.edu.