Insider Mailing: Bring on the Dawgs Edition

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    Butch Jones UGA

    I give us a 30% chance of beating Georgia this year which I’m fine with. But if we do, can you guys even fathom what next week would be like?  – JBCVol

    Houston: While I don’t think that the atmosphere for next week’s game against Florida was ever in question, a win in Athens this weekend would send VolNation into an absolute frenzy. A win in Athens would get everyone on board with Butch Jones and really serve as a notice to the nation that Tennessee football is trending up at an incredible rate. That being said, I don’t think that a loss this weekend – as 19-point underdogs – would negatively impact the program in a big way. Just come out of this UGA game relatively healthy and I think the Gators are in some serious trouble.

    Reed: I expect campus to be rocking when Florida comes to town next week either way. Vol fans know there’s blood in the water and Will Muschamp is likely a drubbing away from the unemployment line. How sweet would it be for Tennessee to not only end the streak but end his time at Florida? You’re right, though. The Florida game goes from being about ending the streak/Muschamp to challenging for the SEC East title with a win in Athens. Assuming Missouri loses at South Carolina this weekend, the Vols would enter that matchup with the Gators in 1st place in the SEC East. And it’s been a LONG time since the Vols headed into October with a legit shot at a division crown.

    John: If Tennessee beats Georgia, the Vols will easily land in the top 25. Possibly top 20. And if I’m not mistaken, that’d be the first time the Vols would be ranked since the last FL game in K-town. And the week before the 2012 Florida game was off the hook. Sure, a big win against a decent NC State team two weeks prior is what set the table that year. But a win over Georgia to set the table for Florida the week before the big game? This town could very well lose its freaking mind. And the TV-exec who put UT-FL in the noon slot could very well lose his freaking job. Great question, @JBCVOL. I’d not yet looked at the Florida game in that context.

    Noon game Florida. Kill me. Now time to deal with it. How do I properly tailgate and make sure I am good and lit by kickoff?
     – Dirty Randy

    John: To guarantee maximum intoxication by the noon kick of the Florida game, I first recommend that you start your Friday evening shenanigans a touch later than normal. Say 11-ish.

    Then just play through, my man. You might be a little tired. But trust me, you’ll be hammered.

    What is the more appropriate alcoholic beverage for men on noon kicks, fruit flavored shine or Bloody Marys?
    – @TheRobertoUTVol

    Houston: I hate tomato juice. I hate tomatoes. I don’t really like celery unless I have some wings and bleu cheese next to it, so you can keep that red stuff somewhere else. Give me an Irish Coffee to start and then, after that, it’s all fair game. I am a fan of fruit-flavored shine, however…specifically anything with some cinnamon and spice. Do they make a pumpkin flavored shine? Did I just have the best idea ever? Who do I call about this?

    John: Before I answer that, let me first ask you this: is it “Bloody Marys” or “Bloody Maries”? I could make a legit case for either one, hence my tendency to use the term “Bloodies.” Which, incidentally, is what I would opt for at a pre-noon tailgate.

    Reed: Shine all the way. There’s nothing like starting your day with some shine and bacon – there are few things more appropriate in East Tennessee. You can also start your morning with some whiskey in your coffee to get you going. Or, if you’re into risking a stroke, vodka-red bull is in play.

    If you knew we were guaranteed victory against UF and Bama this year, would you let @MikeTyson punch you in the face….no glove and you have to keep your hands in your pockets.  – Samuel Chaffin

    John: I see where you’re going here. It’s essentially a “would you rather” question turned on its head. Would you rather lose to Alabama and Florida or get punched in the face by a former heavyweight champion. Hmm. Let’s see. Florida and Alabama have defeated Tennessee for seven straight seasons, so I know (all too well) what that’s like. Yet I’ve never been punched in the face by Mike Tyson, sans gloves, with my hands in my pockets, so I’m unsure what to expect there, though I can sorta imagine.

    I know for a fact I can survive the Alabama-Florida double whammy without (a) dying or (b) requiring facial reconstructive surgery, yet I’m virtually certain that one of those two fates would befall me in the Tyson scenario. so I’m going to go ahead and answer your question. I’d rather NOT get punched in the face by Mike Tyson, sans gloves, with my hands in my pocket. If that makes me less of a fan in the minds of some, so be it. At least I’ll still have my sneaky good looks.

    Daniel: This might be the best question we’ve received. Well done. There’s so much to consider here for me personally. Not only would Tennessee get two massive wins, but whoever took the punch would be a regional hero (there’s nothing in the question that says anything about it being anonymous). Rocky Top Insider would absolutely explode in popularity if I did it. Think about it. Another media outlet would talk about how it writes positive articles to help the program and I would say, “Yeah, well, I took a punch from Mike Tyson to give this entire state the thrill of beating its two biggest rivals.” From that standpoint, it’s very tempting. I can envision our new banner on the site now: “RTI – we’ll take a punch from Mike Tyson to give your Vols a win.”

    But on the other hand, I obviously would be risking permanent injury and/or death to do it. Zero percent chance my wife is okay with it as well. So there’s substantial risk. I think if there were any way to guarantee full recovery within a year or two, I would really think about it. It would mean so much to this city, state and to RTI. That being said, there is no way to guarantee that in this scenario, so I would have to opt out for my health and family’s sake. Honestly, I think anybody who unequivocally says yes to this would change their mind in the seconds leading up to it. Plus, at the end of the day, Tennessee very well could beat Florida straight up, so you might only be doing it for one win.

    Houston: In short, my answer is yes. I am a healthy, 27-year-old single man who has a history of healing quickly. I have taken a punch or two in my day and come out just fine (I think), so what’s another one from some washed up boxer?

    I would be the savior of Tennessee football for taking this punch and I’m sure that I could raise money via a Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign to cover any medical costs. Vol Nation has a strong history of taking care of their own, so I’m sure that folks would donate a few dollars to the guy who secured victory over our arch-rivals…right? In fact, I would probably be in line to have a street named after me, perhaps even a statue. These things are much more important than the ability to see or walk in a straight line…so, where do I sign up?

    Do we beat Georgia? And do we land Shy Tuttle? – @PartyInTheFort

    Daniel: No and yes. I feel pretty confident on both.

    Houston: Maybe and yes. I don’t have a feel for this weekend yet…I think Tennessee will play much better than they did in Norman two weeks ago, but Georgia’s backfield is something out of a video game. The Vols will certainly have their work cut out for them in Athens.

    Tuttle – according to everything I’ve heard – should announce for Tennessee on Friday. That will be a huge get for Butch Jones and this staff. Next year’s defensive line could be truly special if either Tuttle or Kahlil McKenzie can make an early impact.

    Does Florida play another QB when they come to Knoxville and does Florida fire Will Muschamp if TN beats them? – @Rhickson87

    Daniel: Good questions. I’ll start with Muschamp. I think he makes it back to Gainesville if Tennessee beats him, though he would essentially be among the walking dead of college football coaches at that point. But I think you still give him a chance to play out most of the season to see if he can get to seven or eight wins. Three of Florida’s following four games are against teams that have underwhelmed recently – LSU, Missouri and Vanderbilt – so if he can pull two or three of those off, beat Eastern Kentucky and then maybe pull an upset somewhere else, he might survive.

    As for quarterback, I would expect Jeff Driskel to be the starter, but it sounds like Muschamp is weighing his options. True freshman Treon Harris would be the next option for the Gators. My prediction is that Driskel gets the start with a short leash and perhaps Harris sees some situational work. Though if a change is in the works, a bye week, which the Gators are on this week, is a good time to do it. Based on UT’s history against backup QBs, the Vols might hope to see Driskel in command next week.

    Houston: I think Tennessee will prepare for both after what happened last year. When Driskel went down in Gainesville last season I think it caught Tennessee by surprise and maybe a little unprepared for Tyler Murphy’s skill set (which was marginal, at best). My guess is that Florida will play both Driskel and Treon Harris, but neither of them should scare Tennessee. Harris is a very talented true freshman, but he is still a true freshman with little game experience. Couple that with the fact that Florida is still trying to learn a new offense as a team, and I just don’t think that a true freshman would be able to do enough in Neyland to give Tennessee’s defense much trouble. They would be very predictable.

    If Tennessee wins, Muschamp doesn’t make it. I’m not saying they fire him on the spot, but that team would spiral out of control and he would certainly be replaced at the end of the year.

    Reed: Vol fans need to hope for Driskel. Last year’s Tennessee defense handled him in Gainesville before he broke his leg. He’s the lowest rated passer in the SEC right now and UT’s increase in team speed on defense should cause massive problems for him. Treon Harris is getting a lot of love among local and national media and very well could see significant playing time. A 5-11, 4-star, freshman dual threat QB, Harris is obviously an unknown commodity…but he can’t be worse than Driskel, right?  I’m with Daniel. I think Driskel starts, has a short leash, and struggles which means the Vols will have to try to limit Harris from having a coming out party.

    Muschamp is done in Gainesville either way in my opinion. They’re just not going to win enough games to keep him. I think he makes it through nearly the end of the season, though.