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Insider Mailing: Bowl Season Edition

Jalen Hurd-1-2

“Who’s more overrated: Clemson or Ohio State?” – @nposey23

Daniel: I think I’m actually picking Oklahoma to beat Clemson in the playoffs, but I also think Clemson has earned everything its gotten this year so far. That may not stop them from doing a more advanced version of Clemson-ing this year, but they’ve played several really good teams and earned their wins. So I’ll go with Ohio State. I was impressed with the big win over Michigan, but I just don’t know how much some of its draft-eligible talent cares this year. It’s a loaded team, but way under-performed several times this year.

Bob:  Ohio State, without a doubt…and I’m the Big Ten guy of the bunch!  The Buckeyes have been sometimes dazzling, sometimes befuddling, but mostly lackluster this season.  I know there are some that feel they should have been in the CFP again, but I really felt that short of their season opening win against Virginia Tech (which looked like a video game come to life!) and the Michigan win at seasons end, I haven’t really been impressed.  Clemson on the other hand, has walked the talk most of the season in my opinion.  Their #1 ranking fits…so far!

“How far out are we scheduled? Any chance we get rid of the North Texas and Ohio University’s and pick up more competition?” –Dan Ayers 

Daniel: UT is booked up through 2017 with some opponents booked as far as 2027, but still a lot of opening between 2018 and that time. I think UT has done a pretty good job scheduling competition compared to many other major programs and as actually been on the more aggressive end. It’s certainly not the main factor, but I think scheduling teams like Oregon and Oklahoma certainly didn’t help UT through some of its recent lean years. But to answer your question more directly, 2019 is the first year that there are a lot of openings if UT wants to go through and major scheduling philosophy change, and I don’t see them buying out any other teams on their schedule right now to pursue tougher options.

“Not to be depressing, but how valuable is CBJ if recruiting slides? Keeping faith but a strong Jan. couldn’t get here fast enough.” – Trey Reliford 

Daniel: It’s a very fair question and point. I think he can take a slight hit this year – it wouldn’t be a huge deal if this smaller class is ranked something like No. 15 when it’s all said and done, but 2017 will be a big one. He’s been able to sell hope, playing time and the ability to be part of something, but that only last so long. If things aren’t quite up to expectations on the field next year, I think how the 2017 class is shaping up could be a factor as UT makes long-term decisions in the next year or two.

Nathanael: I don’t think we’re gonna have to worry about this honestly. Recruiting is going to be just fine for the 2016 class and especially the 2017 class. But to answer the question, his value does drop off if recruiting slides as it would with any coach. But I think it would be extremely detrimental to him since that’s so far been the main thing he’s done well.

“What would happen if Jalen Hurd collided with Al Wilson? Seriously, on paper, the Vols will be loaded. Do you think OL is still the biggest weakness?” – David Maxedon 

Daniel: Big hit for sure, would love to see him Wilson take on Hurd, Henry, Fournette and guys like that in the SEC right now. I feel pretty good about UT’s offensive line next year, but replacing Kyler Kerbyson will be a tough chore, no doubt. That could be the weakness, though UT has options with Chance Hall, Brett Kendrick, Drew Richmond and others in the fold. I think secondary is one area of concern next year, especially if Cam Sutton goes pro. You have some talent there, no doubt, but there could easily be four new starters, so definitely some questions there in my mind. And then we’ll see about wide receiver. There are options and talent there, but difficult to say what you’ll get.

Nathanael: Now THAT would be a massive collision. Boy oh boy. And no, I think the secondary, like Daniel said, will be the biggest weakness because of depth and the fact that there will likely be a lot of new starters.

“What’s the appropriate level of excitement for a 34-year old man about the new Star Wars?” – Stephen Wallace 

Bob:  Oh, I don’t know…you tell me:

Nathanael: Regardless of your age, there’s no amount of excitement too great for this film. I promise you, it’s worth the wait.

“What is your predictions on the final ranking of the 2016 class and who will be the biggest names to commit?” – Miles Hall

Daniel: I’ll say an average of about No. 12 nationally. That’s a touch ambitious based on where they are now, but Butch Jones has finished strong the last two years, so hard for me to think he won’t. I’ll say, right now, they get Nigel Warrior, Mecole Hardman (if not then somebody like Marquez Callaway) and an offensive lineman such as Landon Dickerson.

Nathanael: I’m gonna say top 15 class, at the most about 12 like Daniel said. I would bet on them getting either Nigel Warrior or Mecole Hardman, and I think they’re gonna pull in a surprise recruit that a lot of us aren’t talking about right now.

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