We answer your questions about the Vols or anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing. If you have questions about anything in the mortgage process, go to BenMillerLoans.com.
First off, our thoughts and prayers go out to the folks up around Gatlinburg with the terrible fires going on there this week. Jake Tidwell on Twitter asked for us to publish a way to help, so here’s info on donating to the Red Cross:
Red Cross (donation link) or make a $10 donation by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999
Various businesses around East Tennessee are accepting donations such as water, pre-packaged food and other basic supplies. Keep an eye out on social media for more information on that.
Now, on to the questions….
“How many games would Butch and his staff win if they had Alabama’s roster/schedule this year?” – Bryan Shrader
Daniel: If I had to guess, maybe 10-2 or 11-1 in the regular season. They’d obviously have the talent advantage in every game, but we saw UT lose two games this year where the Vols had the talent edge, so I think that record projection is fair. My biggest question is if Butch Jones would start Jalen Hurts at quarterback. Based on how he handled the 2013 season at UT, it’s tough to say.
Nathanael: They wouldn’t be blowing every team out like the current Nick Saban-led Bama squad is, nor would they be undefeated. I’m with Daniel that they’d be at least 11-1 if not 10-2. Jones and his staff have shown a clear talent edge isn’t enough for them to beat inferior opponents.
“Fair to say that we’d still be disappointed in this season, but not full red if Butch wasn’t such a condescending arse?” – Mike Jehle
Daniel: What Butch says and how he acts towards the fans and media is only scrutinized when Tennessee isn’t playing well. Nick Saban does a lot of what Butch does, and worse sometimes, but nobody cares because he wins like crazy. So results will always be No. 1 on the list of reasons fans don’t like you, but when you’re kind of on the fence between failure and success, the way fans (and media) perceive you can be the difference in whether you’re supported or not.
Nathanael: Absolutely correct, Mike. The reason Saban and Harbaugh can get away with their antics and attitude is because they’re proven winners. Fans and media may not necessarily like that that Saban and Harbaugh act they way they do sometimes, but they’re much more okay with it because the coaches keep bringing in the wins. Right now, Butch Jones is talking and acting like them (to an extent) without bringing in the wins. So yes, I think fans would be less angry with him if he didn’t do some of the things he did along with losing.
“What’s the best Vols related joke you’ve seen during this whole season ending dumpster fire?” – @UmbrAndrew
Daniel: Just the general reaction to the “Champions of Life” comments. The photoshop of the seniors holding up the game of Life, the Life Championship rings/banners, etc. It was probably a little bit over the top, but still entertaining.
Nathanael: Yeah, I’d have to say the photoshops after the Champions of Life comment were the best, especially the one Daniel mentioned. On the positive side, the ones involving Kamara’s grill have also been extremely enjoyable. And the ones with Jauan Jennings burning Tabor.
“Who is the most likely hire for UT football in 2018?” – @patrick552
Daniel: Patrick isn’t messing around with this question. If that scenario unfolds, it’s tough to say – the hot names change every year. I think P.J. Fleck from Western Michigan is a name that will float around until he lands a major job. He’s doing a tremendous job right now. I think Chip Kelly will come back to the college game at some point. It just isn’t working out in the NFL. Lions’ OC Jim Bob Cooter’s name will get thrown around if there’s a UT opening soon. Mike MacIntyre (Colorado) will also be a hot name, and he does have some ties to the state. And, of course, I have to say it – GRUDEN.
If I’m the AD and I’m making a hire after next year, I’m – one way or another – finding a way to set the budget at a minimum of $5 million/year and going out and finding somebody who has won big as a coach at a Power 5 conference school.
Nathanael: Gruden. Okay, no, that’s silly and too far-fetched. It’s Peyton, obviously.
Okay, I’m done.
Honestly, I respect the boldness of the question. I do think Tennessee, for one reason or another, will be looking for a new head coach in 2018, though, so I think the question is legitimate. It’s a little hard to project because we don’t know who will be available and how perception will change around some of the more common names, but I’d have to say Chip Kelly is definitely a likely candidate. I don’t know about any other coach specifically by name, but I’d say it would be someone with head coaching experience and not a hot and up-and-coming coordinator like what Georgia did with Kirby Smart.
“Why us?” – Trip Hiller
Daniel: Always have the cup handy. That’s all I can say.
Nathanael: Take it from a Cubs fan: This could go on a while. Better hope the “Fulmer curse” isn’t a real thing. Because if it is…buckle up.
“What projected Bowl opponent, if any, would give fans extra incentive to travel to the game?” – Doug Brooks
Daniel: The postseason options have definitely lost some sizzle, but I’d say Florida State, Louisville, Miami or Nebraska are some teams that stick out to me that Tennessee could potentially face that would draw more interest than a team like Minnesota or North Carolina State. Wake Forest (Clawfense) and Pitt (Nate Peterman) might not draw huge crowds, but there would be some interesting storylines there for sure.
Nathanael: It would have to be a team that brings some sort of story line into it that would intrigue Vol fans. A team like Miami with Mark Richt at the helm (plus the overall match-up between the Vols and Hurricanes would be huge regardless because of history) or a team like Pitt with Nathan Peterman at the helm of the offense would be ideal. If teams like Nebraska or Louisville end up dropping enough to where they make it to the Pool of Six bowls the Vols will likely be in, then they would be good match-ups as well.