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ESPN Analyst: Vanderbilt is “Better than Tennessee Right Now”

Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

The Vols have started off 2-0 with a come-from-behind, double-overtime victory over Georgia Tech and a rout of FCS opponent Indiana State this past Saturday. The mid-state team in the SEC, Vanderbilt, is also 2-0 after wins over MTSU and FCS opponent Alabama A&M.

And according to one ESPN analyst, Vanderbilt is playing like the better team through two weeks of the college football season.

Peter Burns, an ESPN and SEC Network studio anchor was asked on Twitter how good he believed Vanderbilt to be. And this was his reply:

So far, Vanderbilt’s defense has faced a non-Power Five offense and an FCS offense. Granted, MTSU’s offense is expected to be potent this season and the Commodores held them scoreless for a large part of their game. But Vanderbilt has yet to be tested by a Power Five school in terms of defending a team.

Kyle Shurmer has had a very strong start, but once again, that has come against non-Power Five competition. Shurmer has the third-most passing yards (498) and third-most touchdowns (7) in the SEC among qualifying quarterbacks, and he has yet to throw an interception. He also has the second-highest completion percentage in the SEC with a 76.1 percent completion rate.

But, Vanderbilt’s offense has faced an MTSU defense that was ranked 96th in college football last year in total yards allowed and an FCS defense.

Burns is correct in that the Commodore defense has looked stout and Shurmer has too. But it would’ve been highly concerning if either of those weren’t the case after the two teams Vanderbilt has played.

Tennessee’s defense took a beating against Georgia Tech, and the offense got off to an extremely rough start. But the Vols ended up winning that game because the offense finally came together, and Saturday’s game against Indiana State was little more than a tune-up.

But how much does anyone really know about either team right now?

Vanderbilt could be better than Tennessee right now, but that’s simply too difficult to tell given that the level of play the two teams have had to start their seasons isn’t comparable. Everyone will know more once Vanderbilt plays Kansas State this weekend and then enters SEC play and when the Vols visit Florida to open up their SEC schedule.

Burns didn’t say Vanderbilt will be better than the Vols all season; he simply said they’re the better team right now. But through just two weeks of play, it’s hard to tell much from teams until they get into the meat of their schedule. And only time will tell which of these two teams are actually better.

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2 Responses

  1. We all know opinions are like. Imagine an anal yst thinking they know everything.

  2. All that matters is who will be the better team when we play in November…This type of article is simply meant to keep the Vol fan base upset. One game at a time, folks. One game at a time.

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