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Tennessee's About the Only Team That Might Want Arkansas' Schedule | SEC 2013

The Volunteers are in for a brutal seven weeks that could easily see them go 1-5, and leave them drained for the rest of the year

Jonathan Ferrey

This is an overview. Predictions come later

8.31.13 | AUSTIN PEAY
9.14.13 | at OREGON
9.21.13 | at FLORIDA

The good news for Tennessee is that the Vols are almost certain to be 3-2 after September comes to an end. The bad news is that it might be the last time they're above .500 for the rest of the season. I love any time an SEC team plays Austin Peay in any sport, mostly because it's an opportunity to remind everyone that one of their cheer is "Let's go Peay!" and that should be applauded. In any case, September also brings us the beginning of the worst part of the Tennessee schedule, which also includes ...

10.5.13 | GEORGIA
10.26.13 | at ALABAMA

Tennessee will see Arkansas' playing four conference title contenders back-to-back-to-back-to-back and raise it playing four SEC title contenders and another national title contender in Oregon in the space of seven weeks. Of course, the Vols get a couple of opportunities to catch their collective breaths, between the South Alabama game and the bye between South Carolina and Georgia, and they get three weeks in a row at home. So there's that.

October could be a long month for Tennessee. But maybe not as long as you might think. Both Georgia and (especially) South Carolina were somewhat fortunate to win their games against Tennessee, with the Dawgs trailing shortly before halftime and needing a 50-yard field goal to tie things up at the half; Georgia would win by just seven after 21-point third quarter. South Carolina never trailed Tennessee, but also never put the Volunteers away in the home game. And even if you don't remember it, you already know that Alabama carpet-bombed Knoxville last year on its way to the national championship game.

11.2.13 | at MISSOURI
11.9.13 | AUBURN
11.23.13 | VANDERBILT
11.30.13 | at KENTUCKY

If Tennessee is going to get to a bowl game, this is where it's going to have to do so. At least three of these games are winnable, and maybe all four, depending on whether James Franklin's Vanderbilt fades a little bit in its third year. There's also a fatigue factor that could come into play here; having gone through what will likely be a difficult October, will Tennessee's players be ready to turn around and go to the other Columbia and play Missouri. The Vols had four wins going into a similar stretch last year (basically identical, if you drop the Auburn game), and still couldn't get the two victories they needed to play in the postseason.