Pregame: Florida at Tennessee
I hate the Florida Gators.
I have this theory that the team you consider Tennessee's main rival correlates pretty strongly with the team that beat Tennessee the most when you were first starting to become a Vols fan. In other words, once you identify a main enemy that team always stays a main enemy in your mind.
The Third Saturday in October has been historically streaky. Alabama owned Tennessee throughout the entirety of the 1970's. If this decade is when you were first getting into Tennessee football then Alabama is probably the team you consider Tennessee's main rival. I think this is why a seemingly larger proportion of older Vols fans would like to see this rivalry preserved throughout any potential conference realignment or removal of divisions, but younger cohorts are more accepting to the thought of dropping the annual game.
Georgia beat Tennessee three out of four times during the 1980's. The Bulldogs also won a national title in 1980. The eighties were a tough decade for the Vols against Georgia, and you probably hate the Bulldogs most if you became a Tennessee fan during this time period.
I was born in Knoxville in 1992 to two graduates of the University of Tennessee. My earliest childhood memories involve attending or watching Tennessee athletics with my parents. You want to know what's happened in the Tennessee-Florida game since I was born? Tennessee has won six times. And that includes the 1992 season when I was only months old.
I'm thirty now.
Guess the average margin of victory for Tennessee in those six wins since 1992. I'll tell you. It's eight points. One score! For most of my life I've watched Florida stomp on Tennessee. When Tennessee has managed to pull off a win it's always seemed to come with a high degree of anxiety and stress. I'm sure these games are significant environmental contributors to my future hypertension.
So for me, Florida is enemy number one. They're the team I consider the main rival of the Volunteers. I hate Florida.
I've listened to analysis of this game all week from larger media companies, and if I'm being honest that analysis has been all over the place. I want to set the record straight. The idea behind AB on FB is to look critically at the games on the field from a coach's perspective. I'm not concerned with the betting lines. Certain statistics can absolutely be valuable, but they can also lack context. This newsletter is all about looking at how teams execute on the field schematically, and how they might apply their strategy against an opponent. I hope you find this to be an entertaining and fresh look on college football analysis.
Here's what to expect from Florida at Tennessee.