I’ve by no means long past broke underestimating Phillip Fulmer.
During the last 4 seasons, the College of Tennessee has been one of the vexing faculty soccer powerhouses within the country. They have been loaded on protection and had a possible pastime quarterback tandem in '05, and went 5-6. That they had a completely dominating indemnity led via Casey Clausen, however may just no longer prevent Auburn and misplaced a unusual house sport to Notre Dame in '04. Because the '98 nationwide championship season, UT has long past 61-26 straight-up, however 2-Four in bow video games (they failed to achieve a bowl closing yr) and feature been a dreadful 4-16 in opposition to the quantity in house video games since 2003. Certainly, if there's something it’s worthwhile to rely on closing season, it used to be that Tennessee can be too extremely valued in opposition to the unfold, particularly in Knoxville.
Into this ruin step the Cal Golden Bears, who trip to Knoxville this weekend to fulfill Tennessee as a two-point underdog. Cal had horrible troubles at quarterback closing season and went a disappointing 8-4, after coming inside of six issues in opposition to USC from registering an undefeated common season in 2004. If Joe Ayoob remains at the bench, I feel Cal is a a lot better group, and from the sound of it, closing yr's presumptive starter, Nate Longshore, who broke his leg throughout the Bears' first sport of '05, will have to helm the group this yr. There's no query who the operating again is: it's Marshawn Lynch, who's averaged 7.zero yards according to deliver in his first two seasons in Berkeley. I’ve visions of the Vols' once-destructive run protection being not able to prevent Memphis's two backup rushers closing season (Joseph Doss carried it 17 instances for 77 yards; Maurice Avery carried it 18 instances for 72 yards), so it's no longer unthinkable that Lynch may just select up the place he left off in '05 (for the document, the place he left off used to be a 24-carry, 194-yard Las Vegas Bowl efficiency in opposition to BYU closing yr).
Cal used to be crummy in opposition to the closing closing season (2-9-1), however I'm having a bet that a large number of that needed to do with Ayoob, who looks as if a pleasing man, however used to be approach too erratic for Jeff Tedford's wild-and -crazy offensive sport plans. Now Ayoob's the backup once more; Longshore is your dropback man who won’t make the large mistake, and I'm no longer positive I will say the similar about UT QB Eric Ainge, who has that process all to himself this yr. Tennessee enthusiasts are completely superior, and Knoxville is a shockingly tough position to play, however I feel Fulmer will give you the option to lose this sport. UT is 2-Eight in opposition to the unfold of their closing 10 in opposition to non-conference foes, and California is 9.4-1 in opposition to the quantity of their closing 14 as a street canine. I'm no longer positive precisely how a lot trade Lynch will be capable to do, as a result of this Tennessee protection will have to nonetheless be lovely just right in opposition to the run (that Memphis sport however). However I feel the Golden Bears have the guns essential to attain, and a protection just right sufficient to rattle Ainge. I'm taking California (+2) over Tennessee on this season-opener.