Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Nobody is in a hotter seat going into the 2012 college season that UT's Derek Dooley. While he did inherit a monstrous mess, coming in after Lane Kiffin moved on to USC, just before recruiting season started in 2010. Not only that, but Kiffin's only recruiting class in 2009, who should be Dooley's seniors this year, was the biggest bust of a recruiting class in UT history.
That's not saying the eight kids (that's right, eight) who still remain on the team from that class aren't appreciated, and much needed. It's just when a class gets a consensus Top 10 ranking by all the recruiting services, you would normally expect more than eight to still be around, contributing for their senior, or redshirt junior, season. Makes you think Kiffin was looking ahead to USC even while he was singing Rocky Top...
All that said, Dooley has recruited well and it's time for his team to start performing up to expectations. Last year's 6-7 disappointment was made even worse by losing to an undermanned Kentucky team (10-7) for the first time in 26 years.
New athletic director Dave Hart says there isn't a number of wins Dooley must hit in order to stay. I say the over/under is around eight. With a Bama or Florida win, that number goes down to seven.
Best Case: 12 and 2, SEC East Title, Possible BCS Bowl
Worst Case: 6 and 7, Lose Lower-Tier Bowl
Likely Case: 9 and 4, Mid- to Upper-Tier Bowl