2012 Tennessee Football: How Derek Dooley's Vols Can Win the East

Kevin KingSenior Analyst IIJuly 20, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers Derek Dooley speaks turnover his players during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

To the SEC, from Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley, "you're not going to have us to kick around anymore." This is a direct quote during his press conference at SEC Media Days in Tuscaloosa on July 19th.

Fine by us! You can quote me and about a half million Volunteer fans on that anytime you wish.

So, where do we go from here? If you are truly going to put a stop to Tennessee being kicked around in the SEC, I guess a good starting point would be to win the SEC Eastern Division title. That would tell everyone that Tennessee is back. Let's explore this and see if it is a doable thing this year.

In order to have a shot at the SEC Eastern Division title, Tennessee would have to win all or almost all of the conference games they play. Then there is all the tie breaker stuff if they do lose one to an eastern team. Or, they could lose one or two to western teams but they still have to win all the eastern games, blah, blah, blah...

Confusing? It should be. We are talking about how Tennessee could go back to the SEC Championship Game this year. It is unlikely but not at all impossible. This IS Tennessee. It's not like we are talking about Podunkin U here.

If it is in the cards for the Volunteers to get all the way back to the SEC Championship Game this year, here is the most likely scenario:

Tennessee beats Florida and upsets Alabama at home this year. They lose at either Georgia or South Carolina, then win out their SEC schedule, finishing 7-1. Whichever team they lose to then, loses twice. Any other east team could win all the rest of their games but the Vols would win on the tie breaker, since they beat that team earlier.

This scenario requires the Vols to have two major upsets and a couple of minor ones. Any other way I look at it, it requires they have at least the same.

OK Coach Dooley, there you go! We fans have done our part helping design the overall winning strategy. We will also fill the stadium and cheer you guys on provided you start with a win over Florida.

Let's get them! We're with you coach, win or tie!