UT Football: Tide, Dawgs, Cocks Important, but Swing Games Tell the Tale in 2012

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UT Football: Tide, Dawgs, Cocks Important, but Swing Games Tell the Tale in 2012
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Georgia, Alabama in Knoxville and South Carolina. Those three are this year's toughest games to win, but the season will be defined by a combination of the games the Vols are favored in and the swing games. 

For the fanatical, you have read everything for months, scanning the articles for any signs that indicate the Vols will turn that corner this year. Now it's August and the clock is ticking towards the 31st, when Tennessee Volunteer football 2012 begins.

There are signs of good things too. The passing game being healthy and adding new pieces, a new coach for the offensive line and the changes in the defense. All of these, and several others, point towards improvement. 

Another important and seldom examined opportunity is the schedule itself. There are no back to back games against killer teams as such. But, it's about the teams in general.  

According to who is scheduled, here is the way it should play out for the 2012 Volunteers:

Every year you can divide up your opponents by three categories: 1) Games you are likely to win 2) Games you can easily lose and 3) games that could go either way—swing games.

My definition of a swing game is a contest projected to be decided by eight points or less. The Volunteers could be the favorite or the underdog, but either way, their winning or losing is by no more than a TD and a conversion.  

Tennessee should be double digit favorites in four games, and they are likely to win each this year. If the season started now, they would be double-digit underdogs in three games, thus they are likely losses—for now.

That leaves five swing games. All of these games have lines that will be under eight points either way.

Follow me through the next few slides and see if you agree with my picks of the Volunteer swing games in 2012. These are arranged in the order they appear on the Vols schedule.

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