Tennessee Football: Will the Upcoming Season Be a Success or a Bust?

Shirnil ChannappaCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2008

As the new football season approaches, many UT fans in town have differing opinions as to the impending success of the team.  The majority of fans seem to think we will go 8-4.

Is this good enough?  It seems so for "Phat" Phil, as my Alabama friends like to call him, who will receive a bonus for just eight wins this season.

I am probably in the minority when I say that I believe this team will represent the East in the SEC championship game.

Why?  Let me list a few reasons.

1. Fulmer's back is against the wall

He is always clutch when getting out of tight spots ,and this is definitely one of those years where he needs to produce.  He will do enough to silence the critics for a few more years.

2. New offensive mind

I have a good feeling about the new offensive coordinator.  I think he will bring a more innovative offense to the field this year.  He has had success with his past QBs, and I believe he will use Jonathan Crompton as needed and rely on senior Arian Foster to move the chains.  He is not afraid to use tight ends, and we have a solid receiving corp coming back, along with the entire offensive line.

3. Defense

The secondary is solid, led by Eric Berry at safety, which will allow a lot more blitzing by the front seven to pressure the opposing QB (e.g. Tim Tebow, Matthew Stafford, John Parker Wilson).

4. Expect the unexpected

In those years where Tennessee is not expected to compete at a top level, they always come through.  Ask Tee Martin.  Depending on the start to the year, they will be underdogs against Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and possibly South Carolina.  They love that role.

Maybe it is just a feeling, but I expect a lot out of this Volunteer football team.  I am not a huge supporter of Fulmer, but I think he may be able to hold his own against Meyer, Spurrier, Richt, Saban, and Tuberville this year.

Just typing those names reminds me of the power of the SEC, and I didn't even mention Petrino and Nutt, who could be dark horses.

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