Derek Dooley's first challenge as coach at Tennessee comes in the form of the Oregon Ducks, who are the preseason favorites to win the Pac 10.
Even after losing Jeremiah Masoli, the Ducks have nine returning starters on offense, including tailback LaMichael James, who will be making his season debut vs. the Vols after his one game suspension.
Defense hasn't been Oregon's strength of late (the Ducks gave up 51 points to Stanford and 41 to Arizona), but Kenny Rowe brings a pass rushing presence off the edge (11.5 sacks) and Casey Matthews is a run stopper and senior leader (preseason Lombardi candidate, 81 tackles).
However, the Vols still have a chance. Dooley must place his faith in one quarterback (Bray or Matt Simms) and trust him to pound the rock with Tauren Poole and David Oku while playing it safe and avoiding turnovers. But it is the defense that will win the game for the Vols.
This is James' first game back from suspension, and Nate Costa will be starting his first road game at one of the loudest venues in the nation.
Also, new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox held the same Oregon offense to 152 total yards while causing two turnovers as the coordinator at Boise State. He has about the same amount of talent at Tennessee with young playmakers Eric Gordon and Janzen Jackson in the secondary and Nick Reveiz leading the run stopping effort.
The combination of the loud venue, uncomfortable defense, and conservative offense could help the Vols pull an upset.