Florida-Tennessee: Gator Nation, Beware of the Volunteers!

Joe MorganSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2008


The Florida Gators travel to Knoxville Saturday to take on arch-rival Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in their 2008 SEC opener.

After a 59-20 victory over the Volunteers in Gainesville last season, Florida is not taking Tennessee as seriously as they should be.

Let's just say that's a big mistake—especially against a rival.

As my cousin Daniel put it, "The Tennessee game is an upset waiting to happen."

I couldn't agree more.

Now, Tennessee doesn't seem so scary after an early season loss to UCLA, but Phil Fulmer and the Vols have a good football team and they certainly are not taking the Gators lightly.

So, shouldn't Florida return that respect?

What some Gator fans and players may not realize is that Tennessee is angry with Florida.

Absolutely furious.

The Vols watched in disbelief as the Gator offense scored touchdown, after touchdown, after touchdown in "the Swamp" in last season's contest.

The part that infuriated the Volunteers the most was that Tim Tebow and the starters were still piling on the points late in the game.

No matter how horrible Tennessee played or how good Florida's offense was in that game, the one image that the Vols will remember from 2007 is the Gator offense rolling up 24 fourth quarter points.

And that will fuel their fury come Saturday.

In addition, the Volunteers are looking to redeem themselves and prove that they are legitimate title contenders.

Many college football analysts have written off Tennessee as a title "pretender" after their loss to UCLA, effectively making the Vols even more dangerous.

Emotion is one of the most powerful weapons in sports and Tennessee is loaded in that department.

However, many injuries are self-inflicted and that's where Tennessee needs to be careful.

If the Volunteers are too amped up on adrenaline and they are not entirely focused, Florida will beat the Volunteers quite handily.

It's up to Tennessee to make sure they play with passion, but also to keep their heads on straight if they want to exact their revenge on the Gators.

Phil Fulmer is capable of preparing the Vols to do so and he will have plenty of motivation for his young team.

The Volunteers will be coming for Tim Tebow on Sept. 20 with the wrath of hell at their heels.

Gator Nation, heed my warning.

Watch out for Tennessee. Our SEC and BCS title hopes are on the line.