Tennessee Football: Can Tyler Bray Overtake Peyton Manning's Sophomore Season?

John WhiteCorrespondent IIISeptember 10, 2011

A legend in the making?
A legend in the making?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It was a simple thing really. Peyton Manning had set a little record back in 1997 for seven consecutive games with two TD passes or more. Tyler Bray succeeded that today and then some by throwing four TD passes. I originally predicted he would go 26/38 pass attempts and 330 yards against Cincinnati. He in fact went 34/41 and 405 yards. Oh well, at least I got the four TDs right. Regardless, they will again write his name beside Manning's in the record books.

As of now he is seriously contending for some of Manning's thunder. In Manning's sophomore year he had his best career game to that point, going 35/46 for 384 yards and four TDs against Arkansas. Now you look and compare the two stats, who had the better day? Oh yeah that was also six games into the season.

Looking ahead there are some other records of interest. A tall order by any measure, but if Bray can continue his passing success he could pass Manning with eight consecutive games passing for at least 300 yards. Manning also threw for four TDs in eight career games; at this time Bray has three, so it's still a far reach. Bray was also one completion away from tying Manning for most consecutive completions. Manning tied that record in 1996 against Georgia with 11.

In Manning's sophomore year he threw only four interceptions on the season with a completion percentage of 64.2 percent. He went 244/380 for 2,954 yards and 22 TDs. I know it's still a bit of a stretch, but he's off to a good start with seven TDs and 698 yards after two games.

The rest of the SEC will undoubtedly put Bray to the real test. After all, his only contests this season have been against a depleted division I powerhouse and a Big East contender struggling with talent issues.

Next week the Vols will travel to Gainessville to swim in a very hostile Swamp. The Gators are somewhat challenged with coaching changes and player discipline, but the Vols know well not to underestimate any SEC team. The sad part is that even if Bray manages to pull out an upset in the swamp, they will simply regurgitate what I just said and he will have to wade through Georgia and LSU before anyone recognizes his achievements.

Whatever the case may be he, is rolling and will take a talented secondary to stop him. Does Florida have that? They say they do, but does beating up on Florida Atlantic and UAB prove that? We'll find out soon enough.

Anyhow, for simply doing no wrong against a sub-average Bearcat defense, Bray gets my SEC player of the week. I think 400 yards and four TDs earn it—don't you?