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Better Know A SEC Opponent: The Tennessee Volun-HATE HATE HATE HATE


Rajion Neal could give the Commodores headaches on Saturday.
Rajion Neal could give the Commodores headaches on Saturday.
Kevin C. Cox

The School: The University of Tennessee

Record: 4-6 (1-5 in the SEC, 5-7 in 2012)

Ranking: The formulas have Tennessee rated 73rd in the Real Time RPI (behind one I-AA program, North Dakota State) and 83rd in Warren Nolan's rankings.

Mascot: The Volunteers. Alright, celebrating the state's badassery in the War of 1812 is, grudgingly, pretty cool.

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee. Some people like to call it "KnoxVegas." If you see one of these people, punching them in the throat is entirely justifiable. Technically, it's not even a crime in Davidson County.

Conference: The ESS-EEE-CEE. Prior to this, Tennessee played exclusively in Satan's butthole.

All-time vs. Vanderbilt: 73-28-5. Moving on.

In the Last 10 Years vs. Vanderbilt: 8-2. Still moving on.

The Last Time We Saw These Guys: Here we go. Vanderbilt routed Tennessee 41-18 in Nashville, preventing the Volunteers from going to a bowl game and erasing 30 years of futility at Dudley Field. The Commodores got a cathartic win that lifted the team to a nine-win season for the first time in nearly 100 years by beating the tar out of Derek Dooley's team. Dooley was out at Tennessee shortly thereafter, while fans in Nashville began erecting the university's now-famous 25-foot golden statue of James Franklin on West End. Now, Tennessee fans can partially attribute their ascent into the World of Butchcraft to Vandy. That membership comes with a top three recruiting class (so far), so, you're welcome.

Most Potent Offensive ThreatRajion Neal. Neal has been the focus of opposing defenses with quarterback Justin Worley injured (and ineffective) and true freshman Joshua Dobbs struggling against some of the SEC's best programs. While he was limited against Missouri, he responded by gaining 124 yards on 20 carries against Auburn. He'll be the wrecking ball used to soften up Vanderbilt, and he can work in tandem with the mobile Dobbs to gain yards against a Vandy defense that has struggled against elusive runners this fall. With 10 touchdowns in 10 games, Neal is Tennessee's most reliable scoring threat.

Most Potent Defensive Threat: Brian Randolph and Cameron Sutton. The junior safety has been outstanding for Tennessee this fall, showing up in all facets of the game for the Volunteer defense. He's got three interceptions and is also second on the team with 61 tackles so far. He's flanked by the dynamic, athletic freshman cornerback Sutton. The pair gives UT one of the most formidable and underrated defensive back duos in the SEC. Together, the two have intercepted or broken up 24 passes in Tennessee's 10 games.

Matchup to WatchAustyn Carta-Samuels vs. Joshua Dobbs. Both quarterbacks have plenty of questions surrounding them. Can Dobbs guide Tennessee to a bowl game as a true freshman? Is Carta-Samuels healthy enough to return to his gunslinging ways? Can either team sustain drives through the air if their running game isn't working? Each team will have a solid defensive secondary waiting to jump on any mistakes either player makes. The quarterback who can shine the hardest on Saturday will likely be the one who wins.

Interesting Fact: There is nothing interesting about the University of Tennessee.

Bonus Fact!: Tennessee hate is the purest form of Vanderbilt hate. Even purer than Cornelius III's distaste for the Royal Ulster Yacht Club.

If Tennessee wins, we: try out that butt chugging thing for ourselves*. The shame of losing to UT calls for bottom shelf liquor. What better way to absorb some Kamchatka than through your small intestine? This method earns bonus points, since it would almost certainly end in alcohol poisoning. You might will end up in the hospital, but you'll also probably totally blank a late season loss to the Volunteers!

Editor's note: Please, please do not actually do this.