Florida is down to its second quarterback who has never taken a snap in a month.
Wide receiver Antonio Callaway is still hurt and “only time will tell” if he can play Saturday.
Florida is 3-0, but against three weak teams.
So, will this finally be the year that Tennessee ends its losing streak against the Gators? It could happen. The game is in Rocky Top, which has Joshua Dobbs back at quarterback. And while the Gators still have the better defense, the Gators figure to have trouble scoring behind transfer quarterback Austin Appleby.
Besides, Tennessee has to win someday. Don’t they?
Tennessee has played the better schedule. The Vols have faced the 50th best schedule in the country, compared to Florida’s 157th. But Florida is first in the country in defense (Tennessee is 39th) and leads the Vols in most stat categories.
For instance. Florida is 58th in scoring offense, but Tennessee is 69th. Florida is 40th in total offense, but Tennessee is 101st. Florida is giving up 4.7 points per game; Tennessee is giving up 18.7.
“Everybody understands in our football program what this game is,” said Vols’ coach Butch Jones. “It’s special. It’s a rivalry game. It’s why you go to college. This is why you come to Tennessee, to have an opportunity to play those games.”
What Tennessee has to battle is the mental edge that an 11-game winning streak has given Florida. The Gators expect to stop Tennessee. They expect to win a close game and hold the playing of Rocky Top to, oh, 10,000 times or so.