When Tennessee faces off against rival Florida this Saturday in week three, Phillip Fulmer will be in his CBS studio in New York giving his commentary on the matchup.
Oh, yeah, and he won’t be picking the Vols.
“I just think Florida’s ability to run the ball, they’re playing great in the kicking game and very well on defense is probably too much for Tennessee at this point,” Fulmer said in an interview with Go Vols Extra.
That’s not all the former head coach had to say about his alma matter. Fulmer expressed his disappointment and concern as a once competitive program now struggles to reach bowl eligibility.
“It’s hard to watch something you’ve put most of your adult life into and had just played for the (SEC) championship (in 2007) and all of a sudden you’re watching what’s transpiring now through the program and an obvious attempt to change the culture of Tennessee football that failed.”
Fulmer was relieved of his duties as head coach of Tennessee in 2008 after starting 3-6, but was allowed to coach the rest of the year. College football is “What have you done for me lately?” kind of world and there may not be a conference in which that statement is more prevalent than in the SEC.
In congruence with that mindset, athletic director Mike Hamilton needed a change.
Enter Lane Kiffin.
Then, exit Lane Kiffin.
Such a flux in stability has done a number on the Vols. Three coaches in three years and a slew of NCAA allegations have left the program inexperienced and short on depth — not to mention in the headlines more than they prefer.
In Fulmer’s opinion, the road to recovery is a long one.
“Tennessee’s … just trying to find 11 good players to put on the field at the same time that are going to execute and give the kind of effort that they’re looking for.”
Auburn got back in the win column after two straight losses. While winning a game must have felt nice, head coach Gus Malzahn is not prepared to say whether or not Sean White will be the team’s starting quarterback moving forward.
“I thought he competed; he did some good things,” Malzahn said after the game Saturday, per Al.com. “We’ll take this thing week-to-week like we’ve been doing it. We’re starting to kind of get good answers to the questions that we needed.”
White replaced Jeremy Johnson at quarterback last week against Mississippi State. Johnson, a preseason Heisman favorite for some, struggled out of the gate of the season with six interceptions thrown and a lost fumble. That forced Malzahn to make a change at quarterback after a woeful performance against FCS Jacksonville State and a loss to LSU. White lost his first game as a starter against Mississippi State but the offense has been marginally better. White has yet to throw a touchdown pass in his first two starts.
Against San Jose State, White completed six of 10 pass attempts for 1087 yards. Auburn’s running game is what helped push the Tigers by the Spartans, with Peyton Barber scoring all five touchdowns in the 35-21 victory. Auburn’s next game is in two weeks against Kentucky, on Thursday, October 15 in Lexington.
The Ohio State Buckeyes remain atop the AP Top 25 this week, but the Big 12’s top contenders have bumped Michigan State down two spots. No. 2 TCU picked up five first-place votes and managed to stay ahead of No. 3 Baylor despite the Bears getting 10 first-place votes.
No. 5 Utah picked up seven first-place votes and No. 9 Texas A&M received the last first-place vote available. The big mover in this week’s AP poll was No. 11 Florida, with the Gators jumping 14 spots in the poll after dismantling Ole Miss Saturday night. The Rebels dropped from No. 3 down to No. 14. No. 15 Notre Dame fell nine spots after losing at No. 6 Clemson. No. 19 Georgia also tumbled this week, down 11 spots after being blown out at home by Alabama. It was also a rough week for No. 20 UCLA, falling 13 spots after losing to Arizona State at home.
New teams in the AP poll this week include No. 22 Iowa, No. 24 Toledo and No. 25 Boise State. Iowa and Boise State also made appearances in the coaches poll earlier today, but Toledo did not. Memphis appears in the coach spill but is the third team in its own conference in the others receiving votes category, behind Houston and Temple. Memphis tied with division foe Navy in that category as well.
- Ohio State (38 first-place votes)
- TCU (5)
- Baylor (10)
- Michigan State
- Utah (7)
- Texas A&M (1)
- Florida State
- Ole Miss
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Boise State