2016 should be a very interesting football season for all 4 of the State of Tennessee FBS (D1) football teams. There is great excitement surrounding all 4 teams, and My Tennessee will be there all season to talk about Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, and MTSU!
Below are our 2016 season record predictions, and list of the key games:
Record: 10-2 (1st in SEC East)
Key games - Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama
UT's goal should be to get to Atlanta and a New Year's Six bowl, and if they can come out of the 4 key games 3-1 or 2-2, this should become a reality.
Record: 6-6 (4th in SEC East)
Key games - South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, MTSU
Even though the MTSU game is not an SEC contest, a loss in this battle of I-24 would make getting to bowl eligibility difficult.
Record: 7-5 (3rd in American Athletic West)
Key games - Navy, Tulsa, Temple, Kansas
Memphis is starting over with Norvell as HC, but with a great opportunity against Big 12 team Kansas, 2016 could be a great start for the new coach.
Record: 7-5 (2nd C-USA East)
Key games - Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, LA Tech, Marshall
MTSU's prolific offense is again led by Stockstill, the son of the HC, and should once again gain bowl eligibility.
A boisterous crowd of over 67k (3rd largest Orange and White attendance) were treated to more than just a scrimmage under a beautiful blue Tennessee sky in Knoxville, TN on April 16th. It all started off with a spectacular show of US pride when the Navy parachuted into Neyland Stadium with ease, bringing with them both a State of Tennessee flag and an enormous USA flag. If you have not see the footage, click here to watch a helmet cam view as they jump out of the plane and come in for a landing. It's definitely worth watching!
Afterwards, it was finally "Football Time in Tennessee..." The "game" opened up with Circle of Life drills (think Oklahoma drill) which brought all the fans to their feet. The most memorable moment was when Butch called both of the Wolfe brothers up. They had a very even matchup, showing the future is bright for the TE position.
Then it was time to scrimmage! Dobbs started off slow with a few incompletions and an INT that was not his fault, but the passing game picked up from there. Overall, the passing game finished with 200+ yards, and Dobbs finished 5-9 for 116 yards. His read option and scrambling was of course limited due to the non-contact Smokey Gray jersey, but overall Dobbs looked the part of a Sr QB in the SEC. It still remains to be seen if he can improve on his key weakness from 2015, which was the deep ball. He showed much more touch than last year, but summer workouts will be important as he gets acquainted to his new receiving core.
Hurd and Kamara of course stood out in limited touches, but the 2 pleasant surprises of the game were the emergence of Sophomore to be WR Williams, and Jr. College transfer WR George. These guys look like they are ready to step up and contribute in 2016.
The one downside to the game was 20+ players sat out due to various injuries, so most of the big names on Defense never saw the field. Hopefully this provided other guys time to step up and hone their craft.
After the exciting end to the 2015 season with a dominating win over highly ranked Northwestern in the Outback Bowl, the excitement on Rocky Top is beginning to feel like the late 90's and early 2000's. Butch has been teaching patience to the fans, and pointing everyone to 2016. That time is almost here now, so it is time for Butch to take that next step, and go from ending the 2015 season with a solid ranking, to ending 2016 with a trip to Atlanta.
Now that the weather is getting warmer, and Saturdays are full of yard mowing, everyone naturally begins to think about the best time of year...football season.
Vanderbilt was the first team in Tennessee and the SEC to have their 2016 Spring Game back on March 26th in Nashville, Tennessee. Coach Mason has been fighting an uphill battle ever since taking over on West End. James Franklin left the cupboard quite bare when he left for Penn State, however, Mason now has "his guys" in the system, and looks close to turning the corner.
After last season, everyone expected the Defense to win the Black and Gold game, but the Offense came out on top 42-31, even with RB Ralph Webb on the sideline as a precaution. QB Kyle Shurmur finished up 7 of 9 passing for 96 yards, and was named the leader going into the summer to win the starting job. In total, the QB's threw 25 passes and did not record an interception, which is definitely progress. Also, Jaire George, a familiar last name in Nashville since he is Eddie George's son, lead Vandy in rushing.
One of the highlights of the day was Jay Cutler's induction into the Commodore Hall of Fame. Bobby Johnson even showed up and spoke a few words during his induction.
Overall, it was a positive day in Nashville. Coach Mason has sounded like a broken record the past 2 years talking about the progress the team has made, and finally there is evidence that the team is making this progress. The team has tough out of conference games against MTSU, Georgia Tech, and Western Kentucky to go along with the grind of the SEC. But with better QB play to go along with the stellar Defense and one of the best backs in the country in Webb, Coach Mason could finally see this progress show up in the W column. -Chandler
It's that time of year again, it's Spring Football season in Tennessee.
Check back soon and we will provide a recap of each of the games in case you couldn't attend.
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