The UT Martin game last week was not televised on basic cable so unless you were one of the few who watched the game on PPV, ESPN game plan, or on the internet the Vol's are still a mystery this season. I for one watched the game and can tell you that although depth is an issue and may lead to losses later this year, the Vol's played very sound football. Martin may have been less talented but the Vol's showed up to play (just ask Mississippi if this is important), and both UT’s offense and defense played with discipline.
Oregon will be much more of a challenge than last weeks opponent, and this game will likely be an indicator of how well the Vol's will do this year. Offensively, game management will be key with most emphasis being stressed on the running game and keeping Oregon’s offense off the field. Both backs for UT ran very well in the opener and it will be interesting to see how they perform against a better opponent. Although UT’s offensive line in inexperienced, they are quite bigger than Oregon’s defensive front and may open up some holes. UT’s receivers are very young as well, but here again a size advantage may benefit Tennessee. I would also look for both tight ends to be more of a factor this week especially Rivera who left Oregon a couple of years ago before coming to Tennessee.
Defensively coach Wilcox’s game plan will be key. He has said that the only reason he has stopped Oregon while at Boise Sate is assignment football, but look for some trickery to confuse Oregon’s offense. Crowd noise and humidity will likely also be a factor especially on Oregon's qb who will be making his first away start.
I am not predicting a win, but I think the score will be closer than the 12 point spread given Oregon’s inexperience at qb, jet lag, exposure to humidity, and confusion caused by the loud and rowdy fans at Neyland.