Commentary by Joe Biddle: Mediocrity... thy name is us
By Joe Biddle, Columnist
Six games deep in the season and we are surrounded by mediocrity.
The Titans are 3-3 and a playoff berth seems far away.
Tennessee and Vanderbilt are both 3-3 at the halfway point in the season and are fighting to become bowl eligible.
“We’re average right now,’’ Titans Coach Mike Munchak admitted after the offense was sleepwalking in Seattle on the way to a 20-13 loss to the Seahawks.
Tennessee and Vanderbilt don’t like sharing anything as they are chasing their first SEC win. The Vols lost to Florida and Georgia. Vanderbilt has lost all three of its conference games – Ole Miss, South Carolina and Missouri.
This week the SEC enjoyed a historic moment as it placed a record eight teams in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Coming off by weeks, Tennessee and Vanderbilt will waste no time in getting a heavy dose of those teams.
The Vols get four Top 25 teams in a row. They host No. 11 South Carolina Saturday, then take a trip to No. 1 and defending national champion Alabama the following week. They go to No. 14 Missouri and play No. 24 Auburn. They obviously will be underdogs in those games, although it remains to be seen how potent Missouri will be, as the Tigers lost quarterback James Franklin last week with a separated shoulder. Barring a medical miracle, Franklin won’t be back before they play the Vols and Franklin is the straw that stirs Mizzou’s offense. The Vols finish with Vanderbilt at Kentucky.
Vanderbilt faces No. 15 Georgia at Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday, then take its first trip to College Station for a date with Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. Next is a home game against No. 22 Florida, a team that is currently trending downward. They wrap up with Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest. Those three teams are a combined 11-13 overall and 1-8 in conference play.
If Tennessee is to become bowl eligible, its best bet is beating Vanderbilt, Kentucky and either Missouri, Auburn or perhaps South Carolina, all three of them in this week’s Top 25.
Vanderbilt has to get its three wins from Wake Forest, Kentucky, Tennessee or perhaps a banged-up Georgia team this week at home.
Coach James Franklin expects to see Georgia All-SEC running back Todd Gurley back after being out with an injury, but he knows it all starts with four-year starting quarterback Aaron Murray.
“He was a dual threat QB in high school,’’ Franklin said. “You’ll notice he doesn’t run a lot, but when he does he can make a long play. I think it was the Tennessee game, he pulled the ball down and made 40-50 yards on a designed QB draw.’’
The Titans also have their share of problems. First-year offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains didn’t have much offense to coordinate against the Seahawks. It was one of the most pathetic Titans offensive performances in recent years.
The offensive offense scored six points. That won’t get it done in a Pee Wee football game.
Chris Johnson averaged 2.8 yards a carry. His 33 yards rushing matched quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 33 yards on the ground. That is a proven recipe for defeat.
The Titans defense stood tall against what has been a high-scoring Seattle offense. They allowed veteran Marshawn Lynch to post 77 yards rushing, but the Seahawks had only two short Lynch touchdowns and the Titans would have taken that going into the game.
There’s a lot of football left, but changing momentum is difficult.
Posted on: 10/17/2013