10. Opening game jitters
Everybody saw the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes play in last week’s opener. Both teams had unforced turnovers, gave up a touchdown due to horrible tackling and committed unnecessary penalties. In fact, Florida’s struggles gave UT fans some hope for that game later this month, although they’re ignoring what Dan Mullen’s team was able to do to win.
Anyway, opening game jitters is a real thing. Both Tennessee football and the Georgia State Panthers enter Saturday with expectations of being much better. However, it’s only hope for both teams as well.
The difference, though, is that nothing about this game will worry Georgia State about whether or not they haven’t made any improvements entering Shawn Elliott’s third year. They could lose by 50 and still have everything in front of them.
If the Vols lose, however, or if they even struggle, panic will set in on Rocky Top immediately. And they know it. With that type of pressure, UT could enter Saturday’s game a bit more nervous than Georgia State. In fact, they may enter the game a lot more nervous.
Those nerves could result in a few early mistakes, and if GSU truly is an improved program, they may be able to capitalize. After all, they already have the experience to do so. Who’s to say they now don’t have the talent after a full offseason of getting better? Jitters could affect both teams, but despite the game being at Neyland Stadium, the Vols are more vulnerable.