5. Georgia State is better than people think.
Okay, before everybody freaks out, no, Tennessee football should not have lost to the Georgia State Panthers. Yes, they were a 2-10 Sun Belt team last year, and even if they were a 10-2 Sun Belt team, the Vols should have had far too much talent to lose this game.
However, the one point worth making is that GSU is not the same 2-10 team it was a year ago. They returned a lot of talent, and another year of Dan Ellington as the mobile quarterback to run the system was always going to make them dangerous. That combined with both of their running backs returning and a solid receiving corps. did mean the offense would hum.
When you combine that with Shawn Elliott, who I have written about numerous times saying he is a highly underrated head coach, you could see the ingredients in place for a major upset. I was raked over the coals for writing this post warning people that the Panthers could pull off the upset. Although I still predicted UT to dominate, the signs showed it was possible.
As a result, while this loss is still bad and always will be, it’s not as bad as it looks right now. Give Georgia State a full season, and they will look like a decent team in the end. In fact, this team is much better than the Memphis Tigers team to beat the Vols in 1996, and that team beat a national title-caliber program with Peyton Manning at quarterback.