10. Can Tennessee match Vanderbilt’s motivation and focus?
On principle, this shouldn’t be an issue. Tennessee football has lost three straight to the Vanderbilt Commodores. It’s an embarrassing losing streak for them and one that, quite honestly, has kept Derek Mason around, as he would never have made a bowl game during his tenure were it not for winning two of those games.
However, this year, the ‘Dores are 3-8. Meanwhile, the Vols are on a four-game winning streak and have won five of six, four of which may end up being against teams that at least achieved bowl eligibility on the field. So how can they refocus after that and make sure they aren’t overconfident when Vandy comes to town?
After all, we know Vanderbilt will be motivated. This is all they have left to play for, and Mason is going to throw everything he has at this one. UT has to be prepared for everything, and the Missouri Tigers showed that if you’re not careful, you could lose to this team. Heck, the Vols showed at the beginning of the year that bad losses can come from lack of focus.
On the other end, they can’t be too hyped up. What we mean is they may want to beat the brakes of Vanderbilt in humiliating fashion because of this losing streak. That could make them press a bit. So they need to find the right balance of motivation and sticking to their game plan if they are going to win this game.