Vol road easier or tougher?

You get our best - and the best coverage of Vol football available on The Internet - each time you visit InsideTennessee. Check out this story taking a fresh look at Tennessee's schedule after three weeks of play:

Three weeks into the 2014 season the makeup of Tennessee’s football schedule hasn’t changed, yet the outlook has changed dramatically. Some opponents appear much better than advertised. Some seem a bit weaker than August projections suggested they would be.

Clearly, it’s time for a reassessment of the schedule. That said, here’s an updated look at the remaining nine opponents, factoring in what has happened since the season began:

Georgia (Sept. 27 in Athens): The Dawgs looked like world-beaters in thrashing Clemson 45-21 in Game 1. After an open date, however, they surrendered 27 first downs and 447 total yards Saturday in a 38-35 Game 2 loss at South Carolina. Georgia’s pass defense made Dylan Thompson look like Peyton Manning, allowing the Gamecock senior to complete 21 of 30 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns. Offensively, Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb are giving the Dawgs a terrific 1-2 running punch. They should be two touchdowns better than Tennessee on their home field but Georgia’s defense is definitely vulnerable. Trending down

Florida (Oct. 4 in Knoxville): After being rained out of their opener, the Gators annihilated Eastern Michigan 65-0 but needed three overtimes and a lot of luck to beat visiting Kentucky 36-30 Saturday night. UK quarterback Patrick Towles riddled Florida’s pass defense for 369 yards and three TDs. Clearly, the Gator stop unit is nowhere near as stout as a year ago. Florida’s nine-year winning streak in the UT series projects to be in jeopardy when the Gators visit Neyland Stadium in three weeks. Trending down

Chattanooga (Oct. 11 in Knoxville): The FCS Moccasins lost 20-16 to Butch Jones’ former team, Central Michigan, on the road and fell 26-23 to ninth-ranked Jacksonville State at home before trouncing Austin Peay (42-6) Saturday on the road. UTC is basically impotent on offense, averaging just 239 total yards per game and converting at a 22-percent clip (9 of 40) on third down. This game has homecoming weekend written all over it. Trending down

Ole Miss (Oct. 18 in Oxford): The Rebels are unbeaten and untested, a pattern that will continue with this Saturday’s game against Memphis. Ole Miss trounced Boise State 35-13 in Game 1, hammered Vanderbilt 41-3 in Game 2 and annihilated Louisiana-Lafayette 56-15 in Game 3. Bo Wallace was near perfect versus Lafayette, completing 23 of 28 passes for 316 yards and four TDs. As most fans are aware, he tends to be turnover-prone against quality opponents. Still, he has been spectacular to date. Trending up

Tennessee's Justin Coleman (27) wraps up Alabama's Kenyan Drake during the 2013 matchup in Tuscaloosa.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)

Alabama (Oct. 25 in Knoxville): The Tide struggled before subduing West Virginia 33-23 in Game 1, then waxed sacrificial lambs Florida Atlantic (41-10) and Southern Miss (52-12) in Games 2 and 3. Bama has two great backs in T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, plus time to jell before rolling into Neyland Stadium six weeks from now. This doesn’t look like the juggernauts Nick Saban fielded in going 36-4 the past three years but the Tide still is probably 14-17 points better than Tennessee. Trending down

South Carolina (Nov. 1 in Columbia): The Gamecocks’ depleted defense surrendered 52 points in their opener against Texas A&M and never really stopped Georgia in a 38-35 Game 3 victory Saturday afternoon, allowing Hutson Mason to complete 16 of 22 passes for 191 yards. In between, Steve Spurrier’s troops beat East Carolina 33-23. Mike Davis averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry in a 66-yard effort against the Dawgs and has not played up to his 2013 form. The home-field advantage could be critical against an improving Tennessee squad. Trending down

Kentucky (Nov. 15 in Knoxville): If Tennessee isn’t the SEC’s most improved team, the Big Blue probably deserves that title. After dispatching UT Martin (59-14) and Ohio U (20-3), the Cats outplayed Florida Saturday night in The Swamp only to lose 36-30 in three overtimes. This is a good year to be playing the Cats in Neyland Stadium. That could be the winning edge. Trending up big-time

Missouri (Nov. 22 in Knoxville): After dispatching pushovers South Dakota State and Toledo by matching 38-18 scores, the Tigers raised some eyebrows by hammering Central Florida 38-10 in Game 3. After scoring 38 points three games in a row, it’s obvious that Gary Pinkel’s Tigers have plenty of offense. Despite the loss of some quality players from the team that won the SEC East title in 2013, Mizzou looks much better than most observers projected. Trending up, up, up

Vanderbilt (Nov. 29 in Nashville): The Commodores are dropping like an anchor these days. After a stunning 37-7 home loss to Temple in their opener, they were humiliated again by Ole Miss (41-3) in Game 2. Vandy needed a late 14-point rally to nip UMass 34-31 and avert an 0-3 start. Any similarity to the James Franklin teams that beat Tennessee in 2012 and 2013 is strictly coincidental. Trending down in a big way

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