New take on Vol slate

Based on the offseason chatter, you'd think Tennessee's 2005 football season begins Sept. 17 at Florida and ends a week later at LSU. Actually, the Vols have nine other games scheduled, including a couple that could be tougher than most fans expect.

College football analyst Matt Hayes, writing in the current edition of The Sporting News, lists two Vol opponents among three teams that are ''Movin' Up'' in the gridiron world. They are opening foe Alabama Birmingham (Sept. 3 in Knoxville) and Notre Dame (Nov. 5 in South Bend). Hayes' other team to watch is Oregon.

Hayes notes that Notre Dame and new coach Charlie Weis are ''a lock for eight wins,'' adding that quarterback Brady Quinn and wideouts Rhema McKnight and Maurice Stovall will ''thrive under Weis.''

Of UAB, Hayes notes that head coach Watson Brown ''quietly has been building the best program in C-USA, and it could be one of those magical, special moments at the Brown Christmas table.''

Another note of interest: Hayes' pick for one of the season's biggest upsets is Boise State shocking Georgia Sept. 3 in Athens. He explains that new Dawg quarterback D.J. Shockey hasn't shown ''the accuracy needed for (Mark) Richt's intricate passing game.''


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