Deja vu all over again

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Consider:

- The 1994 Tennessee Vols lost their opener 25-23 at UCLA. The 2008 Vols lost their opener 27-24 at UCLA.

- The '94 Vols won Game 2, then lost Game 3 at home to the Florida Gators by a 31-0 score. The '08 Vols won Game 2, then lost Game 3 at home to the Florida Gators by a 30-6 score.

- The '94 Vols suffered an SEC road loss at Mississippi State that dropped them to 1-3 after four games. The 2008 Vols suffered an SEC road loss at Auburn that dropped them to 1-3 after four games.

- The '94 Vols changed quarterbacks for Game 5, switching from junior Todd Helton to freshman Peyton Manning. The 2008 Vols may be switching from junior Jonathan Crompton to sophomore Nick Stephens in time for Game 5.

- Tennessee can only hope the similarities between 1994 and 2008 continue. The '94 Vols rallied to win seven of their last eight games and finish 8-4.

Of course, there's a negative comparison to be made, as well. The '08 Vols also feature numerous similarities to their 2005 predecessors. Consider:

- The 2005 Vols entered the season coming off a 10-win season, an SEC East title and a Cotton Bowl win. The 2008 Vols entered the season coming off a 10-win season, an SEC East title and an Outback Bowl win.

- The 2005 Vols beat UAB in the home opener but looked unimpressive in doing so. The 2008 Vols beat UAB in the home opener but looked unimpressive in doing so.

- The '05 Vols featured a quality defense but a sputtering offense that gave it very little help. The '08 Vols are getting quality play from the defense but very little help from the offensive unit.

Tennessee fans can only hope the '08 and '05 comparisons end abruptly. The 2005 Vols, of course, limped home 5-6, posting the only losing record and the only non-bowl season in head coach Phillip Fulmer's tenure. The '08 Vols are looking at 6-6 or 5-7 if they don't turn things around soon.


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