Devil's Advocate (Vandy)

Vanderbilt almost never beats Tennessee, as a 1-25 record in the last 26 meetings attests. But Vanderbilt almost always SCARES Tennessee.

Here's a quick history lesson:

2000: A Vol team bound for the Cotton Bowl is pushed to the limit before edging the Commodores 28-26 in the regular-season finale.

2004: Another UT team headed for the Cotton Bowl has to hold on for dear life to subdue Vandy 38-33.

2005: An offensively challenged Vol squad loses 28-24 IN KNOXVILLE to Vanderbilt on a late touchdown pass by Jay Cutler.

2007: A Tennessee team destined to win the SEC East championship is lucky to survive 25-24 when Bryant Hahnfeldt's potential game-winning 49-yard field goal grazes the left upright in the final seconds.

Clearly, the Commodores have put a scare into Tennessee several times this decade, with their last visit to Knoxville being a prime example.

"It was definitely scary, especially when that field goal went up," Vol defensive tackle Dan Williams said, shaking his head at the recollection. "That had to be the toughest five seconds of my life until I saw it went left. That helped us get to the SEC Championship Game that year."

The 2007 Vols were much better than the 2007 Commodores but needed a missed field goal in the closing seconds to prevail because Vandy tends to play its best vs. Tennessee. Williams expects the same this year.

"They're going to play us hard," he said. "They never back down. They make plays and they have good coaches. The game probably isn't as big as it used to be back in the day but we know as a Tennessee team that Vanderbilt's going to play us hard every year and we just can't overlook 'em."

If the Vols do, they could suffer the kind of scare the 2007 team did. Or, worse, they could suffer the kind of upset the 2005 team did.

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