- Josh and Swain Newsletter
- 🏈 Tennessee's better-not-lose game
🏈 Tennessee's better-not-lose game
Why this game means so much to Tennessee
Hello. This is the Josh and Swain Newsletter, a quick roundup of the week’s top stories and topics involving Tennessee and the sports world.
Here’s what we have for you today:
Why Tennessee can’t lose this week’s game at Kentucky
What’s up with these rumors about last year’s Tennessee-South Carolina game?
Tennessee loses a defensive starter for the season
Tennessee’s basketball season is here!
TENNESSEE-KENTUCKY: IMPORTANT FOR BOTH
Will Tennessee dance in Lexington this weekend?
Tennessee has played in a bunch of must-win games.
The Vols have won some of them and lost some of them.
This week’s Kentucky game falls in the better-not-lose category.
📍 Lexington, Ky.
⏰ 7:00 p.m. ET
📻 99.1 The Sports Animal/WIVK
Tennessee doesn’t lose to Kentucky.
That’s not 100 percent true, of course.
Kentucky beat Tennessee in 2011, 2017, and 2020.
But those three losses were humiliating to Tennessee.
Those losses occurred during forgettable seasons with head coaches most Tennessee fans don’t want to remember.
This Tennessee team is different.
The Vols have a 5-2 record with a chance to hit several big goals.
The SEC East is still on the table, although winning out is likely required.
Tennessee can win 10 games (with a bowl victory) in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2003-04.
A 9-win regular season would show program consistency.
But a loss to Kentucky this week?
Goodbye SEC East and 10-win season talk.
Instead, the conversation would turn to where things have gone wrong and what this means for the Vols’ future.
Kentucky is hurting right now.
The Wildcats have lost two straight games, the first loss to Georgia by 38 points. And the second loss came at the hands of Missouri, 38-21.
Kentucky has had two weeks to prepare for this game.
The Wildcats are desperate to win this one.
A win for Kentucky can help save the season. A loss would mean a step into the spiral zone.
Tennessee will look at this week as a way to get back on track.
If the Vols win on Saturday, they will be 6-2 for only the second time since 2007.
The other time that happened? Last year.
As noted by Tennessee’s game notes, the Vols have played (118 times) and beaten Kentucky (83 times) more than any other opponent.
Beating Kentucky is what Tennessee does.
The Vols better not change that this week.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S LATEST CONSPIRACY
What’s college football without conspiracies?
So what’s the deal with these reports about Michigan and the rumored connection to last year’s Tennessee-South Carolina game?
Did someone from Michigan really help South Carolina before the Tennessee game?
Quick answer: I don’t know.
Umm… we didn’t open the newsletter for “I don’t know,” Josh.
I get it.
Here’s what we do know: Michigan was up to something.
TCU reportedly found out about it before the College Football Playoff and prepared accordingly.
TCU coaches learned from other staffs about Michigan’s “elaborate” sign-stealing before the CFP semifinal.
TCU changed signs but used “dummy” (old) signs to trick the Wolverines, coaches tell @YahooSports. TCU players were told to ignore the dummy signs.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger)
Oct 26, 2023
The result of that Michigan-TCU game?
TCU 51, Michigan 45.
Michigan hadn’t allowed more than 27 points in a game before playing TCU.
So TCU’s plan obviously worked.
But back to Tennessee-South Carolina.
Did the Gamecocks have info on Tennessee’s signals from someone at Michigan?
The internet has found plenty of smoke. (That link is to a FLORIDA GATORS account that jumped into the story. College football!)
But has the internet found proof?
That might come out soon considering there’s a new report involving this Michigan case on what seems like an hour-by-hour basis.
It’s easy (and kind of fun) to look at South Carolina’s numbers leading up to the Tennessee game last season and come up with an aha! conclusion.
The rumors could be proven true. Or they might turn out to be bogus, at least regarding South Carolina’s connection to the Michigan case.
So what’s the truth?
I still don’t know.
And no one else does, either.
But you know what I didn’t expect?
This story to originate from a Tennessee message board, which actually happened last December.
So don’t automatically rule anything out.
What’s weirder than the news tonight that the now-suspended Michigan staffer accused of a sign-stealing operation bought tickets to Alabama, Clemson Georgia and Tennessee games in 2022?
A @Volquest_On3 poster dropped the dime on all this in December.
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples)
Oct 25, 2023
🏈 Tennessee will play the rest of the season without CB Kamal Hadden. He announced on Instagram that he’ll have season-ending shoulder surgery.
🏈 Here’s the latest on Michigan’s case as it relates to the NCAA investigation.
🏈 Want to see Tennessee try the “tush push” like the Philadelphia Eagles? Eagles center Jason Kelce explained why they’re so good at it.
🏀Here’s a college basketball primer to prepare you for the season. The national media is high on Tennessee.
🏀 The NBA is investigating to see if James Harden and the 76ers violated the league’s participation policy.
⚾ And here’s a preview of the World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers. The unexpected matchup will start Friday night in Texas.
ON THIS DATE… AN ALL-TIME RANT
It’s hard to top a good press conference rant from a coach.
Former San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary delivered a classic 15 years ago. (Thursday is the anniversary date, but we’ll count it for today in the newsletter.)
Singletary is a hall-of-fame linebacker and one of the most respected players in football history.
“I want winners! I want people that want to win!”
Can’t we all agree on that?
Enjoy Singletary’s rant below.
15 years ago today, we were gifted Coach Singletary's epic post game presser
— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB)
Oct 26, 2023
TENNESSEE HOOPS SEASON IS HERE
Josiah-Jordan James is back for one more Tennessee run
Tennessee’s men’s basketball team will play its first of two exhibition games this Sunday at Michigan State.
The Vols and Spartans will play to help Maui wildfire relief efforts.
📍 East Lansing, Mich.
⏰ 3:30 p.m. ET
📺 Big Ten Network
We won’t see the entire Tennessee basketball team on Sunday.
The Vols will also be without Santiago Vescovi, who’s traveling him to Uruguay after the passing of his grandmother.
Zakai Zeigler’s status is known as he’s returning from his ACL tear.
But Zeigler has beaten most projections on his return date and looks ready to be turned loose.
Still, keeping caution with Zeigler before the regular season has begun would make sense.
Sunday’s exhibition will give Tennessee fans a chance to see several newcomers.
Transfers Jordan Gainey and Dalton Knecht will have a chance to add shooting and playmaking to Tennessee’s offense.
The same applies to freshman Freddie Dilione V, who’s already on the NBA radar for 2024.
Tennessee was picked to win the SEC by the media and will enter the season as a top-10 team, according to the coaches and media.
The combination of Tennessee’s returning talent and newcomers should create an exciting team for fans to watch.
Now, they just have to go out and match the hype.
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