Memphis' O-line ranks 12th nationally with just 8 sacks allowed. Tennessee has allowed 9 but against better foes. Also, the Vols have a much better ground game.
UT's Jonathan Crompton has a 128.11 passer efficiency rating, Memphis' Will Hudgens a 125.2 rating. Crompton has thrown more than twice as many TDs (16-7) and has stopped throwing interceptions after a rocky start.
The Tigers' Curtis Steele (596 yards, 5.4 per carry) is no slouch but he's no Montario Hardesty, either.
Duke Calhoun and Carlos Singleton rank 1-2 on Memphis' all-time list for receptions and receiving yards. Each has more than 2,000 career yards. By comparison, UT's Gerald Jones has 738 career yards.
Vol nose tackle Dan Williams has developed into a monster this season. Fellow Memphian Chris Walker, when healthy, is one of the NCAA's top pass rushers.
Injuries to Nick Reveiz and Savion Frazier have UT reduced to its No. 3 middle linebacker. The MLB plays a huge role in the Vol scheme, so look for some growing pains this weekend.
Vol nickel back Marsalous Johnson (thumb) is out and Eric Berry is playing more like a linebacker than a safety. Still, Memphis allows 45 more passing yards per game than Tennessee.
If I have to explain this grade you haven't been paying attention this fall. UT has had three of its last four field-goal attempts blocked and has struggled mightily on kickoff and punt coverage.
Tennessee has the home-field advantage but is banged up after physical games with Alabama and South Carolina the past two weeks. Also, how do the Vols get excited about facing a 2-6 Memphis team?
Tennessee won't be anywhere near its peak - physically or mentally - but still should tame the visiting Tigers.
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