Our series on freshmen who project to have major influence on Tennessee's 2010 football season…
There are several questions surrounding the program and new Head Coach Derek Dooley. We have decided at InsideTennessee.com to attempt to be a little like David Letterman and do our own Top 10 Countdown to the major storylines that are likely to unfold this fall for Volunteer fans and supporters.
We will do this feature over 10 days, taking a look at the top storylines that we could see this fall. Please realize this story is the opinion of the author and doesn't reflect the overall feelings of InsideTennessee.com. This is to help stimulate conversation and discussions in the Rocky Top News forum.
Coming in at No.2:
How is important is the month of September to the Tennessee Football team? Let's break down the 2010 schedule.
With four straight home games in the month of September, the Vols can't afford to have a losing record in its first four games if they want to have a winning season in 2010.
That's pretty strong talk, but let's take a look at it.
Most probably would expect the Vols to at least be 2-2 coming out of this stretch, and with the month of October looming, they need to be at least be 2-2.
So how important would a win over Oregon be? This will probably be the most pivotal game of the early Derek Dooley era. A surprise win over the Ducks would give the Vols some much needed momentum for the season.
It would position the UT football team for good things, and as silly as this might sound, puts them in a great position to make a bowl game at the end of the season.
The month of October doesn't get any easier for the Vols.
After four straight home games, the Vols go on the road three out of the four weeks of October; the good news is that they get to host defending national champion Alabama at Neyland Stadium.
Then, come home and play the best team in the conference against hated rival Alabama before going back on the road to South Carolina to close out the month.
Could the Vols go 0-4 during this stretch? It could definitely happen if they are not careful. Not what Dooley or the Vol faithful would like, that's for sure.
So that makes November a very important month for the Vols.
It starts out with a road game against in-state Memphis before returning home for a key SEC matchup against Ole Miss. The game against the Rebels may be vital for a bowl game slot. Both teams are expected to have rebuilding years and a win against Ole Miss could put the Vols in back-to-back bowl games.
So by breaking down the schedule, how important is the Oregon game? Very important! It would give this team a big boost going into the Florida game and it would give UT a chance to be 3-1 in the month of September.
Somehow, Dooley and company needs to find a way to win at least one game in the month of October, and the Vols definitely can't afford to go 0-4 for the month.
Could the Vols go 4-0 in November? Most definitely.
Let's see if I can add: 3-1 plus 1-3 plus 4-0 would equal an 8-4 season. Not too shabby.
2-2 in September, plus 1-3 plus 4-0 would give the Vols a 7-5 record.
So, now you see how important some games are this season and especially the first month.