Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, in a moment of unusual introspection, says he still doesn’t believe the Commodores historically have been competitive enough with Tennessee to make the annual series a rivalry.
A second consecutive Vanderbilt victory against the Volunteers could change that perception.
Tennessee had won 28 of its past 29 games with Vanderbilt before falling 41-18 in Nashville last season. Vanderbilt enters Neyland Stadium on Saturday seeking its first two-game winning streak against the Vols since the 1920s. Tennessee is 70-10-2 in the 82 games since 1927.
“People call it a rivalry,” Franklin said, as reported by the Associated Press. “I don’t think it’s at that point yet. It hasn’t been as competitive as it needs to be, to be considered a rivalry at this point.
“I think it’s good for the state, I think it’s good for Vanderbilt, I think it’s good for Tennessee, I think it’s good for the SEC. There’s no doubt about it. You’d love for it to be a rivalry, and those games are so much fun because there’s so much riding on it. But at this point, I wouldn’t characterize it as (such).”
The game times and TV were announced for the regular-season finales Thanksgiving weekend.
Florida State at Florida, ESPN, Noon
Wake Forest at Vanderbilt, WPCH, 12:21 p.m.
Georgia at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Alabama at Auburn, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Clemson at South Carolina, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
Texas A&M at Missouri, 7:45 p.m., ESPN
Ole Miss freshman Robert Nkemdiche (Grayson High) was selected SEC defensive lineman of the week after he had four tackles, two for losses, his first career sack and a QB pressure in a victory against Troy. A 6-5, 294-pounder, he has moved from defensive end to defensive tackle.
BY THE NUMBERS
Missouri’s all-time record against Ole Miss, the teams meet this Saturday in Oxford. The only victory by the Rebels was in 1974.
HE SAID IT
“My first year at Cincinnati, we finished 4-8. It’s the most miserable year I’ve ever had. Looking back on that journey, to get that program back, to get that program to where it is right now, that needed to happen. That was the foundation that led us to that standard of excellence.” — Tennessee Coach Butch Jones, trying to remind Vols fans to focus on the future. His team is 4-6 with two games left.
“I’d rather not have a close game, but at some point in time in the near future we’re going to have some close games. We’re going to play against some good teams. Hopefully the experience of what happened and the importance of keeping your poise and being able to stay focused on what you need to do to be successful on that play, are all lessons that are going to be helpful down the road.” — Coach Nick Saban on Monday, discussing the 20-7 victory against Mississippi State after having defeated the seven previous opponents by an average of 34.