Volunteers primed to upset Gators

The talent gap is wide, but the Gators' early struggles may level the playing field

Originally Published: September 15, 2010
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

One of the keys to Bear Bryant's success was that he always had a plan for how to go about winning a game. For the most part, that plan involved stockpiling a larger amount of faster, tougher, stronger players than his opponents, but he knew that, great recruiting notwithstanding, there were going to be times when he would face a matchup in which his team was outmanned.

In those cases, Bryant's philosophy was simple. He figured if the other team rated out as a 100 on a 100-point scale and his team graded out as an 80, all he needed to do was get his squad to play 15 points above its talent level and find a way to get the opponent to play 15 points below its level.

The problem with that mindset is that only one-half of the equation is really under a team's control. If the 80-point team holds up its end of the bargain and plays 15 points above its potential but the 100-point team performs as well as it is capable, the 100-point team probably still wins the contest.

Tennessee Volunteers coach Derek Dooley is very much in that situation in this weekend's tilt against the Florida Gators. His team has played well at times during its first two games (it did go toe-to-toe with an explosive Oregon Ducks squad for a half), so there is a chance he could get them to hold up their 15-point end of that bargain.

If that happens, the issue will be whether Florida does its part. The consensus opinion seems to be that they will (the Gators are 14-point favorites), but after looking at the game tapes and statistics from Florida's first two contests, it is clear that the Gators might actually close the talent gap all on their own.

Here are seven reasons why: