Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Tennessee’s blowout loss to South Carolina on Saturday that likely ended the Volunteers’ College Football Playoff hopes.
DAN WETZEL: If Spencer Rattler played like that, they would have given them more cars at Oklahoma. We said, this might be a wild day, because when we looked at it, we played this game last week. There was a bunch of, like, good teams playing a bunch of great teams, and you never know. And all of a sudden, someone, like South Carolina, who looked horrible on offense a week ago against Florida, who subsequently lost to Vanderbilt, absolutely trucks Tennessee. And Spencer Rattler plays-- if Spencer Rattler played like that, they would have given him more cars at Oklahoma.
He was unbelievable. Shane Beamer just calls the game of his life. The offense is unstoppable, and Tennessee couldn't keep up. We hope Hendon Hooker is all right, if not, for the rest to play, again, this season for his NFL prep and all that. What a great player and great competitor. We had a lot of tough injury to watch him get hurt.
Hopefully, it's not a big deal, but you never know. And Tennessee ran into never know, so the Vols are gone. Let's talk briefly about that. Then we'll sort out how it works in here. Pat, thoughts on that destruction down there by the Cock Commanders?
PAT FORDE: Yeah, whoa, they commanded. That was the best game I've ever seen Spencer Rattler play. That looked like the guy we heard all the hype about in high school and early in his career at Oklahoma. I mean, 30 of 37 for 438 yards and six touchdowns, no interceptions, efficiency rating of 234. That's incredible. Now, look, Tennessee's defense, I think, it's clear.
This was going to happen inevitably to Tennessee's defense. Somebody was going to absolutely light them up to the point where they could beat them. This thing, their offense had been good enough to counterbalance. That's what happened when they played Alabama, but they, finally-- you know, that unit was due for a game like this. And frankly, I'm glad it happened now, because I don't want to watch them give up 63 in a playoff game. So we are separating now down to the real contenders, and most everybody is a pretty complete and balanced team if you're still in playoff contention. Now, Tennessee, you are not.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, this was kind of the bugaboo all year for them. Like you said, Pat, the offense had outscore teams in several games this year, and finally, it kind of caught up to them. I mean, Tennessee's defense is-- now, I mean, I believe this is after this pass game, but 100th nationally, ranked 100th nationally giving up 411 total yards per game. And, you know, again, they've kind of struggled all year, and it just feels like it came back to haunt them it.
I, unfortunately, had went down to Virginia for the UVA Memorial, but this was one of the games that I sent, actually, Pat and I's boss and said, hey, maybe I should go to this. I didn't think that Tennessee would lose, and I certainly didn't think Tennessee would lose like they did. But I knew it would kind of be, like, rowdy down there. It was a night game, and every now and then, Beamer Ball strikes, like Beamer Jr. Ball strikes. And man, give it up for them. He's done-- the job he's done in the last two years in South Carolina, it's just kind of blown me away.
DAN WETZEL: Well, this was it. This was a huge night for them, recruiting, all that, and get to it. But it certainly takes that second SEC team potentially off the table, so look, we're looking at Georgia. Obviously, they've got Georgia Tech. They got the SEC title game.
They went out. They're in. They could lose to Georgia Tech and then win the next week they're in. And then the question would be, could they lose to LSU and still get in?