Could Tennessee start the 2016 season 0-2?

Bryan Fischer of Athlon Sports has named his “10 College Football Upsets that Could Shake Up September” and the list includes five games involving SEC teams. Fischer thinks the Vols could be on upset alert back-to-back weeks to kick off the season:

  • Appalachian State over Tennessee (Week 1)
  • Missouri over West Virginia (Week 1)
  • Auburn over Texas A&M (Week 3)
  • Virginia Tech over Tennessee (Week 2)
  • Arkansas State over Auburn (Week 2)

Fischer says that the Volunteers could be looking ahead to the Battle at Bristol instead of focusing on Appalachian State when Team 120 takes the field Sept. 1:

Every college football fan instantly associates Appalachian State with its historic upset of Michigan nearly a decade ago when the then-FCS team upset a top-five Wolverines team in Ann Arbor. This year’s Tennessee team sports a similar profile and may be overlooking the Mountaineers for their big matchup with Virginia Tech the next week. They shouldn’t. Scott Satterfield has one of the best Group of Five teams around and will be in prime position to pull off another remarkable upset.

When the “Battle” finally arrives, Fischer wonders how UT will handle the hype:

The “Battle at Bristol” is expected to host the largest college football crowd ever, so this one figures to be wild from the tailgates through to the final whistle. Tennessee has a lot of talent, but the spotlight will be on this team for the first time in a while so it will be interesting to see how the Volunteers handle sky-high expectations on the big stage. Virginia Tech should see a big increase in offensive efficiency under new head coach Justin Fuente and the ground game should be strong with a veteran offensive line set to contain Derek Barnett and the Vols’ defense. It will be strange not to see Frank Beamer on the sidelines for the Hokies, but don’t bet against the team winning a big one for its old coach, especially if things are tight late.

Texas A&M and Auburn could also potentially drop games they’re expected to win. In Fischer’s potential upsets, Missouri is the only SEC team coming out with a favorable result against a non-conference foe.