By Steve Williams

Since Tennessee’s Orange and White spring football game on April 13, it’s been what many fans refer to as the “talking season.”

It’s the final phase of what has evolved into a year-round football season and does not end until the regular season kicks off, and not a minute sooner.

Seriously, this coming Saturday there will still be fans in Neyland Stadium, prior to the 3:30 kickoff of the Vols’ game against Georgia State, forecasting how UT will do this year.

“I have a feeling Tennessee is gonna win its first six games and head into the Alabama game unbeaten,” says Bill to a stranger sitting behind him as they wait for the Vols to run through the Power T.

“You gotta be kiddin’,” replies the stranger. “They’ll be no better than 2-4 when they get to Tuscaloosa, and they’ll for sure be 2-5 when they head back to Knoxville.”

That’s an example of a conversation between an extreme optimistic fan and an extreme pessimistic fan. All universities have them, along with the normal optimistic fan, the normal pessimistic fan and the realistic fan.

Yep, five different types of fans make the sports world go round.

Personally, I tend to be a normal optimistic fan, preferring to be a little positive in my outlook on the upcoming season. I’m hoping the Vols will go 8-4 in the regular season and then win their bowl game.

The realistic viewpoint this year, I believe, has Tennessee winning for sure over Georgia State, Chattanooga, UAB and Vanderbilt and coming out on top in three of four “swing games” or the games I believe could go either way – BYU, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Kentucky. That would add up to a 7-5 record, including most likely an upset loss in the Blue Grass.

The normal pessimistic fan foresees two of the four swing games to be defeats, thus leaving Tennessee with a 6-6 record.

The extreme pessimistic fan believes UT will lose three of the four swing games and finish 5-7, with no bowl game and a very long off-season for Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt.

I saved one Tennessee fan for last. You know – the one whose blood runs orange. The one who won’t go into any game thinking the Vols can’t win. He thinks UT really will win all four of the swing games and one more on top of that.

Which one will that be – the Gators in the Swamp, Georgia on Rocky Top, Bama in Tuscaloosa or Mizzou out West?

Any of those four would be sweet and give Tennessee a 9-3 record. And that, adds the extreme optimistic UT fan, would become 10-3 after a bowl victory somewhere in the Sunshine state.

There you have it. In the eyes of all types of Tennessee fans, the Vols could finish anywhere from 5-7 to 10-3.

Now let’s see what happens.