Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee senior linebacker Rico McCoy sighed at the question.
He’s heard the talk, too.
Venturing down to the Swamp as a four-touchdown underdog and facing a Florida team that doesn’t just want to beat Tennessee, but wants to punish the Vols, how ugly could this one get Saturday?
“The game’s still going to be played. The game’s still going to be played,” McCoy repeated with emphasis. “And I have a say-so in the outcome. I don’t have anything to say right now. I’ll let the play speak for itself. It’s just a number (Florida being favored by four touchdowns) they threw out before a game, and we determine if that happens or not.”
McCoy knows the atmosphere will be wild Saturday and that the fans will be downright nasty.
He also knows that the Gators have had this game circled ever since Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin became a household name in the SEC back in February when he took aim at Urban Meyer.
“I’m not worried about it,” McCoy said. “I know my team is going to be ready to play. I’m confident. I hear the stuff about them not taking knees, (saving) timeouts.
“You know, if we leave ourselves in that situation, go ahead and do it. If you can do it, do it. But you know, we’re ready to play. We’re going to fight until that last second is off the clock.”
Kiffin said he actually likes the fact that nobody is giving the Vols any chance in this game.
“I kind of like it for our players, because I think it kind of takes the pressure off of them,” Kiffin said.
The Gators have beaten the Vols by a combined 63 points over the last two seasons and won 59-20 the last time Tennessee played in the Swamp.
Given the severity of those beatings, Kiffin doesn’t see how the Gators will be any more motivated for this game … regardless of what he might have said about Meyer or anything else.
“Urban has never lost to Tennessee, and it was (63 points) over the last two years combined,” Kiffin said. “There’s been motivation over there, and I don’t think that I motivated them. I wasn’t here yet.”
Nice try, but something says neither Meyer nor the Gators will quite see it that way come Saturday.