KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Any mention of the names Dooley and Curry around the Southeast conjures up memories of some memorable Georgia-Georgia Tech games from the 1980s.
The latest Dooley-Curry matchup shouldn't provide nearly as much intrigue.
Bill Curry will continue his final season before retirement Saturday by leading Georgia State into Neyland Stadium for Tennessee's home opener. The likely mismatch pits Curry against Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, the son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley. Curry went 2-5 against Georgia while coaching Georgia Tech from 1980-86.
Curry's Georgia Tech career also included a 24-21 upset of fourth-ranked Alabama that represented the Yellow Jackets' only victory of the 1981 season. A victory Saturday could rank as an even bigger stunner, though Curry believes that 1981 Georgia Tech team wasn't nearly as good as his current Georgia State squad.
Georgia State is in its final season as a Football Championship Subdivision member before joining the Sun Belt Conference next season. In its only two previous games against Football Bowl Subdivision programs, the Panthers fell 63-7 to Alabama in 2010 and 56-0 to Houston last year.
"Our goal when we play these kinds of games is to get better every time," Curry said. "So far we haven't done that. We've played one of these games each of the last two years and haven't played our best in either of those cases. If we play our best and we catch the opponent on a down day, we've got a chance."
Maybe a small chance.
Georgia State is coming off a 33-6 loss to South Carolina State, while Tennessee opened its season with a 35-21 victory over North Carolina State. Georgia State's best hope is that Tennessee gets caught looking ahead to next week's game against Florida.
The Volunteers insist they won't fall victim to complacency.
"No matter who the opponent is, just take it like it's for the national championship, that last game," Tennessee cornerback Marsalis Teague said. "You hear coaches say all the time play each game like it's your last. You kind of got to really take that approach to it, and it will make it a lot easier."
Dooley believes this game should test his team's maturity. Throughout the spring and summer, the Vols fed off the criticism that followed a season-ending loss to Kentucky last year. Now they must prove they can handle praise as well as they responded to those barbs.
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