Tennessee fans are probably starting to find it hard to keep their excitement and optimism as level-headed as Montana and Cincinnati’s defenses did trying to slow down the Volunteers’ passing game.

But it’s not just how UT has played its first two games of the season that should give Vol Nation reasons to raise its expectations going forward.

It’s the culture of the program. From Derek Dooley on down, this Vols team just has a different feel about them.

From the positive comments made by coaches and players in the media, to even the way the team approaches practice, this team has an attitude about itself it hasn’t had in recent years.

These Vols have swagger. And plenty of it.

Is that always a good thing? Maybe not. Does it mean the Vols will win every game? Of course not.

But these Vols believe they’ll win every game, including Saturday’s contest at Florida.

Tennessee hasn’t beaten the Gators since 2004. Those six straight losses are the most in the series history.

But UT has had longer losing streaks. In 1995, the Vols hadn’t beaten Alabama in nine years.

Tennessee entered that Oct. 14 contest and scored on the first play of game, a touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Manning to receiver Joey Kent.

The Vols won 41-14.

So what does that have to do with Tennessee-Florida on Saturday?

That ’95 UT team had a sophomore quarterback in Manning who could sling the ball all over the field to a plethora of receivers, including Kent and Marcus Nash.

Sound a lot like this year? It should.

That doesn’t mean Tyler Bray should be compared to Manning. Or that Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers to Kent and Nash, both of whom are near the top of many UT records.

But that ’95 Bama game propelled UT into national prominence and started a run from ’95-’99 that saw the Vols go 45-5, capturing the ’98 BCS National Championship, as well as SEC titles in ’97 and ’98.

Again, that doesn’t mean a win in Gainesville on Saturday guarantees championships or smooth sailing for the Vols. After all, in ’96, UT lost at Memphis.

But that dominant run UT had in the late ’90s had to start somewhere, much like if Dooley is going to win championships at Tennessee, the wins have to start piling up somewhere.

Saturday in The Swamp is the perfect opportunity for UT to show college football it’s back to being the UT of old. A win against the Gators would most likely get the Vols back in the Top 25 for the first time since the beginning of the 2008 season.

With a first-year coach and a new system, Florida has just as many question marks as UT.

Vol players believe they can win. Their play the first two games of the season has given hope to the Vol Nation. All that’s left is for Tennessee to score more points than Florida.

If that happens, the Vols’ swag could go even higher, especially if Bray connects with Hunter or Rogers for a touchdown on UT’s first offensive play.

— Matt Dixon is a senior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at mdixon3@utk.edu and followed on Twitter at @MattDixon3.