Breaking Down 2019 Vols + Win Total Bet

“Life isn’t about finding yourself, its about creating yourself” – Bob Dylan

If you haven’t caught Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan documentary on Netflix, give it a shot, its worth your time. Fascinating persona. Call it talent, creative ability, or what-have-you, but if you notice, a select few artists seem to operate on a whole other playing field. Its almost like they’ve punched in some cheat code and shit just comes easier to them than others. Sure, talent has a lot to do with it, but if you can open up the portal, the interactions you’re faced with take the creative process to a different level (kind of like the product you get with Clemson’s already talented players pumped full of ostarine). Obviously Dylan communes with the dead, and he’s not the only great artist doing so. Its tempting to test those waters… but once you go there, I’m not sure there’s a path back.

Speaking of the point of no return, even the most ardent Tennessee fans have to wonder if the vols have crossed that threshold into obscurity. Are the days of being an elite power located behind us? For some, the thought of coming to terms with that is mostly suppressed. Kept in the back rooms of inner consciousness. But it doesn’t go unnoticed. And with every season ending loss to Vanderbilt, the doubt grows larger. Others in the fanbase (oft referred to as nega-vols), are outward and adamant that Tennessee has seen it’s best seasons. They watch the games with an I-told-you so attitude, and some in this crowd don’t even watch the games at all. They put on a act of indifference and condescension. But I see right through you nega-vol. Its a coping mechanize. A means to protect yourself. If you keep from buying in, you don’t hurt as bad when shit hits the fan.

I can’t say I blame you.

Truth be told, no one can know for sure. Big time programs are hard to kill, but it can happen. The jury is still out on if Tennessee is going to quote ‘get it back’. ‘Get this thing back’. ‘Get Tennessee back where it should be’. That’s all I’ve heard since the end of the Fulmer era, and to be honest, I’m sick and tired of hearing that shit…

I can’t think of any program that clutches on to the glory days like Tennessee does. Look, don’t get me wrong, understanding where you came from is important, but I don’t believe its meant to be some arbitrary measuring stick to attempt to match up with. Is Tennessee a top ten program all-time? Its debatable, but I believe so (based off wins, conference championships, elite players, and fan base). Its fringe top ten, but I think we’re in there.

Is that what we should be fighting to get to? To be a fringe top ten team, win a conference title every now and then, and pray we win a natty once every 20 to 30 years? Cause if you want to look at Tennessee’s past, that is where we stand. You want to fight to get back to that?? I say HELL NO. That’s the wrong damn attitude. Those mother effers on campus in Knoxville should be fighting to be the number one team in America, year in and year out. That’s the type of approach that’s going to make Tennessee relevant again. Before you say I’m crazy, look at Clemson. Tell me, what in Clemson’s past suggest they would reach the heights they have the latter half of this decade? Not a damn thing. They were considered maybe a top 25 college football program all-time before Dabo got them on this run.

Clemson didn’t get to where they’re at by examining the past with the intentions of defining themselves. They went out there, cheated like hell in recruiting, pumped their players full of banned substances, and got themselves a couple damn nattys.

HARDENING (or breaking?) 

Disappointment has a way of hardening you. Strengthening your resolve if you allow it to. But even the strongest psyches can only take so much. Never in my life did I think I’d see a time where Tennessee lost 5 out of 7 years to Vanderbilt (lost to them 2 times between 1976 – 2011). We’ve won two SEC games in the past two years, finishing dead last in the SEC East both times. We haven’t been to Atlanta for the conference title game since 2007. We haven’t won the freaking conference since 1998 (after this season that’s 21 years for a program that’s won 13 SEC titles total). We’re on our 4th head coach since Fulmer was forced out in 2008. And in our last 30 matchups against top ten opponents we are…… 0-30.

HOW MUCH MORE CAN PEOPLE TAKE AND HOW DID WE MANAGE TO SELL OVER 60K SEASON TICKETS SO FAR FOR THIS SEASON??

Pruitt desperately needs to be the one cause I’m really not sure Tennessee fans can make it through another rebuild. Then we really will be talking about a once proud program destined to mire in mediocrity for the rest of eternity. At best. It’ll be time to fully embrace basketball and live for the years we lose in the Sweet 16 (seriously, why can’t we have nice things?)

A note on GA State and UTC

An imperative step Tennessee must take this season is absolutely beating the dog shit out of teams like these two. Last year Tennessee had its issues against UTEP, Charlotte, and even ETSU for a moment. Great programs mop the field up in these type games while the stars pad their stats, and backups get some reps. In the GA State and UTC game especially, we have to figure out who our backup quarterback is going to be. Both Brian Maurer and JT Shrout have not played a single down, and if last year is any prelude to this year, one is going to have to come in and play meaningful snaps at some point (Guarantano has a propensity to lose his helmet).

Side note on the qbs: From what I saw in the spring game, I walked away liking Maurer. The true frosh looked spunky out there. I liked the pep in his step. It looks like he can move a little too. JT Shrout has been in the program an extra year, so it’ll be interesting to see who grabs the reins of that 2nd string role.

Do you remember when we went to overtime against App State in 2016? That’s when we all should of known for sure something was not right with the Butch Jones regime. If I don’t see a kill and eat attitude out of the Vols August 31st against Georgia State, I’m going to start the season off pissed.

A look at Tennessee’s coaching staff 

  • First and foremost, bringing Tee Martin back has got to be good karma right?
  • A case can be made for Craig Fitzgerald being the second most crucial coach on that staff outside of Pruitt himself. Retaining him was huge. Having a strong strength and conditioning program is going to show more positive dividends than anything going from year 1 to year 2. You couldn’t possibly underrate how abysmal Tennessee was in that department under Butch Jones. Look at Alabama. Saban has coaching turnover every year, often times including his offensive and defensive coordinator. But you know who’s remained a constant in Saban’s program? The strength and condition coach: Scotty Cochran.
  • Derrick Ansley (DC) and Jim Chaney (OC) will combine to make 2.5 million dollars this year. That certainly makes them handsomely paid, but when you look around college football, you realize you have to open your wallet if you want to get high quality assistants.
  • I like what we’re getting in Ansley. His specialty is developing defensive backs (DB coach for the Raiders last year) which should bode well for our young, talented secondary. Pruitt went out and hired this guy because he has a similar line of thinking, and if Pruitt isn’t calling the plays this year (we’ll see how long that last), he wanted to find the closest version of himself possible. At the end of the day, this defense will always be Pruitt’s baby.
  • I’m at least fairly confident Pruitt won’t be taking the clipboard from the offensive coordinator this year (I’ve heard compelling reports that’s precisely what he did to Helton in the Vandy game). Chaney is a guy that UGA will miss more than they realize. He did a very fine job of developing Jake Fromm and I thought his offenses there were well balanced. He’s not married to the run or pass. He seems apt at identifying who his playmakers are, and finding ways to get them the ball in space (attacking favorable matchups). If you remember his previous days on Rocky Top under Dooley, for the most part, the offense was not the issue.
  • Overall, we have to remember this is Jeremy Pruitt’s first head coaching role, and he’s had to learn on the job up to this point. The guy is an alpha male, brimming with self confidence, which can be a good and bad thing. For what its worth, I like having a coach with that personality, but something I think he learned from last year is that he can only do so much. You have to be able to delegate. When you try to do everything yourself, you spread yourself out too thin. The good news is the guy is showing the propensity to be willing to change and adapt.

A look at Tennessee’s roster

  • Why is everyone (media, social media) trying to talk me into the fact that Jarrett Guarantano is good? I get he can throw an intermediate ball, but you know what he can’t seem to do? Read a defense pre-snap and adjust his protection. In all fairness, the guy has had like 3 different offensive coordinators and no quarterbacks coach. If anything, I do like his intangibles and he seems to be a natural leader.
  • Aside from Darrell Taylor and Last Chance U, who the hell is about to play on our D-Line? (for the love of god, can we get the version of Darrell Taylor that showed up to play Georgia and Kentucky in every game this year?) It seems we’re holding out a lot of hope that Aubrey Solomon is granted eligibility, and unfortunately the NCAA seems to be back tracking and clamping down on the amount of immediate eligibility waivers granted.
  • I love our secondary. They’re young and they’re feisty. Bryce Thompson came up with 3 picks last year, Alontae Taylor could play either side of the ball and be one of our best players, Treyvon Flowers was looking like an absolute steal in recruiting until he got hurt, and Nigel Warrior takes on a heart-and-soul type leadership role on the team.
  • Wood Anderson is as physically gifted as any TE in the SEC. Looking at how Chaney used TEs at UGA, I’d love to see him turn into our version of Issac Nauta.
  • Only known commodity I feel great about at LB is Bituli (shoutout to the mid-state  kids), but the two new guys (Henry T and Crouch) should provide nice reinforcements.
  • I’m hearing they’ll be moving Ty Chandler around this year and throw him out there as a slot receiver, as well as the backfield. He has home run ability and we need to think of creative ways to get the ball in his hands.
  • The consensus for the highest rated position group we have on the team is….. special teams? (According to Phil Steele: 10th nationally, 3rd in SEC). I have to admit, Cimaglia does get buckets. What are the odds we actually pull off a few of Pruitt’s random onside kicks this season?
  • The position group getting the most preseason hype is the wide outs. We’re bringing the whole squad back. Tee Martin said Callaway reminds him of Ju-Ju Smith Schuster (coached him at USC) and seems to think he’ll be playing on Sundays. Josh Palmer is getting a lot of buzz for his ability to be a deep ball threat. As far as Jennings is concerned, he’s my favorite vol just like everyone else’s and I just hope his health is able to hold up.
  • Except for maybe quarterback, there’s no position group that will have more of a direct influence on wins and losses than the offensive line. Depending on how they come together, we could be looking at the difference between a six or eight (dare I say nine?) win season. It can’t be overstated how important getting Trey Smith back in the line up could be. Think about this: if we can get Trey Smith back, add the number one incoming o-linemen (Darnell Wright), add the number four incoming o-linemen (Wanya Morris), and get Brandon Kennedy back at center (the man literally went the wrong way on THE FIRST PLAY OF THE SEASON last year and got JG killed, but if the staff is this sold on him, he must be better than what we had out there the rest of last season), then we’re talking about a totally revamped group.

A note on the newcomers + recruiting 

Eric Gray
Eric Gray, 3-time Mr. Football in Tennessee

Its a hard knock life playing in the SEC. It really is the minor league for the NFL. Our incoming class of freshman ranks 12th national. Pretty dang good right? Well…. that puts Tennessee at 7th in the conference. Only 11 teams in the whole country have a better class than the Vols and that’s good for middle of the pack in the SEC.

If Tennessee was in the ACC the class would of ranked 2nd. Big 12 = 3rd. Big Ten = 2nd. Pac 12 = 2nd. Its disgusting.

However, something that was interesting to see was Phil Steele’s recruiting rankings. He compiles his rankings based off how good your top 5 signees are, how good your top 10 signees are, and then he takes into account the overall average. So essentially he’s looking at quality over quantity (for the record, Butch Jones’ classes were mostly the quantity type). In his rankings, Tennessee is 5th in the nation behind Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Florida. Given his criteria and examining our class, its clear why he has us so high. The top 5 players we brought in…. are straight up ballers.

  • Darnell Wright (WV): #1 rated o-linemen
  • Wanya Morris (GA): #4 rated o-linemen
  • Quavaris Crouch (NC): #5 rated linebacker
  • Henry To’oto’o (CA): #7 rated linebacker
  • Eric Gray (TN): #10 rated running back

It does my heart good to see five dudes roll into Knoxville ready to make immediate impacts. Two young offensive lineman starting out the gate will certainly have a learning curve, but we need big bodies up front. Now. No time to wait. The SEC is a line of scrimmage league, and our days of having a sorry offensive line have got to end.

If you want hope for the future, go watch Crouch, Henry T, and Eric Gray’s high school highlights on YouTube. Especially Eric Gray. His highlight reel is a work of art. He’s got the all-time touchdown record in the state of Tennessee. He sat out the spring due to a shoulder issue, but according to reports, he’s been blowing people away in 7 on 7’s.

As far as us climbing the rankings further, I do hear we’re trying to cheating. But that’s not good enough. Everyone in the SEC is cheating. That’s just the baseline for having a chance to sign a top class. The only thing that’s going to catapult us upwards is showing results on the field. Tennessee is going to have to find a way to overachieve with the talent they have on campus right now. And this year is extremely important. 

Analyzing BYU, @ Florida, UGA

Last year I wrote a preseason article predicting the result of Tennessee’s brutal five game stretch of Florida, UGA, Auburn, Bama, and South Carolina. I had the Vols going 2-3, with wins over Auburn and South Carolina. If the Vols hadn’t blown that game in Columbia I would of hit it perfect. I had so much fun doing that, I figured I’d thoroughly break down Tennessee’s first 3 big games and then give you an overall prediction on the season (we’re assuming Georgia State and UTC are wins).

FYI: Tennessee’s win total is set at 6.5

BYU @ Tennessee (September 7, 6PM on ESPN)

Early line: Tennessee -4 (I’ve seen a -3)

BYU win total: 6.5

Spot analysis: BYU off Holy War at home (vs Utah), Vols off GA State at home

SHOUTOUT TO THE UNIVERSITY AND CITY OF KNOXVILLE – ALCOHOL WILL BE SOLD IN NEYLAND STADIUM THIS YEAR – BEERS WILL BE FLOWING – LET’S GET ROWDY.

I don’t know who’s scheduling games for BYU, but they have balls of steel. They ain’t afraid to play anybody. The Cougars first four games look like: Utah, @ Tennessee, USC, and Washington. What a lineup for the BYU season ticket holders. That program holds itself in high regard, and they have a stronger following than I think most realize. They legitimately expect 10 win seasons and pushed Bronco Mendenhall out because he wasn’t getting that done (look at him now). Sitake is entering his 4th year as the head coach, and I wouldn’t say his seat is hot, but it is getting a little warm.

BYU is a tough team to scout early in the season cause you have guys coming in after being on mission, and they haven’t even played in a couple years. You can expect them to lack in overall speed but they’re hard nosed and tough. I mean they’re grown men with grown men strength for crying out loud. (I once had a group of Mormons consistently come to my house over a span of a few weeks and try to convert me. I even agreed to do a ‘kneeling prayer’ with them where they fervently asked god to open my eyes to the fact that Mormonism was the way and the book of Mormon was legitimately derived out of divine inspiration. Nice fellows, but the kneeling prayer didn’t work. I still stick to my significantly less bulky traditional Bible.)

Last year, the defense was much more productive than the offense (18th in total D, 101st total O). However, the offensive attack improved at the tail end of the season thanks to a breakout freshman quarterback (Zach Wilson). Wilson capped the year off going a perfect 18 of 18 for 317 yards and 4 TDs against Western Michigan in the bowl game. He underwent minor shoulder surgery in the offseason but he’s full go for the upcoming season.

They lose playmakers at RB / WR and their two most productive tacklers on defense, but they’re projected to be improved on both lines of scrimmage.

Prediction: This game honestly scares the hell out of me, and if it doesn’t scare you, take another look at how short that line is. Typically you give about three or so points for home field, so Vegas actually views this game as close to evenly matched… If you remember, last year the Cougars went into Madison and beat Wisconsin. This team is more experienced than last year and has a legitimately dangerous quarterback playing in his second season.

Ultimately, the spot for us really helps. BYU’s biggest rival is Utah, and they’ll be coming off what figures to be a physical and emotional game against them (Utah has won the last eight). Unfortunately, that game is on a Thursday night so they’ll get a couple extra days rest, but they still have to come cross country into a hostile environment. This is the first big home game of the season and unless GA State shocks the world, the enthusiasm of the fanbase won’t be tainted yet. This game is monumental, and one the Vols absolutely can’t afford to lose. I say BYU hangs in early, may even take a first quarter lead, but the Vols get some breathing room going into half and get a score to put it away late.

Tennessee 35, BYU 17

Tennessee @ Florida (Sept 21) 

Early line: Florida -14.5

Florida win total: 9

Spot analysis: Florida off @ Kentucky, Tennessee off UTC

Other conference games: UK @ Miss St, Auburn @ Texas A&M, LSU @ Vandy, South Carolina @ Missouri (CBS already announced this will be the double header week with them going to Notre Dame @ UGA for an 8PM EST kick, effectively ending the multi-year streak of the LSU – Bama night game. I’m assuming it’ll be between us and TAMU – Auburn for the 3:30 slot, with the early line for that one TAMU -2.5, so that’s projected to be a much closer game. However, Auburn will have played Oregon and TAMU will have played Clemson, so at least one will have a loss (if not both), and our game will be a matchup against two undefeated teams. That’s assuming Florida gets past Miami in week one, which I’m not sure Miami can’t get them. Part of me hopes we play them in a weird nooner spot, but I have a suspicion the afternoon CBS game will still be us).

This game is always a damn nightmare. Thank gah we beat them in 2016 or we’d be looking at a 14 game losing streak. I’m not even sure Florida considers us to be a rival at this point, and I have no rebuttal to the Gator fans that say that. Its on Tennessee to give them a reason to feel that way again.

This place is a House of Horrors. Think about our last two trips down there. Will ‘Steroid Arm’ Grier on 4th and 14 and the Felipe ‘Pool Boy’ Frank’s hail mary. When was the last time we won in the Swamp? Casey Clausen qb days circa 2003? We don’t give that man enough credit. The Ice Man beat them down there twice. 

Can we freaking get this game? Can we have some fun going into October undefeated ONE DAMN TIME? We’ll be 3-0 at this point and maybe Florida shows enough vulnerability against Miami and Kentucky that we’ll be talking ourselves into this one.

In regards to Florida’s 2018 “break out season”, if you remember, I kind of saw that coming. People forget, in 2017 when they only won 4 games, they lost a multitude of players that were tied up in a credit card fraud case (classic Florida). They were bringing a lot of those guys back, they had a very good offensive line, and they had some studs on the defensive line. The public is reactionary. People just assume that since Florida was able to win 10 total games last year, they’ll do it again this year, and to be honest, I’m not sold on them at all. In fact, I expect them to take a small step backwards..

Defensively, they do have a great secondary (although losing Chris Steele to Oregon hurts for the future, he was projected to be 2nd string CB), CJ Henderson is an absolute lockdown corner and Marco Wilson is back after being hurt all last season. At linebacker, David Reese is back for his senior year, and he had a day against us last year. On the defensive line, there’s no doubt Zuniga is a beast but he looks like the only known commodity in that unit. The defensive line losses Vosean Joseph and Jachai Polite who combined for 15 sacks and 11.5 TFLs.

Offensively, the Gators are pretty loaded at the skill positions. They probably have the second best group of receivers in the SEC outside of Alabama, which I know Dan Mullen will do a good job of designing ways to get the ball in the hands of those playmakers. However… the kicker with this team is they lose 4 out of 5 starters on the offensive line, and not one of the guys filling their roles were pushing to take anyone’s spot last year.

So you’re telling me… they got a very inexperienced and suspect offensive line… that they’re gonna throw Felipe ‘Pool Boy’ Franks behind?

I for the life of me do not understand this move of foot that the Pool Boy is a good quarterback. He still makes very poor decisions and cannot be trusted. If you want any further evidence of that, go back and re-watch last year’s UF-UGA game. I don’t give a damn if Dan Mullen is a quarterback whisperer, you can’t tell me that’s not going to cause them issues this season.

Prediction: We have got to have some pass rushers step up if we’re going to take advantage of that offensive line. Darrell Taylor needs to absolutely pop off in this game, and I hope Pruitt dials up the pressure on the Pool Boy. I’m slightly concerned about our freshman offensive tackles making their first SEC start in this environment, and you know Florida is also going to be pinning their ears back and coming after Guarantano.

Jim Chaney is going to have to have a hell of a day calling plays if we’re going to get this one. With Florida’s DB’s, the key to victory may be in the running game and screens. But if anyone knows how to attack Florida defensively, its Chaney. The past two times he played them while coaching UGA, his offense put up 36 and 42.

Listen… don’t buy the Dan Mullen hype. The dude is a meatloaf coach (good but not great). I honestly believe this game is winnable. Think about this, last season freaking Kentucky beat them in the Swamp by double digits. Kentucky. Missouri beat them worse than Georgia beat them (also in the Swamp). Hell, South Carolina was up by double digits in the 4th quarter before they blew it (IN THE DAMN SWAMP)

Vols come out and play the Gators off their feet, taking an early 10-0 lead while Florida looks sluggish. Florida gets on the board late in the 2nd, and the score is 10-7 going into half. Tennessee’s opening second half drive stalls at midfield but Florida inexplicably muffs the punt and Tennessee capitalizes with a touchdown after being set up inside Florida’s 15 yard line (17-7 Vols). Gators respond with a couple drives to tie the game 17-17 late in the 3rd. In the 4th quarter, Tennessee scores a TD and Florida scores a TD, and then Brent Cimaglia drills a 47 yard field goal as time expires in a game for the ages.

Tennessee 27, Florida 24

Georgia @ Tennessee (October 5th)

Early line: UGA -16.5

UGA win total: 11

Spot analysis: UGA off bye week, Tennessee off bye week

Other conference games: Auburn @ Florida, Vandy @ Ole Miss (The decision between our game and AU-UF for SEC game of the week will largely depend on if we beat Florida or not, unless Auburn already has two losses out of Oregon, TAMU, and Miss St)

For a stretch this became a weird series with some wild games, but these past couple years have been beatings (in two years UGA has out scored Tennessee 99 – 12). I was in the stadium for the 41-0 shellacking and I can’t recall a more brutal or thorough annihilation than the one my two eyes witnessed that day. The Vols literally didn’t even cross the 50 yard line offensively.

Its wild to me that Vegas has UGA’s win total set at 11. Let’s be clear, UGA is not going 12-0, I’ll gladly put real money down on that. No matter how good UGA is (its always been this way and its no different under Kirby Dumb), they are due for at least one stinker every season (2018 LSU 36-16, 2017 Auburn 40-17). The question is, who’s that stinker coming against? The two tough road spots on the schedule are @ Tennessee and @ Auburn…

Will Kirby Dumb ever break through and grasp a natty? If you compare Kirby and Mark Richt’s first three years, they look almost identical. Sometimes something is just cursed. As crazy as this may sound, UGA may have a championship window closing soon with Jake Fromm entering his junior year. Fromm doesn’t get enough credit and there’s no solid backup in place at the moment. But its no secret UGA has been recruiting at an insane level. Nick Saban – Alabama – level. And Bama has won a few championships with game manager quarterbacks behind center. Still, its one thing to recruit like Alabama and another thing to play like them, as UGA has learned the past two seasons.

This matchup will be rich in storylines. Its apparent that Pruitt and Kirby have beef with one another. Also, for some reason I don’t quite understand, after Tennessee hired Jeremy Pruitt a couple former UGA players (Aaron Murray and David Pollack) made a point to attack Pruitt’s character in the media. It was certainly strange. Throw in the fact that the Vols just stole the Dawgs’ offensive coordinator and we got ourselves a blood match with That School Down South.

Pertaining to the subject of UGA becoming mini-bama, this year Kirby will have to do something Saban handles routinely. Turnover with the offensive and defensive coordinators. I’m interested to see how that plays out, considering he made the hires promotions from within. So Kirby Dumb either didn’t feel the need to go out and hire high profile coordinators or he couldn’t get that done (Eddie Gran stayed at freaking Kentucky instead of taking the job)… Does the Chaney lateral move to Tennessee not strike you as a little odd? Especially considering the current difference in level of talent between the two programs? Perhaps the word is out that Kirby isn’t so pleasant to work with…

Prediction: I want to pick the upset. I really do. Can you imagine the environment in Neyland if we were coming into this off a win @ Florida? But like I said when I was breaking down the Vols roster, the SEC is a line of scrimmage league and there’s just no getting around the fact that we are completely mismatched in that department. I’m especially talking about the match up of their offensive line against our defensive line. They have the best offensive line in the whole freaking country. I’m talking about four and five stars galore. Its gross really. And I still think our defensive line is severely lacking in necessary size.

Truth be told, UGA’s overall talent level is just so much higher than the Vols right now that this game would take a combination of a perfect performance from Tennessee and some fluky bad luck (injuries, etc) from UGA for the Vols to pull this one out. Stranger things have happened. It is college football after all, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Tennessee plays UGA tough, but its just not enough:

Tennessee 20, UGA 34

Predicting the Rest (Win Total Bet)

Mississippi State 24, Tennessee 23: I have a bad feeling about this game. Mississippi State is coming into Neyland off a bye week and Tennessee is coming off a potentially demoralizing loss to UGA. Definitely a trap game for the Vols.

Tennessee 13, Alabama 30: Let’s just get this over with.

South Carolina 24, Tennessee 28: So help me, if we lose another game to Will ‘Crazy Eyes’ Muschamp its not going to be pretty. This streak has to end. South Carolina has the toughest schedule in the nation so they should be just as beat up as us when we come off Bama.

UAB 16, Tennessee 31: The answer is no, I’m not scared of UAB. I don’t give a damn if they won their conference or whatever they did last year. They sold out for JUCOs to get that program jump started and they’re going to regress this year with most of those dudes gone.

Tennessee 26, Kentucky 14: I mean we beat Kentucky even when they’re having one of their best seasons of all time. Stoops will produce a tough team but they lose a ton of pieces off last year’s squad.

Tennessee 38, Missouri 31: Real talk, F Mizzou. I don’t know if its the Big 12 type offense that throws us off or what, but we’ve struggled with them. Sure, they’ve out scored us 100-34 past two years, but the more I’ve looked at this game, the more I like it. We’re coming off a bye week, they’re coming off @ Florida (have @ UGA week before that). I’m frankly not scared of Kelly Bryant. He’s a down grade from Drew Lock (delusional Missouri fans will figure that out soon enough). Vegas sees this game close as well, the early line is only Mizzou -1.5.

Vanderbilt 10, Tennessee 30: I don’t care if we go 11-1, if we lose to Vanderbilt again I want Pruitt fired in the locker room immediately.

There you go, nine wins. I’m full wool sheep mode here in early August. In all truthfulness, the absolute floor for this team needs to be seven wins. That’s the minimum I’ll accept. By the way, I’ve heard through the rumor mill that this coaching staff is telling recruits they’re about to prove it on the field, and if they don’t win eight games to not even look at them. This schedule shapes up nicely compared to the absolute gauntlets we’re use to facing. This season is an incredibly important stepping stone for this program and we have got to produce results.

Anyways, hammer the over 6.5 wins at your local or online sportsbook.

Personal Plug 

Follow and interact with me on social media. My college football gambling picks are about to go over 60% this year so be sure to stay tuned. If you’re a seasoned Money Train reader, help a brother out (share, like, comment, retweet, follow, tell a friend, etc). My audience is the lifeblood of this passion project and I’m prepared to take this thing to new heights. But I can’t do it without your help.

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