Tennessee vs. West Virginia fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 3:30 pm ET
Venue: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Tennessee (0-0) vs. West Virginia (0-0) Game Preview
It’s sort of strange that two schools this big and with their respective histories haven’t met, especially considering they’re only around 400 miles part – that’s nothing in college football road trip world.
But they get to meet for the first time down the road from Knoxville in Charlotte, and it’s going to be one of those games that could make-or-break a season before it even gets started –
At least. it could be that way for West Virginia and the Big 12.
Tennessee and new head coach Jeremy Pruitt will get time to turn this massive ship around. It should happen sooner than some might think, but no one’s expecting national titles right away.
For Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers, if not now, when?
The Big 12 needs as many giant, splashy brand-name wins as it can get, and West Virginia should be one of the league’s biggest stars this season. Lose, and it obviously doesn’t affect the conference title chances, but the national attention for the Mountaineers won’t be there, even with a big season for the offense.
If Tennessee wins, that might just be the kickstart the program needs under the new guy.
One Reason Why Tennessee Will Win
Is it possible for Tennessee’s offensive front to line up and power away on the West Virginia defensive line?
New offensive coordinator Tyson Helton is eventually going to be great for the passing game – looking for a slew of quick-hitting plays to get the ball rolling – but the hope will be for the offensive line that was decimated by injuries last season to be ready to roll right out of the box.
The Mountaineer secondary has the upside to be among the best in the Big 12, so it’ll be up to Tennessee to try getting things going against a defensive front that was way too soft last season as it allowed almost five yards per carry.
There’s talent and upside on the WVU front three, but it might take a chunk of the season to get there. The Vols have to take advantage.
One Reason Why West Virginia Will Win
September 25th, 2015.
That might have been almost three years ago, but Tennessee couldn’t seem to stop the Florida quarterback who struggled on third downs, but managed to convert all five fourth down chances in a thrilling comeback 28-27 win in Gainesville.
Now, Will Grier is older, better, and a West Virginia Mountaineer.
The Vol killer of a few years ago has the talent to be the Big 12’s best quarterback this season, and he’s got the receivers to put up a massive season.
Tennessee might have finished third in the country in pass defense, but that’s because everyone spent so much time running the ball. Grier, David Sills, and the rest of the Mountaineer offense should put on a show through the air. While the Vols are going to be a work in progress offensively, WVU should be able to hit the ground running – and throwing – in Charlotte.
Tennessee’s defense will be great – eventually. The Vol offense that struggled so much to score last year needs to be ready for a shootout, and it won’t be.
What’s Going To Happen
Tennessee will score. Considering that wasn’t a given over a large portion of last season, start from there.
There might be a whole lot of excitement around the Pruitt era, and there’s a lot of talent there to push for a big year, but Grier and the West Virginia offense will be way too good.
It’ll be an inspired defensive effort by the Vol D, but the O won’t take advantage of the opportunities to take over the game.
West Virginia won’t dominant, but it’ll be a great moment for the program to show off the possibilities for the 2018 season. It’s a game the Mountaineers need to have, and they’ll get it.
Fearless Prediction & Line
West Virginia 34, Tennessee 24
Line: West Virginia -9.5, o/u: 61.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 4
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