1. TENNESSEE WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
All Tennessee had to do in the first season under Jeremy Pruitt was beat Vanderbilt to go bowling.
The Vols still had major problems on the lines, they turned the ball over way too often, and the defense melted down way too much considering the coaching staff and talent in place – giving up 40 points or more four times, and 38 in the bowl-or-go-home game against the Commodores – but they were still knocking on the door of a post-season game.
This year’s team has the experience in all areas to be a whole lot better in a big hurry.
Pruitt is bringing in the talent to help find some instant answers – starting with the O line this year – and he’s got the skill guys in place to quickly bump up the SEC’s worst offense.
The defensive side should be stronger with a little time and a little luck – needing some new parts on the defensive front three to be eligible and ready right out of the box – and the kicking game will be solid, so …
Set The Regular Season Win Total At … 8
BYU is good, but if Tennessee is going to be anything decent, it has to take down the Cougars in Knoxville on the way to a 3-0 start.
Going to Florida and Alabama are almost two sure losses – and if one of them isn’t, it’s gravy – and going to Kentucky and Missouri won’t be easy, but that’s it.
Eight tames are at home, there’s a week off to get ready for Georgia, and throw in a winnable game against UAB into the equation for a base of four victories among the non-conference battles.
Assume a win over Vanderbilt at home to close out the regular season, at least a split against Mississippi State and South Carolina at home, and throw in a road win over UK or Mizzou, and this will be the proverbial step forward the program so desperately needs.