Tennessee Win Total Prediction
It’s been a couple of years since Tennessee had a winning season. Will 2019 be the year that the Volunteers get back on track?
Jeremy Pruitt had his first year as head coach in 2018 and led Tennessee to a 5-7 record overall and a 2-6 mark in the SEC. In 2017, Butch Jones had Tennessee go 4-8 in his final year with the team. According to oddsmakers, the Vols come into this year with an over/under of 7 wins. The over is listed with a money line of +110, while the under is list at -130.
Tennessee was one of the nation’s worst offenses last year, as the Vols averaged just 22.8 points and 326.4 yards per game. That can be somewhat expected with a new coach. This year, the Vols have nine starters back on that side of the ball. Junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is back after throwing for 1,907 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes in 2018. Leading rusher Ty Chandler is also back after putting up 630 yards and four scores on 115 carries. The Vols also have eight players with at least 10 receptions returning. The key will be if the offensive line can take a step forward to help the run game improve from 129.1 yards per game last season.
Defensively, Tennessee gave up 27.9 points and 378.1 yards per game last season. The defense has five starters back, mostly coming in the back seven. The d-line is young and unproven, but the Vols have leading tackler, Daniel Bituli returning. Darrell Taylor, a rush linebacker that had eight sacks in 2018, is also back. Three starters are back in the secondary, including Bryce Thompson, who had a team-high three interceptions.
Tennessee has a pretty light non-conference schedule, as the Vols host Georgia State, BYU and Chattanooga to open the year, while hosting UAB later in the season. In SEC play, Tennessee hosts Georgia, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The Vols will make road trips to Florida, Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri.
Tennessee took its lumps last year because its offense was pretty lackluster, but the team should improve in its second season under Pruitt. Tennessee has just four road games all season and four very winnable non-conference games. From there, they need to just handle the strains of SEC play. The Vols can be Vandy at home and can compete with the likes of Mississippi State and South Carolina. If Tennessee can just sneak out a road win over Missouri or Kentucky, eight wins is there.
College Football Prediction: Tennessee over 7 wins +110