Over/Under 5.5 Wins () vs Tennessee Volunteers ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : West Virginia vs. Tennessee 3:30 PM
Location : Neyland Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 5.5 Wins vs Tennessee Volunteers
The Tennessee Volunteers have hit the reset button in hopes of catching Georgia in the SEC East as they were able to snag away Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama. Pruitt may have been the right hire for Tennessee as he is a defensive minded coach and the Vols needed as much help as possible after giving up 34.8 PPG in SEC play. Tennessee won as many as 9 games in 2016 and even after a 3-1 start last season Tennessee knew they needed a change after they dropped 7 of their last 8 matchups. Pruitt had some moving pieces this past offseason as guys left for the draft and the slated starting QB in Quinten Dormady elected to transfer elsewhere. Pruitt’s first class may have ranked 8th in the SEC but nationally he wasn’t terrible as he was able to rank inside the top 20. Pruitt was able to assert his dominance on the defensive side of the ball as he got the #6th linebacker in the nation as well as the #2 JUCO defensive end. Pruitt has been the defensive coordinator at some big-time schools (Georgia, Alabama, Florida State) but he has never endured a challenge like he has this year.
Over/Under 5.5 Wins's Latest Performance :
Given Tennessee’s failures to close out the 2017 season and the fact that they have a new coach this season oddsmakers have set the over/under at 5.5 wins which would also be the determining factor in making a bowl game or not.
Pruitt and company will be well tested in his first season in Knoxville as they have one of the toughest schedules in all of football. Tennesee will be battle-tested in their first game of the season as they will play a neutral-site game against a darkhorse West Virginia team. September 22nd-October 27th will be a really rough stretch of games as they have home games against Alabama and Florida and even worse play on the road at Georgia, Auburn, and South Carolina. The one thing Tennesee has going for them is their non-conference schedule as they go against 2 of the worst FBS teams and an FCS team. They will host both Charlotte and UTEP who went a combined 1-23 last season. Tennessee will have to step up and beat a couple of unlikely opponents if they want any chance of making a bowl game.
Tennessee Volunteers's Latest Performance :
Tennesee has a ton of things they need to get figured out on both the offensive side of the ball as and well as the defensive side but Pruitt should feel a little better moving into this season as he will have some key transfers and returning guys to put on the field. As I stated Tennesee lost their starting QB in Quinten Dormady to the transfer market but they have another guy with a proven track record coming in. Keller Chryst started 7 games for Stanford last season where he threw for 937 yards and 8 TDs but due to the emergence of other guys Chryst fell out of the depth chart. Chryst will be a vital piece this season as he brings a senior leadership to a team who is youth infested. The #1 running back in 2017 ran out of eligibility which will prompt sophomores Tim Jordan and Ty Chandler to take more of a load this season. The passing game should be better as Pruitt is returning some key guys as well as made some splashes on the recruitment road. The top receiver from 2017 in Brandon Johnson will be entering his 3rd year as a Vol and after having 482 yards last season, he should double that total. Two guys who should make an impact in the passing game is 4-star recruits Alontae Taylor and Dominick Wood-Anderson. Defensively Pruitt should bring a much-needed scheme to a team who struggled to stop anyone in the conference. One area Pruitt has a good problem with is the defensive tackle spot as he has an overload of talent for only 1 spot in the new 3-4 front. Todd Kelly Jr. was the tackle for loss leader in 2016 from the safety spot and after missing the whole 2017 season due to injury I expect him to give the defense a boost.
Player To Watch
Darrell Taylor, DE, RS JR.
As I stated Jeremy Pruitt was a much-needed piece in putting together a destroyed defense and he knew one of the first things he needed to do was get the best players on the field. Taylor compiled 27 tackles from the outside linebacker spot last season but Pruitt felt like he would be much better in a defensive end role. I expect Taylor to take off this season as he should find more success in pass rushing from a different angle rather than from a couple of yards off the ball. Look for Taylor to have 7+ sacks this season.
How Over/Under 5.5 Wins & Tennessee Volunteers Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 5.5 -110
Under 5.5 -110
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- West Virginia- L
9/8- ETSU- W
9/15- UTEP- W
9/22- Florida- L
9/29- @ Georgia- L
10/13- @ Auburn- L
10/20- Alabama- L
10/27- @ South Carolina- L
11/3- Charlotte- W
11/10- Kentucky- W
11/17- Missouri- L
11/24- @ Vanderbilt- W
Overall Record- 5-7
Against The Spread Selection: Under 5.5 Wins -110
My reason for the pick :
Tennessee made the right hire by bringing in Jeremy Pruitt but unfortunately, they were given no favors as they have the roughest 4-week schedule in all of football. Tennessee will have to figure out a way to make some upsets happen if they want any chance of making a bowl game and given the state of the SEC I don’t see it happening. Pruitt could create quite the story if he beats one of his former teams in Alabama or Georgia but his defense will be a work in progress and won’t be able to stop these powerhouses. Look for Tennessee to play just as we expect which will have them under the win total.