Tennessee looks to pick up its fifth win on Saturday when it hosts the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats.
Tennessee is coming off a win against Charlotte, while Kentucky lost its last game to Georgia. Will the Vols catch Kentucky in a hangover or will the Wildcats rebound heading into the home stretch of the season?
This is the toughest game I’ve had to pick this year. Kentucky is No. 11 in the country, and yet somehow feels like Tennessee’s most likely win remaining on its schedule.
Tennessee is going to have to find some way to contain Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, but I believe Jeremy Pruitt will have a game plan to stop Benny Snell and force Kentucky to throw the ball if it is going to beat the Vols.
I’m going back to the Vols here, even after they burned me in the fourth quarter in Columbia. As Conner mentioned above, Kentucky is one-dimensional. I think Pruitt can work his magic to contain Snell a little. The key to me is stopping Terry Wilson.
I’m expecting a similar game plan to the South Carolina game from Tyson Helton — short passes on the outside to their playmakers. Tennessee probably isn’t as bad as they looked last week and the Wildcats have struggled through the past three weeks.
Noah Taylor: Kentucky 17, Tennessee 13
I’m not overly confident in this pick because I think this is another game that could end up going either way.
I am, however confident in this game being low scoring and coming down to turnovers and defense. Kentucky’s defense is one of the best in the SEC-let alone the country-which doesn’t bode well for a Tennessee offensive line that appears to be more of a liability every week.
While both offenses are far from potent, Kentucky gets the edge in the run game and the defense which I think leads to their first win in Neyland Stadium since 1984.
Evan Winter: Tennessee 21, Kentucky 20
Here we go. I haven’t picked the Vols to win an SEC game in almost a year, but this one feels different for some reason.
Tennessee needs to stop two players: Josh Allen and Benny Snell Jr. While that’s easier said than done, Pruitt and Helton have shown they can come up with competent game plans.
The Vols avoid losing to Kentucky in consecutive years and get one step closer to a bowl game this weekend.
Austin Burlage: Kentucky 20 , Tennessee 13
The die hard Vols fan in me wants to believe this is a Tennessee win. After all, Kentucky hasn’t looked particularly great over their most recent games. Certainly not as good as their #11 overall ranking would indicate. Over the past four weeks the Wildcats are 2-2 and have averaged an abysmal 15 points in those games.
However, Kentucky’s whole body of work this year is actually quite impressive. They are a sound team, anchored by their defense. Florida, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Missouri all rank in the top half of the SEC in total offense. None of these teams scored more than 20 points on Kentucky, and the Wildcats were on the road to face three of those four teams. Given Tennessee’s offensive game plan in recent weeks I expect to see a moderate ability to move the ball with short passes. But I question if that will translate to points on the scoreboard. I’m going with the Wildcats in this one. We’ll get them back come basketball season.