By: The All Vol Call in Show Staff
Many people thought that both Tennessee and Kentucky would look completely different than what they both currently do. Many thought that Tennessee would be an offensive force of nature, and others thought that Kentucky would be one of the most well-balanced teams in the SEC this season. If there's one thing for certain this season, it's that nothing is certain. Everyone looks beatable. Everyone has looked good at some point and sloppy at another. The only real truth is that no one has any idea how this game will go, but it doesn't change the fact that the game's significance has increased exponentially since the season has started. This is a huge game for both teams.
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Before the season started, I was one of a very few select members of the media that had Kentucky picked to win 9-10 games. While that isn't out of the realm of possibility, the Wildcats haven't lived up to how good I personally thought they'd be, and it all comes back to Devin Leary. I honestly thought Leary, with the re-addition of OC Liam Coen, would be a recipe for success for Kentucky. However, I have been proven wrong, and it's been seen that RB Ray Davis is actually the team's best option on offense.
Leary has yet to see a pass rush like Tennessee's. James Pearce, Tyler Baron, and Aaron Beasley have been playing like men possessed, against every team they've faced this season. Although the Kentucky offensive line is solid, I don't expect them to be even remotely close to stopping Tennessee's defensive machine. The Tennessee defense will dominate this game - heavily - and the offense will have it's best game of the season.
Prediction: Tennessee - 48 | Kentucky - 21
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I anticipate a low-scoring game where both offenses may struggle, especially if Tennessee continues with its somewhat conservative playbook. It's evident that the innovative play calling we witnessed from Tennessee last year hasn't been on display so far. I'm inclined to lean Tennessee in what I expect will be a closely contested game.
Prediction: Tennessee - 24 | Kentucky - 20
Senior Staff Writer
Frankly put, this Tennessee team left Tuscaloosa with money on the table. The opportunity to achieve multiple goals slipped from their fingers as Alabama scored 27 unanswered in the second half.
With another road trip looming ahead, the key to victory is simple: play a complete game. We’ve yet to see these Vols execute in all three phases of the game (offense, defense, special teams), and it’s cost them dearly in conference play. Now that improvements have been made on offense, it’s time to get in gear before the stretch run.
P.S. - I have a bet with my coworker/former teacher this week; loser wears the other team’s colors. I don’t plan on wearing Wildcat Blue any time soon. Kroger Field will be renamed Neyland North on Sunday morning.
Prediction: Tennessee - 38 | Kentucky - 14
Senior Staff Writer
Tennessee looked great in the first half against Alabama. That is the Tennessee that I expected to see much of this season. However, the second half proved that the elite Tennessee of the first half was only a flash in the pan, and not the identity of the team. Tennessee is down Hadden. This is worrisome against a capable passer in Leary. However, I think Tennessee shows some gumption on Saturday and gets it done. Look for the running game to explode and the defensive front to bring the pressure. Give me Tennessee, big.
Prediction: Tennessee - 42 | Kentucky - 20
Junior Staff Writer
In a clash of styles, the Vols have to establish early and often that this game will be played on their terms. They’ve done that well the past two seasons, scoring 45 and 44 points in wins over the Wildcats. However, as we all know, this version of Tennessee has a bit of a different makeup and hasn’t been as potent offensively. They also need to find a cure for their road woes, as this season has unfortunately been defined largely by two awful halves of football played against rivals on the road.
I’m not highly confident, but I think they find a way in this game, mainly because it’s against Kentucky. If they don’t, some of the baseless chatter surrounding— let’s say, a certain backup— may finally turn into a legitimate discussion.
Prediction: Tennessee - 30 | Kentucky - 24
Junior Staff Writer
Kentucky welcomes the Vols to "Kroger Publix Showbiz Pizza Field at Winn Dixie Stadium" on Saturday. The Vols come in with the same record as the Wildcats. But the Vols have been heavily tested this season, and are rebounding from playing against Alabama and the SEC offices last Saturday.
Kentucky has given up 89 points in losses the last two weeks and seem to be reeling. Tennessee plays ball control and clamps down on the Kentucky run game.
Prediction: Tennessee - 24 | Kentucky - 17