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Predicting the 2021 SEC Football Season: Tennessee Vols

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5,409 days and six head coaches for the Volunteers since they beat Alabama.

Alabama vs Tennessee
Malachi Moore #13 had a big game against the Vols in 2020.
Photo by Kent Gidley/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

WEEK 8: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

It is installment number five of wild blind dart-throwing predictions. Today, we move to the land of pumpkin orange. Not that orange you can sit with.

Coach: Josh Heupel (first season at UT; 28–8 in three seasons at Center Florida)

2020 record: 3-7 (3-7 in SEC, 5th in the East Division, no bowl)

CB969 2020 Prediction: 5-5; “Despite 25 career starts, senior QB Guarantano is still erratic and got benched in 2019. UT was 100th in average yards per game and 97th in scoring in 2019...”

Looking back: For some odd reason, many sports media types were high on the Vols coming into the 2020 season. UT started out strong with a win at SC, a home versus Mizzou, and a brief appearance in national rankings. However, a 44-21 pummeling by UGA in Week 3 sent them in a downward spiral of six straight losses - all by double-digits. They beat winless Vandy in mid-December, but by then Jeremy Pruitt’s fate was sealed.

Returning starters: 5 on offense, 7 on defense, punter.

Key losses: LB Henry To’o To’o (transfer to Alabama), WR Josh Palmer (Round 3, Chargers), G Trey Smith (Round 6, Chiefs), OT Wanya Morris (transfer to Oklahoma), RB Eric Gray (transfer to Oklahoma), LB Quavaris Crouch (transfer to Sparty), QB Jarrett Guarantano (transfer to Wazzu), QB J.T. Shrout (transfer to Colorado) RB Ty Chandler (transfer to UNC), CB Bryce Thompson, C Brandon Kennedy, PK Brent Cimaglia (transfer to Georgia Tech).

Top returnees: OT Cade Mays, DT Aubrey Solomon, QB Harrison Bailey, QB Brian Maurer, WR/KR Velus Jones, DB Alontae Taylor, P Paxton Brooks (43.63 ypp), DL Matthew Butler, WR Jalin Hyatt, DB Theo Jackson.

Top newcomers: LB Juwan Mitchell (transfer from Texas), QB Hendon Hooker (Va Tech), QB Joe Milton (Michigan), CB Brandon Turnage (Alabama), WR JaVonta Payton (Mississippi State), DL Caleb Tremblay (Southern Cal), DL Da’Jon Terry (Kansas), OLB William Mohan (Michigan), CB Kamal Hadden (Auburn) and K Chase McGrath (Southern Cal), 4-star S Kaemen Marley (Ramseur, NC), 4-star LB Aaron Willis (Chester, VA).

Name you need to know: Linebacker Juwan Mitchell was the leading tackler for the Longhorns in 2020.

Strengths: A lame OOC schedule could get them to six wins... Punting and punt return should be solid... A plethora of quarterbacks to choose from... Cade Mays will team up with brother Cooper Mays on the left side of the OL...

Weaknesses: In rebuild hell... Thin at several positions... Signed only 17 players in the last recruiting class... Lost their top two rushers and top two linebackers to transfer... A whole new coaching staff... Heupel plans to call the offensive plays while trying to avoid the icebergs...

Outlook: The Vols have tried FFPFulmer, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, Butch Jones, and Jeremy Pruitt and have yet to squeak out a win over the Crimson Tide over the last 5,409 days. Now cream puff coach Josh Heupel brings in his special brand of malaise to torture what few fans the Vols have left. UT lost a lot of players to the transfer portal but also picked up a good deal. Can they find a way to gel enough to get six wins?

Win Total Odds

Over 6 +110
Under 6 -139

2021 SCHEDULE:

FFPF left behind the gift of a cupcake schedule.

Thu, Sep 2 vs Bowling Green 7:00 PM SECN - W - The Falcons went 0-5 and wussed out of their final game in 2020.
Sat, Sep 11 vs Pitt 11:00 AM ESPN - W - UT should be able to handle a third tier ACC team at home. Should...
Sat, Sep 18 vs Tennessee Tech 11:00 AM SECN - W
Sat, Sep 25 @ Florida - L
Sat, Oct 2 @ Missouri - L
Sat, Oct 9 vs South Carolina - W - A toss up of awful teams in rebuild mode should go the home team’s way. Should...
Sat, Oct 16 vs Ole Miss - L
Sat, Oct 23 @ Alabama - L
Sat, Nov 6 @ Kentucky - L
Sat, Nov 13 vs Georgia - L - This is the Vols’ Homecoming Game!!! LOL
Sat, Nov 20 vs South Alabama - W
Sat, Nov 27 vs Vanderbilt - W

Poll

Regular season wins for Tennessee in 2021:

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    8 or more (My name is Danny White)
    (27 votes)
  • 12%
    7
    (82 votes)
  • 22%
    6
    (144 votes)
  • 42%
    5
    (275 votes)
  • 19%
    4 or less
    (124 votes)
652 votes total Vote Now

ALABAMA SCHEDULE PREVIEWS:

Sep 4 vs Miami* 2:30 PM CT, ABC
Sep 11 vs Mercer 3:00 PM CT, SECN
Sep 18 @ Florida 2:30 PM CT, CBS
Sep 25 vs Southern Miss
Oct 2 vs Ole Miss
Oct 9 @ Texas A&M
Oct 16 @ Mississippi State
Oct 23 vs Tennessee
Oct 30 bye
Nov 6 vs LSU
Nov 13 vs New Mexico State
Nov 20 vs Arkansas
Nov 27 @ Auburn

*Atlanta, GA