No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday, Sept. 1 at 3:30 p.m.; Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.
TV: CBS; Line: West Virginia -9.5; Over/Under: 61
Tennessee football has almost nothing to lose and everything to gain in this game. A win against the West Virginia Mountaineers would totally reset the outlook for Jeremy Pruitt’s first season. He and Tyson Helton do have some weapons on offense, and WVU has a horrendous defense. So there are some things working in their favor.
However, the Mountaineers have the high-powered passing attack with Will Grier and his group of receivers. Grier already torched the Vols once while with the Florida Gators in 2015. It’s hard to envision him not doing it again. Tennessee football’s only chance is to get as much pressure as possible with their elite pass rush. It won’t be enough. Dana Holgorsen created too many distractions by already making excuses for his team, and that’ll help the Vols keep it close. But they’ll lose in the end. On the gambling side, take Tennessee and the over. But WVU will win.
West Virginia: 49 Tennessee: 42 (Tennessee +9.5; Over)
Finally, the game you have all been waiting for. Knoxville is about to explode with excitement for the start of the 2018 football season. First-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt did not catch a break with his first opponent in the West Virginia Mountaineers. If you have read any of our coverage this week, you would know the passing attack is something to watch for and it is going to be hard for young Tennessee football defensive backs to hold up.
I think ten points is probably just a tad too much. I do not see a way the Vols squeak at a win since the game is basically on the road and the first game of the season. However. if the weather plays a part in the game, the Vols could hand tight.
West Virginia: 38 Tennessee: 30 (Tennessee +9.5; Over)
Jeremy Pruitt’s debut comes against a very talented Offense, and he still has to answer one question: Keller Chryst or Jarrett Guarantano? Either starter has to be a game manager. West Virginia’s defense, especially in the running game, is horrid. If Tennessee can pound the rock and play ball control in this game, they could potentially win.
But on the other hand, the Mountaineers have their own strengths in Will Grier and David Stills, making up a passing attack that will attack Tennessee football’s secondary all game long. I’m sure Pruitt has a plan to win this game, but can he execute it? His experience coaching the secondary makes that possible. But I don’t expect things to be all well and perfect since it’s his first game ever as a head coach. Tennessee will be competitive, bur the quarterback situation will limit their offense reaching its potential.
West Virginia: 45 Tennessee: 34 (West Virginia -9.5; Over)
All in picks at All for Tennessee
These are basically our version of the blood bank guarantee. We’ll close out any round of picks by listing the gambling bets we all agreed on. If they are unanimous on our end, you should put a lot of money on them. Here they are:
Miami -3.5 vs. LSU, the under 48
None of us have faith in Ed Orgeron, so we all have the Miami Hurricanes winning and covering. However, against the LSU Tigers, it’s going to be an ugly game with numerous mistakes. That’s why we all have the under as well.
Virginia Tech +7.5 against Florida State
This is the worst spread of the week. The Virginia Tech Hokies clearly have the better team and more continuity with Justin Fuente, an elite coach, while the Florida State Seminoles were 7-6 last year and are undergoing the transition to a spread offense under new head coach Willie Taggart. The combination has two of us actually picking Virginia Tech to win, but we all have them covering.
Tennessee vs. West Virginia, the over 61
Tennessee football and the West Virginia Mountaineers both figure to be awful on defense this year, and they both have tons of weapons on offense. So although we all have the Vols losing, we disagree on whether or not they’ll cover. What we all agree on, however, is that you should take the over in this game.