Tennessee football: Week 16 SEC and conference title picks by Caleb Calhoun

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11: Detailed view of the "SEC" logo on an end zone pylon during a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennessee won the game 45-10. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11: Detailed view of the "SEC" logo on an end zone pylon during a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennessee won the game 45-10. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Here are Caleb Calhoun’s Week 16 Tennessee football Volunteers, SEC and conference championship picks.

There was no cause for celebration after Tennessee football snapped its six-game losing streak to the Vanderbilt Commodores. Beating that depleted SEC team is not impressive at all. This week, though, is where the Vols could truly redeem themselves. I’m seeing the same potential for my picks. Here’s a look at how I did last week.

Week 15 performance

Straight up: 5-1

Gambling picks: 7-5

  • 5-1 against the spread
  • 2-4 over/under

Overall performance for 2020

Straight up: 62-23

Gambling picks: 86-100

  • 40-53 against the spread
  • 46-47 over/under

Once again, I was elite against the spread but got killed on the over/under. Now, it’s time for a turnaround. In addition to Tennessee football, SEC and top 25 games this week, we’re adding conference championship games.

Now, one has been canceled, the Sun Belt championship. One SEC game, Vanderbilt against the Georgia Bulldogs, has also been canceled. That makes for three regular season SEC games, the SEC Championship and eight other conference title games. So we have 12 games to cover overall, including Tennessee football’s matchup with the Texas A&M Aggies. Let’s go ahead and dive in.

UAB Blazers: 24  Marshall Thundering Herd: 20

C-USA Championship

UAB +4.5; Over 41.5

Despite Marshall appearing to be the better team, the Thundering Herd got blown out by the Rice Owls on Dec. 5, and the UAB Blazers escaped Rice the next week. It sounds crazy, but I’m taking Bill Clark’s team in an upset. Clark is the most underrated coach in the sport. However, this game still barely hits the over only because it’s set so low.

MAC Championship

Buffalo -13.5; Over 67.5

Nobody has come within three scores of the Buffalo Bulls all year. At the same time, Buffalo has never failed to score fewer than 42 points in a game. The Ball State Cardinals have a pretty good offense. No what this means? Points! Take the over easily. Buffalo covers as well.

820. 27. 808. Prediction. 20

Pac-12 Championship

USC -3.5; Under 63.5

Both the USC Trojans and Oregon Ducks have just barely been getting by against their opponents. If not for mistakes by the Pac-12, though, USC could be looking at a College Football Playoff appearance. They have better talent. Take them to win and cover, and the game hits the under.

light. Related Story. Five Aggies to watch for against Vols

3. 882. 42. 812. Prediction

Big Ten Championship

Ohio State -20.5; Under 56.5

Yes, the Northwestern Wildcats squeaked by the Iowa Hawkeyes, but they have no other impressive wins. The easy play here is the under. If Northwestern is in the game, they’ll keep it low-scoring. However, if the Ohio State Buckeyes make this a blowout, they’ll call off the dogs before it hits the over. Take OSU to cover as well, although that’s trickier.

Prediction. 42. 815. 35. 837

Big 12 Championship

Oklahoma -5.5; Over 58.5

The Oklahoma Sooners’ offense has really taken off in recent weeks. They are on a six-game winning streak. However, the Iowa State Cyclones are on a five-game winning streak. Both offenses look great, so take the over. History, meanwhile, says take Oklahoma to cover.

38. 817. Prediction. 35. 841

LSU +2.5; Under 78.5

Former Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin has made such a splash that he’s coaching in an SEC game in which the over/under is set at 80. Although this will be a shootout, that’s too high. The LSU Tigers, fresh off an epic upset win over the Florida Gators, will keep the momentum going and pull off the upset here, and they’ll make sure this just hits the under.

35. 822. 28. 893. Prediction

Missouri -0.5; Over 49.5

Why are the Missouri Tigers getting no respect? After all, these guys are a top 25 team. What makes them less likely to beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs than anybody else? This is an unfair line so bet on Mizzou to cover. The over/under is a bit trickier, but these are two first-year offensive coaches, so take the over.

Related Story. Vols-Aggies: 10 keys to the game. light

24. 879. 31. 819. Prediction

ACC Championship

Notre Dame +10.5; Under 60.5

Considering the fact that D.J. Uiagalelei had 439 yards and no turnovers against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish when the Clemson Tigers lost, people are putting way too much stock in Trevor Lawrence being back. That alone is enough for me to say Brian Kelly’s team covers. In fact, I’m going with the upset here. ND’s defense does the trick, so take the under.

MWC Championship

Boise State -6.5; Under 55.5

Every Boise State Broncos win besides their last game had at least one team score 40 points. This is a tough one on the spread, but take the over, as the San Jose State Spartans should be capable of moving the ball on them. I’ll go with Boise State to win and cover, but I’d avoid betting on the spread in this one.

AAC Championship

Tulsa +14.5; Over 45.5

Just so everybody knows, it’s not like the Cincinnati Bearcats have been that much more dominant than the Tulsa Golden Hurricane against similar opponents. As a result, this spread is way too large. Take Tulsa to cover. In terms of the over/under, it could be low-scoring, but 45.5 is too low. The Cincinnati Bearcats win, but they don’t cover, and the game hits the over.

829. 28. 840. Final. 52

SEC Championship

Alabama -17.5; Over 73.5

Even if Florida had blown out the LSU Tigers last week, I’d still have the Alabama Crimson Tide blowing them out. The Gators will make enough offensive plays for this to get interesting at some point in the second quarter, but that means Alabama will just have to score more and hit the over in order to cover. They’ll do just that en route to the SEC title.

Next. Five Vols to watch for against Texas A&M. dark

Prediction. 38. 873. 17. 839

Texas A&M -13.5; Over 51.5

Don’t read into last weekend’s game at all. Tennessee football played a horrible Vanderbilt Commodores team that anybody could have beaten 42-17. It’s back to reality this week. Kellen Mond will torch the Vols’ horrendous secondary, and UT’s offensive woes will continue. A&M’s scoring is why this hits the over, and yes, they will cover.