Given their schedule, Tennessee football should set a goal for eight wins. However, some gambling sites are setting the over/under for the Vols at six wins, and even with that, some insiders are barely confident UT can get there.
Going off of the over/under win total set by Vegas Insider, Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports called for a push with the Vols’ set at six wins. Those wins were the Bowling Green Falcons, Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, Kentucky Wildcats and Vanderbilt Commodores.
In addition to the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs, Sallee had Tennessee football losing to the Pittsburgh Panthers, Missouri Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels. Here’s what he wrote about the Vols.
"The Volunteers have a pretty healthy quarterback room featuring Hendon Hooker, Harrison Bailey and Joe Milton with a brilliant offensive mind at the helm in first-year coach Josh Heupel. The Week 2 matchup with Pitt is very interesting considering that it could set the tone for a surprising season. That said, Heupel’s crew should make a bowl even if they fall to the Panthers. After all, the dysfunction on Rocky Top can’t continue forever, right?"
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Honestly, despite all the issues surrounding Josh Heupel’s first team, this seems like an undershoot. You would think Rocky Top will be favored at home against Pitt. To be fair, Sallee does have them beating Kentucky, and that’s a road game this year despite the Vols losing at home in a 34-7 embarrassment last year.
Still, even if Kentucky is an ambitious pick, it seems likely that the Vols would win at least one game between Kentucky, Mizzou and Ole Miss. After all, they are known for historically owning Kentucky, last year notwithstanding, and Ole Miss is at home.
South Carolina and Vandy should be circled wins since they are both at home, lost to the Vols last year and are undergoing coaching changes. The three non-Power Five games at home should obviously all be circled wins as well.
That leaves, conceivably, three toss-up games between Kentucky, Ole Miss and Pitt, and Mizzou could be a toss-up game. Taking that into account, you would think to take the over in this one, particularly if the Vols make a bowl game.
Either way, finishing with a winning record this year or even making a bowl will be a strong selling point for Tennessee football Heupel’s first year. There are so many issues happening with UT right now that it’s a reasonable first goal.