7. Bowling Green Falcons
Thursday, Sept. 2; Neyland Stadium; Knoxville, Tenn.
We’re at the final circled game on the schedule, but it’s also the biggest toss-ups of the circled ones. That’s because this game is Tennessee football’s opener, and the Vols will still be trying to learn new schemes on both sides of the ball with new head coaches. They’ll be facing a MAC team that is entering its third year under a head coach.
If not for the fact that Scot Loeffler went 0-5 last year at BGSU and has not yet had a winning season there, we’d actually have this higher on the list. After all, there are a couple of likely losses on here, and likely losses are less important than likely wins.
However, Bowling Green is just bad enough of a program to be a circled win. That doesn’t mean there’s no chance in the world BGSU does win. Again, the Alabama Crimson Tide and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles are the only two games on this schedule that fit that mold.
It does mean, though, that UT doesn’t have to dedicate all of its efforts to this game. The Vols should be able to win playing their C game and maybe even their D game. In a Thursday opener with all the fans excited about the return of the season, though, they should take it somewhat more seriously than these other circled games.