Saturday, Oct. 2; Faurot Field; Columbia, Mo.
This is a bit of a welcome home party for Josh Heupel. The last time he was in the SEC, he was the Missouri Tigers’ offensive coordinator. Ironically, Tennessee football fired Butch Jones the Sunday after the Vols surrendered 50 points to Heupel’s Mizzou offense back in 2017.
Even more ironically, former UT head coach Derek Dooley replaced Heupel as offensive coordinator after Heupel took the UCF Knights job. Simply put, the Vols are deeply connected to Mizzou via Heupel, and now a much-anticipated game will take shape from it.
Unfortunately for the Vols, Eliah Drinkwitz’s team will win pretty easily. Last year, UT won the game in Knoxville 35-12, but Mizzou took off after that and would have easily won if the two faced off later in the season. This year, while the Vols will be out of September, they will be facing a fresh Mizzou team that has figured out Drinkwitz’s offense.
On the other hand, Rocky Top will be getting slightly better at picking up Heupel’s offense. Given Drinkwitz’s schemes, he’ll move the ball at will, but he won’t score a lot of points. That’ll make this game look closer than it really is, as the Tigers roll on to an easy win.