8. Vols composure vs. Pitt urgency
One side has pressure, the other side has to avoid complacency. Tennessee football comes into this game with lots of pressure. There’s the SEC/ACC issue we wrote about, in which the Vols don’t want to be the first SEC team to fail to hold up their end of the bargain. However, then there’s just the schedule.
UT has three circled losses this year in the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs. Meanwhile, it has three likely losses in the Missouri Tigers on the road, Ole Miss Rebels at home and Kentucky Wildcats on the road. It has four circled wins in its three Power Five games and the Vanderbilt Commodores and one likely win against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
That sets the record at 5-6 with likely and circled games, and this one is the true toss-up. It’s the make or break game for the Vols. If they don’t win this, their chances of reaching bowl eligibility becomes slim to none given what they have left. Pitt, on the other hand, has to show urgency.
The Panthers could be overconfident after blowing out the UMASS Minutemen 51-7 last week and given how ugly the Vols looked in their 38-6 win over the Bowling Green Falcons. Also, this isn’t a make or break game for them. Their schedule still sets them up to go to a bowl. So whether or not UT is composed and whether or not Pitt shows urgency will play a huge role in this one.