Now the Tennessee Volunteers are a hard team to figure out. In all honesty, the team was lucky to be playing for the SEC title last year. The race in the East is between UT, UF, and UGA every year, and that triad of teams beat each other. Florida blasted Tennessee, which in turn the Volunteers did the same to Georgia, and then Georgia beats Florida to keep Tennessee right in the race. Along with the beat down from Florida, there were also blowout losses against Cal and Alabama, and a slew of close games, that only a senior quarterback can get a team through. Fast forward to this season and say goodbye Eric Ainge and hello to Jonathan Crompton and new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson. Last year’s squad was out gained by an average of 32.7 yards per game, and a new quarterback and coordinator are supposed to fix that? Crompton and Clawson also do not have the luxury of settling in to their respective roles because of the early season schedule which include UCLA, Florida, and Auburn. This team can’t get off to the same 2-2 start as last year. The defense should be good after ending the season in great fashion, but do lose last year’s best player Jerod Mayo and talented safety Jonathan Hefney.
Tennessee (L): The eyes of the entire college football world are going to be on the UCLA football program on September 1st when the Bruins officially kick off the Neuheisal era on the WWL. No doubt all of us – the entire Bruin Nation – will be at a fever pitch with excitement. But, the Bruins are going to be taking on a powerful Volunteers team that is coming off a win over Big-10 power Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, and the SEC East Championship. The Volunteers have their own questions. They will be breaking in a new quarterback who will be looking to replace the dependable Eric Ainge, and a new OC, following the departure of David Cutcliffe (who coincidentally beat out KD for the HCing position at Duke). Dave Clawson, from Richmond, is taking over for Cutcliffe and is going to be running some version of the WCO. Tennessee, true to the spirit of the Fulmer Cup, once again has had an interesting off season. But these guys still have a lot of talent. Jonathan Crompton could emerge as the next dependable TN signal caller. They have a solid group in the secondary and they are used to playing in the big stage. I think this is going to be a close game. However, I am expecting the Vols to pull out this game. The Bruins start the season 0-1.