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Tennessee - LSU: RTT Staff Predictions

Will an interim head coach give Tennessee a spark?

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

After finally parting ways with Butch Jones, Tennessee returns to action this weekend against LSU under interim head coach Brady Hoke.

The Vols will kick off against the Tigers Saturday night still searching for their first SEC win of the season. Will the departure of Jones allow the team to play loose and pull off an upset?

Conner Knapp: LSU 31, Tennessee 27

(Season record: 9-1)

I think this game is going to be closer than it probably should be.

Tennessee is going to be playing in a great environment with a presumably sold-out Neyland Stadium and an entire crowd fully supporting the Vols for the first time since the Indiana State game.

Maybe Brady Hoke pulls off a fake punt or Larry Scott pulls out some trick plays and Tennessee is able to steal a possession or break some big plays. I think Tennessee keeps the game close and has a chance to win in the fourth quarter. But all that said, I think LSU pulls it out.

Terry Lambert: LSU 30, Tennessee 14

(Season record: 8-2)

It would be so awesome if this team could capitalize and pull the upset in this spot, I just don’t see it happening. For one, LSU has seemed to have found their way since losing to Troy. Derrius Guice is back and finally healthy. That’s bad news for a run defense that really struggles last week.

While I think you’ll see more energy out of the Vols, I still think they’re too young and banged up offensively to compete.

Noah Taylor: LSU 24, Tennessee 17

(Season record: 9-1)

With the exit of Butch Jones, there is new energy in Knoxville and I expect that to play a big factor in Neyland Stadium on Saturday night. The 20th ranked Tigers are a double digit favorite, but I expect the Vols to feed off the energy and excitement of the home crowd and play one of their best games this season against a top 20 opponent.

I still think LSU’s rushing attack with Darius Guice will be too much in the end, however so I’m going with the Bayou Bangles to get win #8 in the rain on Saturday.

Evan Winter: LSU 40, Tennessee 14

(Season record: 8-2)

There is no telling how this game is going to shake out. The Vols should come out and start fast due to the new coaching change. It will be interesting to see what this team looks like without Butch Jones.

It really on depends on how LSU performs. The Tigers beat a top-ten ranked Auburn team but also lost to Troy earlier in the season.

The Vols may just keep it close early, but eventually LSU overwhelms them just like Missouri did.