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Tennessee-UMass: Rocky Top Talk Staff Predictions

Last week shook up the standings.

NCAA Football: Indiana State at Tennessee Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers fell to 2-1 last weekend after a brutal defeat against the Florida Gators. They’ll try to right the ship and fix some issues this weekend against UMass. The Vols are currently 28 point favorites.

Last week shook some things up in our staff picks as myself and Conner fell to 2-1 on the year. Evan and Noah are holding firm at 3-0 after picking the Gators to win. Here’s what we think will happen this weekend in Knoxville.

Terry Lambert: Tennessee 42, UMass 21

(Season picks: 2-1)

I think this is sort of a sneaky spot for UMass. Tennessee is coming off of heartbreak and potentially looking ahead to Georgia. Andrew Ford ranks 4th in the NCAA in passing yardage, though he’s played one more game than most of the pack. Still, this is a team that can push the ball down the field. I think they’ll challenge Tennessee’s secondary. In the end, I think John Kelly will pull away and gap the Minutemen. I do like UMass to cover a four touchdown spread.

Be careful though, Vols.

Evan Winter: Tennessee 38, UMass 14

(Season picks: 3-0)

The Vols find themselves in a similar position compared to two weeks ago, facing a lesser opponent before a major conference game. And yet again, the timing could not be better as Tennessee needs this game to figure out who they will play at linebacker after Cortez McDowell’s injury.

I expect the Vols to come out heated and angry. They will put up points early, but it will be interesting to see how the team plays as they get into the later stages of the game.

I don’t think the Vols will cover the spread either because they will be busy trying to figure out future defensive formations/alignments/sub-packages, etc - which will allow the Minutemen to get on the board at least once.

As Terry said though, the Vols need to be careful and make sure they take care of business. The last thing this team can afford is a loss to UMass.

Conner Knapp: Tennessee 34, UMass 13

(Season picks: 2-1)

While Tennessee should definitely get the job done, I believe this game will be slightly closer than the experts think. The Vols are coming off a tough loss and this will be the biggest game of the year for the Minutemen.

I expect UMass to come out fired up but Tennessee’s talent will prevail in the end.

Noah Taylor: Tennessee 55, UMass 23

(Season picks: 3-0)

After last Saturday’s frustrating loss to Florida, I expect the Vols to come out and blow off some steam against the Minutemen in front of the home crowd at Neyland Stadium.

While UMass is 0-3 on the year, they come in at a time where Tennessee maybe and reeling from a difficult loss while also looking ahead to their match up with Georgia next week. This may possibly make the Minutemen a pesky adversary early on, but I expect the Vols to pull away in the second half and get the comfortable win at home.