Tennessee will play its first true road game under Jeremy Pruitt when the Volunteers travel to Athens, Georgia this week to take on the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs.
Tennessee enters as a 32-point underdog, but has beaten Georgia two out of the past three years. Do the Vols have any magic in them to pull off the upset?
Conner Knapp: Georgia 52, Tennessee 9
After his beloved Georgia Bulldogs were upset in the final week of the 1984 regular season by Georgia Tech, the late Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard summarized his feelings quite succinctly, simply writing, “Frankly, I don’t want to talk about it.”
That’s how I feel. Except I don’t think Georgia will be on the losing side of this one.
Terry Lambert: Georgia 45, Tennessee 13
Welcome to the stretch of Hell. We stared at this Georgia-Auburn-Alabama stretch all summer long and it might even look worse now as we are just hours away. Georgia is going to put a different level of athlete on the field on Saturday afternoon and should breeze through this one.
None of this is on Jeremy Pruitt or this staff. The talent just isn’t in Knoxville yet. Better days are ahead, but we may be getting ready to see the bottom fall out one final time.
Remember, don’t lose your mind over the next month.
Evan Winter: Georgia 42, Tennessee 3
This is going to be worse than last year’s debacle.
I have no faith in this team, whatsoever. If the offensive line was just average then I’d at least expect this team to compete in the SEC. Right now, they’d have trouble winning in the Mountain West.
Georgia is at home and they are going to roll. It’s going to take a miracle to win this game and the Vols used up the one miracle they get every decade when they beat Georgia in 2016.
Remember that victory, hold it close and cherish it because it’s going to be a long time before Tennessee beats the Bulldogs again.
Noah Taylor: Georgia 49, Tennessee 17
At some point, Tennessee will turn the corner under Jeremy Pruitt. At some point, Tennessee will snap an historically bad losing streak in SEC play. Just don’t expect any of that to happen this weekend in Athens.
Georgia is just game one in an extremely tough stretch for the Vols that also includes meetings with No. 10 Auburn and No. 1 Alabama. When looking at the schedule before the season began, I believed that Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt were Tennessee’s best chance to get an SEC win. After getting routed at home by the Gators last week and seeing the Wildcats surge to No. 17 in the country after a 4-0 start, I’m not sure when that coveted conference win is going to come.
Austin Burlage: Georgia 52, Tennessee 3
Wheeeeew. That prediction is tough to even write. But here’s the thing. Georgia has put up at least forty points on every opponent they’ve played this season. That includes #24 South Carolina. In many of these games it doesn’t look like Georgia has even broken much of a sweat. On the flip side, Tennessee struggled to shut down a Feleipe Franks led Florida team at home. Franks managed 3 touchdowns passing and 1 rushing along with 0 turnovers against the Vols.
Tennessee’s offensive problems are well known. It’s still unclear what the Vols’s identity is on this side of the ball. And, an offensive line unit that has struggled all season will now face their toughest test yet.
But there is still more to consider in this game. For one, it’s a rivalry game, so Georgia should be extra motivated to run up the score. Secondly, Tennessee has actually won 2 of the last 3 meetings against the Bulldogs including the most recent game in Athens. I think we all remember how that ended. Georgia will keep their foot on the gas in this one. Add in the motivation of beating your former defensive coordinator to this mix as well, and it looks like another long Saturday for the men in orange and white.