It’s hard not to think about “what could’ve been” last week against Alabama.
Hopefully, a Volunteer victory will help shorten our collective memories.
It won’t be easy, but Tennessee is certainly capable of bagging its second SEC win of the season in front of the home crowd on Saturday. Even though the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs a couple of weeks ago, the weak links were exposed last week against Florida.
How does the staff at Rocky Top Talk feel about this week’s game? Find out below and let us know how YOU feel about it in the comments below!
Austin: Tennessee 9, South Carolina 10
Outside of D.J. Wonnum and Bryan Edwards, the Gamecocks don’t have a ton of players that should scare Tennessee. Rico Dowdle is a solid running back, but he has already been ruled out of Saturday’s contest with a knee injury. Starting quarterback Jake Bentley remains out with a foot injury he suffered earlier this season. In his place is Ryan Hilinski, who looked outstanding in his debut against Charleston Southern, but has struggled since with SEC competition.
Tennessee is obviously dealing with health concerns of their own at the quarterback position. Brian Maurer has really made the offense hum in recent weeks, but he has been knocked out of multiple games and appears doubtful for Saturday. Tennessee will likely have to turn back to Jarrett Guarantano as the starter. With that being said it’s hard for me to see where the points are going to come from. The offensive line has played well enough to move the ball in the ground game. However, without a down the field passing threat this leaves the Vols too one dimensional. I see the Vols racking up yards, but settling for field goals and coming up short.
Clint: South Carolina 14, Tennessee 10
This was probably the hardest game of the season for me to pick, and I changed my prediction a couple of times before settling on this one. Ultimately the loss of Brian Maurer convinced me to choose the Gamecocks.
I think South Carolina’s defense front seven very good, and without a consistent passer to stretch them vertically and dissuade them from stacking the box, they will seriously disrupt anything Tennessee wants to do. Yet much like the Mississippi State game, the Volunteers defense has a similar ability to make the opposing offense completely one dimensional. It has all the makings of a defensive slugfest.
Typically Pruitt has done well in those types of contests. It’s just hard for me to feel confident enough in the offense to get the job done. Gamecocks in a gross affair that leaves Tennessee fans cursing the football gods once more.
Evan: Tennessee 16, South Carolina 9
I’ve been down about this team since the Week 1 loss to Georgia State. But somehow, I think the Vols will win this game.
South Carolina doesn’t have a very good passing attack, but they have a strong ground game. We know what Pruitt can do to one-dimensional offenses. The defense is good at getting to the QB, but for the first time in about 8-10 years, the Vols have a legit offensive line, which should offset that.
If the Vols can shut down the running game — which I think they will — then they’ll be able to make enough plays on offense to win. Despite who’s playing QB.
Nick: South Carolina 21, Tennessee 17
This week, Jeremy Pruitt noted that QB Brian Maurer is “doubtful,” for Saturday’s game against South Carolina.
That’s probably a good thing, if Maurer has indeed suffered two concussions in two weeks. It’s not cool to play with somebody’s brain; after all, I hear those things are kind of important.
So Tennessee moves forward with the much-maligned Jarrett Guarantano and strong-armed but lightly-experienced JT Shrout.
The outlook could, um, certainly be better.
Tennessee will have to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and hope it gets enough from its QB to not lose the Vols the game.
It’s a winnable matchup, and I like the way the Vols have looked in recent weeks.
But sunrise, sunset; Tennessee gon’ Tennessee and find a way to lose the game.
Noah: South Carolina 17, Tennessee 13
I think this will be a low-scoring slug fest with the Gamecocks coming out on top late.
If Brian Maurer was good to go, I’d feel better about the Vols chances to get a much-needed win as far as their bowl aspirations go.
While I think Tennessee’s defense has improved, I think South Carolina’s rushing attack gets them the win on the road behind Tavien Feaster. The Clemson transfer ran for 175 yards and a score against Florida last week.
Terry: Tennessee 20, South Carolina 17
I really should know better. Tennessee played really well in Tuscaloosa, landing three linebackers on the football side and pulled in Jaden Springer this week. By Tennessee law, something bad has to happen to us now.
But I really feel like this team has come together. Losing Brian Maurer will make this difficult, but I don’t think Pruitt is going to let Jarrett Guarantano beat him on Saturday. I think the leash will be short, we’ll see Jim Chaney get creative with Jauan Jennings and we’ll see a little JT Shrout.
Tennessee wins this one at the line of scrimmage while the defense makes a play to win it late.