The Volunteers (5-5, 3-3) are coming off their second bye week of the season and it’s obvious that their sights are set on becoming bowl eligible with a win over the Missouri Tigers (5-5, 2-4) on Saturday.
Terry: Tennessee 16, Missouri 13
Something tells me to like the Tigers this week, but I’m ignoring it because of the bye week. We saw huge gains from this team during the last open date, a week that turned out to turn the entire season around. With a week to get healthy and gameplan for Missouri, I think Tennessee finds a way to get things done on Saturday night.
This is going to be ugly and hard to watch at times, but Jarrett Guarantano, Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings will make enough plays in the passing game to come out on top.
Austin: Tennessee 15, Missouri 10
Much has been made about Missouri’s recent offensive struggles. However, I think this has been a little overblown. The Tigers have only managed six total points in their last two games, sure. But, to be fair they were up against elite defenses in Florida and Georgia. Furthermore, Missouri has also been on the road three out of their last four games, and they’ve been particularly bad away from home. If offensive coordinator Derek Dooley can actually get the offense to push the ball down field in the passing game they have the athletes to be dangerous.
On the flip side Missouri has an outstanding defense that hasn’t given up 30-points or more since their season opening loss at Wyoming. Tennessee had a bye week to prepare, and if history has taught us anything (i.e. Auburn 2018) it’s that the Tennessee coaching staff knows how to prepare with a bye week. I have no idea where the points are going to come from in this game, but I have confidence that the staff can put together an excellent game plan and give us a chance to win. I hope Brent Cimaglia’s leg is nice and warm. I’ve got the Vols winning on a ton of field goals.
Evan: Tennessee 24, Missouri 23
It’s time for Tennessee to show that it’s officially turned the corner under Jeremy Pruitt. Missouri will be a very stiff challenge, but I think the vols find a way to pull one out in the end.
Noah: Tennessee 20, Missouri 10
The Tigers’ offense has been an eye-sore for nearly a month now, being shutout by Kentucky and Georgia and mustering just two field goals against Florida last week.
On the other side, Tennessee is seemingly playing their best football of the season, although head coach Jeremy Pruitt doesn’t think so.
Bowl eligibility is on the line for both teams, so expect it to be close-something Tennessee has struggled to do against Missouri since the Tigers’ joined the league in 2012.
This one could be similar to the Kentucky game; a low-scoring affair that will come down to a big defensive stop/play late. I like the Vols to make enough plays offensively while the defense comes up with some stops against a struggling Missouri offense.
Clint: Missouri 13, Tennessee 10
Well, Missouri certainly isn’t what I thought they were in the middle of October. The Tigers looked like they had successfully paired a monstrous defense with a resurgent offense led by Kelly Bryant. The former looked much more impressive than the latter, but many assumed that Bryant would keep the offense sustainable against the back half of their schedule. Instead, they had an atrocious loss to Vanderbilt, and began tumbling down the final stretch of games—and they’re still tumbling. Perfect opportunity for the Vols to become bowl eligible...right?
My main hold up is that I don’t know how Tennessee is going to score. Missouri’s record might indicate an average team, but that’s simply because they have two extreme opposites: A very bad offense and a very good defense. The guys tasked with keeping the ball out of the endzone have done a tremendous job of it so far. The only way to counter it is still...unknown? Kentucky thrashed them on the ground, but Florida won off their passing game. Yet the Tigers have not been consistently bad against either. My hunch is that Tennessee needs to air it out from the beginning and try to jump out to an early lead—because the Tigers can’t really score.
If this was in Neyland I would pick Tennessee. But Missouri is 4-1 at home this year and plays inspired ball in front of the home crowd. Tigers in a squeaker.
Nick: Missouri 24, Tennessee 17
Both Tennessee and Missouri played games on Saturday, October 12th. Both Tennessee and Missouri won the football games they played on Saturday, October 12th. Since Saturday, Octbober 12th, both Tennessee and Missouri have played four football games. Tennessee is 3-1 in those football games. Missouri is 0-4 in those football games and has been outscored 100-27 by its opponents during that stretch.
The paths of these two teams have veered off into 180-degree opposite directions during the second half of their respective seasons. The Vols have galvanized. They’ve salvaged a campaign that had most fans, myself included, eagerly flipping their calendars to basketball season while earnestly contemplating the impending reality of another offseason wrought with flight trackers and coaching-search hot boards.
While Missouri, well, let’s cut to Tigers’ offensive coordinator and quote-machine Derek Dooley for his opinion.
“We’re kind of, a little bit, in football hell right now,” Dooley said in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. “What’s the quote? When you’re marching through hell, keep going.”
The Missouri offense has indeed been hellish-ly bad, but the Tigers have owned the Vols since they joined the SEC and became a yearly opponent for Tennessee. Missouri is 5-1 at home this season, but the Vols are coming off a bye-week and a win insures bowl eligibility. Things are going well in Knoxville, so this would be very #OnBrand timing for a Tennessee loss. You guys know we can’t have nice things.