Unfortunately, four of five staff members were correct in picking BYU to beat Tennessee last weekend, even though the Volunteers outplayed the cougars. Tennessee now sits at 0-2, joining Clint in the winless club for the year.
This Saturday they get a shot at the Chattanooga Mocs, who will make the 90 minute trip north to Knoxville. Tennessee is favored by about four touchdowns — still looking for that elusive first win of the season.
Here are the staff predictions for this week.
Terry Lambert: Tennessee 45, Chattanooga 10
Despite the loss, the attitude and effort seemed totally different last week. We’ll see if the coaching staff can replicate that effort this week. A lot of issues got better against BYU, which should continue against UTC. Tennessee shouldn’t be in a spot where they have to lean on Jarrett Guarantano to make reads and throws, which is ultimately where they get into hot water. The Vols will roll over the Mocs behind Eric Gray and Ty Chandler to taste victory for the first time in 2019.
Noah Taylor: Tennessee 38, Chattanooga 7
This was kind of the ‘tune up’ game the Vols needed before beginning their SEC slate in Gainesville next week.
Now it’s one that need to win big. Tennessee will get their first win of the season this week, but they can’t afford a sloppy showing.
With Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi State winning, it could be November before the Vols get another win unless they get things figured out and steal one between now and then. Absolutely have to beat Chattanooga, though.
Austin Burlage: Tennessee 55, Chattanooga 3
We’re going to see an offensive explosion on Saturday. Tennessee has struggled offensively against FBS opponents over the last several years, but we’ve had absolutely no problem knocking the stuffing out of FCS teams. It seems that we may see a quarterback rotation, which is sure to provide a spark to the team as a whole. Daniel Bituli may be able to return, which would add a senior leader to a defense who desperately needs one. The only problem with my prediction is that I have Brent Cimaglia kicking just two field goals. That guy is a monster — you could make the argument that he has been our second best offensive weapon this year — and at the rate he’s going he will probably boot a few more than two field goals on Saturday. Cimaglia for Heisman, and Vols by fifty-plus.
Clint Eiland: Tennessee 48, Chattanooga 7
Am I still sour about one horrendous play ruining my prediction against BYU? Yes. But it’s not influencing my prediction this week, I swear. I think the mentality of this team has changed ever since that Georgia State game—some would say for the worse. Yet I think in this instance, that mentality of “We’re reeling” might actually help against Chattanooga. At some point players just want a win. It doesn’t matter if it’s against a lowly FCS team like the Mocs. Tennessee is desperate for a victory and I think there’s enough players in that locker room who are approaching this with the intensity that they need to.
I think the younger guys shine a lot in this game. Expect more huge outings from Eric Gray, Henry To’oto’o, and Quavaris Crouch to name a few. Heck, I’ll even throw in a surprise prediction and say Ramel Keyton shows out.
Evan Winter: Tennessee 31, Chattanooga 10
The Vols better come out and pound UTC on Saturday. If they don’t, this program will never hear the end of it.
Hopefully last week will wake them and they get the job done on Saturday.