Tennessee and Vanderbilt will wrap up the regular season this afternoon in Knoxville (3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network). The Volunteers are limping down the stretch, but they catch Vandy on a nine-game losing streak. Tennessee is a four-touchdown favorite.
Our picks are below.
Terry: Tennessee 41, Vanderbilt 13
Tennessee might be limping into this one, but Vanderbilt has nothing left. The bye week may help, but it would be hard to fire up the troops for one final effort sitting at 2-9 overall. The ‘Dores probably checked out after losing to South Carolina 47-6 two weeks ago, and walking into Neyland looks like a daunting task.
The Vols are banged up everywhere, badly needing to get past this one and onto bowl prep. It’s senior day for Tennessee, so perhaps that adds a little motivation to end what has become a lost season.
Vandy can’t stop the run, and that will be the story of this one. Vols roll, with Jabari, Jaylen and Dylan doing the heavy lifting.
Craig: Tennessee 44, Vanderbilt 16
Joe, Nico, whoever starts at QB. It doesn’t matter. The Vols can simply line up and pound Vanderbilt into submission with the running game. I do hope that the Vols end up getting Nico a decent number of reps in this one regardless of whether or not he starts. Given that this game likely won’t be competitive by the end of the first half, that opportunity should present itself pretty quickly.
Oh, and a nice little break from the injury bug would be a welcome sight on Saturday, football Gods. Please, and thank you in advance.
Matt: Tennessee 46, Vanderbilt 13
Let’s go out with a bang. This is a moment for every senior to get one last hoorah. We’ll keep it short as there isn’t too terribly much to say. Vandy is as bad as they’ve been at any point in recent time, and think of the ground that covers. I think we could see some Nico today, but I wouldn’t be too shocked if Josh lets his senior sling it one final time at Neyland.
Nick: Tennessee 38, Vanderbilt 17
I don’t really know what the staff plans to do with the rest of the season, the team is beat it, it’s lost two-straight games and should be looking to next year.
I expect the Vols to overpower Vandy with the run game, regardless of who is playing QB for UT and how long that person plays.
Just go out, take care of business, and snag what should be a relatively easy win — based on talent disparity, at least…
Christian: Tennessee 48, Vanderbilt 17
Following a miserable performance against Georgia, Tennessee needs to have a solid turnaround on senior day to reach .500 in SEC play. The good news is that they have to win against a miserably bad Vanderbilt team. Vanderbilt is awful against the run, and there’s no reason to believe that Jaylin Wright and Dylan Sampson won’t have big games.
Given it’s his final game in Neyland, I’m expecting us to see a final glimpse of what “could have been” today with Joe Milton, whether that’s a 75 yard touchdown or a couple of lasers across the middle. That being said, I hope we also get to see Nico throw the football today - in a season considered by many to be disappointing, especially from an offensive standpoint, the fans deserve to see their QB of the future in the final home game.
Despite some injuries across the defense, Tennessee should still be able to generate a decent pass rush, and force some turnovers on the back end, especially if they get out to an early lead.