Tennessee at No. 8 Alabama (-15.5), 3:30, CBS
Kevin: Butch Jones might, at least for now, off the hot seat, but a win against Alabama would allow to reclaim his throne in Knoxville. Alabama is finishing up a pretty brutal stretch of games and will once again face a team coming off of a bye week. There’s really no precedent to suggest that Tennessee will win this game, but a 15.5 point spread might be achievable for Tennessee, and more importantly the betting public. The Vols have the talent to keep this game close into the fourth quarter, but Butch Jones and his staff must once again learn from the past and coach to win. I’ll give this team the benefit of the doubt and take Tennessee +15.5.
John: I literally agree with every last word of what KH wrote. Those were pretty much all my talking points. Bama’s brutal stretch, UT’s bye (does every team have a bye coming into Bama?!) and the fact that UT has the talent to compete in this game. I can’t remember past lines, but it seems to me that UT hasn’t caught too many more than 15.5 in previous years, yet this year, the Vols have way more talent. Plus there’s this: this staff is way better as underdogs as opposed to favorites. And, believe it or not, I think being on the road plays into this whole mentality. One of my “bold predictions” at the beginning of the season was that Tennessee would have a second half lead in T-town. I’m standing by that. So, while I don’t believe they’ll quite have enough to shock the world, I do think Tennessee +15.5 is a layup.
Enjoy the game, y’all.