Kentucky hasn’t defeated Tennessee in football since 2011. And before that, the Wildcats had lost every game against the Vols since 1984. That means Kentucky has beaten Tennessee just once in the last 33 times the two teams have played.
But history isn’t stopping one national analyst from making a bold prediction for this year’s contest between the two teams.
Danny Sheridan, a handicapper and sports analyst for USA Today, appeared on the Paul Finebaum Show this week and was asked about his opinion on Tennessee head coach Butch Jones.
“Jones is a good coach, good recruiter,” Sheridan replied. “Last year I thought they would be sensational in preseason. They were a 1-point underdog in Vegas to Alabama, and I thought they’d beat Alabama in preseason.”
But after the way Tennessee’s season went last year, Sheridan isn’t nearly as confident in the Vols this season.
“Butch Jones is looking at seven, maybe eight wins,” Sheridan said about the Vols’ upcoming season. “I think that could be considered mediocrity. I really think they’ll lose to Kentucky at Kentucky. If they lay another egg, if you are a Tennessee grad, is seven or eight wins going to get it for him?”
Kentucky’s lone win against the Vols in the last three decades came in 2011 during the Derek Dooley era at Tennessee. Kentucky started a wide receiver at quarterback and defeated an uninspired Vols team 10-7 in an ugly game that ended Tennessee’s season and sent them home with a 5-7 record. Other than that game, the Vols have regularly pummeled the Wildcats every season.
Jones comes into the 2017 season a perfect 4-0 against Kentucky. Jones’ Tennessee squads have scored 50 points twice against Kentucky and dropped 49 on the Wildcats last season. The Vols have beaten Kentucky by an average score of 44.5 to 21.8 under Jones.
Sheridan isn’t the only one who is high on the Wildcats’ chances to defeat the Vols this season, though. This year’s game opened up as a pick ’em according to the South Point sports book last week.
All streaks have to come to an end at some point. But the historic odds are certainly not in Kentucky’s favor in this one despite Sheridan’s prediction.