Indiana State’s first game of the 2017 season came on Thursday, August 31st. The Vols’ first game was on Monday, September 4th. The Sycamores have had over half a week longer to prepare for this game than Tennessee has.
And I would be much more concerned about that if Indiana State wasn’t a mid-tier FCS school.
There’s no reason Tennessee shouldn’t blow out Indiana State. The Vols should be able to grab a big lead before halftime and get their starters out of the game fairly quickly. Tennessee has scored at least 45 points against every FCS school they’ve played under Butch Jones, and I suspect they will do the same in this one.
Expect to see both Dormady and Guarantano in this game, and plenty of freshmen, like Ty Chandler, should get plenty of time too.
Pick: Tennessee 48-17
MVP: Take your pick
I don’t think any of Tennessee’s player will be in this game long enough to truly be an MVP. John Kelly should make some big plays, so he would be my go-to guess. But I expect Ty Chandler to possibly get more carries than him, and I don’t expect the Vols’ passing attack to really have a clear cut baller in it with both Dormady and Guarantano expected to play. Maybe a defensive player will turn out a huge game. But I just think this is a game where you can have multiple MVPs because so many players are going to see the field.
Tennessee fans aren’t going to be happy about this, but you’re not going to learn a whole lot about this team against Indiana State.
Jarrett Guarantano will get a chance to play a lot in the first half, but against an FCS defense, that won’t tell us much. Tennessee should cruise against a below .500 FCS opponent. The Sycamores offensive line is not very good, so Saturday’s game should be therapeutic for a Tennessee defensive line that played against cut blocks all night on Monday.
Pick: Tennessee 48-14
MVP: John Kelly, RB
John Kelly will likely surpass 100 yards for the second straight week. I don’t see Indiana State stopping him, and behind his production the game will be over by the end of the first half. The sleeper pick here was Ty Chandler, who I think will earn a lot more snaps with his performance this Saturday. Expect him to dominate as well in garbage time.