The offseason is over. Gameday is finally here. The Josh Heupel era gets underway tonight at 8 p.m. ET when Tennessee hosts Bowling Green to Neyland Stadium.
Each week, the RTI team will provide game predictions for Tennessee’s weekly opponent.
We start this week with Bowling Green.
Week One — Tennessee (-35.5) vs. Bowling Green
Over/Under — 60.5
Ric Butler: It’s football time in Tennessee, folks! Bowling Green is in Knoxville, and the Falcons are looking for the first win in over 670 days. I can tell you right now, I don’t expect that win to come Thursday in Neyland Stadium. I expect this to be a great showing for Tennessee. And ultimately, in some ways, it has to be, right? That’s why Tennessee moved to a non-Saturday game. For the primetime spotlight, to show the nation that Tennessee is under new management. With Tennessee wanting to put on a show, Heupel’s offensive capabilities, and Bowling Green’s overall skill level… I wouldn’t be surprised if Neyland Stadium’s new LED light system got a lot of use from all the touchdowns. But also, Tennessee needs to have a good game for their personnel. If Tennessee can put away Bowling Green early, they give themselves the ability to rotate through their depth chart and give some valuable game experience to more of their players. I think Joe Milton does have a quality show, as well. If I were to bet on this game, I like the under. I like Tennessee to get less than 50 points, and I think Bowling Green winds up with about 10 or less. So with that being said, here we go!
Prediction: Tennessee 42, Bowling Green 10
Ryan Schumpert: Game day is finally here at long last as Josh Heupel and Tennessee’s football program look to put a disastrous last year in the past, and begin making the story of the 2021 team. Bowling Green is a perfect opening opponent for Tennessee. The Falcons were horrific last year and while they brought in seven transfers from power five schools, expectations aren’t much higher this season. Bowling Green will start a quarterback who completed under 50% of his passes last season and thew just one touchdown and six interceptions. To give you a reference for how bad Bowling Green is expected to be, Georgia State went 3-9 the year before they beat Tennessee and the Vols were just 24.5-point favorites in that game. Tonight, Tennessee is favored by over 10 points more. I think Tennessee will outclass Bowling Green tonight and the offense should have a field day and a great debut under Heupel. It should provide a great opportunity for Joe Milton and the rest of the offense to gain confidence before a challenging matchup with Pittsburgh next week. I think the Vols roll tonight but that spread is just to big for me to take UT.
Prediction: Tennessee 48, Bowling Green 17
Trey Wallace: Well, we made it, it’s finally here. Josh Heupel and this Tennessee football team enter a new era, and Vols fans are hoping they come out firing on all cylinders. I look at this Bowling Green squad and don’t see much of a challenge, this should be a game Tennessee gets going early, on both sides of the ball. The Vols will be trotting Joe Milton on the field as the starting QB, and I expect him to take full advantage of the opportunity. Look for the Vols to make multiple explosive plays, while establishing the run game in the process. This has the feel of a blowout, but I am going to lean towards the Vols working out a few things and not covering the spread.
Prediction: Tennessee 41, Bowling Green 17