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Tennessee Picked Over Iowa in Early Citrus Bowl Projection

Tennessee Iowa
Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg is wasting no time with his instant bowl game predictions.

The senior writer for ESPN sat down to pick all 42 bowl games across December and January and looks to be riding with the Tennessee Volunteers on New Year’s Day.

Rittenberg is picking Tennessee to beat Iowa by a score of 23-16 in the Citrus Bowl. Tennessee’s hypothetical seven-point win would be just under the spread, which is currently at Tennessee -7.5 according to ESPN Bet.

Iowa’s record of 10-2 in the regular season was thanks to a stout defense making up for an inefficient offense. The Hawkeyes rank fifth in the country in total defense but are all the way back at No. 130 in total offense according to the NCAA’s official website.

“Brian Ferentz’s final game as Iowa offensive coordinator will come against an opponent that will require some scoring from the Hawkeyes,” Rittenberg wrote for ESPN this week. “Tennessee isn’t nearly as potent as the 2022 team, but still averages 31.5 points per game. Both teams lack signature wins on their profiles, and Tennessee’s performance against opponents with defenses like Iowa’s isn’t overly encouraging.”

More from RTI: The Hard To Believe Stat From Iowa Football’s Offense This Season
Citrus Bowl: Tennessee Football Bowl Preview: A Quick Look At The Iowa Hawkeyes

While Tennessee’s offense did struggle to move the ball efficiently at times throughout the season, Josh Heupel’s Vols won’t need to score 30 extravagant points behind a 500+ yard offensive burst to find their second-straight bowl victory. Instead, the Vols will rely on their season staples to get enough points on the board to make the difference in the game.

“But the Vols generally take care of the ball and will move it enough with quarterback Joe Milton III, running back Jaylen Wright and others,” Rittenberg continued on to write. “Iowa puts up a spirited effort, but the warts on offense are just too big to overcome.”

No. 21 Tennessee will take on No. 17 Iowa in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day. The game will be played at 1:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ABC.

For more on Tennessee’s upcoming game against Iowa in the Citrus Bowl, click here.

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