Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 10th, 8:00pm
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol, TN
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: VT +10.5 / TEN -10.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
After a wild and wacky week one of college football, the smoke has cleared and there were some clear cut winners and losers. Mississippi State...Loser. Ole Miss...Loser. Oklahoma...Loser. Among the winners in week one are the Houston Cougars, the Georgia Bulldogs, South Alabama, and Florida State. This weekend, in Bristol, we will see a showdown of two teams that were able to escape week one and enter this game at 1-0.
Virginia Tech was able to take down Liberty University by a score of 36-13 which is a good win, but most would have thought the Hokies would have beat them even worse. Tennessee however, is very lucky to be 1-0. If not for the fact that Appalachian State has NO kicker, the Volunteers would be 0-1 and probably the biggest joke of week one, other than Mississippi State. Tennessee, AGAIN, enters the season with high expectations under head coach, Butch Jones. It has been the same song and dance for three years but this is the put up or shut up year. Tennessee claims to have the talent and the SEC East is for the taking with a down South Carolina team, a Georgia team with a new coach and eventually a new QB, and a Florida team with the same question marks as Georgia for the most part. if Tennessee does not make it to the Georgia Dome for the SEC Title game, this season is a failure. It is all for the taking still, but the Vols must play better than they did this past week.
The line opens with Tennessee as a 10.5 point favorite over the Hokies and the total points as of early Tuesday morning have not been posted in most sportsbooks. This game will be played at the Bristol Motor Speedway. it was actually quite impressive seeing how they turned the speedway into a football field, and you think 104,000 at Neyland Stadium is an advantage for the Vols? Well, they are expecting over 150,000 to be in the stadium for this one. Of course, Virginia Tech got a pretty large allotment of tickets, but I have a feeling the color orange will overtake about 85-90% of the capacity. Neither team covered the spread in their first game so time will tell what happens here.
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Like I said earlier, the Tennessee Volunteers are lucky to be 1-0. Most Tennessee fans are breathing a sigh of relief but their optimism all offseason has been toned down a tad and they are nervously awaiting this game against a legit opponent. Josh Dobbs, the dual threat quarterback of the Vols was less than impressive against App State. He went 16 for 29 passing for 192 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Out of the 192 yards, 67 of those was on one play, which was the touchdown pass to Josh Malone to swing the momentum that App State owned all game. Jalen Hurd, who many Tennessee fans think is one of the top three RBs in the SEC had 28 carries for 110 yards. Not horrible numbers but 28 carries against a team whose defensive line had no business manhandling a top 10 SEC teams O Line, should have resulted in a lot more yards. However, when it was all said and done, Tennessee won and wins are what matter. Against Virginia Tech, Tennessee must set the tone early. if they get down yet again, it may take a toll on their confidence and the fans will turn on them as well. The Vols need to score FIRST. Not only that, they need to attack Virginia Tech with a balanced attack. You cannot play a defense like Virginia Tech and stay one dimensional whether it be passing or rushing. The Volunteers need to get Jalen Hurd going in order to open up things for Josh Dobbs and the receivers. If this happens, I feel really good about Tennessee winning and covering this game.
For the first time in nearly 40 years, the Virginia Tech Hokies do not have Frank Beamer as their head coach. Justin Fuente came to Virginia Tech from Memphis to take over for the Hokies legend. He has some big shoes to fill but a win over a top 10 SEC team would be a great way to get his career going. The Hokies are 1-0 but this is the first real test that they will face with Fuente as head coach. The key to this game will be for the Hokies offense to stay with Tennessee and keep the Vols defense on the field. Virginia Tech's offense is led by junior quarterback, Jerod Evans. Evans passed for 221 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Liberty. He was also the teams leading rusher with 46 yards on five carries. The Hokies were able to gain 206 yards on the ground but this was accumulated by ten different rushers. That's right, ten players for the Hokies had carries and no one other than Evans had more than 40. I am not sure what that is all about but I am sure that will not work against Tennessee. Virginia Tech must control the ball and they must get touchdowns, not field goals against the Vols this Saturday night.
I don't have faith in either of these teams right now. If Tennessee was a 6.5 or 7 point favorite, I may jump all over them, but to be a 10.5 fave against a team that is historically known for good defense, I just cannot pull the trigger. I may regret it, but I am riding the Hokies with the points in what I think will be yet another ugly low scoring game. I do think Tennessee gets out of Bristol at 2-0 but I think it will again be down to the wire.
Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the Virginia Tech Hokies +10.5
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