No. 25 Tennessee Volunteers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Monday September 4th, 2017. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UT -3/GT +3
Over/Under Total: 56
While Alabama vs. Florida State will headline college footballs week 1 action between foes from the SEC and ACC, Monday we will renew the same cross conference rivalry when the 25th ranked Tennessee Volunteers collide with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets inside the same venue at the newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For the Volunteers, expectations are rather high once again in Rocky Top as Butch Jones enters his 5th season in what could be a make or break year. The Volunteers have failed to win the SEC East since Jones arrival and this years performance could be indicative towards whether or not Tennessees program is headed in the right direction.
The reason this season will likely be indicative of the Volunteers program status is because they lost star quarterback Joshua Dobbs and a few other key players. Therefore, now we get to see if Jones recruiting has done a good enough job to keep up with the rest of the programs around the SEC. If the Volunteers fail to deliver this season or get off to a rough start, there are many people that believe Jones could be out the door. Therefore, Tennessees opening game with Georgia Tech will be a very shifty measuring stick for the Volunteers as they look to back up consecutive 9-4 campaigns over the last two years.
Interestingly this will be Tennessee and Georgia Techs 44th meeting on the gridiron as they rekindle a rivalry that goes back to 1902. At one time, the Yellow Jackets and Volunteers squared off against each other annually from 1954-1973 and then again for most of the 1980s. However, they have not played each other since 1987 when the Vols scored a 29-15 victory to bring the series total to 24-17-2 in their favor. On Monday, this former rivalry between two of the most prominent teams in the country will be renewed for an ESPN televised audience.
Paul Johnson will be entering his 10th season with the Yellow Jackets following a solid 9-4 campaign in 2016. Johnsons, now traditional, triple option rushing attack averaged 258 yards per game on the ground last year and most of the talent with the exception of quarterback Justin Thomas. The offensive line was a major concern in 2016 and was probably the only reason Georgia Tech did not have more success. However, the youth on the offensive line all returns which some experience under their belt which should be promising for the outlook on offense.
Still, the questions loom at the quarterback position which is always the key to this option offense and how deadly it can be. Redshirt junior Matthew Jordan will receive the nod behind center and there is still several unknowns surrounding his skillset. Jordan played just a handful of snaps last year but was pretty successful running the football. If he can keep the legs turning, this offense should be rather good. The real x factor could be Jordans arm. The Yellow Jackets have struggled heavily to throw the football down the field in limited situations and while I understand that is not reliant for the way this offense is designed; it is very important to hitting big play opportunities. So we will have to wait and see in regards to Jordans passing abilities.
Georgia Techs offense always finds ways to frustrate opposing defenses so I believe it will be interesting to see if Tennessee can play disciplined football on the defensive side while staying with their lane assignments. On the other side of the ball, Tennessee also has a quarterback dilemma as you may call it as they look to replace Joshua Dobbs who led the team with 2,500 plus yards through the air and over 800 yards on the ground last season. Junior Quinten Dormady is the guy expected to carry the weight this season behind center. Dormady threw just 17 passes last year in relief efforts behind Dobbs but he did have a natural passing ability. He does not have the running ability compared to Dobbs but he can throw the football. The concern there will be finding playmakers in the passing game as the Volunteers lost all of their top receivers. Therefore, as you can see there are several questions marks surrounding this Tennessee offense as they look for playmakers to emerge Monday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Tennessee has legitimate question marks and I do not find any evidence to support their 25th ranking outside of annual hype that surrounds the program every fall. With that being said, this still should be a good game from teams with totally different styles of play. I would not put anything big on this game because of the uncertainties but I would lean in favor of the Yellow Jackets +3
Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 100% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.