Tomorrow, Kentucky will attempt to beat Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1984. It seems most Cats fans are going into the game with guarded expectations, but what does the national media believe will happen? Here’s our weekly roundup of predictions from across the interwebs.
ESPN Football Power Index
CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee: Kentucky to cover, Tennessee to win
Kentucky at No. 18 Tennessee (-6): The Vols were gifted two touchdowns by Georgia last week before getting run out of Sanford Stadium. The offensive line struggled and quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was erratic — as has been the case for the majority of his career. It’s hard to imagine the Vols winning big over a Kentucky team that is well-coached defensively, has a multi-dimensional rushing attack and has momentum coming off its first win of the season. Take the Vols … but Kentucky will keep it closer than a touchdown. Pick: Kentucky (+6)
Against the Spread:
Athlon Sports’ Rob McVey: Tennessee
Kentucky is better than its 1-2 record suggests, and the Wildcats’ defense brings some momentum into Saturday’s matchup following a monster performance against Mississippi State. Kentucky also has a multifaceted run game that could keep Tennessee’s defense off-balance with dual-threat quarterback Terry Wilson leading the way. Conversely, the Kentucky passing game is a major weakness and it will be difficult for the one-dimensional Wildcats to produce explosive plays against a solid Tennessee defense.
Meanwhile, Tennessee’s offense has thrived on explosive plays so far this season. And while Kentucky is stout defensively, the Wildcats are not capable of putting up the same kind of fight as Georgia. There may not be a defense in all of college football that can bring that level of resistance. The Vols may not shine bright on offense this Saturday, but they will be highly motivated and put together enough big plays to come out on top, as they extend their home winning streak against the Wildcats to 18 games.
Prediction: Tennessee 27, Kentucky 20
Each week, the Tennessean asks a panel of SEC writers to pick league games against the spread. Six of the 14 writers picked Kentucky to cover +6:
- Eric Boynton, Spartanburg Herald-Journal
- Glenn Guilbeau, Daily Advertiser
- Jon Hale, Courier Journal
- Tyler Horka, The Clarion Ledger
- Brett Hudson, The Tuscaloosa News
- Cecil Hurt, The Tuscaloosa News
Odds Shark: Kentucky
- Projected Score: Kentucky 30.6, Tennessee 28.6
- Kentucky will win, cover the spread, and the total (45.5) will go over