Yes, we’re all excited about basketball season starting tonight, but the football team’s got a pretty huge game in Knoxville tomorrow. What’s the media saying about Kentucky’s game vs. Tennessee? I’m glad you asked.
ESPN: 4 of 5 pick Tennessee
Three cheers for Alex Scarborough!
Kentucky +14 over Tennessee, Knoxville, 11 a.m, CT: If Tennessee didn’t still have a chance of advancing to the SEC championship game, I’d be inclined to pick Kentucky to win straight up and cover the spread. But since the Vols do have something to play for, they’ll have enough to win but not cover. And if Kentucky won, with the way its running game has played in the last half of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Kentucky at Tennessee (-13.5): Tennessee is getting healthy, and Kentucky is seeing the SEC East slip away. That Austin Peay game next week will allow the Wildcats to become bowl eligible before having to face the Lamar Jackson show at the end of the month, and at some point trying to stop Josh Dobbs and Alvin Kamara just won’t be fun anymore. With the SEC East back in play, I expect the Vols to show up with their best performance in weeks. Pick: Vols -13.5
Kentucky (+14) at Tennessee, noon ET: Kentucky’s rushing offense has excelled in recent weeks. The Wildcats’ worst rushing performance of the past four weeks came vs. Georgia last week when the team ran 40 times for 186 yards. That’s 4.7 yards per carry. And remember, Tennessee was gashed by Texas A&M and Alabama. This could be really close.
If Mark Stoops wants to become beloved in Lexington, beating Tennessee in Knoxville and finally clinching a bowl game will be the way to do it. The duo of Williams and Snell will give the Volunteers problems, but the lack of passing game will haunt the Wildcats. Dobbs will somehow will the Vols to a win in a close one as Tennessee holds onto their grasp of this rivalry.
Tennessee vs. Kentucky Score Prediction: Tennessee 31, Kentucky 23
Quick word of wisdom: If there is a team that does not match up well with Tennessee no matter how good or bad each team is perceived to be, it is the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky comes in as a 14-point underdog and after last week’s collapse against Georgia in Lexington I would not be surprised if Tennessee blows right through that point spread. Then again, Tennessee should have defeated South Carolina two weeks ago.
The silver, or orange, lining for the Vols is that they had a large distraction removed from the team two weeks ago when Jalen Hurd announced he was leaving the university. Whether he was right or the coaching staff was correct matters little. The team chemistry had become toxic and acidic, so Tennessee should be able to play for the first time this week without trying to walk on eggshells.
With the likelihood of Florida losing at least one game over the next two weeks, the Vols could and should be playing for a repaved road to Atlanta that appeared to be closed following the loss to South Carolina.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 44, Kentucky 13
I don’t like that last prediction one bit.