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Tennessee Volunteers 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Predictions – (SEC) – Volunteers

It must seem like a long time since stars like Peyton Manning, Peerless Price, Jamal Lewis, Al Wilson and Eric Berry graced Rocky Top.

SEC 2014-15 College Football Previews:
Head Coach: Butch Jones
2013 Record: 5-7
Tennessee Gambling Odds to win 2014 BCS Championship: 150/1
Futures from sportsbook.ag

It’s been a long road back to respectability for Tennessee after the failed Lane Kiffin experiment and currently under the stewardship of head coach Butch Jones. The Vols limped to a 5-7 record last season and look to lean heavily on underclassmen for production in 2014.

The promising element of that equation is that the recruits coming to Knoxville have been downright tantalizing. They might already deserve to be on the field.

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Several seasons ago, the Tennessee football program may have been guilty of falling into the trap of resting on its laurels. The sherbet-and-white had such a good brand, historical prestige and crazy fans that perhaps it didn’t work as hard as it needed to on the field and on the recruiting trail.

As such, the Vols have been going through what – for lack of a better term – is a college football rebuild. There is intriguing talent on the roster now, though most of it is very young. With that in mind let’s investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the 2014 Tennessee Volunteers.

Team Strengths

The wide receiver corps should be quite dangerous. Not only do highly-regarded prospects Marquez North and Jason Croom have a year under their belts (they should both start as sophomores in ’14) but Tennessee brings in an electric JUCO transfer in Californian Von Pearson and a top true freshman, with in-state product Josh Malone.

There should be plenty of weapons for whoever throws them the ball. Running back should be in good stead also with senior Marlin Lane, though Lane will be used to more holes available to him after a bevy of O-line veterans have moved on. Behind Lane is stud freshman Jalen Hurd, who could become Tennessee’s best power back since Lewis.

Defensively, the back seven is experienced. Senior LB A.J. Johnson is a special player, as proven by his 106 tackles a year ago. In the secondary, CBs Cameron Sutton and Justin Coleman join safeties Brian Randolph and LaDarrell McNeil as returning starters.
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Senior Devrin Young has proven he can get the job done in the return game.

Team Weaknesses

The Vols literally replace all five starters on their offensive line. That must be a terrifying prospect for a college coach or offensive co-ordinator. There is another crucial position on offense that’s unsettled: under center.

Incumbent senior QB Justin Worley is average but unspectacular, while freshman Riley Ferguson is unproven, but has loads of potential. The Vols must decide what to do with their starting pivot this season. Perhaps it’s a case of Worley will start initially until it is time for Ferguson to get a shot.

The defensive line is very inexperienced. Sophomore DE Corey Vereen looks good, but the rest of the unit could be shaky. True freshman DE Dewayne Hendrix could make an almost immediate impact. In-state prospect Derek Barnett could also see the field as a true frosh.

Tennessee must replace K/P Michael Palardy, who was the team MVP in 2013. It’ll be big shoes to fill for strong-legged George Bullock and senior P Matt Darr. Freshman Aaron Medley (can you notice a trend here with the freshmen?) could unseat Bullock for the starting placekicker job.

2014-15 Tennessee Football Prediction: 5-7

The Volunteers have undoubtedly improved the overall talent on their roster in the past two years. However, they really were starting from scratch and when you must replace all your O-line starters and have QB uncertainty, it just doesn’t augur well.

In another season or two, Tennessee should be a major player in the SEC East division, especially if they have another strong recruiting offseason in 2014. However, with the usual SEC slate plus non-conference games against Utah State and Oklahoma, I just don’t see Tennessee improving on its record this season.

Tennessee’s rabid (but increasingly grumpy) fan base needs to exercise just a little more patience before everything comes together.

2014 Volunteers Schedule

  • 8/31/14 UTAH ST.
  • 9/6/14 ARK. ST.
  • 9/13/14 @ OKLA
  • 9/27/14 @ UGA
  • 10/4/14 FLA
  • 10/11/14 CHATTANOOGA (FCS)
  • 10/18/14 @ OLE MISS
  • 10/25/14 ‘BAMA (“The Third Saturday in October”)
  • 11/1/14 @ S. CAROLINA
  • 11/15/14 KENTUCKY
  • 11/22/14 MIZZOU
  • 11/29/14 @ VANDY

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