2017 Football Preview – SEC – Volunteers
Looking for 2017 Tennessee Volunteers predictions? The highs were very high for the Volunteers in 2016 (wins over Florida, Georgia and Virginia Tech), but the lows were very low (losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt). The Vols failed to live up to lofty expectations last year, but improvements this year could help take them to the SEC Championship Game.
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – Tennessee Volunteers
- Head Coach: Butch Jones
- 2015 Record: 9-4
- Tennessee Volunteers Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +6600
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This seat is as hot as it gets for Butch Jones, and anything short of the SEC East title may not cut it anymore in Knoxville.
2017 Tennessee Volunteers Predictions: Team Strengths
Ground Attack: Going into last year, it seemed as though the Vols had the premier rushing tandem in the SEC with Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara.
Hurd never lived up to expectations and abandoned the team in the middle of last season. Kamara was great as the number one back, but he will now be playing on Sundays.
Although the depth may not be what it was, there is little doubt that John Kelly can carry the load as well as anyone as the lead running back. Kelly immediately stepped in when given the chance last year, averaging 6.4 yards per carry with 630 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
The Tennessee offensive line should be one of the best in the conference this year, offering plenty of holes for Kelly to exploit with his electrifying speed and explosiveness.
Healthy Defense: The Vols defense was decimated by injuries all of last year, and they were decimated by opponents’ running attacks as the season wore on. They allowed 218.5 yards per game on the ground, and it is hard to imagine that number not improving dramatically.
Although they lost their all-time sack leader Derek Barnett to the NFL, the defensive line may be even better as a unit this year. If they can remain healthy, Shy Tuttle, Kahlil McKenzie and Johnathan Kongbo all have All SEC potential.
Junior Darrin Kirkland will also return from missing most of last season, and he will be expected to lead and anchor a talented– but relatively unproven– core of young linebackers.
The secondary could be one of the best in the league with dynamic DBs Todd Kelly Jr. and Nigel Warrior, as well as All American kick returner Evan Berry stepping in at safety.
2017 Tennessee Volunteers Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Quarterback Questions: It is no secret that the biggest question going into this year for the Volunteers is at the quarterback position. They lost three-year starter and leader Josh Dobbs to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it is still unclear who is set to take his place.
Although quarterback uncertainty is never a good thing, the Vols do have two good options to choose between. At 6’4, 216 pounds, Quinten Dormady is the prototypical passer and may have a slight lead in the QB battle.
But highly-touted freshman Jarrett Guarantano has potential through the roof. With his dynamic mobility and electric arm, Guarantano would fit a style similar to that with Dobbs, but he still needs to prove himself worthy of the job.
First-year offensive coordinator Larry Scott may be willing to tweak the Vols current spread system to fit the pocket skills of Dormady. Or he could go with the more explosive and mobile option of Guarantano.
Tennessee Volunteers Prediction: 10-2
As usual, the Volunteers’ season will be decided before the halfway mark, but the schedule works in their favor this year. They open against Georgia Tech then have cupcake games between Florida and Georgia.
Also as usual, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee will be the main contenders for the SEC East. Although Florida has taken the East for the last two years, they may be the third-best of those teams this year.
Aside from the Gators and Bulldogs, the only real challenges the Vols should face this year are Alabama and LSU. If they win two of those four games– and do not have a repeat of last year’s South Carolina debacle– they could be on their way to 10 wins and a game in Atlanta.
2017 Tennessee Volunteers Football Schedule
- 9/4/17 8:00 PM ET @GT
- 9/9/17 TBD INST
- 9/16/17 3:30 PM ET @FLA
- 9/23/17 TBD MASS
- 9/30/17 TBD UGA
- 10/14/17 TBD SOCAR
- 10/21/17 TBD @ALA
- 10/28/17 TBD @UK
- 11/4/17 TBD SOMIS
- 11/11/17 TBD @MIZZ
- 11/18/17 TBD LSU
- 11/25/17 TBD VAN
What do you think about our 2017 Tennessee Volunteers predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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