2020 Football Preview – SEC – Volunteers
Looking for 2020 Tennessee Volunteers predictions? Following what seemed another lost year in Rocky Top, the 2019 Tennessee Volunteers tore through competition late earning a surprise bowl bid. Led by an angry defense and timely Jarrett Guarantano strikes, UT capped its recent calendar winning six straight, including a Jan. 2 showcase vs. Indiana.
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2020-21 College Football Preview – Tennessee Volunteers
Head Coach: Jeremy Pruitt
2019 Record: 8-5
Tennessee Volunteers 2021 CFB Playoff Odds: 50-1
Tennessee 2020 Win Total Odds: 7.5
Volunteers 2020 SEC Odds: 10/1
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With UGA and Florida still entrenched atop the SEC East, Tennessee plausibly stands a distant third while rostering what many bill the league’s top offensive line. With added pocket space, and impact options, expect Guarantano’s senior best.
A top-25 ranking could be UT’s with an upset and no letdowns. Though, unseating Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama or Georgia is still uphill territory for a Vols group now carrying expectations.
Considering their tough schedule, seven wins is likely as Tennessee lost key contributors, yet owns elite run potential.
That stated, one letdown performance might spell .500 for Pruitt’s men.
Flanked by standout o-linemen Trey Smith and UGA transfer Cade Mays, backs Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan and Eric Gray could be special: in 2019 the trio added 1,622 rushing yards, nine total td’s and 32 receptions. While any of the group can break big gains, —especially with upgraded blocking— Ty Chandler is the alpha.
To create ball-control offense, however, Guarantano needs downfield options after essentially losing last year’s receiving corp. Gone are the dynamic tandem of Jauan Jennings and Marquez Calloway.
Primed now for their SEC moments are wideouts Josh Palmer, Brandon Johnson, Ramel Keaton and Deangelo Gibbs. Gibbs brings four-star recruit status after transferring from UGA. Johnson looks to regain form after a junior slump.
With so much pressure on his fresh receivers, should Guarantano fail to add yardage, several backup signal callers await an opportunity. JT Shrout and Brian Maurer could claim snaps again this season after struggling last year in limited pockets.
While a great deal is expected of Guarantano, no error room exists in the SEC. And with a challenging early schedule, including September matchups vs. Oklahoma and Florida, it’s probable the aforementioned backups will gain field time.
But, if one of those three click with a re-made wideout group, UT could again coast down the stretch -that’s a big if made likelier by hefty front protection.
2020 Tennessee Volunteers Predictions: Team Strengths: Offensive Line, running game
As stated throughout, Tennessee’s biggest strength is a bulky, experienced offensive line. Coaxing Cade Mays back home became a coup for Pruitt as his running back trio added decent 2019 numbers minus consistent blocking. With elite creases open, it’s easy to envision UT flaunting a nationally regarded downhill game.
More so, with his go-to receivers gone, fifth-year senior Guarantano’s evolution, and recent bowl win, also stand as positives. If Jeremy Pruitt builds continued winning culture, his presence becomes massive in the key head-coach-starting- quarterback dynamic which, if done right, breeds success.
Finally, expect increased pocket time to offer UT’s signal callers and raw wideouts prime chance to form connections which can open the ready-made run game.
2020 Tennessee Volunteers Predictions: Team Weaknesses: Receiver and defensive losses
With UT fielding an entirely new first receiving wave, natural offensive uncertainties exist. Although, for a team built upon defense, key losses including Nigel Warrior, Daniel Bituli and Darrell Taylor raise greater questions.
If the Volunteers cannot find adequate replacements to plug beside standout returnees Shawn Shamburger and Bryce Thompson, UT loses a massive identity trait which guided the program’s bowl run last year.
Even touting a dominant o-line and run game, UT can go only so far vs. stiff competition minus deep threats and hard-hitting defenders. The unanswered questions outweigh Tennessee’s positives as of this writing.
2020 Tennessee Volunteers Schedule
- Sept. 5 Charlotte
- Sept. 12 at Oklahoma
- Sept. 19 Furman
- Sept. 26 Florida
- Oct. 3 Missouri
- Oct. 10 at South Carolina
- Oct. 17 OPEN DATE
- Oct. 24 Alabama
- Oct. 31 at Arkansas
- Nov. 7 Kentucky
- Nov. 14 at Georgia
- Nov. 21 Troy
- Nov. 28 at Vanderbilt
Tennessee Volunteers Prediction:3rd in the SEC East and 7-5 Overall (Bet Now at any of our Reviewed Online Sportsbooks!)
The Vols’ saving grace is that outside UK, no other non-elite opponent should pose much threat vs. UT’s potentially solid roster. That stated, expect a 7-5 mark from Pruitt’s men as they gain an anticipated third-place division finish and find another bowl game to stoke optimism.
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