The Tennessee Volunteers busted out in a big way against Virginia Tech last Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. It made for the largest attendance ever at a football game, with around 150,000 fans in attendance. While there was plenty of hoopla and excitement surrounding the game, Tennessee had to go in there and avoid all of the distractions. Expectations are high on the Vols this season, with some pundits having them competing with the best of the SEC this season. Alabama? From what I have watched this season, sorry Tennessee, Alabama is still the much better team.
They should just worry about beating rival Florida at this point. Or better yet, focus on beating the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday. Tennessee nearly, and probably should have lost to Appalachian State in Week 1, but ultimately pulled it out by a score of 20-13 in overtime. Butch Jones was not prepared coming into this season, and it was pretty clear they took Appalachian State lightly.
The Volunteers came ready to play against Virginia Tech, pulling away from them and taking a 45-24 win into Week 3. Ohio is another team Tennessee needs to be up for, but I think after they barely escaped Appalachian State, they aren’t going to be so ill-prepared for Ohio. If Tennessee rolled past them and coming into this week after beating Virginia Tech easily, I would expect the Vols to be a bit slow this week.
However, I think they already got their scare out of the way, and were fortunate enough to get out with no damage done. If Tennessee wants to be known as one of the top dogs in college football, these are the kind of games you need to bury the other team. Ohio does not have nearly the same talent on their roster, but on any given Saturday, right?
We already saw another SEC team, Mississippi State, fall to South Alabama so nothing can be taken for granted. The Volunteers enter this game as the clear favorites, a 27.5 point favorite. Vols’ quarterback, Josh Dobbs, looked like the guy we expected him to be this season. After a less than impressive game against Appalachian State, Dobbs gashed the Hokies pretty good. Dobbs finished with 106 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns on the ground, and 3 touchdowns passing. He is one of the better running quarterbacks in college football, and should provide a sizable challenge against Ohio. The Bobcats haven’t seen a quarterback like him yet this season. We’ll see how they handle it early Saturday afternoon in Knoxville.
Ohio Bobcats vs Tennessee Volunteers NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Tennessee -27.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ohio vs. Tennessee Pick:
Dobbs is an outsider in the Heisman Trophy race, and if he wants to get some consideration later in the season, these are the kind of stat filler games that will help you out. An average performance against a team from the MAC is not good enough. And as a 4 touchdown favorite, there isn’t much room for excuses. Tennessee ran for 242 yards on Virginia Tech last week, and it’s going to be a similar game plan for the Volunteers this afternoon.
Ohio knows that Tennessee is going to come into the game trying to ram the ball down their throats on the ground. I expect the Bobcats to flood the line of scrimmage to try and make it happen. But on the backend I expect there is going to be lots of room for big plays over the head of the secondary. The passing game has been silent thus far, but I think this is the week the offense comes full-circle for the Volunteers.
In Week 1 against Texas State, they were gashed through the air. Texas State passed for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns, while beating Ohio in overtime, 56-54. Kansas was able to hit them for 2 touchdowns through the air as well. The Jayhawks have had one of the worst offenses in football over the last decade. Like I said, look for the passing game for Tennessee to open up in this game. Dobbs should find his rhythm with his arm and legs this afternoon.
The Volunteers are going to get their points against Ohio. I expect them to hit the mid-40s on the scoreboard. I fully expect a similar result to last week, at home, against a defense that doesn’t compare to Virginia Tech. Dobbs needs to get involved in the passing game, and I think Tennessee is going to ask him to make some plays downfield. The Bobcats have their potent running game to lean on, posting 344 yards last week and 250 yards on Texas State in Week 1. They should find moderate success, but not enough to compete for an upset. In any case, 27.5 is a lot of points. I think a solid bet in this game is going to be on the OVER. If the Volunteers hit around 45 points, like I believe they do, Ohio just needs a couple of touchdowns for this to be successful.
PICK: OVER 58 POINTS (-110)