The Tennessee Volunteers received a massive amount of hype entering the 2016 college football season. After all, many experts and non-experts alike predicted them to win the SEC East. Well, if they plan on getting over the hump and back into the national spotlight for good, then they have to knock off the Florida Gators in Week 4.
Tennessee certainly has its fair share of advantages entering this contest. Look no further than the fact that the Volunteers get this SEC showdown at home to figure that one out. Not to mention, Florida QB Luke Del Rio will not partake in this rivalry game as a result of an injury. Plus, the Vols have a veteran quarterback in Joshua Dobbs. As people likely already know, having a veteran quarterback, especially in big-stage showdowns, is crucial in college football. To put the cherry on top, Tennessee is ranked as high as No. 12 entering this contest. Florida is ranked as high as No. 16.
Needless to say, head coach Butch Jones should feel pretty good entering the game against the Gators. With that said, Tennessee has not looked like a College Football Playoff contender despite a 3-0 start. If the Volunteers can’t come away with the victory, then that spells doom for Jones, as this was supposed to finally be the year that Tennessee returned to powerhouse status.
Just remember, the Volunteers needed overtime to knock off the Appalachian State Mountaineers in their season opener.
Before the SEC East madness goes down this weekend, these bold predictions should get fans ready for the big game.
First Team To 20 Wins The Contest
College football is a weird beast. A team could drop 10 points one week and then 60 points the very next week. However, Florida’s defense is the real deal. While the Gators have been a mystery over the last couple of seasons, the questions have never really surrounded the defense. The question marks have typically surrounded the quarterback position, which will remain the case this week, especially with Del Rio out.
While the Gators haven’t played the most talented teams that college football has to offer in 2016, they have only allowed a total of 14 points in three games. They are only giving up 4.7 points per contest, which is good enough to rank them No. 1 in the country in that category. For the record, Florida pitched a shutout last game.
Handing the ball over to Tennessee, its defense hasn’t been as impressive, but the Volunteers are still only giving up 18.7 points per game.
Needless to say, fans could be in store for a low-scoring affair.
Joshua Dobbs Continues To Throw The Ball To Opposing Teams, Ends With Three Interceptions
Okay, so it’s not like Joshua Dobbs leads the sport in interceptions, but he does have one in each of the Vols’ first three games. Here’s the deal. Florida is light-years ahead of Tennessee’s first three opponents in the talent department, so things could get ugly for Dobbs & Co. if the Gators’ defense plays up to its potential.
If Dobbs plays like a veteran, then throwing the ball to the opposing team shouldn’t be an issue, but this rodeo is all about the bold predictions, and three interceptions for Dobbs certainly meets the criteria.
For all it’s worth, the competition is really going to start picking up for Florida, as the Gators are tied for fourth in the SEC in interceptions with four.
Gators Pull Off The Upset, Take Control Of SEC East Race
If Florida can find an answer on the offensive side of the ball, it should have no problem beating Tennessee for the 12th time in a row.
Yes, the Volunteers are supposed to be the team to beat in the SEC East in 2016, but they have not proven anything yet. It is the Gators who are coming off of an SEC East title, and it is the Gators, once again, who have knocked off Tennessee 11 times in a row.
The Vols certainly have the advantage since they will be playing at home, but home teams go down all the time in this sport.
No one really knows what to expect from Jones’ squad in this one thanks to the fact that they have been inconsistent against far less talented teams. If Florida does pull off the upset, which it is more than capable of doing, Jones will likely go into hot seat mode, a place where no coach ever wants to be.
Of course, a win against the Volunteers won’t guarantee Florida a spot in the SEC championship game. There is still plenty of football that needs to be played after Week 4, and the Georgia Bulldogs appear to be contenders as well.
[Featured Image by Mike Carlson/Getty Images]