This Saturday, the Tennessee Volunteers (4-6) host to the LSU Tigers (7-3) in Neyland Stadium. Tennessee is a fourteen-point underdog to the Tigers in their first match up with LSU since 2011 – where they were stomped in Knoxville 38-7.
It is no secret. Butch Jones was ousted as the Tennessee head football coach this past Sunday after what has been a roller coaster season for fans and players alike.
The news came after Tennessee suffered a humiliating 50-17 loss at the hands of the Missouri Tigers in Columbia. Jones certainly improved Tennessee’s football team every year until this year. The Volunteers have yet to win an SEC game with only two games left in the season.
Here is a jaw-dropping stat to put this season into perspective:
Only two Power 5 programs have NEVER lost 8 games in a season
– Ohio State
Tennessee can reach 8 losses if it loses out (vs LSU and Vanderbilt).
FPI gives the Vols a 26% chance to lose out.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 12, 2017
That’s right. One of two teams in the Power 5 conferences to never lose eight games in a season. While Tennessee has suffered many unfortunate breaks with injuries and have been unlucky this year, it is gut-wrenching to see a stat of that magnitude.
Interim Head Coach Brady Hoke will try to prevent this from happening by either defeating LSU this week or Vanderbilt on the 25th.
Playing for Pride
So where does this leave the Vols for this Saturday?
They are playing for pride. They are playing for the state of Tennessee and their pride as athletes and competitors.
Finishing winless in the SEC could be a devastating in relation to recruiting. Many recruits have already jumped ship with the loss of Coach Jones. However, it is not going to be a simple task to beat the Tigers Saturday. Tennessee may be starting their true freshman quarterback Will McBride again
Hoke would not commit to a starting QB. Will McBride did well at Missouri in his first start as true freshman. Jarrett Guarantano has three starts. Guarantano didn’t play v. Missouri due to ankle injury but he’s `healthier than he was,’ Hoke said. Hoke gave no other injury news
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 15, 2017
While McBride made a few great plays against Missouri, it is undeniably tough for a true freshman to be thrown into the fire and win against a nationally ranked team. Hopefully the young gunslinger can spark some fire into the Tennessee offense if Jarrett Guarantano does not play.
Coach O’s Return
Tennessee fans will see a familiar face leading the Tigers out of the tunnel Saturday.
Head Coach of LSU is former Tennessee associate head coach and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron. Coach O was with Tennessee in 2008 under Lane Kiffin. Orgeron took over as the interim coach for the LSU Tigers last season when Les Miles was fired.
Orgeron led the Tigers to a 6-2 record to finish the season and was soon named Head Coach. One of Orgeron’s most electric players, Derrius Guice, will look to feast on Tennessee’s defense this week.
Tennessee moved to the bottom of the SEC in rushing yards allowed by giving up 433 Saturday at Missouri.
That put the Vols behind Ole Miss, against whom Derrius Guice rushed for 276 yards a few weeks ago.
Anybody got an over/under for Guice this week? #LSU
— Christopher Dabe (@cmdabe) November 12, 2017
Guice is a dynamic back that runs similar to his predecessor, Leonard Fournette.
— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) February 6, 2017
Tennessee will have to stop Guice in order to have a chance in this competition. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time from Neyland Stadium.
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