The OWR Staff Predicts Tennessee-Texas A&M
After a miraculous finish Between the Hedges, the Vols have yet another massive game this weekend as they travel to College Station, TX to take on the Texas A&M Aggies. Our staff predicted the outcome of the game for your gambling pleasure.
According to Las Vegas, Texas A&M is currently a 7-point favorite and the over/under is 58. Let’s get to it…
John Monroe (@MinisterofD):
The Vols march into College Station on Saturday ready for their first top 10 matchup in over a decade. So far this week, the news hasn’t been great for either team on the injury front. Both sides will be missing key starters, or at the very least will have them playing injured. As it stands now, Tennessee seems to have more questions than the Aggies, with the main question being the status of running back Jalen Hurd. Does Hurd have a concussion? “Lower extremity” injury? Maybe there’s some left over friction from the mistake at the goal line in Athens? Regardless, if Hurd doesn’t suit up, the Vols will need someone to step up big time in that department. Kamara can fly, but he’s not the bruiser between the tackles that Hurd is. On the defensive side, both secondaries are the weakest points. Because of that, look for a high scoring game with the Vols airing it out more than usual, and look for a bigger work load for John Kelly in the backfield. Unfortunately I think UT’s luck finally catches up to them here. Not because of bad play, but mostly slow starts and injuries. I’d love to be wrong with this one, but for now I have to pick the Aggies.
Texas A&M 45
Will Warren (@wedwardwarren):
Texas A&M 31
Celina Summers (@CelinaSummers):
Texas A&M at Kyle Field. Home of the fabled 12th Man, where the Neyland Effect is trumped by the only possible noise-maker to compete with it: a cannon. The Aggies are flying high after a 5–0 start that really only featured one challenging matchup with Arkansas. The Volunteers are coming into College Station off the euphoria of the Miracle Between the Hedges and the ending of three streaks — Florida, at Georgia in Athens, and against ranked teams on the road — in seven days. These two teams line up eerily similar — smart, mobile quarterbacks, fast receivers, stout defensive lines, and outstanding special teams. Both teams come into Saturday with key players out or not in top form due to injury. Both coaches came into this season facing a put up or shut up feeling among their respective fan bases and local media. And right now, Vegas oddsmakers as well as much of the sports media are pegging this game as a Tennessee loss. I do not. Sumlin’s team has a nasty habit of blowing up in October, and they haven’t faced enough serious adversity to know how to handle it now. Remember how the Aggies allowed a sub-par UCLA game to come back from double digits and almost pull off the win in the first game of the season? There’s one huge difference between the two teams that I can spot, and that’s the run game. Jalen Hurd (if he plays) and Alvin Kamara can make a huge difference in the game, particularly if Dobbs is freed up to run the game from the line of scrimmage. (And if Hurd can’t go on Saturday, don’t underestimate John Kelly, who reminds me of a scrappy VFL favorite, Travis Stephens) With the adjustments that Butch Jones and Bob Shoop have made throughout the year, I think Tennessee takes the Aggies in a shootout. Don’t expect a nice calm game, folks. You won’t have a voice on Sunday.
Texas A&M 45
Sam Hiatt (@shiattVTF):
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t have a great feel for this game because despite being five games in, there is a lot of unknown with both teams. However, I am genuinely confused about the massive line change from the preseason. The projected line was Tennessee -4.5 before the first game and the line opened this week at TAMU -6.5. An 11 point swing? What am I missing? The narrative on this game has gone from “trap game” for Tennessee to “sure win” for Texas A&M. All because one looked good against Arkansas and the other has been scrappy to start 5–0? I could be wrong, but it seems weird for the consensus to change so drastically. Anyway, this is the best thing that could have happened to the Vols if you ask me. Tennessee has come out flat in EVERY single game this year and perhaps some of that was playing down to their competition. It’s such a cliche, but at the college level, playing like an underdog can have an impact. Butch has to have the crew ready to play hard every snap from the moment they step on the field. The injuries on defense concern me but Tennessee still has the better team on paper. This is the first game they finally play all four quarters.
Texas A&M 24
Brett Botta (@BrettBotta):
Well, here we are. Tennessee is 5–0 just like we all predicted. It may not have been pretty at times, but this team has found a way to take advantage of the breaks and capitalized when needed. I’m really not sure what to think about Texas A&M. At times they’ve looked phenomenal, but last week against the Gamecocks made me question if Trevor Knight is ready to handle the SEC schedule week in and week out. While he definitely is playing better then his last year at Oklahoma, there’s some statistics that say he still has the traits that doomed him as a Sooner. While he’s been steady in the first half posting a 126.72 passer rating, those numbers dropped drastically after halftime. In the second half, Knight drops to 113.89, but really takes a hit in the fourth quarter at 93.09 which is good for 14th in the SEC. Ironically, his counterpart, Joshua Dobbs, is struggling with a 103.83 passer rating in the first half, but soaring to 200.01 in the second half of play which is good for 4th nationally. I said before the season that Tennessee doesn’t leave College Station with a win and I’m sticking to it. If the Vols had a healthy defense I’d be hard pressed not to roll with them getting the W, but this is a game where the issues will be glaring.
Texas A&M 38
Parks Buchanan (@ParksBuchanan):
Here we are, week 6 and the Vols are 5–0 heading into College Station. Tennessee has a huge road test that will define this team. The Aggies have a QB who has a 1–0 record against the Vols with Trevor Knight who played against Tennessee when he was still playing for Oklahoma. A lot of people are concerned with Jalen Hurd being a game time decision but if you ask me, I want the speedy and shifty Alvin Kamara in the back field this week. Now, don’t get me wrong I love Hurd as a player. He’s big, fast, and physical, however, this defense is set up to beat a big, fast, and physical RB as the SEC west is full of them. The Tennessee defense will have their hands full against Texas A&M. Derek Barnett must have a good FULL game this week. The whole team has to come out firing on all cylinders for all 4 quarters. In order to leave 6–0, the Vols need a HUGE defensive/special teams play at some point to help the offense. The Aggies have the worst statistical defense UT has seen all year ranking right behind App State, so Josh Dobbs and Company should have a field day. If they do, this will be a blowout win for the Vols.
Texas A&M 24
Charlie Burris (@Charlie_Burris):
Tennessee is down three of its best defensive players. Jalen Hurd might be out. Kyle Field is one of the hardest places to play in all of college football and Texas A&M has looked very solid to this point.
By all accounts, Tennessee should not win on Saturday. But, I think this game will defy logic. First of all, I’m not picking against Team 120, because to this point, they’ve looked like a team of destiny. Don’t ever pick against a team of destiny.
Thinking more logically than superstitiously, the Vols are an underdog for the first time this season which bodes well since they enjoy playing from behind. Kevin Sumlin and the Ags have started 5–0 each of the last two seasons and imploded both years starting with their sixth game. The situation just seems too perfect for TAMU right now. They’re going to come in confident and expecting to win and the Vols should approach the game desperate from key injuries and hungry to not get shown up. Not to mention, I think the Aggies have been a bit of a smoke and mirrors show thus far, considering the not-so-great level of their competition.
I think Tennessee will blow the doors off of Texas A&M. Yeah, I can’t totally explain it but that’s just how I see it going. The Vols’ defense will force the Aggies into mistakes. Josh Dobbs will have a big day and Alvin Kamara will more than take up for the probable loss of Jalen Hurd. Vols by a bunch.
Texas A&M 21