Jan 1, 2024 Citrus Bowl – Iowa vs Tennessee

Jan 1, 2024 Citrus Bowl – Iowa vs Tennessee

posted December 31

The Game

We’ve got some SEC vs Big Ten action brewing down in Orlando on New Year’s Day as the Tennessee Volunteers meet the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Citrus Bowl. The Volunteers (8-4) weren’t the same dominant force that they were last season and their four SEC losses (Florida, ROLL TIDE, Georgia, Missouri) came by a combined tally of 137-53. Iowa (10-3) somehow someway found themselves winning the Big Ten West but they were smoked by Michigan in the conference title game by a score of 26-CACK.

The Details

Tennessee -5 Iowa (35)

MEGALOCKS LINE – Tennessee -3

“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Tennessee 20 Iowa 15

Tennessee offense vs Iowa defense

The Volunteers managed to put up solid numbers on offense (#12 FBS rushing offense, #46 passing) and they averaged 203 YPG on the ground and 251 yards thru the air during the regular season. The bad news is that they’ve suffered a “Florida St style” quitting epidemic ** and they’ll be without several key offensive pieces. We’re excited to see star recruit and true freshman Nico Iamaleava will get his first start in this game (26 attempts) but it’s unfortunate that he’ll be surrounding by a BEVY of inexperienced skill position players. Thankfully, it appears as tho the Vols will still have their top-two WRs for this contest (White, Keyton) so not all hope is lost. Iowa has done Iowa things on defense this season (#5 total defense, #11 run D, #3 pass efficiency D) so it’s gonna be tough sledding for Tennessee on offense.

** Florida St players only quit because they love their brothers so much and it’s a brother-like brotherhood filled with brotherly love. Actually, they decided to watch their teammates get destroyed 63-3 by Georgia and see their university get completely humiliated as opposed to getting OUCHIES. You definitely don’t wanna “prepare for the NFL draft” or start your career as an accountant or baggage handler with an OUCHIE.

Iowa offense vs Tennessee defense

The Hawkeyes have one of the most disgusting offenses to ever take the football field but they’ve still found a way to win ten games. Iowa ranks DEAD LAST (#133) in the nation in total offense (239 YPG) and are way behind Eastern Michigan who inhabits the coveted #132 spot. Iowa can’t do much of anything thru the air as QB Deacon Hill has a putrid 5-6 TD to INT mark (49%) but the Hawkeyes will have their decent 1-2 punch at RB available that’s rushed for over 1,200 yards (Williams, Johnson). Much like the offense, the defensive side of the football for Tennessee has been ravaged by departures so it’s hard to know what to expect from them in this game. Thankfully, it’s the Iowa offense they’ve gotta deal with, yo.

Trends, Intangibles and More!

Tennessee HC Josh Heupel is 1-1 in bowl games with the Volunteers including last year’s dismantling of Clemson in the Orange Bowl (W 31-14)….Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz is 10-9 in bowl action and this will be the first time since 2019 (!) that Iowa will take the field against someone other than Kentucky in a bowl game…..The weather should be ideal on game day so no need to worry about rain or wind.


We’ve come around a bit to the Iowa side as revolting as that may be. Tennessee will make more mistakes and Iowa should be able to find enough holes in the Volunteers’ defense to hang within the number.


Lean – Iowa +5

‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

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Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.