Tennessee Volunteers 2023 College Football Preview
August 4, 2023
Record – 11-2
ATS – 10-3
The Volunteers treated us to some exciting football last year and were MUST-SEE TV pretty much every week of the season. They defeated Florida, ROLL TIDE (!), and LSU in consecutive weeks on their way to a #1 ranking but met their match when they traveled to take on the mighty Georgia Bulldogs (L 27-13). Tennessee was blown out near the end of the year by South Cackalacky but finished with GUSTO by taking down Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl (W 31-14).
Tennessee Volunteers 2023 Outlook
Tennessee moved like a TREMENDOUS MACHINE last year as they led the nation in scoring offense (46 PPG) and total offense (526 YPG). The Vols move on from QB Hendon Hooker who had a fantastic campaign LY (27-2 TD to INT, 430 rush, 5 TD) and he’ll be tough to replace. Joe Milton looked good in limited action LY (10-0 TD to INT) and whilst he doesn’t have the mobility of Hooker he does possess a LASER ROCKET ARM. Milton will be working with three of the top-four WRs from LY’s unit but he’ll definitely miss the comically devastating big-play ability of Jailn Hyatt who’s off to the NFL (1,267, 15 TD). The Vols are loaded at RB and retain their top-three rushers and recall that Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small combined for over 1,600 yards and 23 (!) TDs on the ground in 2022. The OL returns three starters and features over 90 career starts but they’ll be without star tackle Darnell Wright who was taken in the first round of the NFL draft. This is still a top-10 FBS offense but it’ll be almost impossible to duplicate what they did last year.
The Vols had an underrated defense LY as they allowed a respectable 23 PPG (#6 SEC) and a very stingy 116 YPG on the ground (#2, Georgia). They were ripped to shreds by opposing QBs and ranked #12 in the conference in passing defense and #10 in pass efficiency D (21-11 TD to INT, 63%). We expect them to be stout once again up front as they’ve done a good job of building quality depth on the DL but it really stings to lose NFL-bound DE Bryon Young who led the team in sacks (7) and QBH (14) LY. The LB unit retains the team’s leading tackler in Aaron Beasley (13 TFL) but it may lack quality depth. The secondary brings back three upperclassmen starters and Tennessee can only hope that they do a better job on the back end in 2023..
The Vols were solid on special teams LY but the only key contributor that returns for duty is their deadly PR Dee Williams (18.7, TD). Charles Campbell comes over from Indiana to take over the PK duties and he did some fine work with the Hoosiers (career 39-51 FG, 100% XP). We’re not sure what to expect at punter.
Overall – The Vols should be able to roll through non-conference play without a hitch and they get to face Georgia in Knoxville this year. Get ready for that BAD BOY on November 18th! Tennessee has just one true road game (Florida) in the first half of the season so they should be able to get off to a good start. On a negative note they’ve gotta tackle ROLL TIDE (A) and Texas A&M (H) from the SEC West.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Kentucky (Oct 28)
There are a few tricky spots to note but let’s talk about this one. Tennessee will roll into town off the aforementioned nasty SEC West DAILY DOUBLE and the Cats will be looking to avenge LY’s blowout loss in Knoxville (44-6).
Season Win Total
Market consensus August 4
Over 9.5 -115
Under 9.5 -115
Slight LEANAGE to the ‘under’ as we approach press time. If they lose to ROLL TIDE and Georgia that leaves them no margin for error to hit the ‘over’.
Prior to last year’s TOUR DE FORCE the last time Tennessee registered double-digit wins was way back in 2007 (10-4) under Phil Fulmer. It’s great to see these guys back on the beam.
The Volunteers have themselves in a clear number two spot in the SEC East as they look much more talented than programs such as Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Can they slay the dragon that calls Athens, Georgia home? Well, they get to face the Bulldogs in Knoxville so that’s a positive. Our gut tells us that they’ll fall a wee bit short of winning the division but we won’t fault anyone for taking a stab at some SWEET TENNESSEE FUTURES ACTION. Good luck, Vols!