Tennessee vs Auburn

Tennessee vs Auburn: Tennessee heads back out on the road for the second consecutive game this week when the Volunteers travel to No. 21 Auburn.

Auburn is coming off a loss at Mississippi State last week, while Tennessee had an open week following a loss at Georgia. Can Tennessee pull off the upset on the road for its first SEC win in almost two years?

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I think many people are far too bullish on Tennessee’s chances going into this game.

Auburn has sputtered after beginning the season with national championship hopes, but the Tigers are still leaps and bounds ahead of Tennessee. Auburn’s defensive front against the Tennessee offensive line might be the biggest mismatch the Vols face this year outside of Alabama.

Auburn recovers from its disappointing loss at Mississippi State and beats Tennessee with relative ease.

For Tennessee, they got a bye week to prepare after showing flashes against Georgia. For Auburn, they took one on the chin against Mississippi State after fighting off an upset bid in the previous week against Southern Miss.

That has created some buzz for the Vols ahead of this one. Still, Auburn’s defense is for real. Tennessee is going to struggle to move the football against just about anyone, much less a front like this. The Vols will have to steal some points on defense or special teams to really have a shot in this one. I think they’ll lack the offensive consistency needed to pull off a win.

Can Jeremy Pruitt notch his first SEC win a la Butch Jones after a bye week?

This game has all of the makings for a Tennessee upset. An early kickoff, a sputtering offense, an improving defense, and a hungry coaching staff are all working against the Tigers.

But at the end of the day, the Vols just don’t have enough to get it done.

The Auburn Tigers — who, believe it or not, entered 2018 as a potential playoff contender — are reeling right now after dropping their second game of the season in a 23-9 loss at Mississippi State last week.

All of the sudden, a game that was just one in a daunting stretch that loomed all offseason now doesn’t look as intimidating. This Auburn team is beatable.

That being said, I like the Tigers at home pulling away late to top the Vols in what will be a close game throughout.

“We’re really going to open up the playbook this week because [enter reason here].”

That has been the storyline for the Vols going into both the Florida and Georgia games. And the truth is, we haven’t. I know the Vols are coming off a bye week, but my suspicion is that the team has spent much more time on the fundamentals than opening anything new up. The Auburn defensive front is an absolute force. Until proven otherwise, I don’t think we can trust the Tennessee offense to “open up” and put up any kind of big numbers on the score board.

I know much has been made about Auburn’s offense led by quarterback Jarrett Stidham. They haven’t looked good recently. To me, they look like a group that has a great deal of pride. The play calling has held them back, and in many ways appears micro-managed. I expect Auburn to get on track this Saturday. They’ll be prepared, organized, and efficient. I’ve never wanted to be more wrong, but I’ll take Auburn and I’ve got them covering (current line per Bovada has Auburn -15).

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