#19 Oklahoma (1-0) at #23 Tennessee (1-0)
When: Saturday, September 12th, 2015
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
Time: 6:00 ET
TV: ESPN, Radio: XM 192
There are high hopes in Knoxville this year as head coach Butch Jones is in his 3rd season at Tennessee. The Vols were 7-6 last year, but gained momentum in the offseason by winning 4 of their last 5 games including a TaxSlayer Bowl win over Iowa 45-28. The have the most returning starters of any SEC team with 18 including 10 on offense. The veteran offense scored 59 points last week against Bowling Green in Nashville led by Alvin Kamara’s 144 yards rushing and Jalen Hurd’s 123. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs also added 89 yards on the ground. Tennessee had 6 rushing touchdowns last week as the offensive line is looking good early. They will be tested tonight against Oklahoma. Last year the Vols entered Norman as 20 point underdogs and lost to the Sooners 34-10. This year’s line is near pickem. That’s how much one year can change in College Football. Tennessee’s 399 yards rushing last week ranks them 4th nationally. The Vols have won 20 straight home openers.
Oklahoma began the season last week with Texas Tech transfer quarterback Baker Mayfield, and he was impressive. The Sooners beat Akron 41-3 behind Mayfield’s 23-for-33 passing, 388 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also added a rushing TD. Oklahoma held Akron to just 226 yards of total offense including only 88 through the air. The Sooners didn’t do much rushing as Samaje Perine only ran 11 times for 33 yards. Seven receivers had over 30 yards receiving led by Joe Mixon’s 115. Oklahoma’s 439 yards passing ranks them 2nd nationally and I expect them to be near the top all season as they seem to be abandoning the running game. Bob Stoops is in his 17th year as the Oklahoma head coach and he’s looking to get the Sooners back into title contention not only in the Big 12, but nationally as well.
There’s a lot of excitement this year in Knoxville as fans and players think Tennessee can win the SEC East. This should be one of the more exciting games of the weekend. I like the fact that the Vols are at home and are playing with revenge on their minds. This will be Oklahoma’s first ever trip to Knoxville.
Pick: Tennessee +1