Virginia Tech (1-0) vs Tennessee (1-0)
When: Saturday, September 10th 2016
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ABC
The Virginia Tech Hokies and Tennessee Volunteers will make history on Saturday night and it has nothing to do with the play on the field. Saturday’s game will be played at historic Bristol Motor Speedway in front of about 150,000 spectators. The current record is 115,109 that saw Michigan beat Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium in 2013. This will be the first football game played at the track since the Redskins played the Eagles in 1961 before 10,000 fans when the capacity was 20,000. Each university will receive $4 million for selling 40,000 tickets apiece plus an expected $300,000 apiece because all grandstand seats are sold. Tennessee is 110 miles away while the Virginia Tech campus is 132.
Tennessee will try and focus on the game more than the setting after last week’s near upset to the hands of Appalachian State. The Vols got just 319 yards of offense in the 20-13 overtime victory. Running back Jalen Hurd accounted for 110 of the 127 rushing yards – nearly 100 fewer than Tennessee’s average in 2015. Joshua Dobbs, who is one of two quarterbacks in a Power Five conference that passed for 2,000 yards and rushed for 600 last season (Clemson’s Deshaun Watson), threw for 192 versus Appalachian State but was credited with -4 yards rushing on nine carries that included a pair of sacks. Virginia Tech played their first game without legendary coach Frank Beamer since 1986 and came out victorious over FCS member Liberty. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s defense intercepted Liberty three times and recovered a fumble as well. Quarterback Jerod Evans must take care of the ball better after accounting for two of the Hokies’ four lost fumbles versus Liberty, but he offset those mistakes by going 20-of-32 for 221 yards and four touchdowns.
Tennessee will be more focused once the game gets going. They are a solid team with playoff aspirations. Virginia Tech is not far off from being really good again, but the Vols should handle them tonight.
Pick: Tennessee -11.5