Fearless Prediction: Tennessee vs. West Virginia

Tennessee Football practice

And welcome back! Last year the Fearless Prediction finished the schedule with a 10-2 record. Only a 63-yard pass at Florida and an inexcusable selection in the Vandy game kept us from going undefeated in picking the outcome of Tennessee games correctly.

With a new season brings new hope for perfection. You can’t get to 12-0 without being 1-0 first, so let’s get this party started.

On Saturday, the Volunteers head east to face West Virginia in one of these awful neutral site contests. Not to get too high on my horse here, but regular season college football games should be played on college campuses, not at NFL stadiums. Tennessee/West Virginia would be a heck of a home and home matchup, but instead they’ll only play once, at the home of the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.

For Tennessee, the nightmare of the 2015 Florida game is rearing its ugly head. West Virginia features quarterback Will Grier, who just happened to be playing quarterback for the Gators that afternoon three years ago in Gainesville. As all Vols fans remember, Grier led Florida to two touchdowns in the fourth quarter in Florida’s 28-27 victory. Grier’s heroics cost the Vols the SEC East title. Vols fans also remember that Grier would be suspended a few weeks later after testing positive for taking performance enhancing drugs, which led to his transfer to West Virginia.

Grier threw for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns in 11 games for the Mountaineers last year, before breaking his finger against Texas on November 18th, ending his season. He is poised to have a big 2018 campaign. His top weapon is David Sills V, who had 60 catches for 980 yards in 2017, including 18 touchdown grabs, tops in the nation. If that Sills name sounds familiar, it should. Back in 2010 he was an aspiring quarterback and received a scholarship offer from Lane Kiffin. He committed to Southern Cal… as a seventh grader.

The Mountaineers want to play a quick-paced game, which could mean a difficult afternoon for the Tennessee secondary. True freshman Alontae Taylor played quarterback in high school, was one of the nation’s top wide receiver prospects, but could find himself starting at cornerback in his first collegiate game. Talk about being thrown into the deep end right away. Taylor has been impressive since arriving in Knoxville back in January, and will be ready for the challenge.

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