The Fearless Prediction just keeps on trucking. We went 10-2 a year ago and are well on our way to matching that impressive mark in 2018. This week we tackle Tennessee’s matchup with the football juggernaut known as UTEP, and by juggernaut I mean they’ve lost 14 straight games.
Back in 2017, Mike “Chico” Canales was the Vols quarterbacks coach. Quinten Dormady, Jarrett Guarantano and Will McBride put up horrific numbers as Tennessee finished with a 4-8 record, the most losses ever in 120+ years of Volunteer football. Today, Canales is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Miners, and the results thus far as just as scarring for young viewers.
Signal callers Kai Locksley and Ryan Metz have combined for three interceptions and completed only 43% of their passes. The UTEP offense has scored 34 total points in losses to Northern Arizona and UNLV.
Things aren’t much better for the Miners defense, which is giving up 41 points per game. In particular against UNLV, it allowed six touchdowns and a field goal in the Rebels first eight possessions.
Tennessee’s offense, defense and special teams each tallied in a laugher last week against ETSU. After a slow start the Vols poured it on in a 59-3 victory.
The key for the Vols here will be getting their starters out of the game earlier than later. Tennessee is on the cusp of playing a brutal stretch of games and shouldn’t be expending valuable energy (and risk injury) against the Miners. I’d be stunned if Guarantano is taking snaps late into the third quarter as this game should be well in hand at that point.
Next week the Vols host Florida. Out of their “big” conference games, it is the most winnable of the bunch. The last thing Tennessee wants to do is show the Gators anything of note on game film.
UTEP is not a good football team. I don’t think Tennessee is either right now, but they have many more good players than their opponents this Saturday afternoon.
Fearless Prediction time…
Tennessee 45-UTEP 10 (yep, same score as the ETSU game. It’s gonna hit one of these times…)
(Mark’s Fearless Prediction Record in 2018: 2-0)
(Mark Nagi is the author of “Decade of Dysfunction: The Road to Tennessee’s Crazy Coaching Search,” which takes an in-depth look at the ten years of frustration that led to a revolt by Vols fans after UT attempted to hire Greg Schiano as its head coach in 2017.)
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