KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s game against Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway is college football’s marquee attraction this weekend, drawing ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” set to the unique venue.
The No. 17-ranked Vols (1-0) will be out to impress after their uninspiring 20-13 overtime win over SunBelt Conference favorite Appalachian State (0-1) last Thursday.
Virginia (1-0), meanwhile, will be tackling its first FBS opponent after opening the season with a 36-13 victory over FCS Liberty.
Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs appears to be the man on the spot after he finished with negative yards rushing for the first time in his career, throwing a costly interception and also fumbling twice.
It was the Vols’ good fortune to recover three of the team’s four fumbles against Appalachian State, but the nation was looking in, and UT’s 8-spot drop in the AP poll marked the second-largest since the poll went to 25 teams in 1989.
Auburn dropped 12 spots after beating Jacksonville State by a 27-20 count last season.
So what to expect for the Vols and other SEC teams this week?
Tennessee beat writers Mike Griffith and Jesse Simonton gazed into their Big Orange Crystal ball:
Western Kentucky at Alabama -28.5
Jesse: Alabama 30, Western Kentucky 3
Mike: Alabama 34, Western Kentucky 7
Arkansas at TCU -7.5
Jesse: TCU 31, Arkansas 24
Mike: Arkansas 24, TCU 20
Arkansas State at Auburn -19
Jesse: Auburn 28, Arkansas State 14
Mike: Auburn 30, Arkansas State 13
Kentucky at Florida -16.5
Jesse: Florida 28, Kentucky 17
Mike: Florida 34, Kentucky 10
Nicholls State at Georgia -37
Jesse: Georgia 45, Nicholls State 10
Mike: Georgia 52, Nicholls State 10
Jacksonville State at LSU -28
Jesse: LSU 30, Jacksonville State 0
Mike: LSU 41, Jacksonville State 14
Wofford at Ole Miss -40.5
Jesse: Ole Miss 50, Wofford 7
Mike: Ole Miss 65, Wofford 10
South Carolina at Mississippi State -7
Jesse: Mississippi State 14, South Carolina 9
Mike: South Carolina 20, Mississippi State 17
Eastern Michigan at Missouri -25.5
Jesse: Missouri 30, Eastern Michigan 10
Mike: Missouri 37, Eastern Michigan 10
Prairie View at Texas A&M -20
Jesse: Texas A&M 45, Prairie View 13
Mike: Texas A&M 56, Prairie View 3
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt -4.5
Jesse: Vanderbilt 13, Middle Tennessee State 7
Mike: Vanderbilt 24, Middle Tennessee State 20
Penn State at Pitt -5
Jesse: Pitt 17, Penn State 10
Mike: Pitt 20, Penn State 10
North Carolina- 7.5 at Illinois
Jesse: North Carolina 28, Illinois 20
Mike: North Carolina 27, Illinois 20
BYU at Utah -3.5
Jesse: Utah 30, BYU 24
Mike: Utah 20, BYU 14
UCF at Michigan -35.5
Michigan 40, UCF 7
Michigan 38, UCF 20
Tennessee -11 vs. Virginia Tech
Jesse says: With the line moving back over 10, it’s tempting to take the points. However, as bad as the Vol looked against App State on Thursday — Va. Tech looked worse early on versus Liberty. Bob Shoop will dial-up the “Magic Show” this week and Alvin Kamara will star. TENNESSEE 27, Va. Tech. 14
Mike says: Josh Dobbs will be on the spot to produce, and Virginia Tech’s blitzing defense should give him opportunities to make plays with his feet. The key to the Vols win, however, will be a defense that forces turnovers and scores. Make it Tennessee 24, Virginia Tech 17
Game of the Week
Jesse: Kentucky at Florida. Can the Wildcats snap a 30-year losing streak? Will Florida play inspired after last weekend’s no-show? Mark Stoops’ team cratered in embarrassing fashion against Southern Miss, and Saturday’s trip to Gainesville may be Kentucky’s only chance — already — to save a potentially disastrous season.
Mike: South Carolina at Mississippi State. The Gamecocks got the season started with a road upset at Vanderbilt, and coach Will Muschamp will ride that momentum into Starkville this week. As well as Dak Prescott has looked with the Dallas Cowboys, it’s possible he was making a lot of Bulldogs look good.
Last week’s record:
Straight-up 11-5, against spread 8-8
Straight-up 10-6, against spread 7-9