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Early Kentucky football preview: Tennessee

The Volunteers are a mess and this is UK’s big chance

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Good day to ya, BBN! Today we continue our early football previews with UK’s 9th game and 2nd-to-last home game: Tennessee.

Yes, that game. The game that makes us UK fans tear our hair out. The Volunteers are always so approachable, so beatable, but every year the game is harder to win that we think.

Well, except last year. That was the exact opposite. Significant underdogs going in, the Wildcats scored their best win of the season in a 34-7 blowout of the 18th-ranked Vols in Knoxville.

The Tennessee offseason has been very entertaining for BBN. The coach got fired, 20+ players fled for the transfer portal, a scandal emerged involving cash in happy meals, and pretty much set the Vols up for a dumpster fire 2021.

Perfect time for them to make a visit to Kroger Field, right?

Well...that’s what we usually think. Big Orange’s putrid 2017 team looked like no match for Stephen Johnson and 5-2 Kentucky, but it took a heroic final minute touchdown drive to put ‘em away. Then in 2018 UK got stomped by a team that would finish 5-7. The favored 2019 UK team didn’t get it done either, coughing it up in the 4th quarter.

What’s the takeaway from all this?

Well, Kentucky vs. Tennessee 2021 has good news and bad news for UK. The good news is that they will be heavily favored and a far better football team when they clash in November, barring excessive injuries or something.

The bad news? Beating Tennessee is always harder that it should be. If UK is favored to win by 14, they’ll probably only squeak it out by 1 or 2 points.

I’m counting on the ‘Cats to make it two-in-a-row over Tennessee, especially with the way the program derailed in the latter half of the 2020 season and this offseason, but don’t think it’ll be easy. You’ll be biting your nails in the 4th quarter, or I’m a Happy Meal.

Prediction: Kentucky 28, Tennessee 24