Saturday SEC action takes place in Auburn, AL as the University of Tennessee Volunteers take on the No. 23 ranked Tigers of Auburn University. Coverage will be on ESPN and the Tigers are an early -10.5 point favorites at home. Prior to the SEC split in the early 90's this was a rivalry game dating back to 1900. Auburn is 6–3 vs Tennessee since the SEC expanded.
Tennessee (2-4) is at the mercy of a four skid since having lost to Arkansas 24-13 on the road Nov. 7. Two weeks prior to that Alabama stormed into Knoxville for a 48-17 shellacking of Tennessee. The Volunteers did win the last meeting against Auburn 30-24 in 2018. That game-like this weekends was played in Auburn.
After the eight-point loss to South Carolina on 10/24, the Tigers of Auburn have been able to take down Ole Miss and LSU. The Tigers are (4-2) on the year and the only other loss came to Georgia 27-6 in Athens. Auburn will get to finish their season against No. 1 ranked Alabama, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State.
(Late line movements and injury reports were updated on Saturday afternoon.)
There hasn’t been a ton of movement in the line this week but what movement there is favors the visitors in this SEC crossover matchup. Auburn opened as an 11.5-point favorite for this contest. As of Saturday afternoon, that number had moved to put the Tigers as a 10.5-point favorite at most sportsbooks. 60 percent of the bets ATS are backing the Tigers to cover the line at home.
The total has shifted downward slightly for this contest as the week has worn on. After opening at 51 points, the total is now found at 50.5 points at the majority of sportsbooks. A solid 62 percent of the bets on the total are projecting that this game will go over the total.
Game-time Weather: It’s going to be a nice evening down in the Palmetto State. Temperatures at kickoff will be in the low-60s. As the game continues, the temperatures will move down to the high-50s by the game’s end with a few clouds rolling in. There is no chance of precipitation in the forecast for the game, making it pleasant for all involved. Winds are coming from the northeast around five miles an hour with the gusts barely registering higher than that as they top out around seven miles per hour.
Vols Looking to Halt 4-Game SkidThe University of Tennessee's football program has underachieved in the 2020 season if you follow the Rocky Top closely. There has been plenty of scrutiny over quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. The Vols offense has been absolutely horrendous this season. Reports have now surfaced stating that a majority of the Vols coaching staff declined to take pay cuts in an attempt to make a budget for the rest of the UT athletic department. The season has already more than unraveled, and we can officially say the wheels will have fallen off the UT bus once they lose to Auburn on Saturday night.
Is it even fair to say that Tennessee is in a "must-win" game against Auburn this week? Probably not. The Vols do have one legitimate game left on the schedule that they can win unless they can somehow turn something around against Auburn. After the Auburn game on Saturday the Vols are left with Vanderbilt, Florida, and Texas A&M. On a positive note those are all going to be home games for the Volunteers.
After leaving the game against Arkansas last weekend with a head injury, Guarantano has returned to practice this week but Coach Jeremy Pruitt is not stating who will start against Auburn. Guarantano, a fifth-year senior, has started every game this season, but his performance has been inconsistent. Harrison Bailey, a true freshman who signed as a four-star recruit, has received the most playing time amongst the backups. Sounds like a perfect time to move on from Guarantano, and see if Bailey is the future at Tennessee.
Tennessee Injury Report:
OUT: WR Dee Beckwith, DL LaTrell Bumphus, RB Carlin Fils-Aime, WR DeAngelo Gibbs, LB J.J. Peterson, TE Austin Pope, DB Shawn Shamberger, DB Alontae Taylor, RB Len’Neth Whitehead
Questionable: RB Ty Chandler, QB Jarrett Guarantano, OL Jahmir Johnson
No.23 Auburn Aims For Third StraightThe University of Auburn has not played a football game since Halloween when they destroyed LSU 48-11. Coach Gus Malzahn was asked in his Tiger Tuesday press conference about the layoff between games and what he expects after the 21-day game layoff.
Coach Malzahn answered, "I think this week is big, as far as just getting in that game week routine and knowing for sure you're playing and who you're playing and all that. I think more than anything, it's routine, flipping the switch and getting your mind and body ready to go. I really have no doubt in my mind that our guys will be ready. We just need to have a good week of practice."
Auburn is (4-2) only suffering defeats to South Carolina and Georgia which were both road games. The No.23 ranked Tigers were supposed to play at Mississippi State on Saturday, but instead that game was pushed back to Dec. 12 because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Mississippi State program.
We all know Auburn is led under center by Sophomore Quarterback Bo Nix. But did you know that Auburn is the only SEC team to rush for 200 yards in four straight games this season? In the victory over LSU, Auburn accounted for 506 total yards (300 passing, 206 rushing). It was the 30th game under head coach Gus Malzahn where the offense had at least 500 yards.
Freshman running back Tank Bigsby is stealing headlines around the country as one of the nation's top freshman running backs. He has rushed 89 times for 503 yards which is good for 5.7 yards per carry. He has also found paydirt five times. His season-high was against Arkansas where he went for 146 yard averaging 7.3 yards per carry on 20 attempts.
Auburn Injury Report:
OUT: LB K.J. Britt, OL Brandon Council, DE Daniel Foster-Allen, DE Jay Hardy, LB Josh Marsh, LB Chandler Wooten
Questionable: WR Shedrick Jackson, DB Jamien Sherwood
- Tigers are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games as a home favorite.
- Tigers are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 home games.
- Volunteers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Volunteers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 conference games.