Randy Smith: Vols Open As 29-Point Favorite

  • Thursday, June 1, 2023
  • Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Wait a minute...Today is June first and Tennessee is a 29-point favorite over Virginia in their season opening football game. Isn't that a little too early to be listing betting odds on college football games? Of course it is but that's the way we do things today. I'm sure there will be plenty of fans who are willing to put down good money on the Vols' chances against the Cavaliers. The two teams get together on September 2nd at Nissan Stadium in Nashville to open the 2023 college football season.

I doubt if any of the pre-season football magazines are on the shelves yet but sports talk shows are already gearing up to talk about college football which starts a nearly eight month journey before crowning a national champion in early January of 2024. As of today, everybody is 0-0 on the season which is actually three months away from the first kickoff.

As I've written before there are plenty of changes ahead in college football. Next season, Texas and Oklahoma will join the Southeastern Conference making the SEC even stronger than ever. It marks the beginning of "super conferences" which will continue to evolve over the next few years. In fact, the game is changing faster than a retired sports journalist like me can possibly keep up with. Also next year is when the College Football Playoffs will expand to twelve teams from the current four team format.

Being a long time Tennessee football fan, I can understand all the excitement over the Volunteer's chances in 2023. Under third year head coach Josh Heupel, Tennessee will be picked to finish second to two time defending national champion Georgia in the SEC East this fall. That's a long way from the dismal season the Vols went through in 2020 in Jeremy Pruitt's final year. No one ever thought Tennessee would rebound so quickly from the mess Pruitt left when he was fired following the 2020 season. Heupel was the steadying force the Volunteers needed to bring them back to relevance in the college football landscape.

I don't know how good the 2023 version of Tennessee football will be. I'm not even sure if the Big Orange will be better than last year's 11-2 squad. But I do know this...the excitement is back as Tennessee has sold all 75,000 season tickets for this fall. I also know that the Volunteers are a 29 point favorite over Virginia in their season opener...which can't get here soon enough.

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com
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