Josh Heupel has his Tennessee Volunteers clicking. If not for a late-season loss at South Carolina last season, the Volunteers would have made the College Football Playoff in their best season since the late 1990s.
Vegas has set Tennessee’s win total this season at 9.5, and our team of analysts is here to predict every game of the season.
Tennessee Season Predictions: Predicting the Game-by-Game Results
Using groupthink, College Football Network analysts have painstakingly gone through every game for every team in the SEC and across the country.
Picking these games straight up with a projected score using the rosters as up-to-date as the last spring practice, the Tennessee season predictions indicate what fans can possibly expect for the Volunteers in 2023.
Week 1 — Tennessee vs. Virginia (Nashville): Win, 41-19
Our experts are aligned on this SEC-ACC matchup ending in a blowout. The Volunteer offense should simply be too much for a Virginia team that struggled mightily in its first season of the Tony Elliott era.
The Cavaliers don’t have the secondary to match up with the Volunteers when they go four and five-wide. Joe Milton has an entire offseason under his belt, so expect him to take a step forward in Heupel’s quarterback-friendly system.
Week 2 — Tennessee vs. Austin Peay: Win, 52-10
Tennessee will play its annual FCS home game early this season, getting the Governors in September. Austin Peay’s offense is solid for an FCS squad, so don’t be surprised if the Volunteers give up a touchdown or two.
I’ll be interested to see the receiver and running back rotations for the Volunteers in this one as the game should be out of reach early, and there are several young players vying for backup spots at the skill positions.
Week 3 — Tennessee @ Florida: Win 34-18
Oliver Hodgkinson, Cam Mellor, and I are each quite low on the Gators this year, though those two believe this will be a closer game than I do. I have the Volunteers winning by a 24-point margin, while the two of them each think it will be closer to a 2-score game.
Florida’s quarterback situation is dire, and if that doesn’t get figured out, the Gators could be in real trouble this season. Tennessee just has too much offense to lose in a low-scoring affair, and Florida doesn’t have enough offense for this to be a shootout.
Week 4 — Tennessee vs. UTSA: Win, 43-30
I’m excited for this matchup of two of the best offenses in the FBS. The Roadrunners are a legitimate top-25 team with a high-flying passing attack. The combination of Frank Harris and Joshua Cephas should stretch the Volunteer defense, so don’t be surprised if this ends up as a shootout.
All three of us are in agreement that the Volunteers should win this one. I’m not as sold on UTSA’s ability to get after Milton, so I have the Volunteers running up the score here, which is why our average margin of victory is so large.
Week 5 — Tennessee vs. South Carolina: Win, 33-26
South Carolina put up one of the most impressive offensive performances in the history of college football against Tennessee last season, scoring a touchdown on its first nine drives. This year, none of us expect that to happen in 2023, especially at Neyland.
As the resident South Carolina guy, I can assure you that the Gamecocks hate playing in Knoxville. This one will probably be close until some sort of game-changing play late.
Week 7 — Tennessee vs. Texas A&M: Win, 35-22
This is an opportunity for the Tennessee defense to shine. The Texas A&M offensive line has some holes, and the Volunteer front should be able to get after Conner Weigman and cause some issues up front.
Again, we all like the Volunteers in Knoxville. When the Volunteers play at home, good things happen.
Week 8 — Tennessee @ Alabama: Loss, 29-34
Our experts are more split on this game than any other on Tennessee’s schedule. Mellor has the Volunteers pulling off back-to-back wins over Nick Saban’s Alabama team, this one on the road. I, on the other hand, have the Crimson Tide getting revenge in a big way.
Hodgkinson is in the middle, giving the Crimson Tide a slight advantage at home. It’s really difficult to beat Nick Saban in back-to-back years, so the Volunteers will need a lot to go right for that to happen.
Week 9 — Tennessee @ Kentucky: Win 30-26
We’re once again split here, as I have the Volunteers losing on the road in what could be a really intriguing game in Lexington. Devin Leary brings a steady, senior presence to a Kentucky offense that has undergone a huge transformation. With Liam Coen returning to Kentucky from the NFL, the offense should be much improved.
Mellor and Hodgkinson have the Volunteers winning on the road. That’s probably the next step for the Volunteers, who struggled in a few big road games last season. Kentucky’s defense will be looking to have a better showing than last season, and this could be an upset spot.
Week 10 — Tennessee vs. UConn: Win, 47-11
All of us are fully on board with a Tennessee blowout win here against a bad UConn team. In my opinion, the way the Volunteers play this one will depend on if Joe Milton has a chance at the Heisman or not. If he does, they could run up the score here. If not, we should see a lot of the backups play in this one.
Week 11 — Tennessee @ Missouri: Win, 33-17
None of us are very high on Missouri, but Tennessee will still have to avoid a late-season stumble on the road. The Tiger offense was uninspiring last season, and those could persist in 2023, even with the reorganization of the offense.
Tennessee is at home in weeks 12 and 13, but with Georgia coming to town the next week, Missouri could be a trap game. The Volunteers are far more talented, but we’ve seen crazier things happen.
Week 12 — Tennessee vs. Georgia: Loss, 29-36
In a game that will likely decide the East, the Volunteers host Georgia in November. All three of us picked the Bulldogs in this one, but it should be close. The Volunteers haven’t lost at home since the last time they hosted Georgia and are really difficult to beat in Knoxville.
If Tennessee is going to win this one, it’s going to come down to the quarterback play. Tennessee will have the advantage here, but will that be enough to overcome Georgia’s talent advantages elsewhere?
Week 13 — Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt: Win, 43-15
Vanderbilt is coming off an extra bye week in this one, but I don’t think that will make much of a difference. The feel of this game will depend on what happens in previous weeks. If Tennessee beats the Bulldogs, it will still need to take care of business against the Commodores.
There are bigger games elsewhere around the country during the last week of the season, but Volunteer fans will be locked in, assuming there’s something on the line.