Devil's Advocate

Check out this season's 10th edition of InsideTennessee's Devil's Advocate series in which two staff members break down why their assigned team will win on Saturday.

We at InsideTennessee love a good debate. That's why we think you'll enjoy Devil's Advocate. Each week one staffer presents evidence why Tennessee will win/beat the spread, while another staffer offers a spirited rebuttal on behalf of the opposing team.

Here are this week's arguments:


By Randy Moore

Tennessee fans won't like hearing this, but the Vols are no longer a program that opponents view as a big game. The Big Orange has been reduced to a trap game.

On a positive note, that may be the best thing Tennessee (4-5 overall, 0-5 SEC) has going for it heading into Saturday night's game with eighth-ranked Arkansas (8-1, 4-1).

The Razorbacks clearly were fired up last weekend, when they hammered defending SEC East champ South Carolina 44-28. They'll be fired up Nov. 19, when they play dangerous divisional foe Mississippi State in Little Rock and they'll be fired up Nov. 26, when they visit top-ranked LSU in a game that could determine the Western Division championship, the SEC championship and perhaps the BCS national championship.

No team can hit an emotional peak every single week, so the Hogs are due for a letdown one weekend this month. It's a good bet that weekend will be this one. There is absolutely no reason for Arkansas to be excited about its tussle with Tennessee.

The Vols' two best offensive players (quarterback Tyler Bray, wideout Justin Hunter) are sidelined. A true freshman QB will be making his third college start, first on the road. The Vols averaged just 2.7 yards per carry last weekend versus MTSU, so there's no reason whatsoever to respect the running game.

Tennessee's top two safeties (Janzen Jackson, Brent Brewer) are out, and its best cornerback (Prentiss Waggner) will be playing out of position at safety. The Vols have the SEC's weakest pass rush and rank 10th among 12 teams in pass-defense efficiency. You've got to believe Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson and his receivers expect to rack up 400 passing yards without breaking a sweat.

And that arrogant attitude just might get them beat Saturday evening in a trap game at Fayetteville.


By Danny Parker

Firmly place a grand prize in front of someone and notice the effect that it takes in getting the most out of a person. While it definitely has some hurdles to maneuver around, Arkansas is still in the hunt for a Southeastern Conference championship and a second straight BCS Bowl.

Dangle those potentials in front of 105 19-23 year-olds and you tend to get a higher level of football. Take a team like Tennessee, losers of four of its last five, and getting motivated to play the No. 8 team in the land in the cold wind on the road and that desire to rip the head off your opponent dwindles just a shade.

As long as Bobby Petrino is the head coach of the Razorbacks, they will likely continue to be a prolific passing team. That puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Vol defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, secondary coach Terry Joseph and their DBs.

Keeping Arkansas under the 30-point mark, on paper, certainly appears to be dreaming the impossible dream with Tennessee fielding a defense that includes a minimum of four true freshmen.

So, can the Vols score 30-40 points to pull off the upset? Stranger things have happened but odds are stacked against it.

Look for the Razorbacks to confuse the Tennessee defense, turn short gains into big plays and create a double-digit advantage that will leave the Vols mentally defeated and up against the wall becoming bowl eligible.

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