The Georgia Dome will be hosting a pair of games in the first week of the college football betting campaign, and the first of the two will pit the Tennessee Volunteers up against the NC State Wolfpack.
Tennessee could have a bit of a frustrating season this year, as it is coming off of an end of the season that saw it score seven points or fewer in five of its last seven games. The Vols failed to make a bowl game, and that is going to put Head Coach Derek Dooley on the hot seat for sure. QB Tyler Bray is threw for just 1,983 yards and 17 TDs against six picks last year, and he led the nation’s 102nd ranked offense. Now to make matters worse, his top receiver from last year, WR Da’Rick Rogers has been suspended for substance abuse, and now there isn’t a receiver returning from last year’s team that had more than 344 yards. There also isn’t a back in the backfield that had more than 280 yards rushing. If there is some good news though, it is that this defense is at least capable of doing some damage. The Volunteers ranked No. 10 against the pass a campaign ago, and they return a slew of starters on this side of the ball. The bad news though, is that this is also the unit that is going to have to carry the team in the SEC this year, and there is no one that is confusing the Tennessee defense for one that is going to be one of the best in this stacked conference.
Many really like what NC State is bringing to the table this year. The ACC is relatively weak, and if this game is survived, the schedule sets up really nicely. QB Mike Glennon is back, and he is going to be one of the few truly experienced signal callers in the conference. RB James Washington could be a 1,000-yard back this year as well, especially if Glennon can keep the attack balanced. This could be a big season for WR Tobias Palmer, as he is the top returning receiver from a campaign ago after catching 37 passes for 496 yards and five scores. The Wolfpack have eight returners on defense, including a potential future first round pick in the NFL Draft in DB David Amerson. In all likelihood, this is going to be a strength for this team this year, and if NCSU can get an average defense parlayed with an above average offense, we see no reason why it can’t at least be a 7- or 8-win team contending for the top bowls in the ACC.
We just don’t understand why Tennessee is favored in this game. The Georgia Dome is typically SEC territory, but that doesn’t mean that the Wolfpack fans aren’t going to travel. We think that the Pack are going to be the side to take the initiative in this game early, and Bray won’t be able to get himself out of the hole that he has dug. This is a much more important game for Tennessee, but NC State should be able to prevail in an upset. NC State 28 – Tennessee 17