Utah State vs Tennessee Preview (2014)
29 Friday Aug 2014
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How good is Chuckie Keaton for the Utah State Aggies? Well, two seasons ago, some thought he should be a Heisman contender. While he made the Heisman contender list this year, last year’s injury that limited him to six games casts doubt on his abilities? Is he really 100% recovered? Can he live up to the challenge?
Tennessee doesn’t sound like much of a challenge to the old Chuckie Keaton. Last year, the Vols were lackluster team that finished with a losing 5-7 record.
But If you are an MWC fan, this game is just as important as the Boise State vs Ole Miss game. Tennessee is in the SEC conference. That means this game has huge implications, if mostly for the Mountain West (MWC). Utah State is set to rival Boise State as the MWC champion this year. If Utah State loses this game, the SEC could make a great argument that their mediocre teams could easily compete and win in the Mountain West. If the Aggies and MWC want respect, Utah State must win this game. Boise State could still garner the conference some respect with a win against Ole Miss, but the MWC’s weak strength of schedule could really use some help by notching two wins against the SEC.
Unfortunately, Chucky Keaton is behind an offensive line with only one returning starter. Against the Vols SEC-sized defensive front, that could result in a disaster. Can the new line give Chucky Keaton time to make reads? Can they help him avoid hits and stay healthy?
Or is this Tennessee’s game? The Vols come into this game with nothing to loose, right? Wrong! While the Volunteers are expected to remain mediocre in the SEC this year and neither a win nor a loss against Utah State changes that, this game matters big time for them.
Does Tennessee’s senior quarterback, Justin Worley, understand the importance of this game?
If the Volunteers plan to make a bowl game this year, they need six victories, one more than last year. They only mustered two wins from the SEC last year, meaning they must win as many non-conference games as possible. The Volunteers could be facing a bowl-deciding game one. If the Vols win, a bowl game could happen. If they lose, they likely won’t win six of the remaining games that include Oklahoma as well as their many SEC conference foes.
Expect both teams to come out playing hard. Utah State is only 1-16 against SEC teams. The lone win came in 1970 against Kentucky. Neyland Stadium marks a chance for Utah State to start turning that number around.
My pick: Utah State 24 – 20 Tennessee