Watching Jeremy Pruitt’s Alabama defense bully and embarrass the nation’s top-ranked team had to excite Tennessee fans, as Alabama cruised to a 24-6 Sugar Bowl win over Clemson.
So much so, that it’s time to start feeling bold about the 2018 season.
Here are three bold predictions for Team 122.
No. 1: The Vols will field a top-5 SEC defense
Tennessee’s defense has yielded horrendous results over the past two seasons. The kind of results that force you to hide your kids and hide your wife. Last season, the Vols finished 9th in total defense among the 14 SEC squads.
In Year 1 under Pruitt, Tennessee will sew up its defensive holes and place in the top 5 in the conference.
It’s an added bonus that star defensive pieces Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Todd Kelly Jr. are set to return from injury, but as a whole, discipline and tenacity are traits Tennessee’s defense will exemplify on a week-to-week basis.
No. 2: Jarrett Guarantano will score at least 30 total touchdowns
The focus on Pruitt revolves around his defensive mastery, but how he handles the offensive side of the ball is arguably the most crucial piece to Tennessee’s puzzle.
Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano struggled for the majority of his redshirt freshman season, largely with indecisiveness in the pocket, which led to countless sacks.
Under Pruitt’s new staff, Guarantano will make quicker decisions and score at least 30 total touchdowns. The New Jersey product doesn’t lack bravado. Now, he has a head coach with the same level of confidence.
No. 3: Tennessee will defeat Kentucky, Missouri, and Vanderbilt by double digits
This shouldn’t be a bold prediction, but here we are. Tennessee was 0-3 against Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt in 2017, losing to the latter two by a combined 51 points. This is unacceptable no matter the circumstances given the enormous gap in talent the Vols have over those three teams.
In 2018, Pruitt won’t allow Tennessee to experience the same embarrassment. He’ll lead the Vols to double-digit victories over each one of those teams.
Fan Bold Predictions:
We asked Tennessee fans on our Facebook Page and on Twitter to make their bold predictions for the Vols in 2018:
— DRVawl (@DRVawl) January 1, 2018
— Tres Winn (@treswinn) January 2, 2018
We have one goal, to win every one of’em!
— Get Off My Lawn Aight? (@bennythomas21) January 1, 2018
Our new coach and his staff will pull in a Top 10 recruiting class in the 2nd iteration signing period.
— Timothy Brock (@ptbrock1) January 1, 2018
That we will do way better than we are picked and that the future will be so bright you gotta wear shades!
— R Jeff Clark (@rjeffclark) January 1, 2018
8-4 in Pruitt’s first year, losses to Bama, Auburn, UGA, and another one somewhere… Tax Slayer or Outback Bowl
— Austin Campbell (@bigA1208) January 1, 2018
Chandler 1,200 rushing yards
— Billy Sierra 🌳 (@BillySierra16) January 1, 2018
I think with the players we have this season Pruitt could get us to a bowl. Add more recruits and actual football coaches instead of drum major (nothing wrong with drum majors) with a. S/C program and we win 8-9 games in year 1. 1st game will be a good test.
— Raymond Hanlon (@Rayvols1086) January 1, 2018
I’m an eternal optimist so I’ll say they’ll win em all.Just no clichés ,garbage cans,bricks or team # so and so.It will be the 2018 Vols plain and simple.
— Vollalujah (@volzman71) January 1, 2018
Happy New Year.