Hokies Football: Predictions for the Battle at Bristol Between Virginia Tech and #17 Tennessee

For years, Virginia Tech and Tennessee fans have been waiting for a showdown and now they get it in the middle of Bristol Motor Speedway in the first ever Battle at Bristol. Today, over 150,000 fans will be packing the stands of Bristol Motor Speedway in what is the game of the week and one of the most unique spectacles we’ve ever seen in college football.

With that said, here’s our predictions for the showdown in Bristol.

Henry Skutt

This is a huge game for the new coaching staff. While it might not have the appeal as it did after the Volunteers fell from 9th to 17th, it is still a marquee game in front of a national audience during primetime.

I expect the Hokies to come out fast and take a lead going into the 3rd quarter. There will be some sloppy play on both ends, but I also am hoping that Fuente will break out some big plays. However, the Volunteers depth and athleticism on defense will create mistakes and that will prove costly for a Hokies offense that is just in its 2nd game.

There is always a chance that the Hokies pull off the upset, but I think that after the debacle that was the Appalachian State last week, Butch Jones will have his players ready and amped up to play in this game. The amount of skill and speed on both sides of the ball for Tennessee will create problems against this Hokies team.

This will be a high scoring game, and I expect the Hokies to cover the 10.5 point spread, but not to win outright.

Prediction: Tennessee 38, Virginia Tech 31

Dwight Lester

It’s here, it’s here, that’s right folks Battle at Bristol is here! The Virginia Tech Hokie nation has traveled in full effect. Bristol is a sea of orange and maroon with fans showing a lot of school spirit.

Now to the game at hand. Truthfully, the Vols didn’t look that impressive last week against a very underrated Appalachian State team. That being said, this week I expect them to be ready for the new Virginia Tech.

The marquee matchup will be Isiah Ford against Cam Sutton. Honestly, the matchup is a wash as both are superstars. Ford will still get his yards and catches, but it will be Bucky Hodges that has the huge game. Jerrod Evans will be looking for his big target early and often. Speaking of Evans, he will have to be turnover free for the Hokies to have a solid chance at the win.

The Vols’ offense presents a puzzle which Bud Foster has already solved. In my opinion, a strategy similar to the first Ohio State game, keying in on Jalen Hurd at the running back position, will serve the Hokies well.

Overall, I think this game will turn on which offense gets going first. The Hokies will take advantage of some early Tennessee mistakes and get an early lead, and hold on for the win. Hokies win the Battle at Bristol 24-17. Let’s Go HOKIES!!!!!

Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Tennessee 17

JW Gravley

Check out JW’s full prediction and history article right here. Excerpt below:

Hokies win in a dog fight, 24-21 with Bucky Hodges and Isaiah Ford leading the way receiving with both having one touchdown reception against the Tennessee secondary.

On Saturday, exit light, enter night. This is home. This is the Hokies chance to show everyone they belong. This is their chance to knock off a highly ranked football team. No pressure.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Tennessee 21

Tim Thomas

The game that every Hokie has been looking forward to is finally here as Virginia Tech is ready to face off against the Tennessee Volunteers in primetime. Both of these teams know that a win would likely be the headline across college football along with putting that team in the national spotlight with a spot in the top 25 likely but not guaranteed for the Hokies should they take down Tennessee.

While the Hokies are definitely the underdogs, Virginia Tech definitely has a good chance to pull off the upset in a game in which both teams definitely seem stronger on the defensive side of the ball. Tennessee also seems weak on the offensive line while also being weaker in the passing game, potentially allowing for the Hokies to put 8 in the box if Joshua Dobbs and the Tennessee passing game can’t establish themselves.

However, don’t expect Jerod Evans to have a comfortable night as Tennessee has a talented defensive line headlined by Derek Barnett who had 10 sacks in each of his first two seasons at Tennessee. The Hokies will need to find a way to give Evans time to get the ball to Isaiah Ford and company while also having an effective quick passing attack to get the ball out of Evans’ hands quickly.

Special teams definitely has the potential to be an x-factor in this matchup and the Hokies in particular will need improved punting against the Vols tonight.

Both of these teams are ready for this big showdown and this pick is with my analytical thinking. Both of these teams are talented but the Volunteers are the more talented team and while the Hokies will make this very interesting. Tennessee will find a way to survive and beat the Hokies though hopefully this pick is quite wrong.

Prediction: Tennessee 21, Virginia Tech 20

Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail for the best Battle at Bristol coverage.

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