5 reasons Tennessee football will beat South Carolina

After the changes made late this summer, there is no denying Tennessee football has one of the most challenging college football schedules. The 10-game, conference-only schedule causes the Vols to play both Auburn and Texas A&M as well as Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

With that said, every game the Vols play will be critical to their success this season. The team must keep its momentum from the end of last season and bring it to the field Saturday night against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Here are five reasons why the Vols will win their season opener against the Gamecocks.

Jarrett Guarantano

The fifth-year senior has had a roller coaster of a career as a Vol, but the veteran quarterback’s game-changing ability stems from the coaching staff’s consistency. This season marks Jeremy Pruitt’s third year as head coach and the second year for the offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. Jarrett is now more comfortable with the offensive philosophy than he has ever been before, helping the other players trust him with the ball in his hands. The Vols passing game seems to be hit or miss, but this offseason, the Vols, specifically the quarterback and wide receivers, worked on completely rebuilding chemistry for the passing game. The Vols’ offense will shock the Gamecocks’ defense this Saturday night.

Tennessee’s Experienced Secondary

As for the defense, the defensive line will be strong, but I am more excited to watch the secondary play. The Vols have one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Bryce Thompson, and most of the secondary returning this season. Tennessee’s secondary will be extremely strong against the Gamecocks’ receivers, especially after South Carolina lost some key pass catchers. The Gamecocks’ passing game will be minimal due to the Vols’ veteran secondary coverage on the receivers.


The Gamecocks had a lot of holes to fill after the 2019 season. South Carolina is starting Collin Hill instead of Ryan Hilinski, the starting quarterback last season. The game against the Vols will be Hill’s first game as a starter, so there is already inexperience behind the ball. South Carolina also lost Bryan Edwards, along with other standout receivers. On the other hand, Tennessee has the majority of its secondary and quarterback, and the offensive and defensive lines have already established talent. On consistency alone, Tennessee has a great chance to defeat the not so experienced Gamecocks. In a competitive conference like the SEC, the more developed a program is, the better off the team and players are for the season.

New Recruiting Class

The program is on the rise, thanks to Pruitt’s recruiting. The Vols are nationally ranked 10th for recruiting in the 2020 class and seventh in the SEC. For the 2021 class, Tennessee ranked sixth nationally and third for the SEC in recruiting. That being said, Tennessee has absolute studs. Pruitt kept quiet about whether any freshmen will play in the opener, but if he decides to give them a shot, the Gamecocks better watch for Tyler Baron and Jalin Hyatt. Baron is a four-star recruit who chose Tennessee over Kentucky. He ranked as the No. 4 strong side defensive ends in the 2020 class. Hyatt is a four-star wide receiver commit out of South Carolina. He has been having a great preseason and is looking strong in practice. With the loss of wide receivers, he is going to Tennessee’s go-to option.

Losing is not an option

It is truly as simple as that. With the challenging schedule this season, Tennessee cannot afford to lose what spectators consider its easy games. The Volunteers need the momentum for the rest of the year, so the they need to be victorious against the Gamecocks.