Outback Bowl - Tampa, FL
Tennessee vs. Northwestern
Friday, January 1, 9 am PT - ESPN2
: Tennessee -8 O/U 45.5
Tennessee -8.5 O/U 47
Tennessee should have a pretty good idea of what to expect against Northwestern having played in the SEC East. The division was peppered with pedestrian offenses and sub-par quarterback play which is exactly what the Wildcats bring to the table. They had three games where they failed to top 3 yards per play and only once topped 28 points against FBS competition.
Northwestern got to 10 wins thanks in large part to an above average defense that allowed 16.4 ppg
and favorable schedule. They managed to duck Michigan State, Ohio State, and Indiana, and in step up game against Michigan and Iowa, the Wildcats allowed 78 points, 872 totals yards, and nearly 500 yards on the ground. And Tennessee is more capable with the ball than both the Wolverines and Hawkeyes. That said, Tennessee did play a handful of low scoring games. It was 17-17 before overtime against Oklahoma, the Florida game was headed under before two late touchdowns, the Arkansas game landed 44, the Alabama game went way under, and the same happened with North Texas and Missouri.
Another angle we need to take a closer look at is Tennessee's defense. We mentioned earlier the schedule was littered with weak offenses and yet the Vols finished 10th in the SEC in yards per play allowed (5.33). With the exception of Missouri and North Texas, every team UT faced found a way to move the football and put points on the board.
From a totals perspective, this will come down to how aggressive Northwestern wants to play it. There were times where the Wildcats did play with tempo but most of those instances were against inferior teams or playing from behind. I have a hard time believing that they'll want to give Tennessee extra possessions. That said, if Tennessee can create a margin, topping 47 points is reasonable. Very correlated matchup
underdog/under or favorite/over.