NCAA Football Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee Volunteers Must Win Season Opener

Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS

Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Tennessee Volunteers are hoping for big things in the second year of the Butch Jones Era. It all gets started this weekend as the Vols host Utah State in the opener at Neyland Stadium.

Many fans will see Utah State on the schedule and think that the Vols should march to an easy victory in the season kickoff. However, Utah State is not a team to be overlooked. Aggies’ quarterback Chuckie Keeton is one of the most exciting players in college football and is an experienced starter, having started 27 games in three years with Utah State.

That fact puts a certain amount of pressure on Tennessee in the opening game. Utah State will come into the game with no fear because they have been in big situations before. Last year, the Aggies played on the road against the USC Trojans and the Utah Utes. The season before, they met the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison. Utah State lost those three games by a total of nine points.

For Tennessee, getting off to a fast start is imperative. The Vols have had four straight losing seasons, which doesn’t sit well with the Big Orange faithful. Losing a home game to Utah State would not bode well for ending that streak. Especially with teams like the Oklahoma Sooners, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the South Carolina Gamecocks still on the schedule.

Jones will have Justin Worley under center to begin the season, which doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the fan base. Worley is a solid player, but not spectacular. And with the schedule that Tennessee faces this season, they are going to need some spectacular play to keep up with the opposition.

Tennessee hopes to get to six wins and a bowl game this year. If they are going to accomplish those goals, they need to avoid an upset to Utah State in the season opener.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.