CFB Game Preview & Betting Odds: Tennessee vs. Oklahoma

College football’s marquee game this week will be a non-conference showdown between the Oklahoma Sooners and Tennessee Volunteers (Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC).  The game will be played in Norman, Oklahoma and is the first of a home-and-home between the two teams, with the return game set for next season.

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College football’s marquee game this week will be a non-conference showdown between the Oklahoma Sooners and Tennessee Volunteers (Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC).  The game will be played in Norman, Oklahoma and is the first of a home-and-home between the two teams, with the return game set for next season.

The fourth-ranked Sooners have been among the more impressive teams early in the season.  Although they’ve only played Louisiana Tech and Tulsa, two non-power conference teams, the Sooners did exactly what’s expected of any top-ranked team, blowing out both opponents.  Oklahoma won the two games by a combined 100-23.

Things get tougher this week however, as the 2-0 Volunteers are a more talented opponent.  It’s still too early in coach Butch Jones’ tenure to say whether he can bring Tennessee back to elite status, but this game is a good barometer.

“[Oklahoma is] very deserving of their ranking, and it’s gonna be a tremendous challenge going into a hostile environment, where all their players know about is winning,” said Jones.  “Over half of our football team will be going on their first road trip, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Oklahoma is extremely talented on both sides of the ball, and the team’s defense looks particularly dominant this year.  Outside linebackers Eric Striker and Geneo Grissom will look to tee off on Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley.

“It’s a nice SEC matchup,” Grissom admitted.  “It’s going to be a big game, lot of people there. Hopefully a sellout crowd, so we’re going to come ready.”

Tennessee has its own talent on defense, led by star linebacker A.J. Johnson.  “We’re combat ready,” said the Volunteers’ leading tackler.

This game will likely come down trench play.  Tennessee’s run game has been mediocre thus far, so if the Sooners can get pressure on Worley, it could be a very long day for the visitors.

On the other hand, the Sooners would love to get their ground game going.  Running backs Keith Ford, Alex Ross and Samaje Perine have all made contributions already this season.

Oklahoma is a heavy favorite at -21.  The over-under for this game currently stands at 54.5.