Virginia Cavaliers vs. Tennessee Volunteers: Preview & Predictions For Sept. 2 Showdown

Before we know it, college football and the NFL will be here in the fall.

For millions of Americans, there is nothing like the football weekend trifecta throughout the fall and early winter: High school football on Friday nights and then football all day on Saturdays for the NCAA and on Sundays for the NFL.

The Virginia Cavaliers’ NCAA football team will open their 2023 season against the Tennessee Volunteers, who are looking to build off a successful 11-win season that concluded with a victory over Clemson in the Orange Bowl game.

This highly-anticipated contest will take place at 11 a.m. central time (noon EST) at Nissan Stadium, which also serves as the home of the NFL’S Tennessee Titans. The Titans will host the Los Angeles Chargers in their home opener in Week 2 on Sept. 17 (noon CT).

As the Virginia Cavaliers take on the Tennessee Volunteers, fans eagerly anticipate an intense clash on the field, while the Virginia Caesars sportsbook app offers a platform to place bets and speculate on the outcome.

Virginia Caesars is currently offering new customers up to $1,250 plus 1,000 in both Reward Credits and Tier Credits upon signing up. As well, there’s a contest that customers can enter for the chance to win a massive bet credit of $57,000.

The Virginia Caesars sportsbook also allows new residents to bet on a plethora of different sports, including football, hockey, baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, autoracing, UFC/MMA, tennis and much more. The different betting options available at Virginia Caesars include props, futures (division and award winners, league champions, etc.), point spreads and money lines.

A History Of Cavaliers vs. Volunteers

Incredibly, the Volunteers and Cavaliers haven’t met since Jan. 1, 1991, when they squared off in the unforgettable Sugar Bowl game at New Orleans’ legendary Louisiana Superdome.

Virginia memorably took a 16-3 lead into the fourth quarter before Tennessee took the game over. Volunteers’ running back Tony Thompson led the comeback with two fourth quarter rushing touchdowns, and Sugar Bowl game MVP Andy Kelly also threw a touchdown to Carl Pickens.

The Volunteers outscored the Cavaliers 20-6 in the fourth quarter, narrowly escaping with a 23-22 victory. 32 years later, football fans will finally get the long-awaited rematch between the two programs.

Tennessee leads the all-time series 3-1, having won the first ever meeting on Oct. 29, 1927 by a final score of 42-0. They won Part II 41-14 on Nov. 16, 1940, and it would be 40 years until the two schools met again. There, Virginia scored their only victory against Tennessee to date — winning a thriller 16-13 on Nov. 1, 1980.

Preview & Predictions For The Sept. 2 Meeting

The Cavaliers had a rough season under first-year head coach Tony Elliott, finishing 3-7 on the year after winning two of their first three contests.

It was quite the step back for a school that finished .500 or better in each of its final four years under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who led the Cavaliers to a 28-0 win over South Carolina in the 2018 Belk Bowl.

The Volunteers should be considered the heavy favorites for this game, but there is one obvious concern: Many of their key players from the 2022 season made the jump to the NFL this year via the April draft.

Those five players were starting quarterback Hendon Hooker (68th overall to the Detroit Lions), offensive lineman Darnell Wright (10th overall to the Chicago Bears), wide receivers Jalin Hyatt (73rd to the New York Giants) and Cedric Tillman (74th to the Cleveland Browns) and running back Byron Young (77th to the Los Angeles Rams).

So the Cavaliers do have the chance here to keep it close, especially if the Volunteers’ new starters struggle to gel in their first game together.

But it’s hard to bet against one of the nation’s better football programs, especially considering their superior star power, depth and the fact the Volunteers will have tens of thousands of screaming fans behind them.

Virginia might be able to catch Tennessee off early with a few surprises. This is Week 1, where teams are often rusty and struggle to get in sync, after all.

But Josh Heupel will make sure his team is focused and locked in by the second half, if they weren’t already rolling in the first. Virginia might keep it closer than expected for a bit, but the Volunteers will still win by a fairly comfortable margin.Prediction: Tennessee 41, Virginia 20.

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