Breaking down the personnel for Tennessee and Akron.
Tyler Bray would like to bounce back from a shaky game against Florida with a more efficient performance against the Zips. He'll have more time to throw and should be able to flex his muscles in the deep passing game. Akron's Dalton Williams, a transfer from Stephen F. Austin, has thrown an incredible 152 passes in three games and could crack 200 today. Edge: Vols
The breakdown of carries in the Florida game left no doubt that Rajion Neal is No. 1 in the Vols' running back stable, but Marlin Lane and Devrin Young should get plenty of opportunities today. The Zips don't worry as much about the ground game, but Jawon Chisholm is their most reliable back. Edge: Vols.
Wide receivers/tight ends
Justin Hunter missed two catchable passes, and Cordarrelle Patterson came up short on a potential game-changer against the Gators. In a perfect world, this duo would catch a bunch of balls in the first half and then let a large crop of youngsters take over after halftime. The Zips have only one reception longer than 40 yards, but they do have a group of four solid possession receivers. Edge: Vols.
The Zips have surprisingly decent size on their offensive line, but the other side of the ball will be dwarfed by Tennessee's O-line. The Vols faced one of their toughest tests of the season last week against the Gators' athletic front seven. Today, they should feast on a lesser opponent.Edge: Vols
Daniel McCullers' run-stopping won't be a factor today, as there won't be much running to stop. Instead, the Vols will try to put pressure on Williams and keep the Zips' short-passing game short. If Akron's line puts Bray under any kind of duress, something's gone wrong. Edge: Vols.
Seniors Troy Gilmer and Kurt Mangum anchor Akron's 4-3 set. Mangum started at Washington, moved to Howard, and is now finishing his career in the MAC. Biggest question for Tennessee? Will linebacker A.J. Johnson stick to defense or get a few snaps in the Wildcat this week. Edge: Vols.
There will be two new starters today for the Vols (Justin Coleman at corner and Brent Brewer at safety), and a handful of true freshmen could see the field. Against Akron's pass-happy offense, this should be a position to watch closely. Edge: Vols
Think this might a category in which Akron could get the edge? Alas, Zips kicker Robert Stein has missed an extra point and two field goals inside the 40. For all of the Vols' kicking woes, the coverage teams have been solid and there are potential game-changers in the return game. Edge: Vols.
Terry Bowden was once among the most celebrated young coaches in college football, going 11-0 his first season (1993) at Auburn. His sabbatical from football made it difficult to climb back in, but he has embraced tough jobs at North Alabama and now Akron with zeal. Edge: Even.
Akron is riding high after a record-setting 66-6 win against Morgan State. Coaches have reminded players all week of the upsets that seem to occur weekly in college football. Tennessee is coming off an emotionally draining game and the crowd likely will be lethargic after last week. Edge: Zips
Tennessee 63, Akron 24
Three touchdowns might be giving the Zips too much credit, but they'll be chucking the ball around so much that they're liable to find the end zone eventually. Stopping Tennessee's offense will be much harder, which is why the Vols should win handily.