Tennessee is in the midst of their best season since 1998 - the year they won a national championship under Phillip Fulmer. The program endured two decades of futility, but this season, 24 years later, the Vols have the best offense in the country and the Heisman trophy frontrunner at quarterback. But what if I told you that the success of this year's Tennessee team has hinged on one man? And what if that one man was not even a member of Tennessee's football roster, coaching staff, or athletic department, but was instead one of our own BSSR experts? That man is named Alex Hill, and he has been a walking betting curse for years on end.
While Tennessee's players and coaches were exerting themselves in the scorching summer heat to prepare themselves mentally and physically for the upcoming 2022 season, Alex was also making his own preparations to solidify the team's success. Alex has endured every single miserable coaching hire, pathetic performance, and egregious officiating that the Volunteers have been a part of in the current century, and he finally decided that it was time to make a change.
It started in Week 6 of this college football season, but it had been building since the very first game of Week 1. The Tennessee Volunteers have long held a special place in Alex's heart, but in order to see their restoration to a national powerhouse, Alex needed to ditch his emotional desires and employ his mind instead. Through the BSSR's weekly SEC Bets Challenge, he has been able to publicly document his picks for each Tennessee game of the season. And he has made his voice count in a major way this year.
Alex began by picking against Tennessee to cover the spread in every game in the early part of the season. This wasn't too difficult of a decision against the Vols' better foes such as Pitt and Florida, but even against the weak Ball State and Akron, Alex refused to pick Tennessee to cover. And when the Volunteers went on to cover in four of their first five games, Alex was struck with a fool-proof and fascinating plan.
He sprung this plan into action in Week 6. Tennessee traveled to LSU to take on the Tigers in a game in which the Vols were 3-point favorites. Alex was the sole member of the BSSR to take LSU to not only cover, but to also win outright. What followed was a 40-13 beatdown delivered by Tennessee.
The following week was a top-6 matchup between #6 Tennessee and #3 Alabama in Knoxville in which Alabama entered as 7.5-point favorites. Once again, Alex took Bama to win and cover. As you probably already know, neither of those occurred.
Now, after a cakewalk win against UT Martin last Saturday (which we did not pick as lines were not made available in time), Tennessee will take on #19 Kentucky in Neyland Stadium donning their special "Dark Mode" all black uniforms on the weekend before Halloween. The Vols are favored by 12 points at home against a team they've dominated since the two began playing each other in the 19th century. Doesn't matter. Alex is once again picking against his team and taking the Wildcats to win outright.
Alex Hill is not the hero we deserve. He is, however, the hero we need. The legacy and future of Tennessee's football program rides on his picks. Though most would argue he is sacrificing his opportunity at this season's BSSR SEC Betting Challenge title, Alex is contributing to a mission that is bigger than himself. And every member of the Volunteer family thanks Mr. Hill for his service.*
*It should be noted that while the five of us are all Tennessee fans, BSSR's experts derive their picks strictly from data-backed and statistical measures and their picks do not contain any bias whatsoever, with the exception of Alex's picks for Tennessee's games this season. It is also worth mentioning that Alex cannot be held liable if your team happens to lose a game that he picks them to win for purposes of this challenge.
We've experienced a bit of separation in our leaderboard, though one really good or really bad week from anyone can still throw everything into disarray. We should be in store for several close games to watch this weekend, as three of the five games we're picking have spreads of four points or less, leaving plenty of room for a bit of unexpected chaos.
Arkansas at Auburn (ARK -3.5, O/U 62.0)
Florida at #1 Georgia (UGA -22.5, O/U 56.5)
Missouri at #25 South Carolina (SC -4.0, O/U 46.5)
#19 Kentucky at #3 Tennessee (TENN -12.0, O/U 63.0)
#15 Ole Miss at Texas A&M (MISS -2.0, O/U 55.0)
Written by Nick Swatson