Tough schedules have left Tennessee and host Kentucky with losing records as they enter the season finales Saturday. Tennessee's seven ranked opponents are the most any team has faced this season and Kentucky is among six schools that have played five ranked teams. The Volunteers, saddled with their fourth straight losing season, are trying to avoid their first eight-loss campaign.
Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow was injured in the first quarter of last week's loss at Georgia and Mark Stoops hopes he'll be available Saturday. The Volunteers have won 27 of the last 28 games against Kentucky, including 14 of 15 in Lexington. Tennessee won last season 37-17 but six of the past nine meetings have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Tennessee -4.
ABOUT TENNESSEE (4-7, 1-6 SEC): Freshman Joshua Dobbs (58-of-98 for 496 yards, 0 TDs, 5 INTs) will start for the fourth straight game. Rajion Neal needs 10 rushing yards for a 1,000-yard season while the Volunteers have already eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark on the ground for the first time since 2009. Tennessee's defense is tied for third in the SEC with 24 takeaways but is allowing 420.7 yards and 30.4 points.
ABOUT KENTUCKY (2-9, 0-7): Maxwell Smith went 10-of-16 for 149 yards and a touchdown in relief of Whitlow (98-of-159 for 1,035 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs), who has a problem with his left non-throwing shoulder and neck spasms. "Everything has checked out okay to this point," Stoops said at Monday's press conference. "We'll see how it progresses through the week. There's nothing major wrong with him, so hopefully he'll be able to play." The Wildcats will be without suspended running back Raymond Sanders III, who leads the team with 464 yards and three touchdowns.
1. Tennessee has recorded four straight losing seasons for the first time since 1903-06.
2. The Volunteers have lost 11 straight SEC road games and 12 straight road games dating to 2011.
3. Kentucky unveiled plans for a $110-million renovation to Commonwealth Stadium, with some construction starting in December and the majority of the work being done after the 2014 season.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 24, Kentucky 16