Cheez-it Citrus Bowl Predictions 2024

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As the college football season comes to a thrilling close, all eyes are set on the highly anticipated Cheez-It Citrus Bowl featuring the No. 21 Tennessee Volunteers and the No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes. With both teams eager to cap off their 2024 campaigns with a victory, the matchup promises to be an intriguing clash of styles and strategies. In this comprehensive analysis, we delve into the predictions, key player absences, and the overall dynamics that will shape this bowl game.

How to Watch Citrus Bowl 2024 on ESPN

Citrus Bowl Team Overview

The Tennessee Volunteers enter the Citrus Bowl in a unique situation, missing a considerable number of scholarship players due to injuries, opt-outs, and transfers. The absence of starting quarterback Joe Milton III, star running back Jaylen Wright, and several key players on both sides of the ball poses a significant challenge for the Vols. Despite these setbacks, the team managed to end the regular season with a convincing victory over in-state rival Vanderbilt, setting the stage for an intense battle against the Iowa Hawkeyes.


On the flip side, the Iowa Hawkeyes come into the Citrus Bowl with a more stable roster, largely unchanged from the regular season. While the team faced some injuries to key players, they have not been plagued by the mass departures seen on the Tennessee side. Iowa finished the season strong, and their only absentees are players who have been dealing with injuries for extended periods.

Citrus Bowl Bold Predictions

Offers insights into the possible outcomes of the Citrus Bowl. The four-man crew, consisting of Patrick Brown, Ben McKee, Ryan Callahan, and Wes Rucker, has crafted predictions that range from adventurous to the outright unexpected. Let’s take a closer look at their bold forecasts:

Iowa does not score a touchdown

Patrick Brown presents a bold proposition – Iowa’s offense, known for its struggles throughout the season, may fail to reach the end zone in the Citrus Bowl. This prediction reflects the belief in Tennessee’s defense to thwart Iowa’s offensive efforts and showcases the clash of two teams with distinct playing styles.

Both teams will have multiple turnovers

Wes Rucker makes an intriguing prediction about turnovers, suggesting that despite Iowa’s tendency to limit turnovers, the dynamics of this game might lead to both teams experiencing multiple turnovers. The inexperience of Tennessee’s true freshman quarterback and Iowa’s potential offensive risks contribute to this bold claim.

Iowa’s offense doesn’t score more than 15 points

Ben McKee focuses on Iowa’s offensive output, setting a cap of 15 points for the Hawkeyes. Despite uncertainties in Tennessee’s secondary, the prediction relies on the confidence in the Volunteers’ defensive front to offset potential scoring opportunities for Iowa.

These bold predictions add an extra layer of anticipation to an already high-stakes matchup, sparking discussions among fans and analysts alike.

Citrus Bowl Key Player Absences

The narrative of the Citrus Bowl is significantly shaped by the absence of key players on both teams. Tennessee’s challenges are magnified by the departure of quarterback Joe Milton III, who had a standout 2024 season, completing 64.7% of his passes for 2,813 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. Milton’s decision to opt out of the game leaves a void that the touted freshman quarterback Nico Iamaleava will need to fill in his first college start.

Tennessee’s backfield will also miss the explosive talents of star running back Jaylen Wright, along with senior running back Jabari Small. The absence of these playmakers raises questions about the offensive dynamics for the Vols. Additionally, injuries and departures affect the offensive line and the defensive side, particularly in the secondary.

On the other hand, Iowa’s roster remains relatively intact. While they have dealt with injuries to key players, the impact seems less severe compared to Tennessee’s situation. The Hawkeyes’ strategy, focused on a more conservative and defensive style of play, might prove advantageous in this matchup.

Citrus Bowl Predictions from Various Sources

Bleacher Nation and CBS Sports both predict Iowa to cover the spread, emphasizing the challenge Tennessee faces, especially with a freshman quarterback making his first career start against a formidable defense. Fox Sports and BetMGM, on the other hand, lean towards Tennessee, with BetMGM’s winning team model giving the Volunteers a 75.6% chance of victory.

Betting odds from BetMGM as of Sunday afternoon favor Tennessee, with a spread of -5.5 points and a moneyline of -225 for Tennessee and +185 for Iowa. The over/under is set at 35.5 points, indicating expectations of a relatively low-scoring affair.

Read More: Watch Rose Bowl Game 2024 in Canada on ESPN


The Cheez-It Citrus Bowl between Tennessee and Iowa is poised to be a game of contrasting styles, with bold predictions adding an element of excitement to the mix. Tennessee’s challenges due to key player absences create an air of uncertainty, making the matchup even more intriguing. As fans eagerly await the kickoff, the Citrus Bowl promises to be a fitting conclusion to the 2024 college football season, showcasing resilience, strategy, and the unpredictable nature of the sport.


Meet Khizer Hussain, our standout sports analyst, here to guide you beyond the numbers on the scoreboard. With an intimate grasp of the sports world, Khizer dives deep into its intricacies, unraveling the hidden stories that often go unnoticed. His perceptive thinking and captivating articles offer you a novel viewpoint on the sports universe. It’s like a friendly chat with a fellow enthusiast rather than a corporate monologue.

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