We’re keeping regular tabs on the updated bowl projections for the Vols and we’ll throw in our own thoughts as the rest of the season unfolds:
ESPN (McMurphy): Citrus Bowl vs. Florida State
ESPN (Schlabach): Orange Bowl vs. Louisville
CBS: (Palm): Cotton Bowl vs. San Diego State
SBNation (Kirk): Orange Bowl vs. Louisville
RTI’s take: Not much changed over the past week, and that makes sense with the Vols sitting at home for an off week.
And truthfully, not a ton will change for Tennessee down the back stretch of the season if the Vols take care of business. Most bowl projections at this point assume Tennessee will win out and will either finish second in the SEC East (if Florida doesn’t lose again), or will go to Atlanta and lose to Alabama.
One thing to keep an eye on is the emergence of LSU and Auburn in the West. After taking some early-season lumps, both two-loss teams have looked strong in recent weeks. Both still have Alabama on their schedule, however.
I bring them up because it could be relevant to UT’s chances at making a New Year’s Six bowl. Assuming at this point that Alabama makes the College Football Playoffs, there’s little chance that more than two SEC teams would be in New Year’s Six bowls, and right now you’d have to think that Texas A&M has the edge over UT already due to overall and head-to-head record. If LSU and/or Auburn were to beat Alabama, that would really muddy not only the SEC West, but also postseason projections for the SEC overall.
So a lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but UT’s best course of action is to continue to win. If UT can get to Atlanta, win or lose, there should be a decent postseason destination awaiting the Vols following that.