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): Music City Bowl vs. Iowa
ESPN (Schlabach): Belk Bowl vs. North Carolina
CBS: (Palm): TaxSlayer Bowl vs. North Carolina
SBNation (Kirk): Citrus Bowl vs. Nebraska
RTI’s take: Well, this has changed a bit.
Three of the four national projections we’ve been tracking had Tennessee in a New Year’s Six Bowl at last check. Now, UT appears to be headed back to the familiar confines of what is known as the Group of Six bowls (Belk, TaxSlayer, Outback, Music City, Texas, Liberty) – the destination for mediocre SEC teams. Any of those six would be somewhat of a disappointment to UT, and it seems to us that the Florida ones – TaxSlayer and Outback – would be less likely to select UT after hosting the Vols the past two years. That could mean Belk, Music City, Texas or Liberty.
But not all hope is lost. The final four weeks of the season could definitely change Tennessee’s outlook. If the Vols are able to win out and get to nine wins and potentially go to Atlanta, perhaps the Citrus Bowl, which gets its pick of an SEC team not in the playoffs or a New Year’s Six Bowl, could come to the rescue. Tennessee fans, after all, do generally travel very well and a 9-3 regular season UT team could be a good fit in Orlando. And of course, as long as UT is still alive in the East, there’s always at least the slight chance that the Vols could win the entire conference and land in the Sugar Bowl, as unlikely as that might seem right now. It is still technically on the table.
Lose anymore, however, and it probably will be Nashville, Charlotte or something along those lines for the postseason.