Summer has only just now officially begun, and that means it’s now list and prediction season. One sports media outlet has put out their bowl projections for the SEC for 2017, and Tennessee’s predicted match-up has an interesting angle.
College Football News projected that 10 SEC teams would make it to bowl games this year and that an 11th, Alabama, would make it to the College Football Playoff. The only three teams they didn’t predict to make it to postseason play were Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss. And their prediction for Tennessee not only has them staying in-state again, but it has the Vols playing a team with a connection to Tennessee’s new athletic director, John Currie.
According to College Football News’ predictions, the Vols will be playing the Kansas State Wildcats in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis this year. The two teams have only faced each other once in football, and that was in the 2001 Cotton Bowl when Kansas State handed the Vols a 35-21 loss.
This match-up could be given the nickname of the “John Currie Bowl” because Currie left Kansas State to become the athletic director at Tennessee earlier this year. Currie had been the AD at Kansas State since 2009 before taking the same position at Tennessee. While not a direct link between the two football teams, it would be interesting to see Kansas State’s reaction to playing the Vols and if Bill Snyder, the Wildcats’ head coach, would have anything to say to or about Currie.
College Football News isn’t the only site predicting the Vols will be playing in the Liberty Bowl this postseason, however. 247Sports released their predictions back in May and had the Vols playing in the same bowl game.
If Tennessee can’t make it to an upper-tier bowl game, fans will want an intriguing match-up to get them interested in a bowl. A team like Kansas State with obvious ties to Tennessee would help ease the sting a bit of falling short of a game like the Sugar Bowl yet again.