One Stats Model Has Vols Finishing with Historically Bad Record

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    Photo By Kyle Zedaker/Tennessee Athletics

    The Vols’ 2017 season has gotten off to a rough start, and Tennessee’s offense has looked broken beyond all hope the last month of play. And now one advanced statistical model is predicting the 2017 Vols will have the worst record in program history.

    Since 1965, Tennessee has played at least 11 regular season games every season. And since then, the Vols have won only four games in a season just once. The 1977 Tennessee squad went 4-7 and 1-5 in conference play.

    But the advanced statistical model that Bill Connelly created and uses at SB Nation has the Vols finishing 2017 with a 4-8 record, something Tennessee has never done.

    According to their predictive model, the Vols are very likely to win only one more game this season, and that game is Tennessee’s last one of the season against Vanderbilt. Tennessee has a 52 percent chance of winning that game according to these projections.

    Surprisingly, the model gives Tennessee just a 24 percent chance of defeating Southern Miss. The Vols will host the Golden Eagles on November 4th for their homecoming game.

    Here’s the percentage chance the Vols have of winning their five remaining games according to this statistical model:

    Kentucky: 42%
    Southern Miss: 24%
    Missouri: 36%
    LSU: 27%
    Vanderbilt: 52%

    So far, the predictive model has been right about every Tennessee game except for their first game against Georgia Tech. Connelly’s stat model gave the Vols just a 25 percent win probability in their season opener, but the Vols prevailed 42-41 in double-overtime.

    Interestingly, the stats model gave the Vols exactly zero chance of defeating Georgia and Alabama, the two ranked teams Tennessee has played this season. And the Vols lost both those games in blowout fashion, losing by a combined score of 86 to 7 in those two games.

    Despite the stats model predicting the Vols will finish with a 4-8 record based on win probability on a game-by-game basis, Tennessee’s overall win/loss probability in the model is a little more scattered.

    According to Connelly’s projections, the Vols have a 35 percent chance of finishing the season with seven losses. Tennessee has a 30 percent chance of finishing with eight losses, and they have a 19 percent chance of ending up with six losses. The Vols have just a one percent chance of finishing this season without another loss according to the statistical analysis.

    The projections also give Tennessee just a 24.9 percent chance of making a bowl game this season.

    A 4-8 record would give the Vols a win percentage of just .333 percent this season. In a season where the Vols have played at least 10 games, they’ve never finished with a win percentage that low in school history.

    Tennessee has time to turn things slightly around this season and still manage to make a bowl game. But if these projections turn out correct, the Vols will be in for the worst season in school history.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.