It’s still early in the 2018 college football season, but most major media outlets aren’t letting that stop them from putting out bowl projections for the postseason. And a couple sites are predicting the Vols will make it to a bowl game this year.
Tennessee currently sits at 1-1 on the year after a blowout loss to West Virginia and a blowout victory over ETSU. And as of right now, two national media sites have the Vols going bowling at the end of the season.
Both ESPN and SB Nation have released their updated bowl projections after Week 2 of the college football season, and both sites have Tennessee playing in the same bowl and taking on the same opponent. ESPN and SB Nation’s prognostications have the Vols taking on UCF in the Birmingham Bowl on December 22nd down in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Vols have never played in the Birmingham Bowl in any of its iterations. The bowl game has been around since 2007 and has been the PapaJohns.com Bowl and the BBVA Compass Bowl before switching to just the Birmingham Bowl in 2015. The SEC has sent seven teams to the Birmingham Bowl since 2007, and those seven teams have gone 4-3. The last SEC school to get a bid to the Birmingham Bowl was South Carolina at the end of the 2016 season. They lost 46-39 in overtime to South Florida.
Tennessee has never faced off against Central Florida. The Golden Knights are coming off an undefeated 2017 season, and they are currently 2-0 on the year and are ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll.
After going 4-8 overall last season, the Vols failed to make a bowl game for the first time since the 2013 season. Tennessee will need to find a way to win five more games this year if they want to make a bowl, and the Birmingham Bowl would be a likely destination if they do. The Liberty Bowl in Memphis would also be a probable choice.
It’s also worth noting that other national outlets such as CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated don’t have the Vols in their latest updated bowl projections.