After Tennessee’s big win over No. 21 Auburn this weekend, optimism has been renewed for Vol fans about the rest of the season. And it looks like that optimism is shared by several national media outlets as well.
After this weekend’s action around college football, national outlets updated their bowl game projections for the 2018 postseason. And several of them have the Vols predicted to make a bowl game after the regular season ends.
ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, USA Today, SB Nation, and The Orlando Sentinel all have the Vols playing in a bowl game at the conclusion of this season. And all of those outlets have Tennessee playing different opponents in those match-ups.
Here’s where those outlets have the Vols playing this postseason:
ESPN: TaxSlayer Gator Bowl vs. Wisconsin (Dec. 31, Jacksonville, FL)
Sports Illustrated: Autozone Liberty Bowl vs. Iowa State (Dec. 31, Memphis, TN)
Sporting News: Walk On’s Independence Bowl vs. Syracuse (Dec. 27, Shreveport, LA)
USA Today: Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl vs. TCU (Dec. 27, Houston, TX)
SB Nation: Autozone Liberty Bowl vs. Oklahoma State (Dec. 31, Memphis, TN)
Orlando Sentinel: Birmingham Bowl vs. Memphis (Dec. 22, Birmingham, AL)
Through the midway point of the 2018 season, the Vols are currently 3-3 and need to find a way to win three more games to be automatically qualified for a bowl game this year. But the odds aren’t exactly in the Vols’ favor to get those six wins.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Vols will only be favored in one of their remaining six games this season. The FPI gives Tennessee a 93.8 percent chance of defeating Charlotte on November 3rd, but that’s the only game the Vols are easily the favorites to win the rest of this season.
The FPI gives UT just a 5.7 percent chance of beating Alabama this weekend, and Tennessee only has a 22.4 percent shot at defeating South Carolina the following week. Those are the two lowest remaining percentages for the Vols the rest of this season, however.
Tennessee has a 34.4 percent chance of beating Kentucky, a 37.5 percent chance of defeating Missouri, and a 49.3 percent shot of taking down Vanderbilt according to the FPI.
If the Vols can get three more wins this year, they’ll make it to their first bowl game since 2016 after suffering a program-worst 4-8 record last season. Jeremy Pruitt will be the first UT coach since Derek Dooley in 2010 to make a bowl game in his first year at Tennessee if his team can accomplish that task.