Right now, many Vol fans have likely given up on the prospect of Tennessee making a bowl game in 2019. With the Vols currently sitting at 1-3 on the season and a gauntlet of SEC games upcoming, UT is very realistically staring a 1-6 or even a 1-7 start to the season right in the face.
But some Vol fans haven’t given up hope that Tennessee can turn things around and somehow make it into the postseason. And one major media outlet shares that sentiment.
This week, Sports Illustrated released their updated bowl projections for the end of the 2019 regular season. Despite Tennessee’s abysmal start to the season, the writers at SI still think the Vols make it to a bowl game. They project UT to play UCF in the Birmingham Bowl in Alabama on January 2nd.
Right now, No. 22 UCF seems like a lock to make it to the postseason, and they could even contend for a more premier bowl game than the Birmingham Bowl. But projecting Tennessee to achieve the amount of wins necessary to get to a bowl game is a bold prediction at this point.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Vols are favored to win just two of their remaining eight games of the 2019 season. The FPI gives Tennessee an 86.5 percent chance of beating UAB on November 2nd in Knoxville, and the Vols have a 71.6 percent shot at beating Vanderbilt to end the regular season on November 30th. In every other game, Tennessee is projected as the underdog.
The FPI gives Tennessee a less than 10 percent chance of beating both No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama, and the Vols hold less than a 30 percent shot of taking down Mississippi State (28.5 percent), Kentucky (27.6 percent), and Missouri (21.9 percent). The Vols’ contest with South Carolina on October 26th in Knoxville is somewhat of a toss-up, with the Gamecocks being favored by 56.6 percent according to the FPI.
According to TeamRankings.com, Tennessee’s “most likely” outcome for the 2019 season is a 3-9 record. Those projections give the Vols an 80 percent chance of defeating UAB and a 66 percent shot at beating Vanderbilt. The Vols only have a 33.4 percent chance of winning against South Carolina per Team Rankings’ projections, and they have less than a three percent chance of beating either Georgia or Alabama.
Team Rankings only gives UT a five percent chance of becoming bowl eligible this season, and it would be considered a “miracle” according to their “record forecast” for the Vols to even get to five wins on the year. A “melt down” would be 2-10 per their projections.
The Vols have a 31.5 percent chance of finishing 3-9 according to Team Rankings. The next most likely outcome is a 4-8 record with a 26.4 percent chance. The Vols have a 19 percent shot at going 2-10, a 13.3 percent chance of finishing 5-7, a 4.7 percent chance of going 1-11, and a 4.2 percent shot at earning bowl eligibility at 6-6.
Right now, the odds are stacked severely against Tennessee when it comes to making a bowl game in 2019. But at least one major outlet isn’t giving up hope just yet.