“Selection Sunday” in college football is here. Today is the day all bowl eligible teams in college football will find out which bowl game they’ll be participating in. And for the first time since 2016, Tennessee will be a part of the process.
The Vols sit at 7-5 overall and 5-3 in SEC play after winning five-straight games to end the regular season. Tennessee appears to be one of the more intriguing teams in the selection process of bowl mania, and the Vols have been projected to play in a Florida bowl game for weeks.
Now, it looks like things may have changed.
With Alabama likely out of a New Year’s Six Bowl and either the Tide or Auburn taking a spot in the Outback Bowl, Tennessee’s only hope of going to a Florida bowl game would be the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. But there has been a lot of chatter about mutual interest between the Vols and the Music City Bowl in Nashville, and now Tennessee is being pegged to the mid-state more consistently with just hours remaining till everything is finalized.
Over on 247Sports, the Vols are slated to face Louisville in the Music City Bowl (Dec. 30), with the 247Sports’ intel suggesting that Tennessee and the Music City Bowl have interest in each other while the TaxSlayer Bowl has more interest in bringing in Kentucky.
“Last-minute intel has indicated Tennessee (7-5) likely won’t be playing in Florida after all for New Year’s despite entering bowl season on a five-game winning streak,” writes Brad Crawford of 247Sports. “Tennessee last played in the Gator Bowl game to end the 2015 season and drew a crowd, but there’s mutual interest between the Vols and Nashville (Music City), likewise with Kentucky and Jacksonville.”
Tennessee’s last bowl appearance in 2016 came in the Music City Bowl, a 38-24 victory over Nebraska to cap off a disappointing 9-4 season.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports also has the Vols playing in the Music City Bowl, and he too has Tennessee matched up with Louisville. The Vols and Cardinals haven’t played since 1993, and UT is a perfect 4-0 against Louisville in football.
Over on ESPN, the two main bowl analysts are split on where they believe Tennessee will go. Mark Schlabach has Tennessee and Louisville projected to the Music City Bowl, but Kyle Bonagura has Mississippi State facing off with the Cardinals in the Nashville bowl game. Bonagura still projects the Vols to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (Jan.2), where he sees Tennessee taking on Indiana from the Big Ten.
Similarly, Brett McMurphy of WatchStadium.com also has the Vols taking on the Hoosiers in the Gator Bowl. Tennessee and Indiana last played in 1988 in the Peach Bowl, with the No. 13 Vols escaping with a 27-22 victory over the No. 17 Hoosiers.
The College Football Playoffs and New Year’s Six bowl games will be announced first, then the rest of the bowl games will be filled out. The CFP Selection Show will begin airing at noon Eastern on ESPN, and the four playoff teams will be announced at approximately 12:15 PM. The New Year’s Six match-ups will be announced at 3:00 PM Eastern.
Following those announcements will be the reveal of the remainder of the entire bowl slate.