The 2020 college football season is inching closer and closer to being jeopardized due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. But Vol fans are more hopeful than ever that football season doesn’t get interrupted, because Tennessee’s football team looks improved and ready to compete at a higher level than the last few years. That’s reflected by Las Vegas, too.
Should the season be played as scheduled, Tennessee football has the 15th-best odds to make the 2021 College Football Playoff according to BetOnline.ag. The online booking service gives the Vols 14/1 odds to play in the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl for a trip to the National Championship Game at the end of the 2020 season.
There are six SEC schools that have better odds to make the playoffs according to BetOnline. Those schools are Alabama (4/5), Georgia (3/2), LSU (2/1), Florida (7/2), Texas A&M (4/1) and Auburn (5/1). Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas, Oregon, Penn State, Michigan, and Oklahoma State are the schools outside of the SEC that have better odds than Tennessee.
The Vols haven’t made it to the postseason to compete for a national title since going 13-0 and winning the 1999 Fiesta Bowl to win the 1998 national championship. Tennessee was in the running in 2001, but a loss to LSU in the SEC Championship Game derailed those hopes. The Vols again had a shot and were a top 10 team in 2003, but back-to-back losses to Auburn and Georgia ruined UT’s chance at making the national title game that season.
Tennessee enters the 2020 season as one of the hottest teams in college football currently.
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt enters his third season on Rocky Top coming off of an 8-5 season. The Vols won their final six games of the season after starting the year 0-2 and falling to 1-4 eventually. Tennessee currently has the second-longest winning streak in the SEC following the 23-21 win over Indiana in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. The only conference team with a longer winning streak currently is LSU, the team that won the national title last season.
Not only are the Vols riding a hot streak, but they return a large chunk of their production from last season.
Tennessee loses starting linebackers Darrell Taylor and Daniel Bituli, starting safety Nigel Warrior, starting wide receivers Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway, and starting tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson. But other than those departures, the Vols return all their other starters and key reserves from last season, including their entire starting offensive and defensive lines. Tennessee also welcomed in key transfers Cade Mays and Velus Jones Jr. to go along with a top-10 recruiting class headlined by five-star quarterback Harrison Bailey.
The College Football Playoff will start on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 this upcoming season. The Rose Bowl kicks off in Pasadena, California at 5 p.m. ET on New Year’s Day with the Sugar Bowl to follow at 8:45 p.m. ET in New Orleans. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN.
The winner of each college football playoff game will meet in the National Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. This season’s championship game is scheduled to be held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Tennessee is scheduled to kick off its season on Sept. 5 against Charlotte in Neyland Stadium. The Vols will travel to Norman, Oklahoma to take on Lincoln Riley’s Sooners a week later before opening up SEC play at home two weeks later on Sept. 26 against Florida.