Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennessee, even with a losing record, could be eligible for a bowl game.
The reasoning behind allowing all teams to be bowl eligible is the different length in seasons in each league. The SEC’s 10-game conference-only schedule hasn’t gone particularly well for the Vols, who currently sit at 2-5 overall.
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt was asked twice on Wednesday during his SEC Teleconference appearance if Tennessee would accept a bowl bid if offered, despite a sub .500 record.
“Absolutely,” Pruitt answered. “You look at all the young men across the country that have came back. They came back when they had no idea what the circumstances were. They came back because they love the game and they wanted to have an opportunity to play.
“Our guys continue to work really hard. This is one year we will probably have the majority of our team back next year. And it’s something they’re looking forward to.”
Pruitt cited the opportunity playing in a bowl game provides for younger players and the preparation that goes into the 2021 season. The extra practices would mean a great deal from a development standpoint.
“Having the majority of your team back, just the opportunity to create routine,” Pruitt said. “Developing as an individual player, creating chemistry within your team. I think it’s a great opportunity any time you get a chance to do that. Obviously the more you do something, the better you get at it. I just think those opportunities can be very rewarding.”
As of now, there are only 34 bowl games available after eight were cancelled due to the on-going pandemic.
Where Tennessee could end up in the postseason is anyone’s guess. According to Yahoo! Sports’ latest projections, the Vols will face West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 31, while ESPN pits Tennessee against Iowa in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30. CBS Sports does not have Tennessee making a bowl game.
The Vols can improve their bowl stock on Saturday against No. 6 Florida. Kickoff at Neyland Stadium is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.