ESPN Projecting Big Second Half for Tennessee Football Season

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    Tennessee ESPN

    Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

    ESPN’s Football Power Index is projecting an above-average second-half finish for Tennessee after the Vols handled South Carolina at home on Saturday. Halfway into the season, Tennessee is sitting at 4-2 overall and 2-1 in its SEC games.

    With six games remaining on the schedule, ESPN’s FPI has Tennessee projected to finish 8-4, going 4-2 in their final six games.

    Out of Tennessee’s six remaining games, five will be against an SEC opponent, and four are against ranked opponents (Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Kentucky). However, ESPN is only projecting Tennessee to lose to Alabama and Georgia. Currently, ESPN gives Tennessee a 10.6 percent chance to beat the Tide and a 12.2 percent chance to beat Georgia.

    Although, that does mean that ESPN is projecting four wins for Tennessee. Currently, ESPN is giving Tennessee a 53.8 percent chance to beat Ole Miss at home and a 55.8 percent chance to beat Kentucky on the road. Additionally, according to the ESPN Football Power Index, the Vols have above a 95 percent chance to finish its final two games in the win column. ESPN gives Tennessee a 95.5 percent chance to beat South Alabama and a 97.9 percent chance against Vanderbilt.

    If those projections were to become true, that would give Tennessee a final record of 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.

    In addition, ESPN has Tennessee ranked as the 23rd team in the Football Power Index rankings. There are seven SEC teams ahead of Tennessee in the FPI rankings. Those teams are Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Auburn.

    After the conclusion of week six, Tennessee held onto their third-place ranking in the SEC East, one spot ahead of Florida. Although the Gators beat the Vols at home in week four, Florida has played one more SEC game, which was a loss. Therefore, Tennessee is ahead of Florida with only one conference loss.

    Going into the game against Ole Miss, even though Tennessee is projected to win, the Rebels are the betting favorite.

    Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 SEC) will host No. 13 Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1 SEC) in Neyland Stadium on Saturday night. The SEC Network will have the broadcast at 7:30 p.m. ET.

    SEC Standings Post Week Six:

    SEC East:

    1. Georgia  (6-0, 4-0 SEC)
    2. Kentucky (6-0, 4-0 SEC)
    3. Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 SEC)
    4. Florida (4-2, 2-2 SEC)
    5. Missouri (3-3, 0-2 SEC)
    6. Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2 SEC)
    7. South Carolina (3-3, 0-3 SEC)

    SEC West:

    1. Alabama (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
    2. Mississippi (4-1, 1-1 SEC)
    3. Auburn (4-2, 1-1 SEC)
    4. Mississippi State (3-2, 1-1 SEC)
    5. Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC)
    6. Arkansas (4-2, 1-2 SEC)
    7. LSU (3-3, 1-2 SEC)
    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.