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Tennessee Bowl Projections: The Possibilities Are Seemingly Endless

Tennessee Bowl Projections
Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.

The countdown to bowl eligibility has been running since the Vols beat Kentucky in Week 10. However, with South Alabama and Vanderbilt as the last two opponents on Tennessee’s regular-season schedule, the Vols are right there on the brink of becoming bowl eligible officially.

Tennessee has climbed up to five wins through ten games by beating the likes of Bowling Green, Tennessee Tech, South Carolina, Missouri, and most recently, Kentucky.

In the last few weeks, we’ve looked at various bowl projections from the experts, trying to get an idea of where Tennessee will land. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Vols have a 93.8 percent chance to beat South Alabama and a 97.3 percent chance to beat Vanderbilt, with both games taking place in Knoxville. So ultimately, it seems to be a matter of when the Vols become eligible, and not if the Vols can become eligible.

Heading into Week 12, we have eight projections to sift through. Of those eight projections, there are seven different opponents across the span on four different bowl locations. So, let’s get to it.

Arguably the most intriguing of all the projections, in terms of opponents and not locations, is from Sporting News. Their current projection has Tennessee squaring off against another team in the Top 10 in Divison I FBS all-time win totals, ranking one spot better than Tennessee.

Sporting News is projecting Tennessee to take on Penn State (6-4) in the Music City Bowl.

(Photo via Matthew O’Haren/USA TODAY Sports)

Currently, Penn State sits at eighth in the aforementioned list with 905 program wins. Tennessee, however, is in the ninth spot with 857 program wins. With Penn State having to travel south to the Volunteer State for this game, it is a particularly fascinating matchup between two historical powerhouse programs.

Brett McMurphy of the Action Network also has Tennessee lined up for a Music City Bowl appearance. McMurphy is projecting Tennessee to face Minnesota (6-4) in Nashville, taking place on Dec. 30. Additionally, Action Network is projecting a 4.5-point line for that matchup in Tennessee’s favor.

Next up is a trio of projections that have Tennessee in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, which has been a fairly common projection for the Vols.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Kyle Bonagura have Tennessee taking on North Carolina (5-5) and Miami (5-5) respectively, both of which are intriguing matchups from teams near the east coast. Additionally, CBS Sports is projecting to take on NC State (7-3) in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, which will take place on Dec. 30 in North Carolina.

There are a couple more Volunteer State projections for the Tennessee football team, with both Yahoo Sports and USA Today projecting the Vols to travel west to Memphis. Yahoo Sports has Tennessee taking on Iowa State (6-4) in the Liberty Bowl, while USA Today is projecting Tennessee in the same bowl game against Kansas State (7-3).

Speaking of Kansas State, the Wildcats are the only team in these eight projections that are listed twice. Bleacher Report still has Tennessee facing Kansas State in the Texas Bowl, which will be played on Jan. 4.

With the projections always changing, it is hard to get a good read on where Tennessee will end up. Overall, in the past few weeks, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl and Music City Bowl have been some of the most common locations projected, and could very well wind up where Tennessee does land. But first, the Vols will need to take care of business with South Alabama this upcoming Saturday in Knoxville.

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