CBS Sports recently predicted the win totals for each SEC team in 2022 and they have the Tennessee Vols improving — albeit slightly — on their 7-5 regular-season record from last season.
Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports has the Vols going 8-4 in 2022. He has Tennessee losing to LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
From CBS Sports:
The Volunteers have a legit dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Hendon Hooker and a wide open offense that should operate faster than any other in the SEC (and maybe the country). That will allow coach Josh Heupel’s squad to dictate the style of most games.
I’m sure most Vols fans are hoping for a 9-3 regular season (which is very possible), but I think 8-4 is a reasonable prediction from Sallee.
However, I don’t necessarily agree with Sallee on which games Tennessee will lose.
The South Carolina loss is a questionable prediction at best (though it’s worth noting that Sallee has UT beating Florida…I think most fans would probably trade a loss to South Carolina for a win against the Gators).
Tennessee cruised against the Gamecocks last season, beating South Carolina 45-20 in Knoxville.
This year’s game will obviously take place in Columbia, but I still think the Vols are the better team — especially based on what we saw last season. I could see a loss to Pittsburgh before I could see a loss to South Carolina.
The LSU game is another interesting matchup/prediction. I think Tennessee can win that game, but I also understand why most folks are hesitant to pick the Vols to beat LSU in Baton Rouge (though Tennessee typically plays well in Tiger Stadium). LSU is also a bit of a wild card in 2022 — we really don’t know what to expect from new head coach Brian Kelly.
If Sallee’s predictions turn out to be correct, it’ll give the Vols a shot at their first nine-win season since 2016 (with a bowl game win). And as long as Tennessee is making progress each year under Heupel, I think fans will be satisfied.
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