The Tennesese Vols‘ postseason destination became less clear this past week thanks to their 63-38 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Before the loss to South Carolina, Tennessee was destined for a spot in the College Football Playoff or the Sugar Bowl.
Now, it’s anyone’s guess as to where the Vols land. The Sugar Bowl is still a possibility, but Tennessee would need some help (LSU and Alabama losing). The Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl are also possibilities.
247Sports’ latest projection sees the Cotton Bowl as the most likely outcome for Tennessee. They have the Vols playing Tulane in Dallas on January 2.
Will Penn State or Tennessee squeak into the New Year’s Six at 10-2? There’s likely not enough room for both and the final selection committee rankings will dictate where these teams. Tulane moves back in the Cotton Bowl projection this week following its win over SMU and UCF falling flat against Navy at home. The Cotton Bowl is always one to watch because one team often shows up motivated and the other? Not so much.
The Sugar Bowl would be fun. And a matchup against Clemson in the Orange Bowl would certainly be exciting.
But ultimately, I don’t think it really matters which bowl the Vols play in. Since the playoff is out of the picture, Tennessee’s main focus needs to be on winning 11 games (which obviously needs to start with beating Vanderbilt this weekend).
I think getting that 11th win and finishing 11-2 is far more important than reaching the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. I’m not saying Tennessee couldn’t win those matchups, just simply stating that getting to 11 wins is important regardless of which bowl game the Vols play in.
If Tennessee gets to 11 wins, most folks won’t remember which bowl game they won to get there. All they’ll remember is that Josh Heupel won 11 games in his second season. And that’s what really matters this postseason for the Volunteers.
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