The latest bowl game projection for the Tennessee Vols indicates that UT will cross an important milestone in 2022.

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm recently revealed his latest bowl game projections for this season and he has the Vols playing Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on January 2 in Orlando, FL.

If Tennessee reaches the Citrus Bowl in 2022, it would mean a successful season for the Vols.

That’s because an appearance in the Citrus Bowl would likely mean that Tennessee would be playing for its 10th win of the season.

Tennessee Vols
Oct 9, 2021; Knoxville, TN, USA; From left, Tennessee linebacker Solon Page III (38), defensive back Trevon Flowers (1), and linebacker Aaron Beasley (24) celebrate a fumble recovery against South Carolina in the NCAA college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the South Carolina Gamecocks in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Brianna Paciorka-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2010, every SEC team to reach the Citrus Bowl — except LSU in 2016 and 2017 — has won at least 10 games.

  • 2021 — Kentucky, 10-3
  • 2019 — Alabama, 11-2
  • 2018 — Kentucky, 10-3
  • 2017 — LSU, 9-4 (lost Citrus Bowl to Notre Dame)
  • 2016 — LSU, 8-4 
  • 2015 — Florida, 10-4 (lost Citrus Bowl to Michigan)
  • 2014 — Missouri, 11-3 
  • 2013 — South Carolina 11-2
  • 2012 — Georgia, 12-2
  • 2011 — South Carolina, 11-2
  • 2010 — Alabama, 10-3 

(Note: This list skips the 2020 COVID-19 impacted season.)

The Citrus Bowl obviously isn’t the goal for the Vols (insert Steve Spurrier quip here), but it would still be a great outcome in Heupel’s second season at the helm.

Tennessee has to crawl before they can walk. And their first trip to the Citrus Bowl since the 2001 season (the Vols went 11-2 that season) would show that Heupel and his staff are making significant progress.

Winning 10 games in a season for the first time since 2007 is the next big milestone the Vols need to cross on their way to the top of the SEC East. If they can get there in Heupel’s second season, it would certainly be a great sign that the program is on the right track.

Featured image via Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK