News that Georgia's Mark Richt has taken the Miami job and will not coach the Dawgs in their bowl game significantly enhances Tennessee's standing in the SEC's group of six. The Vols were also helped by appearing in the College Football Playoff Top 25 this week.
The majority opinion continues to send Tennessee to Tampa to face Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. This would put Tennessee back on January 1 and, most importantly, give Tennessee a Top 15 opponent. However, the Northwestern name may not be as exciting to some Tennessee fans as others on the board.
Tennessee is also a desired option in Nashville, where the Vols haven't been in the Music City Bowl since 2010. Obviously Nashville is easier on your holiday travel budget, but the opponent here would make the biggest difference. Way back in August we picked the realistic opponents we'd most like to see in a bowl game. And at the top of that list: James Franklin and Penn State.
The Nittany Lions finished the year on a three game losing streak to Northwestern, Michigan, and then a total beat down against Michigan State. However, their name recognition still goes a long way, as does their three game winning streak on the Vols in bowl games after the 1991, 1993, and 2006 seasons. And Franklin's presence adds to the revenge factor, with the former Vanderbilt coach and Vol nemesis getting the best of Tennessee in 2012 and 2013 before leaving Nashville for State College.
So, which would you rather see? Tennessee on January 1 in Tampa against a Top 15 Northwestern team, or the Vols in Nashville on December 30 with a chance for revenge on James Franklin and Penn State?