With no game to break down this week, let’s look ahead at the rest of the schedule. How many wins can this young, rebuilding team come up with? Sitting at 2-3, getting to six wins is going to be a real challenge. Are they up for it? Let’s talk about it game by game, complete with projected win percentages from S&P+.
At Auburn: Not likely, but not impossible either.
S&P+: Tennessee has a 15 percent chance to win.
A 15 percent chance seems about right.
Auburn’s struggles against Southern Miss coupled with Tennessee’s decent showing in Athens last weekend have some fans circling this one on the calendar. Jeremy Pruitt will get two weeks to prepare for a team that he knows a ton about already. The ingredients seem to be there, but is this Tennessee team talented enough to pull off something like this?
The Tigers rank 11th in total offense in the SEC so far, just one spot ahead of Tennessee. Jarrett Stidham is struggling and now has to go on the road to face Mississippi State before the Vols come to town.
I’ll be fascinated to what Vegas thinks about this one next week.
Alabama: lol no.
S&P+: Tennessee has a 7 percent chance to win.
Seven percent seems pretty high, doesn’t it?
Nick Saban will win by however many points he wants to win by. That’s not even an insult to Tennessee. This just might be the best Alabama team we’ve ever seen assembled with Tua Tagovailoa running the show.
At South Carolina: Should be a dogfight.
S&P+: Tennessee has a 26 percent chance to win.
I disagree with the S&P+ number here. The Gamecocks... just aren’t very good. South Carolina was expected to challenge for the second best team in the SEC East, but that’s not happening so far. They were never in the game with Georgia and Kentucky just beat them fairly convincingly. They did handle Vanderbilt easily, but the Commodores just struggled with Tennessee State too.
This will be the first game following the Florida-Georgia-Auburn-Alabama stretch for Tennessee and it’s going to be interesting to see how much better the Vols can get in that time.
South Carolina just isn’t all that scary. Jake Bentley has thrown six picks in SEC play so far. A good defensive effort and a mediocre offensive day should give the Vols a shot in Columbia.
Charlotte: Definite win.
S&P+: Tennessee has a 93 percent chance to win.
The 49ers are sitting 2-3 and just lost by 21 to UAB. This should be a much needed breeze.
Kentucky: Probably not.
S&P+: Tennessee has a 25 percent chance to win.
Strange times. The Wildcats are legitimately good. They put it on Florida and pulled away late in the swamp. They beat South Carolina by two touchdowns. They beat Mississippi State by three touchdowns. They continue to pass each test with flying colors.
Benny Snell and Terry Wilson are the real deal, forming a big time problem for opposing defenses. Kentucky is just flat better than Tennessee this year and should get their first win inside of Neyland Stadium since 1984.
Missouri: Edge goes to the Tigers, but it’s winnable.
S&P+: Tennessee has a 33 percent chance to win.
We’ve only gotten one look at Missouri so far in SEC play and they put up a decent fight against Georgia. Easy wins over UT-Martin and Wyoming didn’t tell us much, but a struggling Purdue team did take them to the wire.
We’ll figure out who Missouri is soon with South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida coming up over the next five weeks. Regardless of how they look in those, Drew Lock is going to be a challenge for this young secondary. It would be hard to trust this offense in a shootout environment.
At Vanderbilt: A true toss-up.
S&P+: Tennessee has a 46 percent chance to win.
How will the Commodores finish? They had me fooled around this time last year before Alabama ended their season. Just when you think Vanderbilt is showing legitimate improvement, they nearly get taken down by Tennessee State.
Vanderbilt lost seven of their last nine in 2017, but one of those two wins came against Brady Hoke and Tennessee. It’s hard to get a feeling one way or another on this one right now. Tennessee is showing some signs of slow progress — how much better can they get by Thanksgiving?
So to recap, this how I see it.
Absolutely possible: South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Missouri
Probably not, but maybe: Kentucky, Auburn
Absolutely not: Alabama
The chance of getting to a bowl game remains small. Better than expected Kentucky makes things a little bit tougher here. It’s still going to depend on the development of this team over the next month. We’ve seen the secondary take some steps forward, now we’re seeing Darrell Taylor starting to establish himself on the edge. Some guys on the offensive side need to follow that lead.
Personally, I think they get to five wins. I’ll say they beat Charlotte, South Carolina and Vanderbilt to get there.
Things change fast in college football, but how do you see the rest of the schedule playing out as of today? Let us know below.