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2019 Bowl Projections: Tennessee slotted for a return to Jacksonville

An early look.

Tennessee v South Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It’s just May 23rd, but honestly — who doesn’t love the first batch of bowl projections? Sporting News has hooked us up with their first look at the projected postseason field, and they think the Tennessee Volunteers will go bowling for the first time since the 2016 season.

They have the Vols landing in Jacksonville, playing the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Tennessee defeated Nebraska in the 2016 Music City Bowl, 38-24.

A matchup this year would offer an entirely new wrinkle of storylines, however. The two programs fired and hired new coaches during the same cycle, with Nebraska ending up with former Cornhusker quarterback Scott Frost. Tennessee, of course, landed on Jeremy Pruitt after the wildest coaching search you’ll ever see.

The connections don’t end there, however. Throughout the coaching swap at Tennessee, the Vols lost a commitment from four-star quarterback Adrian Martinez, who flipped to Nebraska before the early signing period. Martinez went on to start from day one, putting together a 2,600 yard season, along with 17 touchdowns. That early success has landed Martinez on some Heisman odds lists ahead of the 2019 season.

Sporting News projected a final four of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Texas. The national title game? You guessed it — Alabama vs. Clemson.

Other projections of interest include...

  • Georgia-Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl
  • Florida-Syracuse in the Orange Bowl
  • LSU-Wisconsin in the Citrus Bowl
  • Auburn-Penn State in the Outback
  • West Virginia-Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl
  • Houston-Vanderbilt in the Birmingham Bowl
  • Kentucky-Virginia in the Music City Bowl
  • Ole Miss-Florida State in the Belk Bowl
  • South Carolina-Wake Forest in the Independence Bowl