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Bowl Projections: The latest potential destinations for Tennessee

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Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennessee fell to 5-5 on the year over the weekend, dropping their matchup against No. 1 Georgia. The Vols now have to win one of their final two games to secure bowl eligibility, something they should be able to do with relative ease with South Alabama and Vanderbilt left on the slate.

The Volunteers are four-touchdown favorites against South Alabama on Saturday night. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but a 7-5 season seems to be where this is heading — a great success for Josh Heupel in year one after dealing with so many departures.

“It’s big because it shows progress in year one, just over the course of the season,” Heupel said of getting to a bowl in year one. “But then, the practices on the back end of it are instrumental in continuing to develop your young guys. You get another few weeks with them, strength and conditioning in the weight room, too. All those things are huge as you push your program forward.”

Now with just a couple of weeks until we find out the bowl destination, let’s take a tour around the web to see what the projections say.

Post Week 11 Bowl Projections

USA Today: Liberty vs. Kansas State

CBS Sports: Duke’s Mayo vs. N.C. State

Action Network: Music City vs. Minnesota

Sporting News: Music City vs. Penn State

College Football News: Music City vs. Minnesota

Athlon: Duke’s Mayo vs. N.C. State

Getting another shot at James Franklin — assuming he hasn’t left town by then — would certainly fire up the Tennessee fanbase. Franklin won two out of three against Tennessee during his time at Vanderbilt before taking the Penn State job. Interestingly enough, Franklin was connected to the Tennessee job before Danny White pulled the trigger on Heupel.

Speaking of guys connected to the Tennessee job, Dave Doeren’s N.C. State team is a popular projected opponent for the Volunteers. Doeren was famously ghosted by John Currie back in 2017 after talks broke down between the two sides due to negative social media reaction. Since then, Doeren has continued to win 8-9 games a year at N.C. State, 2019 aside.

Hot-board darling P.J. Fleck also makes a couple of appearances in these projections.

Where do you want the Vols to land and who do you want them to play?