Tennessee finished off its season in style, grabbing their tenth win of the season in a 56-0 beatdown of Vanderbilt. The Volunteers trashed the Commodores on the ground, running right through the Vandy defense in the second half. It was a much needed bounce back moment for Tennessee, coming off of a loss to South Carolina last week.
Now, with everything that happened in front of them, Tennessee is in the driver’s seat for an Orange Bowl berth. LSU went down to Texas A&M, Oregon blew it against Oregon State and Clemson lost to South Carolina.
That should put Tennessee back to No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings, which would have them set for an at-large bid in the New Year’s Six. The Volunteers could obviously hop past Alabama to move to No. 6, but I doubt it considering the blowout loss to the Gamecocks. No matter what criteria you think they might use, recency bias and the eye test seem to win out every time.
So where does that leave the Volunteers with the regular season done? It certainly looks like a trip to Miami to play the ACC Champion is in order. Clemson will face North Carolina on Saturday night in Charlotte, and the winner will clinch their trip to the Orange Bowl.
Here are the latest projections.
Updated Bowl Projections (November 27th)
CBS Sports: Orange vs. Clemson
247Sports: Orange vs. Clemson
ESPN: Orange vs. Clemson
Athlon Sports: Orange vs. Clemson
Tennessee-Clemson sure would have some added spice after Dabo Swinney’s comments about Tennessee last week. The best part is, he turned around and lost to South Carolina too. How’s that for some instant karma?
The door is still open for Tennessee to land in the Sugar Bowl, but that likely depends on the committee’s thoughts on Tennessee vs. Alabama. And of course, should LSU somehow pull the upset against Georgia, the Volunteers would likely be knocked down to the Cotton Bowl.
One thing’s for sure, Tennessee will get that NY6 bid after a very impressive 10-2 season.