The offseason underwent yet another change on Friday when the SEC made its schedule additions official.
As we discussed here at Rocky Top Talk, it wasn’t the best outcome for the Vols. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Vols now have the seventh-toughest schedule in the country after Friday’s additions.
Pundits and fans had the Vols pegged for an 8-4/9-3 season before the proverbial crap hit the fan. Obviously, that changes after Friday.
The good news? The Vols went 5-3 in SEC play last year and 4-2 in the SEC East. The Vols should be able to recapture wins against Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Missouri, and Kentucky. Tennessee also gets to play Arkansas, who is the worst team in the entire conference.
The bad news? Well, the Vols swap out three cupcake matchups for two top-15 opponents in Auburn and Texas A&M. When you combine them with three top-10 opponents in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, then you can see why the other half of Tennessee’s schedule is not as appealing.
Our own Clint Eiland wrote a somewhat-related piece on win shares predicting Tennessee’s record a few days ago and the final number came out to a 5.8 win total on the season.
That’s accurate. Look at it this way: This is the year in which the Vols need to show that they are an improving team and heading in the right direction. If that’s to be the case, then they should be able to beat their eastern counterparts a la 2019. When you look at the prospect of Arkansas, then that should get them to five wins on the season.
But the true mark of progress would be taking down one of the five ranked opponents. All five teams are considered either powerhouses or major players in the SEC in 2020. If the Vols want to show that they are on their way back, then it’s obvious that they will need to beat one of these teams.
That’s why six wins should now be the floor for 2020. Granted, the SEC could rearrange the schedule over the next few weeks to change this opinion (let’s hope not), but as for now, this should be the starting point when talking about wins in 2020.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the pros think. ESPN’s FPI currently has the Vols at 4-6 on the year after Friday’s changes. It depends on the quality of the four wins, but that would likely be a disappointment for the program.
What do you think should be the Vols’ floor in 2020? Let us know via the poll/comment section below!
What’s the floor win-wise for Tennessee in 2020?
This poll is closed
4-6 or worse
7-3 or better