Tennessee football only needs one more win to become bowl eligible, and Missouri and Vanderbilt could make that easy for the Vols.
Tennessee football is in the same spot it was last year. Sitting at 5-5, only needing one more win to become bowl eligible with Missouri and Vanderbilt remaining in the season.
It didn’t work out in Tennessee’s favor last year with a 50-17 loss to Missouri and a 38-13 loss to Vanderbilt to finish the season 5-7.
Two losses that Tennessee couldn’t afford to two fairly good SEC teams. That’s not quite the case this year for the Vols as both Missouri and Vanderbilt have dropped off a bit after last season.
Missouri sits a 5-5, like the Vols, but has lost four in a row, including losses to Kentucky and Vanderbilt. This streak for Missouri opens a lot of holes in their game and will allow Tennessee to find those holes and pick them apart with two weeks to prepare.
Vanderbilt is also struggling, but much worse than Missouri. With just two wins on the year against Missouri and Northern Illinois, Vandy has been unable to buy a win in most situations.
That’s put head coach Derek Mason in a tough situation as he could be on the outs after this season. A win over Tennessee, though, could save his job, so I don’t expect Vandy to lay down in the season finale.
With the Vols having their second BYE week during Week 12, it offers Tennessee a chance to sit back and have a final full evaluation on Mizzou and Vandy.
In my opinion, Missouri and Vanderbilt will make this final two-game stretch much easier for Tennessee than they did last year. Both teams are playing increasingly bad football, while Tennessee continues to improve.
It’ll be important for Tennessee to jump out to an early lead as they’ll be on the road for the Missouri game.
The Vols need one win to lock in bowl game eligibility, but two wins to finish out the season would be huge in getting a good bowl bid.