Jeremy Pruitt said, if offered, Tennessee Football would “absolutely” accept a bowl bid, but that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.
In almost any situation, Tennessee football participating in a bowl game would be a good thing for the program. It offers more national exposure and gives Tennessee fans something to look forward to in between the end of the regular season and the national championship.
It might not be a good idea if Tennessee accepts a bowl bid this year, though. If the Vols finish 2-8 or even 3-7, I don’t expect them to receive a bowl bid, but if they do, they shouldn’t accept it.
This is mostly because the coaching staff doesn’t deserve the bonuses that come with the bowl game. The coaching has been abysmal this season, so they shouldn’t be rewarded for their failures.
On the other hand, I want what’s best for the players. Most of the players on the team deserve the opportunity to play in one final game after the regular season comes to a close, but when you go 2-8, it’s hard to argue that Tennessee deserves to play in a bowl game over a mid-level team that had a more impressive season.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said on Wednesday that he’d accept a bowl bid regardless of Tennessee’s record.
"“Absolutely,” Pruitt answered. “You look at all the young men across the country that have came back. They came back when they had no idea what the circumstances were. They came back because they love the game and they wanted to have an opportunity to play.“Our guys continue to work really hard. This is one year we will probably have the majority of our team back next year. And it’s something they’re looking forward to.”"
Pruitt also mentioned that an opportunity to play in a bowl game would give the team extra practices, which would allow the younger players extra opportunities to develop.
"“Having the majority of your team back, just the opportunity to create routine,” Pruitt said. “Developing as an individual player, creating chemistry within your team. I think it’s a great opportunity any time you get a chance to do that. Obviously the more you do something, the better you get at it. I just think those opportunities can be very rewarding.”"
That’s good and all, but the issue with that is Pruitt isn’t prioritizing the right young guys over the older guys. Harrison Bailey should get all of the reps he possibly needs in practice, but I don’t think Pruitt is going to prioritize his future quarterback over Jarrett Guarantano because he magically gets extra practice days.
I know Bailey isn’t the only younger guy on the team that could take advantage of extra practice reps, but he’s an example of how Pruitt has mismanaged the younger players this season.
Tennessee could finish the season with a 5-5 record, but it would take three straight wins to finish the season. If Pruitt wants to finish with a .500 record, then he’ll have to start with a win against Florida this Saturday when the Vols and Gators kick-off at 3:30 ET on CBS.