Outlet changes the bowl projection in 2021 for Vols



Just three weeks ago, Brad Crawford of 247Sports predicted that the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, would host Tennessee football along with the TCU Horned Frogs at the end of the 2021 season. That’s where the Vols would have gone last year if a COVID outbreak hadn’t ended their postseason.

Well, Crawford changed things a little. His new, updated projections show the Vols are going to the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, formerly the Belk Bowl, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC, to play against the Florida State Seminoles. Now the Auburn Tigers will meet the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Liberty Bowl.

Of course, it would be a success if Tennessee football went to a bowl at all, as we wrote when those predictions came out a few weeks ago. There are a number of reasons for the uncertainty associated with such a projection.

The first uncertainty is obviously personal. UT went 3-7 last year, has a new head coach in Josh Heupel and has a bigger hit on the transfer portal than any program in the country. That alone makes it questionable whether they can even achieve bowl eligibility.

At the same time, an NCAA investigation is still ongoing into serious violations that resulted in Vols Heupel’s predecessor, Jeremy Pruitt, firing in the first place. With that in mind, we’re not sure Rocky Top won’t get a bowl ban this year.

However, if Crawford’s prediction is correct, that would be a far cut from the last time the Vols and FSU competed, famous for the national championship in 1998. It’s actually similar to the Vols’ game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2016 at the Music City Bowl, a far cry from the two’s games at the Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl in the late 1990s.

Still, the focus for Tennessee football this year would indeed be getting to a bowl game unless hit by a post-season ban. Crawford seems pretty confident they will make it, and his prediction alone is an encouraging sign of Heupel’s first season.


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