The customary “way-too-early” predictions we see in January mean very little.
This year’s predictions meant even less since the schedule was massively altered due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of playing 12 games (with eight conference games), the Tennessee Vols (and the rest of the SEC) will play a ten-game conference only schedule.
Tennessee’s new schedule isn’t exactly easy. In addition to the Vols’ already scheduled eight SEC games, they will also play Texas A&M and Auburn.
Recently, on the Big Orange Podcast, I suggested that a 5-5 season should be the floor for Jeremy Pruitt and UT in 2020. I feel like 6-4 would be a good outcome, while 7-3 would be better than expected (7-3 would likely mean wins over both Auburn and Texas A&M, or a win against one of those teams and a win against either Alabama, Florida or Georgia).
It appears that ESPN’s Football Power Index predictions do not agree.
ESPN’s latest FPI predictions has the Vols winning just four games. They have Tennessee beating Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Vanderbilt.
I mean, this is insane. The Vols are suddenly losing to South Carolina after owning the Gamecocks last season? With Will Muschamp on the hot seat? I just don’t see it.
5-5 is reasonable. 4-6 isn’t. And it’s not happening.
In fact, I feel comfortable saying that 6-4 is way more likely than 4-6.
Tennessee has been progressing well under Pruitt so far. That progression will continue in 2020. There’s no way the Vols regress like ESPN’s FPI is predicting.
Featured image via Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports