The Tennessee Vols’ 2019 season will be considered a success if they reach a bowl game.
It’s that simple.
Win less than six games and the season is a complete disaster. Win at least six games, and the Vols have made progress.
247Sports is among the media outlets that believe the Vols will win at least six games and go bowling this season. They recently released their 2019 bowl predictions and they’re predicting Tennessee will play Syracuse in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte.
After not playing in a bowl game for two seasons, any bowl would be a big deal for the Vols.
But simply reaching a bowl game isn’t the most interesting prediction 247Sports made for Tennessee in 2019. They also think the Volunteers will “upset an opponent no one expects”.
That’s certainly an interesting prediction.
In 2018, no one expected Tennessee to upset Auburn on the road. So it wouldn’t be a shock if they pulled off another improbable upset in 2019 — especially since the program should be much better in year two of the Jeremy Pruitt era.
But who could it be?
When I made my game by game predictions for the Vols earlier this summer, I predicted they’d finish the season with a 7-5 record. That includes losses to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri.
If they beat Kentucky or Missouri it wouldn’t exactly be shocking. So I don’t think we could count either of those two games as the “unexpected win” (especially since UT beat UK last season).
I consider Alabama an automatic loss and the Georgia game is close to an automatic loss.
That leaves a win against Florida in the swamp.
Of the three games that are considered (by most) “automatic losses” for the Vols, the game against the Gators is the most winnable.
Wouldn’t that be something if Pruitt, in his second season as Tennessee’s head coach, led the Volunteers to an upset win over Florida in the swamp?
I think that would be a big enough moment to be considered a turning point for the program.
Vol fans should hope 247Sports nails their prediction, because a seven win season with a win against an “unexpected opponent” would absolutely be a wildly successful season for Tennessee.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports/