Vols Path To Bowl Game Much More Manageable Following Victory Over South Carolina
Both Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach of ESPN have Tennessee making the Taxslayer Bowl; taking place on January 2nd at 7:00pm in Jacksonville, Florida. Formerly known as the Gator Bowl, the Taxslayer bowl usually puts a middle of the pack SEC team vs a Big Ten team of similar record. Bonagura has the Vols facing Indiana, a team that is already 6-2 and will likely finish with a better record than Tennessee but has not played anywhere near the strength of schedule. This would be an interesting matchup due to Indiana QB Michael Penix being a former Tennessee commit under the last coaching staff in the 2018 class. Schlabach has Tennessee facing Iowa in a very familiar matchup, as these 2 played each other in this exact same bowl game back in the 2014 season, where the Vols won 45-28. A lot has changed since then, as Iowa had an undefeated season the year after and has sat around the 8 win mark under long time head coach Kirk Ferentz. Meanwhile Tennessee, after
having back to back 9-4 seasons and has not been back to a bowl since 2016, and has underwent a coaching change during that time span.
Both of these matchups would be very intriguing for certain reasons but Tennessee has to finish first. With the momentum they have right now it’s hard to believe they can’t finish with the required 6 wins, and maybe 7 if they can pull an upset in Columbia, Missouri. It’s about to be a wild November in Knoxville.