KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WATE) – Now that Tennessee is bowl eligible for the first time since the 2016 season, where are the Vols headed?
Your guess is as good as ours, but here are the possibilities.
The Vols became bowl eligible Saturday night with a 24-20 conference win over Missouri.
In a bowl outlook updated after Saturday’s play, 247Sports says, according to its sources, the SEC representative in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl will be either Kentucky or Tennessee.
The national sports site says the likely opponent is Iowa State. But 247Sports is slotting Tennessee in a Florida bowl.
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
“We’re still hearing positive things about the Vols’ shot at Jacksonville, especially following Saturday’s victory at Missouri – — Tennessee’s fourth straight win. If Jeremy Pruitt’s team takes care of business vs. Vanderbilt next week, we think this is where the Vols end. The Music City Bowl and Liberty Bowl are also options for a 7-5 Tennessee squad.” 247Sports said.
The opponent? Potentially, Iowa in a rematch of Jan. 2, 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl game that Tennessee won 45-28. Michigan also has gotten a mention.
The TaxSlayer Gator Bowl is Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
College Football News has the Vols playing in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Iowa State. The Vols haven’t played in the Liberty Bowl in more than three decades, on December 29, 1986, when Tennessee beat Minnesota, 21-14.
The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is Dec. 31 at 3:45 p.m. on ESPN.
Music City Bowl?
Another bowl that is mentioned in connection with Tennessee is the Music City Bowl in Nashville, a fan favorite. Tennessee last played the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30, 2016, when it beat Nebraska 38-24.
The Music City Bowl is Dec. 30 at 4 p.m. on ESPN.
Neither 247Sports nor College Football News is projecting Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.
With another week of regular-season games and conference championship games after that, projected bowl matchups will change before the official invitations go out.
Here is the bowl selection process for the SEC. After the College Football Playoff/New Year’s Six bowls are selected, the Citrus Bowl gets the first selection of available SEC teams.
After the Citrus Bowl selects, there are the “Pool of Six Bowls.”
The “Pool of Six Bowls” (Outback Bowl, TaxSlayer Bowl, Music City Bowl, Texas Bowl, Belk Bowl, and Liberty Bowl) and the SEC make the assignments from the eligible SEC teams.