Is the SEC still the best conference in college football? We think so. If you put the Vols in the ACC Coastal, they win nine or ten games next season.
Everyone wants to be the guy with the hot take. And, when it comes to college football that hot take usually is the SEC isn’t the best conference. Now, in fairness, conferences have caught up to the greatness of the SEC, still, they aren’t quite there.
“But, all the SEC has is Alabama,” they say. Although Nick Saban has created a dynasty at Alabama that isn’t entirely true. The SEC has won eleven National Championships since the BCS era, which started in 1998. And, it hasn’t been all Alabama.
In fact, the SEC has had five teams, including Alabama, win a National Championship in that span. The ACC won three titles with only two (Florida State, Clemson) different teams. I know, I know, what about Miami? In 2001 they were in the Big East, so that doesn’t count for the ACC.
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Put simply, Alabama is good but so is the SEC. And, when the conference is as good as it is that means the schedule is tough.
Right now Tennessee is the laughing stock of the SEC and the nation. There aren’t high expectations for the upcoming season. The Vols have arguably the toughest five-game stretch in the nation. A stretch that consists of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
However, if the schedule were easier the outlook of the season would be better. Say if, given the Duke Blue Devils’ schedule for the 2018 season, the Vols could win nine or ten games. Take a look how we got to that number.
The first four games are rather easy wins. Opening the season with Army would be a cake walk. Traveling to Northwestern could get tricky. The Wildcats are coming off a ten-win season, even if they backed into most of their wins playing in the Big10 West.
September 15 would bring a trip to visit former Vol Jalen Hurd at Baylor, which would also be a win. Then the Vols would wrap up the first four games moving to 4-0 with a win against NC Central.
After four games: 4-0
The next four games are where the Vols could slip up. Now, they could also win all these games. However, for this post, we will count toss-up games as losses.
September 29 is a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies. To be fair to this post, we will count that as a loss. A game at Georgia Tech follows, which would be a win for the Vols. They beat the Yellowjackets last season; they should be able to do it again. Virginia and Pitt would wrap up this four-game segment, which means two more wins for the Vols.
After eight games: 7-1
The last four games against Miami, North Carolina, Clemson, and Wake Forest would be the hardest four-game stretch on the schedule. Tennessee would love to have a tough stretch of games that included Wake Forest.
After 12 games: 9-3
After examining the schedule further, there really isn’t a possibility where the Vols would have a losing record. 7-5 might be the worst they would fall to. It goes to show the level of competition in the SEC.
There is some doubt, but the Vols have an opportunity under first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt to surprise the nation and have a good year. One thing is for sure if the Vols had Duke’s schedule they could easily win ten games.