2. Vanderbilt Commodores
The Vanderbilt Commodores are in the same boat as the Kentucky Wildcats for this year’s Tennessee football team. However, these guys blew out the Vols in Knoxville last year, making them appear like a much more difficult game.
We’re going to call it more difficult overall because it is on the road. On top of that, the Vols have lost two straight to this team and four of the last six to them. So there are some major issues with the team down the road in Nashville.
These things could make Vanderbilt a toss-up likely loss game. However, we have to remember that the Vols were decimated by injuries by the time they faced Vandy the last two years. On top of that, last year, they had quit on the season after firing Butch Jones.
Let’s be honest, though. The Vols have significantly better athletes than Vanderbilt, and there’s no reason they should lose to them. So we have the ‘Dores as a likely win toss-up game. But they are more difficult than Kentucky, which is why we rank them higher for Tennessee football.
There’s no way around it. The Vols have to win this game. Again, they expect to get to a point at which Vanderbilt is a surefire win again. But this year, that’s not going to be the case. The Commodores are a team they can’t afford to take likely.
Vanderbilt and Kentucky are two toss-up games that they have to win. Then they can win their three surefire games to get to five wins. That’s why these two are so crucial. It means they only have to steal one other game to get to a bowl game. It can be against the two toss-up likely loss games or this next game.