3-9 to 5-7
Losing record, no bowl game
The bottom of the barrel for Tennessee football this year is 3-9. That would mean they lost all eight SEC games and to the BYU Cougars, only beating the Georgia State Panthers, UAB Blazers and Chattanooga Mocs. It is by far the worst of all the realistic possibilities in Jeremy Pruitt’s second season.
If the Vols go 4-8, however, it means they either beat BYU, the Vanderbilt Commodores or the South Carolina Gamecocks at home but lost to everybody else. There’s an outside chance they beat the Kentucky Wildcats on the road or the Mississippi State Bulldogs at home but lost to everybody else.
And if they go 5-7, then they likely beat the BYU AND either Vandy, South Carolina, Mississippi State or Kentucky on the road but lost to everybody else. Given the fact that UK is on the road this year, Vanderbilt and South Carolina are on three-game winning streaks against UT and Mississippi State is a top 25 caliber team, don’t count out the possibility of the Vols losing to all four.
Those are clearly their four best chances at SEC wins. BYU is more in the likely win category, but it’s not a guarantee, which is what makes the disastrous 3-9 a real possibility. But all of these fall under the same category.
If the Vols miss out on a bowl game for a second straight year, then Pruitt is going to have a very hard sell to recruits in the future. He has got to make the case that he’s building something, so any of these records is a worst-case scenario.