Tennessee football: Five reasonable goals for Vols 2019 season

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Jeremy Pruitt of the Tennessee Volunteers brings his team onto the field prior to a game against the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers at Neyland Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennesee won the game 59-3. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Jeremy Pruitt of the Tennessee Volunteers brings his team onto the field prior to a game against the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers at Neyland Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennesee won the game 59-3. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /

4. Win a road game

Just like having two top 25 wins, Tennessee football won a road game in 2018 as well, beating the Auburn Tigers. However, just like the top 25 games, the Vols have a much more difficult road slate this year.

Again, two of their four road games are against top 10 teams, the Florida Gators and Alabama Crimson Tide. Another is against a borderline top 25 team in the Missouri Tigers. Their final road game, meanwhile, is at the Kentucky Wildcats, who lost to UT 24-7 last year and should be rebuilding but has still become a difficult out under Mark Stoops.

So, just as the Vols play fewer top 25 teams, they play fewer games away from home this year, even if they play the same amount of road games. Because of that, the goal of a top 25 win and a road win, like they had last year, is a bit steeper. And accomplishing it would be a big deal.

Kentucky is the most likely right now on the surface. The ESPN FPI, shockingly, also has the Vols as a slight favorite to beat the Missouri Tigers. That’s a testament, at least on paper, to how well Jeremy Pruitt has built up the roster.

However, both will be difficult. And Florida and Alabama are basically sure losses. Last year, UT’s only sure road loss was the Georgia Bulldogs. So they’ve gone from three possible road wins to two, making this goal a bit more difficult.