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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1. Win all four non-conference games

There is no goal of greater importance than this one. In fact, we went from reasonable goals for Tennessee football on our first four pages to an absolute must on our final page. And they have no excuses not to do this.

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The Vols hit the lottery with four home games in the SEC, one against a team that was 2-10 last year, another against an FCS team, and another against a Group of Five team that, despite being very successful in 2018, loses everybody.

Only the BYU Cougars pose any decent threat to the Vols. Yes, they count as this team’s Power Five opponent. The UAB Blazers are interesting because of Jeremy Pruitt’s connections there, but BYU is the real story.

If the Vols don’t win all four of these games, they will almost certainly not have a winning record this year. That’s not to say they can’t rebound after a loss to, say, BYU. But losing to BYU would signify that the program is simply not good enough yet to do what they need to do in SEC play.

On the other hand, if they do what they should do and win all four of these games, then they have a very reasonable shot at making a bowl game as the bare minimum accomplishment. How could this team not get two SEC wins after doing it last year?

What’s even better is if they hit all the other goals on this list, they will have at least eight wins. That’s because this goal is four wins. The winning record at home in the SEC means seven wins. A road victory means eight wins. The other two, if accomplished separately, could actually get UT to nine or 10 wins.

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Simply put, all of these are reasonable goals for Tennessee football to set, and if they accomplish all of them, they will have had a very good season. Last year, the Vols only accomplished two of them, but they accomplished a third, winning all four non-conference games, the year before. So Even in down years, these accomplishments are possible.