Tennessee football: Ranking 2020 games by importance

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Here is a ranking of every Tennessee football Volunteers game by importance.

It’s pretty clear how hard the 2020 Tennessee football schedule is at this point. After dropping their four non-conference games, which included one top 10 team, and adding two more SEC teams, both in the top 12, getting to .500 is a much more brutal path for the Vols.

The goal has shifted from an 8-4 season to maybe a 6-4 season or even 5-5 with a bowl win. Jeremy Pruitt’s third team has to prove it’s taken some major step forward, but the ESPN FPI and advanced metrics show it’ll be hard to prove that with this year’s slate.

Obviously, finishing with a winning record is the best way for Tennessee football to show that given these circumstances. How the Vols are able to pull off such a feat depends on which teams they beat.

Taking that into account, there are certain games they need to be more focused on than others. Every year, the significance of each game varies. In this post, we’re going to rank every game on UT’s 2020 schedule by importance.

Our criteria for importance includes a few things. It looks at how much the loss will set back what should be the goal of a winning record, how focused the Vols need be for the outing given the quality of the team, and whether or not it gets in the way of other potential accomplishments such as rivalry wins or competing in the SEC East.

In the long run, Pruitt’s goal is to get Rocky Top back to the point where the toughest games on its schedule are also the most important. Despite being a top 25 caliber team, that’s not the case as much this year.

So while resetting our expectations, which games require the most attention? What could winning them do for the Vols? Let’s break all of that down here. This is our ranking of every game on Tennessee football’s 2020 schedule by importance.

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