2. Finish the season with an overall winning record
Obviously, being able to reach a bowl game would make this a lot easier for Tennessee football. The Vols could then go 6-6 on the season and then win their bowl game. However, we still don’t know whether or not the NCAA will allow that.
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Combine such uncertainty with actually winning a bowl game, and the Vols’ best path to a winning record is through the regular season. We’ve already given them a baseline of five wins with their three non-Power Five opponents and the Vanderbilt Commodores and South Carolina Gamecocks in SEC play.
A path to seven wins could involve winning their one true toss-up game, the Pittsburgh Panthers, and then their bowl game. The other path, though, involves beating Pitt and then scoring an upset against one of three teams: The Ole Miss Rebels at home, Kentucky Wildcats on the road or Missouri Tigers on the road. Winning one of those is possible.
Of course, we’re ignoring the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs. The Vols have no shot at winning those games this year. They do have a shot in every other outing, should have five circled wins and should expect a sixth. Given those facts, a seventh is highly possible.