Saturday, Nov. 27; Neyland Stadium; Knoxville, Tenn.
Playing the Vanderbilt Commodores with a bowl game on the line hasn’t served Tennessee football well in recent years. The only time they actually pulled of such a victory was in 2014, Derek Mason’s first year, to get to 6-6.
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However, the Vols lost to Vandy in the next to last game of the season in 2005, 2012 and 2013, all of which cost them a bowl. They then lost to them in the last game of the season in 2018, the last time they had a first-year head coach, and that also cost them a bowl. Simply put, playing Vandy with a bowl on the line is never a good situation for UT.
That’s the exact situation the Vols will be in here, though, and the one time they did win in this situation, it was against a first-year head coach. Well, they’re facing a first-year head coach again in Clark Lea. Beyond that, Vandy is a program in much worse shape than when Mason took over. UT blew them out last year and gets them at home this year.
Lea is another defensive specialist, and that’ll be enough to stop Josh Heupel’s offense from dropping 50. However, Vandy won’t score at all, and the Vols will dominate from start to finish. They’ll close the regular season with a 6-6 record and tie for fourth in the SEC East with UK.