Tennessee football’s resume, upcoming schedule boosted by Saturday

Tennessee players warm up before Tennessee's Homecoming game against UT-Martin at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.Kns Vols Ut Martin Bp
Tennessee players warm up before Tennessee's Homecoming game against UT-Martin at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.Kns Vols Ut Martin Bp /

In the course of one weekend, Tennessee football saw its stock shoot up even further beyond just being a 7-0 team that beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Vols now have multiple quality wins, and their schedule looks even more brutal than initially thought.

Rocky Top’s record includes four wins over teams who were in the top 25 when they faced them. Two are currently in the top 25, and one is in the top 10. Now, though, its remaining five-game schedule includes three games against top 25 teams, one that just entered.

Remember, UT knocked the LSU Tigers out of the top 25 just over two weeks ago by blowing them out 40-13 in Death Valley. How did LSU respond? Well they beat the Florida Gators on the road and then returned home to beat the undefeated Ole Miss Rebels. Brian Kelly’s team is now No. 18 in the AP Poll and No. 20 in the Coaches Poll.

What about Alabama? They came back and flat-out dominated a Mississippi State Bulldogs team that was in the top 25 to that point, so they remain No. 6 in both polls. Also, come on. It’s Alabama. We know they are going to stay elite no matter what.

Florida may be out of the top 25 still, but they did beat a Utah Utes team that is No. 14 in both polls. There’s a great chance they get back in there. The same doesn’t hold true for the Pittsburgh Panthers, who appear to be getting worse as the year goes on.

So what about the rest of the schedule? Well, the Vols face the Kentucky Wildcats this week, who are No. 19 in the AP Poll and No. 17 in the Coaches Poll. Then they visit the Georgia Bulldogs for what could be the game of the century. UGA is currently ranked No. 2.

Two weeks after that, though, it still doesn’t get any easier, as they have to visit a South Carolina Gamecocks team that is now in the top 25. Shane Beamer’s program is going strong after beating the Texas A&M Aggies last weekend, and before the Vols, they host the Missouri Tigers and visit the Vanderbilt Commodores and Florida.

Looking at that slate, 8-2 is a possibility when they host Tennessee football and 7-3 is a likelihood. Speaking of likelihoods, how is every team expected to finish? Well, Alabama is still going to be favored to win out, so they’d be an 11-1 team who lost to the Vols. Georgia is going to be favored in every game left as well.

Florida will probably lose to Georgia, but then it visits Texas A&M, hosts South Carolina and visits Vanderbilt and the Florida State Seminoles to close out the season. Who’s to say they can’t win all of those games and finish Billy Napier’s first year 8-4? At this point, they’re probably better than all of those teams.

LSU has Alabama but closes with the Arkansas Razorbacks, UAB Blazers and Texas A&M, all of which could be wins, so they could be 9-3. Kentucky, meanwhile, isn’t going any worse than 8-4, as the Vols and UGA will be the only teams that could beat them left.

Simply put, Tennessee football’s schedule is likely to end with two games against teams with at least 11 wins, another against a team with at least nine wins and two more against teams with eight wins. They could have a sixth against a team with at least seven wins, depending on how South Carolina finishes the year.

Next. Top five Vols performers in win vs. UT-Martin. dark

On top of that, the Vols will have played all seven of those teams when they were in the top 25, as they are bound to have played at least six of them when they were ranked. Taking that into account, this slate is turning out to be tougher than expected, even with Alabama on it and Pitt underachieving. That’s saying something.