After losing to the Georgia Bulldogs on the road, Tennessee Football (8-1, 4-1) is ranked No. 5 across the board. The Vols dropped three spots in the AP Poll, two spots in the Coaches Poll and four spots in the College Football Playoff ranking, currently one spot out.
However, luckily for Josh Heupel’s team, the season is far from over. Below is the current top 10 as of Tuesday night:
- Georgia Bulldogs (9-0)
- Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0)
- Michigan Wolverines (9-0)
- TCU Horned Frogs (9-0)
- Tennessee Volunteers (8-1)
- Oregon Ducks (8-1)
- LSU Tigers (7-2)
- USC Trojans (8-1)
- Alabama Crimson Tide (7-2)
- Clemson Tigers (8-1)
Reality came back to Tennessee football Saturday afternoon in Athens, Ga. After smoking teams all season, it all came crashing down. The atmosphere in Sanford was electric, and the Bulldogs defense was standing on their head all game.
The game can be dissected in one of two ways: the Bulldogs exposed Tennessee football as a bunch of pretenders who got lucky all season, or, this was simply a necessary wake-up call for the championship contending Volunteers. Which one was it?
There’s no denying that the Vols’ offense is electric, and virtually unstoppable when they are clicking, but do they have anything to fall back on if Hendon Hooker is struggling? There were several key plays in the game last Saturday that could have ultimately changed the entire outcome of the game.
Big haymakers that UT had been hitting all season came up just short and led to the inevitable outcome. The deficit was too much to climb in the second half, and it’s back to the drawing board for Heupel and his troops.
Over the combing days, the Vols will need to rebound and shift their focus over to the Missouri Tigers, who will be heading to Neyland Stadium Saturday. It’s the first time all year they have to deal with looking past a loss.
Even with that loss, Tennessee football still somewhat controls its destiny. If the Vols can win out, they might be able to sneak their way in. According to ESPN, they still hold over a 60% chance to make the playoffs. The current No. 4 seed, TCU Horned Frogs, only holds a 17% chance.
Do what you will with this information, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is counting out the Vols after the loss on Saturday. Another team to watch out for is the Oregon Ducks. They are a sneaky team, who has been quietly sneaking up the polls and currently sit at No. 6.
Countless scenarios could lead to any of the top 10 teams making it into the playoffs, and time will only tell which one comes true. But for now, the Vols need to look ahead and focus on winning out the rest of the season.