Well, it’s official. What we all knew to be true has been confirmed. The Vols, despite being 8-4, are one of the top 25 teams in the country. Tennessee fans already knew this because they’ve seen every game. And they’ve seen UT nearly beat two of the current top four teams (Oklahoma and those bastards in Tuscaloosa) and essentially lose on purpose the deciding game of the SEC East to a top 15 team.
But credit has finally been given to Butch Jones and his team, as the College Football Playoff Committee has now placed Tennessee 25th in their weekly rankings as the regular season has come to a close. And with UT’s huge fanbase and relative success, they’re an attractive team for a bowl committee. So here we are with the bowl possibilities for the Vols.
Location: Tampa, FL
Likely Opponent: Northwestern or Michigan
This is the most probable scenario. And rejoice, because Knoxville’s weather sucks this time of year. And although the state of Florida sucks, its weather is usually better there in early January than it is year. However, this would be Tennessee’s third time in this bowl in the past 10 years, and it’s a long, long, miserable-ass drive through all of Georgia and most of Florida. Probably take a gun with you.
Location: Memphis, TN
Likely Opponent: West Virginia
Although not as likely, this potential matchup has gotten a lot of buzz. The Liberty Bowl is far from prestigious but these guys want Tennessee because of its proximity. And also because watching two teams with hillbilly fanbases invade Memphis for a weekend could make for some great reality TV. Unfortunately, this bowl would undoubtedly be dubbed the “Meth Bowl.”
Music City Bowl:
Location: Nashville, TN
Likely Opponent: Penn State or Pittsburgh
Only going three hours down the road would give Tennessee a huge advantage over whichever of these unfortunate teams they would play. Playing Penn State would mean that UT has a shot for revenge against James Franklin, ex-Vandy Coach and professional Tennessee shit-talker. Playing Pittsburgh would mean going up against Pitt’s QB Nathan Peterman. You know, the guy that we made sit on the bench after not doing too hot in 2013. So, yeah. We’d either be playing against a huge asshole from a school that covered up child rape or against the guy with a vendetta against us in a city that’s biggest claim to fame is Wiz Khalifa. Fingers crossed for Tampa.
Location: Charlotte, NC
Likely Opponent: Duke or Miami
This one is a long-shot, thankfully. Charlotte is like Nashville – except not fun. Also, neither one of these teams have good fanbases. Duke football fans don’t exist and Miami fans don’t leave Miami. Seriously, watching Tennessee kick around Vanderbilt wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it could have been because Vanderbilt fans don’t come to Knoxville. Also, driving from Charlotte the next day through the mountains with a hangover isn’t prime.
There is also the chance that Tennessee goes to none of these games. Last year Vol fans had hotel rooms booked to Memphis when it was announced that Jacksonville was the destination. And if this season has taught you anything, it’s that anything can happen. Anything.