Last bowl game projection for the Tennessee Vols in 2022

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247Sports released its latest bowl game projections this week for the 2022 season and they have the Tennessee Vols heading to Florida in January.

247Sports’ latest bowl game screening has the Vols playing NC State in the Tampa Bay Bowl (formerly the Outback Bowl) on January 2.

From 247Sports:

Formerly known as the Outback Bowl, this game in Tampa pits two teams with extremely high expectations against each other. NC State is a borderline top-10 team with one of the most favorable schedules in the country after nearly winning the ACC Atlantic last fall. With 17 returning starters, including one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Devin Leary, this could be a special season in Raleigh for the Wolfpack. And Tennessee is brimming with confidence heading into Josh Heupel’s second season as a potential SEC East finalist behind Georgia.

Sep 18, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles quarterback Willie Miller (6) is tackled by Tennessee Vols linebacker Tyler Baron (9) and linebacker Roman Harrison (30) during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee last played in the Tampa Bay Bowl in early 2016 (after the 2015 season) against Northwestern. The Vols, who were then coached by Butch Jones, won that game 45-6 for their ninth victory of the season.

UT also played in the Tampa Bay Bowl in early 2007 (after the 2006 season) against Penn State. Tennessee lost that game 20-10.

The last five teams to reach the Tampa Bay Bowl (excluding Ole Miss in the shortened 2020 pandemic season) had won at least eight games during the regular season. Auburn, which played in the Tampa Bay Bowl after the 2019 season, won nine games in the regular season (the Tigers lost to Minnesota in their bowl game).

If this is the bowl game Tennessee reaches, it will likely mean eight or nine regular season wins and a second or third place finish in the SEC East. This is on par with most predictions/expectations we’ve seen for Flights in 2022.

Tennessee just needs to show progress this coming season. Winning eight or nine regular season games would show that Josh Heupel is still moving the Vols in the right direction.

Featured Image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

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