Tennessee football bowl possibilities

The Vols are anticipating a New Year’s Six Bowl invite on Sunday.
The Vols are anticipating a New Year’s Six Bowl invite on Sunday.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 3:29 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2022 at 10:46 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Four conference championship games will decide how the final pieces fit into this year’s college football bowl schedule.

Three unbeaten teams remain in No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU.

No. 4 USC is the top-one loss team, and the two teams on the outside looking in for a shot at the CFP are Ohio State and Alabama.

That Tennessee win over Vanderbilt meant the Vols could end up in a News Year’s Six Bowl game. The six New Year’s Eve bowls are the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.

The highest-ranked SEC team, not in the playoff, will play in the Sugar Bowl against a Big-12 team. For Tennessee to get into the Sugar Bowl, it would need to jump No. 6 Alabama.

Now either an SEC or Big-10 team gets a bid to the Orange Bowl to face an ACC team, which this year will be either Clemson or North Carolina. They’ll face each other on Saturday.

After the Sugar Bowl is filled, the opponent is the highest-ranked team remaining from the SEC, and a Big Ten team or Notre Dame. That Big Ten team would be Ohio State (if not in playoff or Rose Bowl), Alabama (if not in Sugar Bowl) or No. 7 Tennessee (if Buckeyes, Crimson Tide are not in those games). Tennessee last played in the Orange Bowl in 1997, falling to Nebraska in Peyton Manning’s final game as a Vol.

ORANGE BOWL:

Georgia, USC win: Tennessee or Ohio State vs. Clemson or North Carolina

Georgia, Utah win: Tennessee vs. Clemson or North Carolina

LSU, USC win: Alabama or Ohio State vs. Clemson or North Carolina

Georgia, Utah win: Alabama vs. Clemson or North Carolina

If the Sugar and Orange bowls don’t work out, the next stop for Tennessee would be the Cotton Bowl, which matches an SEC team against the American Athletic Conference champion, which will be either UCF (Josh Heupel’s former team) or Tulane. Tennessee last played in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M following the 2004 season.