Now I know what you’re thinking: Why on Earth is CBS televising a game as their featured contest when it’s between two teams with 2-4 SEC records? Well, it’s kind of out of their hands. There’s not really much they can do when the SEC is partaking in the SoCon challenge. I mean, sure, there’s matchups pitting the Arkansas Razorbacks and Mississippi St. Bulldogs as well as the Ole Miss Rebels and Vanderbilt Commodores. But with the SEC leaderboard all solved anyway... well, yeah.
Anyhow, Mizzou has already hit bowl eligibility so there’s no doubt that Drew Lock and the Tigers will be playing in December. Tennessee, however, is 5-5 and on the cusp. Funnily enough, the Vols are batting .500 in their last 10 seasons as it pertains to getting to bowl games, too. They have appeared in the Music City Bowl twice, with an Outback Bowl, Gator Bowl and Chick-Fil-A Bowl appearance sprinkled in, too.
Otherwise, you had the last season of the Phillip Fulmer era, the second and third (and final) seasons of Derek Dooley, and the first and last season of the ill-fated Butch Jones era.
So, Jeremy Pruitt, still aiming for progress, will be hoping to ensure that his first year at Tennessee ends in postseason play and not futility. There are just two chances left for the Vols to get there, so they will have to buckle down to try and make it happen.
Both teams come into this game on the heels of big victories. Tennessee scored a huge upset win over the then-12th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, 24-7. A boastful win indeed that certainly helped their aforementioned dreams of bowl eligibility. And one that also possibly knocked Kentucky out of contention for a New Year’s Six bowl, or at least just on the precipice. Mizzou, meanwhile, followed their strong showing against the Florida Gators two weeks ago with a 33-28 victory over Vandy. Tennessee also defeated Charlotte two weeks ago, so both teams carry with them two-game win streaks, too.
Tennessee’s defense was excellent against what is usually a typically great run game from UK. They held Benny Snell to just 81 yards on 20 carries and Asim Rose only attempted two rushes the entire game and got just nine yards. They will be facing a Mizzou team that’s wielding lots of talent on the offensive end, even if they haven’t played to their full potential this season. So they could — keyword, could — have their hands full.
Oh yeah, speaking of that Dooley guy: He’s Mizzou’s OC. I suspect he’ll be received well.
HOW TO WATCH
TV: CBS (Check local listings)
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT