By Jimmy Hyams
I would never consider 6-6 to be a good season at Tennessee.
In some years, a .500 record would be acceptable – like this year. But by Tennessee’s standards, that would never be a good season.
And I’m not a fan of 6-6 teams going to bowl games.
But this season, because there are 40 bowls, there is a chance that Tennessee at 5-7 could get an invite to a bowl. That all depends on how many 5-7 teams are needed to fill the bowl slots and your academic standing.
Jeremy Pruitt is in his first year as Tennessee’s coach. He’s doing everything he can to improve a team that his short on talent, strength and speed.
If UT went 5-7 and got invited to a bowl, would he accept?
“Absolutely,’’ he said when I asked him that question on the SEC teleconference earlier this week.
Pruitt said his team “needs as many games as it can get,’’ which, if you’re going to a bowl, means potentially 15 more practices.
Pruitt said his team needed 45 practices in the spring, not the 15 allotted.
Two 5-7 SEC teams in recent years have been invited to a bowl – Missouri and Mississippi State.
Missouri declined a bid after a 5-7 season and the retirement of coach Gary Pinkel.
Mississippi State accepted in 2016 and won the St. Petersburg bowl to finish 6-7.
Some would argue that a program as proud as Tennessee’s should NOT accept a bowl bid with a losing record. But it’s hard to argue when Pruitt says his players need more practices.
Last week: 6-1
Recap: We picked Auburn 27-23 over Texas A&M and Tigers won 28-24 … We picked South Carolina by 3 over Ole Miss and Gamecocks won by 4 … We weren’t close on the margin of victory for Alabama over LSU, Mississippi State over Louisiana Tech, Georgia over Kentucky … The UT-Charlotte game was closer than we anticipated, although we did take the under at 22 points … We completely blew Missouri blowing out Florida.
This week’s picks:
Alabama 45-17 over Mississippi State
Kentucky 24-17 over Tennessee
Florida 24-20 over South Carolina
LSU 30-24 over Arkansas
Georgia 30-20 over Auburn
Texas A&M 40-31 over Ole Miss
Missouri 34-24 over Vanderbilt