It was a chore getting these Tennessee Volunteers to bowl eligibility this season, but first year head coach, Derek Dooley has done just that. Once a mere formality in an otherwise hugely successful season, Tennessee has struggled of late to even make a bowl.
Tennessee went 5-6 in 2005 and missed its first bowl since 1988. Just three seasons later in 2008, the Vols went 5-7 and longtime head coach, Phillip Fulmer was fired. Tennessee went 7-5 last season under Lane Kiffin, but the Vols really had to sweat it out by winning their final four games in a row to finish 6-6 under Dooley.
While the Vols next opponent will not be officially known until Sunday, speculation has centered around the possibility of three different bowl destinations and numerous potential opponents.
Tennessee will likely not slip past the Music City Bowl. The Nashville bowl has wanted the Vols for many years, but Tennessee football is usually much more sought after as one of the top teams in the SEC.
There is also a possibility, however small, that Tennessee could wind up in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.
As of late, however, the possibility has been raised by Austin Ward of the Knoxville News Sentinel that, should the Outback Bowl continue its unique team picking methods of the past few seasons, the Vols could actually wind up in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida as well.
Over the next few pages we will attempt to cover every base and profile each potential Vols opponent.