Tennessee Volunteers

Updated win probabilities for the Vols after Week 2

As the data on 2017 continues to trickle in, let’s take a look at what to reasonably expect out of the Vols the rest of the way.

Explanations are below, but here’s the updated chart for this week. And just like last week, there’s a chance at the bottom of the post for you to contribute to the community survey on the same question.

The Vols after Indiana State

After a week of not knowing exactly what to make of a defense playing against Georgia Tech’s triple option, we’re now faced with not knowing exactly what to make of a team playing a middle-of-the-road FCS team.

What we do know is that the team got a lot of different players valuable reps on the field. They used two quarterbacks and five running backs, and nine different players caught a pass. Plus, the NCAA’s official stats say that 17 players have started both games, and, by my count, 71 guys have played in at least one game already this season.

So, that’s all good, but if we can’t really draw any conclusions about a poor defense against Georgia Tech, we also shouldn’t be too hasty about drawing any conclusions about that same defense against an FCS foe. So, woo for 100% on third down stops and all that, but it’s a muted woo.

We really can’t say much about the offense, either. Basically, we’re right around where we expected to be and don’t really know much more about the team than we did in the preseason, other than the identity of some of the guys on whom they’ll rely.

All of that is to say this: I’m not adjusting expectations about the Vols themselves at all after the first two weeks. I am making some adjustments based on Vols’ opponents, though.

The Vols’ past opponents

Georgia Tech (1-1, 0-0 ACC, NR)

  • W1: Lost to Tennessee 42-41 in double overtime.
  • W2: Beat Jacksonville State, 37-10.
  • W3: At UCF
  • W4: Pitt
  • W5: North Carolina
  • W6: Bye
  • W7: At #17 Miami
  • W8: Wake Forest
  • W9: At #3 Clemson
  • W10: At Virginia
  • W11: #16 Virginia Tech
  • W12: At Duke
  • W13: #13 Georgia

Oh, my goodness, Jacksonville State held Georgia Tech to 210 yards, less than half of what we did! Our defense must therefore be twice as bad as the . . . hold, please, while I look up the Jacksonville State mascot . . . Gamecocks!

Whatever. The Yellow Jackets had this game in hand long before it was over. Draw whatever conclusions you want, but I’m going to wait and see.

9/9/17: Indiana State (0-1, 0-0 MVFC, NR)

  • W1: Lost to E Illinois, 22-20.
  • W2: Lost to Tennessee, 42-7.
  • W3: At Liberty
  • W4: Bye
  • W5: At Illinois State
  • W6: North Dakota State
  • W7: At South Dakota
  • W8: S Illinois
  • W9: At Missouri State
  • W10: Youngstown State
  • W11: W Illinois
  • W12: At Northern Iowa

We got about what we expected from these guys.

The Vols’ future opponents

9/16/17: Florida (0-1, 0-0 SEC, #24)

  • W1: Lost to #11 Michigan, 33-17.
  • W2: Canceled game with N Colorado.
  • W3: #25 Tennessee
  • W4: At Kentucky
  • W5: Vanderbilt
  • W6: #12 LSU
  • W7: Texas A&M
  • W8: Bye
  • W9: vs #15 Georgia
  • W10: At Missouri
  • W11: At South Carolina
  • W12: UAB
  • W13: #10 Florida State

Expectations for a Vols win: No game, no change.

9/23/17: UMass (0-3, 0-0 IND, NR)

  • W1: Lost to Hawaii, 38-35.
  • W2: Lost to C. Carolina, 38-28.
  • W3: Lost to Old Dominion, 17-7.
  • W4: At Temple
  • W5: At #25 Tennessee
  • W6: Ohio
  • W7: Bye
  • W8: At #21 USF
  • W9: Ga Southern
  • W10: Appalachian State
  • W11: At Mississippi State
  • W12: Maine
  • W13: At BYU

Expectations for a Vols win: Goodness, UMass is having a tough time. They had 79 yards rushing, and, according to the lede from ESPN, got beat on a 7-yard quarterback sneak. That’s what it says. Keeping them at 96%.

9/30/17: Georgia (2-0, 0-0 SEC, #13)

  • W1: Beat Appalachian State, 31-10. QB Jacob Eason went down, but freshman Jake Fromm looked good and took care of business.
  • W2: Beat #24 Notre Dame, 20-19.
  • W3: Samford
  • W4: Mississippi State
  • W5: At #25 Tennessee
  • W6: At Vanderbilt
  • W7: Missouri
  • W8: Bye
  • W9: vs. #22 Florida
  • W10: South Carolina
  • W11: At #13 Auburn
  • W12: Kentucky
  • W13: At Georgia Tech

Expectations for a Vols win: The Bulldogs got it done against the Fighting Irish, as Jake Fromm went 16-of-29 for 141 yards with one touchdown and one interception. They also ran for 185 yards, but only got 4.3 yards per carry. They won the game late when Davin Bellamy sacked the Notre Dame QB and made him fumble. Bottom line, Georgia looks good, but they don’t look invincible. I am going to move them from 45% to 40%, though.

10/14/17: South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Beat NC State, 35-28.
  • W2: Beat Missouri, 31-13.
  • W3: Kentucky
  • W4: LA Tech
  • W5: At Texas A&M
  • W6: Arkansas
  • W7: At #25 Tennessee
  • W8: Bye
  • W9: Vanderbilt
  • W10: At #15 Georgia
  • W11: #22 Florida
  • W12: Wofford
  • W13: #3 Clemson

Expectations for a Vols win: Missouri led South Carolina 10-0 in the second quarter before making the mistake of allowing the Gamecocks’ Deebo Samuel to field a kickoff, which he promptly took directly to the scoreboard for the second week in a row. Samuel then scored again 15 seconds later on a jet sweep after an interception by Jamyest Williams. The question: Was Missouri’s 13 points, after the Tigers put up 72 last week, an indication that they’re not all that or an indication that South Carolina is? We won’t know for sure for a few more weeks, but right now, the Gamecocks do look like a serious contender. I’m moving them from 69% to 60%.

10/21/17: Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC, #1)

  • W1: Beat #3 Florida State, 24-7.
  • W2: Beat Fresno State, 41-10.
  • W3: Colorado State
  • W4: At Vanderbilt
  • W5: Ole Miss
  • W6: At Texas A&M
  • W7: Arkansas
  • W8: #25 Tennessee
  • W9: Bye
  • W10: #12 LSU
  • W11: At Mississippi State
  • W12: Mercer
  • W13: At #13 Auburn

Expectations for a Vols win: No surprises here. Keeping the Tide at 10%.

10/28/17: Kentucky (2-0, 0-0 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Beat Southern Miss, 24-17.
  • W2: Best E Kentucky, 27-16.
  • W3: At South Carolina
  • W4: #22 Florida
  • W5: E Michigan
  • W6: Missouri
  • W7: Bye
  • W8: At Mississippi State
  • W9: #25 Tennessee
  • W10: Ole Miss
  • W11: At Vanderbilt
  • W12: At #15 Georgia
  • W13: #17 Lousiville

Expectations for a Vols win: Hmm. Apparently, Kentucky was behind most of this game and needed two turnovers at crucial moments to pull it out. They’re probably going to be fine, but for now, I’m moving them from 65% to 70%.

11/4/17: Southern Miss (1-1, 0-0 C-USA, NR)

  • W1: Lost to Kentucky, 24-17.
  • W2: Beat Southern, 45-0.
  • W3: At UL Monroe
  • W4: Bye
  • W5: North Texas
  • W6: UTSA
  • W7: UTEP
  • W8: At LA Tech
  • W9: UAB
  • W10: At #25 Tennessee
  • W11: At Rice
  • W12: Charlotte
  • W13: At Marshall

Expectations for a Vols win: That 45-0 win over Southern this week might be more impressive than it seems, as Southern Miss had 28 of those 45 points in the first quarter. It probably shouldn’t matter much, but I am going to move them from 85% to 80% based on that game.

11/11/17: Missouri (1-1, 0-1 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Beat Missouri State 72-43.
  • W2: Lost to South Carolina, 31-13.
  • W3: Purdue
  • W4: #13 Auburn
  • W5: Bye
  • W6: At Kentucky
  • W7: At #15 Georgia
  • W8: Idaho
  • W9: At UConn
  • W10: #22 Florida
  • W11: #25 Tennessee
  • W12: At Vanderbilt
  • W13: At Arkansas

Expectations for a Vols win: See the discussion of South Carolina above. Never mind, I guess, about that 72-43 win over Missouri State last week, but I would keep an eye on these guys. For now, I’m moving the Tigers back to 70%, where I had them preseason.

11/18/17: LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC, #12)

  • W1: Beat BYU, 27-0.
  • W2: Beat Chattanooga, 45-10.
  • W3: At Mississippi State
  • W4: Syracuse
  • W5: Troy
  • W6: At #22 Florida
  • W7: #13 Auburn
  • W8: At Ole Miss
  • W9: Bye
  • W10: At #1 Alabama
  • W11: Arkansas
  • W12: At #25 Tennessee
  • W13: Texas A&M

Expectations for a Vols win: Watching that recap video makes LSU look impressive, but they were playing Chattanooga. So, I’m leaving these Tigers right at 25% for now.

11/25/17: Vanderbilt (2-0, 0-0 SEC, NR)

  • W1: Beat MTSU, 28-6.
  • W2: Beat Alabama A&M, 42-0.
  • W3: #19 Kansas State
  • W4: #1 Alabama
  • W5: At #22 Florida
  • W6: #15 Georgia
  • W7: At Ole Miss
  • W8: Bye
  • W9: At South Carolina
  • W10: W Kentucky
  • W11: Kentucky
  • W12: Missouri
  • W13: At #25 Tennessee

Expectations for a Vols win: I couldn’t tell you one thing about Alabama A&M, but 42-0 is pretty good, so I’m moving Vandy to 65%.

All of that puts me at 7.71 wins, but with 9 if I’m right on every game.


How would you set your win probabilities for the rest of the Vols games? Fill out this form, and we’ll compile the results and post them later this week:

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Gavin DriskillJoel HollingsworthWill SheltonEvan Recent comment authors
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so i’m starting to get a little nervous about Georgia. I know we shouldn’t over react to beating a ND team that could be good or garbage. But with Auburn’s o-line deciding that they rather watch their QB get chased and smashed by the other team than actually play football, I’m concerned that we fail to take the East even with a head to head win over Georgia and Florida. I know that’s a long way from now, and lots will happen. Or maybe South Carolina becomes the rival claimant to the SEC East. Here’s a picture for you: Florida… Read more »

Will Shelton

I’m at 8.45 now, edging ever-so-closely to 9-3 as the most probable outcome.

Gavin Driskill
Gavin Driskill

I’ve already forgotten what I submitted, but I think I was short of Joel…somewhere around 7.5 or 7.6 wins.

Tennessee, UK, and Mizzou have looked somewhat worse than I expected while Vandy and USCe have looked better than I thought. You combine all of those things and I’m fairly close to where I started despite picking up .3 to .4 expected wins by beating GT.