First Draft of 2023 Expectations

Plug in the win total machine and what do you get? A fitting 8.65 expected regular season wins for the Vols in 2023. That would make 9-3 our most expected outcome this fall.

We’ve been running this thing since 2017, making this easily the highest total we’ve seen in terms of preseason expectations:

  • 2017: 7.94
  • 2018: 6.65
  • 2019: 6.55
  • 2020: 5.40 (10 game schedule)
  • 2021: 6.74
  • 2022: 8.10
  • 2023: 8.65

Good news for Josh Heupel: he’s two-for-two on the over.

Here’s the game by game breakdown from our fan community:

  • vs Virginia: 81.5%
  • Austin Peay: 98.5%
  • at Florida: 63.9%
  • UTSA: 92.0%
  • South Carolina: 73.2%
  • Texas A&M: 65%
  • at Alabama: 32.9%
  • at Kentucky: 67.8%
  • UConn: 91.6%
  • at Missouri: 75.6%
  • Georgia: 33.0%
  • Vanderbilt: 90.1%

A couple of things that jump out on the first pass:

We view the odds at Alabama & vs Georgia to be equal

The week of the Alabama game last year, fans gave the Vols at 38.3% chance of victory. That number rose to 46.1% to win in Athens the week of that showdown. If the Vols do their part, be assured the numbers will rise as we approach kickoff.

From April, these are the healthiest numbers against these two since we’ve been running the win total machine, by far. Last year in Week 1, fans gave the Vols a 19.8% chance to beat Bama and a 22.6% chance to beat Georgia.

What is Tennessee’s third-most difficult game?

The numbers say it’s still our friends from Gainesville, in what largely appears to be our final annual meeting after seeing each other every fall since 1990. Florida joins the triumvirate with Texas A&M and at Kentucky for the three games most likely to produce Tennessee’s third loss, if you believe Alabama and Georgia will be one and two.

A projection that avoids the word “rebuild” and would court the word “playoff” in 2024

This, again, is the most important part. Tennessee is getting ready to send a boatload of players to the NFL Draft; we’ll talk more about that next week. But Josh Heupel and crew have recruited and developed well enough to not expect Tennessee to fall off the face of the earth, or even entertain the idea of a rebuilding year after an 11-2 finish. It’s a win higher than what we projected in 2017 after the 2016 squad sent the last boatload to the NFL.

And a season where you think 9-3 is your most likely outcome is probably one win to the positive away from a 12-team playoff, if you’re 10-2 in the SEC. If such a thing existed in 2023, we’d be telling ourselves we had a shot. That’s the real prize that 2022 created for us. So while we’re not talking about playoffs in 2023 until we see what we can do with Alabama, Georgia, and the rest?

We’re in the right conversation overall.

Go Vols.

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Mr B
Mr B
11 months ago

Love the Vols being in a position to run the table, you never know. Go Vols!