Hat Guy’s expectations for the Vols’ 2023 season: UPDATED (post-UConn)

Tennessee got a step closer to regaining control of its own destiny in the SEC East as Arkansas did us the favor of giving the Florida Gators another loss this weekend. Missouri failed to pull off the upset against the Georgia Bulldogs, but there’s still one more chance for someone to help the Vols in that department this weekend. Meanwhile, Tennessee needs to take care of its own business in two tough games the next two weekends. Here are the current SEC East standings:

Georgia 8-0
Missouri 5-2
Tennessee 3-4
Kentucky 3-5
Florida 3-5
South Carolina 3-5
Vanderbilt 0-7

As of Week 11, here’s what needs to happen for the Vols to get to the top of that list:

  1. Tennessee wins out. This would put the Vols at 6-2 in conference play. Georgia would have one loss, to the Vols.
  2. Georgia loses to Ole Miss this weekend. Missouri couldn’t upset the Dawgs Saturday, but Lane Kiffin and the No. 10 Ole Miss Rebels come to town to try it this week. Georgia is an 11.5-point favorite. Hat Guy has the Dawgs as 10-point favorites, SP+ -13.5. That game is Saturday at 7:00 PM on ESPN.

Can Tennessee win out?

What are the odds of the Vols winning out? Here’s how Hat Guy has done so far this year and how he views the possibilities.

Preseason W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 (Bye) W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12
VA TN -36 TN 49-13
AP TN 30-13
FL TN -13 FL 29-16
UTSA TN -8 TN 45-14
SC TN -15 TN 41-20
TAMU TAMU -14 TN -1.5 TN 20-13
AL AL -7 AL -3.8 TN -2.1 AL 34-20
KY KY -8 TN -7.7 TN -10.7 TN -6.2 TN 33-27
UCONN TN -32 TN -28 TN -26 TN -25.1 TN -21.7 TN 59-3
MO MO -3 TN -10.5 TN -4.2 MO -2.6 MO -1.6 TN -2.4 GA 36-7
GA GA -6 GA -8.8 GA -6.3 GA -9.3 GA -13.3 GA -8.1 GA -15.4 GA 38-10
VAN TN -17 TN -26.9 TN -25.7 TN -22.9 TN -29.8 TN -27.9 TN -26.6

Hat Guy has changed his mind three times about the Missouri game, but with the exception of one week, he’s always thought it was going to be close. Vegas currently has the Vols as 1- to 1.5-point favorites. Win a close one against the Tigers and have Ole Miss upset Georgia, and next week shapes up as a showdown for the SEC East. Georgia is still a heavy favorite in that one, but let’s get through this weekend and then get the Dawgs to Neyland and see what happens.

For reference, here are the records and schedules for the Vols and their future and past opponents:

Tennessee Volunteers

Argh. I hate Florida. And the fact that we count cross-divisional games to determine divisional standings. Don’t worry — I’ll change my tune if Ole Miss comes through this weekend.

The Vols’ future opponents


In classic good news/bad news, the Tigers played Georgia tough, meaning Georgia is not invulnerable to either Ole Miss or Tennessee, but also meaning that Missouri is going to be a difficult opponent for the Vols this week.



The Vols’ past opponents


Austin Peay

I know it’s FCS, but let’s give the Govs some credit here. They are probably better than UConn.


Honk if you would love to see the Gators finish the season with five losses.


South Carolina

Texas A&M




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3 months ago

What happens in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida all end up with two losses? Specifically, if Missouri beats Georgia but loses to Florida – and we win out. Then all three teams would have two division losses and equal 1-1 record against each other.

Doesn’t seem likely – but hey, crazier things have happened!