Nov 23, 2022 - Sports

The Vandy-UT game suddenly feels like a big deal

Vanderbilt players shower coach Clark Lea with gatorade to celebrate the team's victory over Florida.

Vanderbilt players shower coach Clark Lea with Gatorade after the team's victory over Florida on Saturday. Photo: Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The complexion of the Vanderbilt-Tennessee football game has certainly changed in the last few weeks.

  • What seemed like a throwaway game between a national title contender and an SEC doormat has suddenly taken on much more significance.

State of play: The Commodores are riding high on a two-game winning streak after downing Florida last week. They need a victory to become bowl eligible.

What he's saying: "We're aware of the fact that we have a chance to extend our season," Vandy coach Clark Lea told the media yesterday.

  • AP sports reporter Teresa Walker points out the Dores haven't been bowl eligible since 2018, and the program endured a jaw-dropping 26-game SEC losing streak during that skid.

Meanwhile: The Volunteers are on the downswing after getting throttled by South Carolina and losing star quarterback Hendon Hooker, who's been in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy, to a torn ACL.

Yes, but: Despite the teams being on opposite trajectories, the oddsmakers are still heavily favoring the Volunteers, who are 14-point favorites according to DraftKings.

  • The playoffs may be out of reach, but Tennessee still needs a win in order to reach the best possible bowl game.

By the numbers: Tennessee has won three straight games against Vanderbilt, though the rivals have evenly split the last 10 games in the series.


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