Sep 15, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers linebacker A.J. Johnson (45) tackles Florida Gators tight end Omarius Hines (20) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Florida won by a score of 37 to 20. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee can't take bowl invitations for granted anymore.
Although most of Tennessee's preseason goals already are out of reach, the Volunteers (4-6. 0-6 SEC) still could earn the bowl bid that eluded them last season. They must win Saturday at Vanderbilt (6-4, 4-3) and Nov. 24 against Kentucky (1-9, 0-7).
Tennessee stayed home for the holidays and finished 5-7 last year after ending the season with a 10-7 loss to Kentucky, ending the Vols' 26-game winning streak vs. the Wildcats. That disappointment gives them extra incentive this year.
Tennessee hasn't failed to reach a bowl in back-to-back seasons since being left out four consecutive years from 1975-78. If the Vols don't become bowl eligible, they also would have three straight losing seasons for the first time since 1909-11.