KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Four games in November will decide Tennessee’s season.
A 2-2 record will send the Vols to their first bowl game since 2010, Derek Dooley’s first season. The Vols started that year 2-6, but won their last four games to reach bowl eligibility.
In 2013, the schedule is harder for first-year coach Butch Jones, but Tennessee must only win two of the final four games.
How likely are they to do so? We updated our Monte Carlo simulation after the Vols’ loss to No. 1 Alabama and tweaked some of the inputs to make them more consistent.
Here are the odds of Tennessee winning each of its last four games:
Nov. 2: @ Missouri: 23 percent
Nov. 9: vs. Auburn: 41 percent
Nov. 23: vs. Vanderbilt: 62 percent
Nov. 30: at Kentucky: 75 percent.
The odds listed above are educated guesses, but I tried to use a consistent method. I calculated an expected margin of victory based on Sagarin predictor ratings, which are sometimes similar to the point spreads set by Vegas. Then I converted the spread to a rough money line and converted the money line to an implied percentage.
Then I entered all the numbers in my make-shift simulator and ran the rest of the season about 1,000 times.
Here’s what it spat out:
4-0 finish, 8-4, 5-3 overall: 4.46 percent
3-1 finish, 7-5, 4-4 overall: 25.73 percent
2-2 finish, 6-6, 3-5 overall: 41.13 percent
1-3 finish, 5-7, 2-6 overall: 24.92 percent
0-4 finish, 4-8, 1-7 overall: 3.76 percent
The bold numbers give Tennessee bowl eligibility.
I ran a few smaller simulations just for the heck of it.
Missouri has a higher-than-I-expected 17 percent chance of winning out this season and a 45 percent chance of finishing 10-2, 6-2.
Will No. 1 Alabama finish the regular season with an undefeated record? My quick simulation put the odds at about 70 percent.