The odds of a trip to the postseason have slipped from about 80 percent after Tennessee gained a big win against South Carolina to just under 50 percent today after blowout losses to Alabama and Missouri.
Here are the estimated odds of Tennessee winning each of its last three games:
Nov. 9: vs. Auburn: 28 percent (down from 41 percent)
Nov. 23: vs. Vanderbilt: 53 percent (down from 62 percent)
Nov. 30: at Kentucky: 64 percent (down from 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. In the case of the Auburn game, I used the actual Vegas spread.
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:
8-4, 5-3 overall: Eliminated (from 4.46 percent last week)
7-5, 4-4 overall: 11.32 percent (down from 25.73 percent)
6-6, 3-5 overall: 35.83 percent (down from 41.13 percent)
5-7, 2-6 overall: 40.16 percent (up from 24.92 percent)
4-8, 1-7 overall: 12.70 percent (up from 3.76 percent)
The records in bold would qualify the Vols for bowl eligibility. The simulation gives that a 47 percent chance of happening.
Through about 1,000 simulations, the mean number of UT wins was 5.46.
So, as has been the case for most of the season, the best guess for the Vols’ final regular season record is 5-7 or 6-6.