Vols’ bowl chances drop to 29 percent, but 2-0 finish still possible (with video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee Vols keep losing and its opponent keep looking tougher.

Those have been the two big reasons the Vols’ likelihood of being bowl eligible has continued to slip in each week of our projections.

After Tennessee’s third consecutive loss and Vanderbilt’s impressive win at Florida, I’m now projecting the Commodores as a 2-point favorite at Neyland Stadium on Nov. 23 based on the current Sagarin ratings. That drops the Vols’ estimated likelihood of winning to 47 percent (down from 53 percent the last time we ran the simulation.

If Tennessee loses to Vanderbilt, the final game at Kentucky on Nov. 30 won’t matter as much. I’m giving the Vols a 4-point edge based on the Sagarin ratings, although I predict the actual point spread (and the final score) will be larger. In any case, that gives UT a 62 percent chance of winning (down from 64 percent a week ago).

With only two games left, running a simulation really isn’t necessary. We can quickly calculate the odds of going 2-0 (29.1 percent), 0-2 (20.1 percent) and 1-1 (50.8 percent).

We ran the simulation about 1,000 times and it was, in fact, very close to those numbers. (The longer I run the simulation, the more it should approach the numbers above).

Simulated results of UT's season, updated Nov. 10, 2013

The Vols’ likelihood of making a bowl has continued to drop since we started these projections.

Infographic  UT's bowl chances over time

Later in the week, we’ll take a look at where Tennessee might end up if the Vols reach .500. I’ll update last week’s bowl projections to reflect recent games and change some bowl estimates that people complained about (like Mizzou to the Sugar).