Tom Fornelli from CBS has high hopes for Tennessee football.
Football fans are known to make some wild predictions. Some more wild than others. But we’re all inclined to our own opinion, and quite frankly, it’s what makes the sport so much fun. Recently, Tom Fornelli made one of the bolder projections we’ve seen this offseason as he forecasted Tennessee football to takedown Alabama in 2020.
Now, it’s not impossible for the Volunteers to beat Nick Saban and the Tide. After all, there’s at least one inferior team to do it each season.
But isn’t it kind of odd to go on record with it? It almost makes you wonder if Tom Fornelli knows something we don’t? He went on to say:
“This year, things set up very well for the Vols. Not only are they playing the game in Knoxville, but Tennessee has a bye the week before. Alabama does not. Alabama’s game against Tennessee will be its eighth contest in as many weeks. It will also be Alabama’s third road game in four weeks. All the ingredients are there for a major Tennessee upset, so don’t forget who told you it was going to happen five months ahead of time.”
He has a point. I mean, everything he’s saying is theoretically true, but does it have substance? Or does he just have blind hopes for Tennessee football in 2020- which is fine.
But you best believe we’re going to dissect this from a distance. Is it really all that unlikely for the Vols to get one over on Saban?
Probably, but again, certainly not impossible. We’ve watched Appalachian State takedown Michigan, James Madison beat Virginia Tech, Georgia Southern route the Gators in The Swamp… and Tennessee over Alabama in Knoxville?
It definitely doesn’t sound too crazy.
Is Tom’s Tennessee football prediction likely?
Fortuneteller Tom may be on to something.
In a 2009 Bleacher Report article, Dan Van Wei tracked all bye week statistics to see if teams did in fact have an advantage coming out of a bye week.
And what he found was that during the season, teams were an overall 14-10 coming out of a bye week. Teams were 3-7 coming off a bye week and traveling to an opponents stadium. But here’s the goodies- teams were a staggering 11-3 after leaving the dead week and playing at home.
11-3. Not bad.
But there’s one independent variable that wasn’t taken into account- the Coronavirus pandemic.
Playing at home will still have its perks, but just how much of a home-field advantage will teams actually enjoy if half of the stadium is empty?
Sure, this may be a bit knit picky, but who’s to say that home games won’t be heavily neutralized in 2020?
More from Southbound and Down
Still, there’s a lot more that goes into winning football games than just home-field advantage. It seems that Tennessee football fans are pretty confident in Pruitt’s ability to have his team prepared on a weekly basis. Actually, many believe that’s what sets him apart from Butch Jones.
Pruitt also has the reputation of being able to develop his players. As of now, there’s not much to show in just 2 seasons in Knoxville, but I think that will change in 2020. It really takes 3-4 years to see where the program is headed, and I think we’ll get a pretty good representation of that in Tennessee here soon.
Now, do I think that Tennessee will beat Alabama in 2020? Probably not.
However, there’s little doubt that the Vols will come prepared on October 24th. Expect to see Pruitt throw everything, including the kitchen sink at Bama.
We’ll just have to wait to see if Tom is right.