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How Tennessee-Georgia Could Change the Vols Playoff Outlook

Tennessee Georgia
Tennessee lost to Georgia in Knoxville in 2021. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.

On Tuesday night, during ESPN’s first College Football Playoff Rankings show, Tennessee was revealed as the initial No. 1 seed in the 2022 College Football Playoffs.

Ohio State is one spot behind Tennessee, then Georgia, then Clemson.

But with all the celebration that is happening this week in Knoxville and around the Tennessee fanbase, the Vols will have to defend that spot this weekend. The winner of Tennessee-Georgia will most certainly have the most impressive win in college football this season.

According to ESPN’s Allstate Playoff Predictor, if Tennessee defeats Georgia, the Vols will have a 78 to 99 percent chance of making the playoffs, depending on whether Tennessee wins or loses the SEC title game. If the Vols lose to Georgia, subsequently missing out on the SEC Championship game, the algorithm still gives Tennessee a 67 percent chance to make the playoffs.

The data does not show as similar favorable results for Georgia.

If the Bulldogs beat Tennessee, Georgia will have a 61 to 99 percent chance of making the playoffs based on the result of the SEC Championship game, according to the predictor. However, if the Bulldogs lose to Tennessee, Georgia’s chances drop down to 52 percent.

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Here’s a different look at the breakdown:

Note: These results are based on both teams winning the remainder of their games following the matchup this weekend.

  • If Tennessee beats Georgia, wins SEC title: 99%
  • If Tennessee beats Georgia, loses SEC title: 78%
  • If Tennessee loses to Georgia: 67%
  • If Georgia beats Tennessee, wins SEC title: 99%
  • If Georgia beats Tennessee, loses SEC title: 61%
  • If Georgia loses to Tennessee: 52%

It is very important to also note that these percentages are not set in stone or indicative of exactly what will happen. The playoff teams are not chosen based on mathematics or algorithms. Instead, as we saw on Tuesday night and ever since the playoffs began in 2014, a committee is assembled to determine the teams that will be in play.

However, at the same time, the Allstate Playoff Predictor does give a good indication of how things are thought to be lining up.

ESPN’s Football Power Index currently has Tennessee slotted at the No. 5 position behind (in order) Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, and Michigan. Tennessee is currently being given a 63.2 percent chance to make the playoffs while Georgia has a 68.8 percent chance to make the playoffs per ESPN’s FPI.

Feel free to mess around with different regular-season and playoff scenarios with the Allstate Playoff Predictor here.

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