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Tennessee Football uniquely positioned for 12-team CFB Playoff yearly under Josh Heupel

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They say offense wins games while defense wins championships. Even as the sport has changed, that’s still been the case for the last four national title winners. However, schools like Tennessee Football under Josh Heupel are about to have their moment.

The main reason for that statement had to do with the fact that defense travels, and in a three-month college football season where just one or two losses could eliminate you from national title contention, offensive-oriented teams were bound to be victims. After all, if they aren’t clicking in just one game, they’re done.

However, with the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams, that will change. While the one-loss and undefeated teams, with quality schedules, are generally elite defensive teams, the two and three-loss teams have traditionally been offensive teams.

Think the Steve Spurrier era with the Florida Gators. Spurrier has just one national title, in 1996, despite taking the SEC by storm with his Fun-n-Gun offense. He would regularly be guilty of a bad loss a year, whether it was Syracuse in 1991 or the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2000.

Even the late Mike Leach, an offensive guru, was good for a loss or two a year that he shouldn’t have suffered when he had his best teams. The 2018 Washington State Cougars were a CFP team, but in their final regular season game against the Washington Huskies, snow stalled their offense, and they lost.

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This is what was bound to plague Heupel and Tennessee Football long-term before the playoff expanded. Even in their best years, they were in danger of what happened in 2022 against the South Carolina Gamecocks. With a 12-team playoff, though, that fear is over.

Even beyond reaching the playoff, the expanded format gives offensive teams a greater chance to win it. Typically, these offensive teams have gotten blown out by the better defensive teams, whether it’s the Michigan Wolverines against the Washington Huskies or the Georgia Bulldogs against the TCU Horned Frogs.

With four rounds now, though, upsets are much more likely. It won’t be on the level of March Madness, but it’ll be to a point where a lesser team knocks off one of the elite defensive teams and then an offensive team like Tennessee Football has a clear field. Matchups are everything.

Simply put, the new format has the Vols uniquely positioned to make the playoff far more often than not, and it also has them uniquely positioned to make a run. If things break a certain way in individual years, a national championship is certainly on the table as well.

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