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Tennessee Football: Vols lucky to be safe as mega conference begins to form

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A mega conference of the best teams in college football is forming. Tennessee Football will be a part of that. Thank athletic director Danny White and head coach Josh Heupel for ensuring as much.

While Tennessee will most likely always be considered one of the top college football programs in the nation, things are about to get ugly as the nation’s best programs battle for a conference that will allow as much NIL spending as boosters and fans can cough up. The Vols will have a seat at that table, no doubt. However, there was a time, not too long ago, that a strong argument against the Vols being considered for a Super Conference could be made when they looked like Clark Kent.

In case you don’t remember, the Vols were bad, really bad until White took over in 2021. There were empty seats in Neyland Stadium, something called Battered Vol Syndrome and enough apathy to bore an entire state. I don’t need to remind you how bad things were for about a decade, but it was to the point that it was fair to question if Tennessee could ever play with the nation’s best teams. If that was the case, then the Vols shouldn’t have been in any Super Conference. Now, with such a conference on the way, the Vols have proven their worth. However, one has to wonder about some other programs they’re used to playing.

If a Super Conference does, indeed, happen soon, which a reported alliance between the Big Ten and SEC would lead one to a believe, what happens to Vanderbilt? They’re not one of the top 30ish football programs in the nation. Not even close. South Carolina? Kentucky? Those teams don’t seem like locks to make a Super Conference unless the SEC stays loyal to its long-time members.

Tennessee doesn’t have to worry about that. The Vols are riding so high, despite the NCAA talk, that they could make it into a Super Conference as an independent. Tennessee Football was actually in the running for a national championship last season.

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The Vols have always had the budget and facilities, but now they have the swag, at least I think that’s what the kids call it. Or is that the “ish” as in charisma? Whatever it is, these Vols have it. If there was any doubt that they were worthy of a spot in a Super Conference, those concerns have long been set aside. To make the best Super Conference, some teams are going to have to kick rocks. Are you listening Vanderbilt?

Speaking of the youngsters out there, a young Ferris Bueller once said that things more pretty fast, making it easy to miss them. How about Texas Christian? Does TCU make a Super Conference just one year after playing for a national championship? I’m not so sure.

Of course, Texas Christian is in the Big 12 so they should automatically get a bid into a Super Conference, right? Maybe not. The SEC and Big Ten have 16 and 18 schools in their conference, respectively. That’s 34 schools. A Super Conference is expected to be comprised of 32 to 38 teams. A prominent school from a former Power Five conference is going to get left out, which will essentially mean the end of that program being prominent anymore. In fact, that could happen a couple of dozen times across the country.

The next stage of building a Super Conference is going to be cut-throat. Fortunately, Tennessee Football can defend itself in just about every way possible. That wasn’t necessarily the case before 2021.

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