Vols bound for Peach again?

The Outback Bowl's surprising decision to take an 8-4 Florida team that's coming off a loss to Florida State over a 10-2 Tennessee team that's riding a six-game winning streak may doom the Vols to another Peach Bowl bid.

Clemson already is signed as the ACC representative for the 2004 Peach Bowl, which will be played at 3:30 on Jan. 2 and aired nationally by ESPN. Odds are, Tennessee will be the SEC's representative.

This is not a pleasing development for Vol fans. The Big Orange suffered the worst bowl loss in program history in the 2002 Peach Bowl, losing 30-3 to Maryland last New Year's Eve at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. That game left a bad taste in the mouths of many UT fans that persists to this day.

Unless Tennessee gets a bid to face Florida State in the Orange Bowl -- a real longshot at this point -- here's how the bowl situation appears to be shaking out:

1) The winner of Saturday's SEC Championship Game between LSU and Georgia will get a BCS bowl bid.

2) The loser of same will get a bid to the Capital One Bowl, probably to face Iowa

3) Florida is locked in to the Outback Bowl, probably against Purdue

4) Ole Miss is headed for the Cotton Bowl, where it will face a Big XII opponent

5) Tennessee appears likely to face Clemson in the Peach Bowl

Tennessee's best bid to avoid the Peach Bowl is to hope that Georgia nips LSU in the SEC Championship Game. This would give Georgia an automatic BCS bowl bid as SEC champion and perhaps leave LSU in position to get an at-large bid to another BCS bowl. That would make Tennessee the odds-on choice for the Capital One Bowl.

Michigan supposedly wants a rematch of the 2002 Citrus Bowl -- Vols vs. Wolverines -- in the 2004 Rose Bowl, but that appears to be a real stretch.

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