Greg McElroy, during the most recent episode of his “Always College Football” podcast, spotlighted 10 teams that he felt needed wins during 2022 Bowl Season. Two of those teams are in the SEC: Mississippi State and Tennessee.

Mississippi State came in at No. 10. The Bulldogs, of course, are still dealing with the death of Mike Leach, and elected to carry on in his memory with their commitment to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Illinois on Jan. 2 under newly-appointed head coach Zach Arnett.

“If they can go out and get a win, that would be enormous for their fanbase, for the players, to bring positive memories to Mike Leach, knowing just how tragic the last several weeks have been,” McElroy said.

At No. 5 was Tennessee. The resurgent Volunteers have found themselves in a New Year’s 6 bowl in Josh Heupel’s 2nd season, facing Clemson on Dec. 30 in the Orange Bowl. While a win would give them 11 wins for the 1st time since 2001, they’ll have to play without Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt; offensive coordinator Alex Golesh is now at South Florida as its new head coach, replacing Jeff Scott.

“There’s a lot of people associated with the Tennesse program that did not play a featured role throughout the 12-game regular season. But…this has been by far the best Tennessee team that we’ve seen in quite a while,” McElroy said, noting the Vols’ offensive records as well as their wins over Alabama and LSU. “But ultimately, Tennessee doesn’t want to just be good. They want to be elite, and in order to be elite, you have to beat the teams like Clemson. And, with a big stage, if for whatever reason, you play poorly, that will be how this team is unfortunately remembered.”