Tennessee hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent in its last eighteen tries. October has been especially unfriendly of late.
Under previous coach Derek Dooley, Tennessee won just once in 12 October games, against Buffalo in 2011. The futility includes three consecutive 31-point losses to Alabama, and the average margin of defeat in 11 losses was nearly 16 points. The Vols faced nine ranked teams in 12 October games in the past three seasons.
Only four times in those 11 losses — at LSU in 2010, against Georgia in 2011 and at Mississippi State and South Carolina last season — did Tennessee keep the margin within 10 points.
At least they’ll be trotting out those spiffy new grey jerseys Saturday.