Not your father’s UT

I think everyone knows Tennessee is in the midst of a dry spell, but until you see it spelled out, it’s hard to understand exactly how parched the last few years have been for the Vols.

  • Tennessee has not scored more than 17 points against Alabama since 2003. In that time, the Crimson Tide have won the SEC’s most famous cross-division rivalry eight out of 10 times.

  • Tennessee has not defeated Florida since 2004, losing the last seven by double digits.

  • Tennessee has lost its last two games to Vanderbilt.

These three opponents are essentially the signposts of a typical Tennessee season. For much of college football history, Alabama has served as a national measuring stick for Tennessee. For the last two decades, Florida has served as an SEC East measuring stick. And beating Vanderbilt has always been a foregone conclusion that emphasizes in-state superiority. The Vols have failed against all three lately, encapsulating the worst era in program history.

The paradigm has shifted, and a program that is in the top 10 in all-time wins next to Oklahoma, Alabama and USC instead ranks among the likes of Syracuse, Minnesota, California and Maryland over the last six years. Among those top-10 winningest programs, this is already the worst stretch any has had in the last 50 years, with four consecutive losing seasons (counting a 6-7 2010 season that ended with a bowl loss).

Oof.  That’s truly sucking.  And the likelihood that it’s going to turn around in a season when Jones has to rebuild both lines in their entirety?  Not too hot, I’d think.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

32 responses to “Not your father’s UT

  1. GossDawg

    Living in the Chattanooga area this makes me giddy! Kinda Dawg porn amiright.

  2. W Cobb Dawg

    I sincerely hope they stay relegated to 3rd tier status for a long, long time. I’d also add that keeping good GA recruits from attending utk is THE dominant factor in their demise. It’s not that CMR is better than Goff or Donnan at keeping GA recruits in-state. I think its more saban and sos’s ability to get GA recruits that would otherwise have picked utk in past years.

  3. 1996Dog

    Good article. Talk about “long tail” effects,.though. As crappy as they’ve been their new-coach-bounce class was 5th nationally, with dozens of blue chippers sought after by elite programs. It takes an incredible amount of incompetence for the historically successful programs to lose their cache. A tough fact for the NCAA to deal with when they make their “competitive balance” arguments in the OBannon case.

  4. Keese

    If they can manage a serviceable QB and offensive line I think they may surprise a few folks this year

    • Mayor

      If by “surprise a few folks” you mean get to 6-6 and a bowl, yeah, that would be a surprise. Look for UT to lose the first game to Utah State and their season to go down like the Titanic. I’ll be LMAO when that happens.

  5. CannonDawg

    It wasn’t that long ago that we were consistently unable to deal with those fast, physical Tennessee defenses, along with some pretty decent offenses. And we blew some good leads along the way, as well. Thank goodness for Pass-44 Haynes.

    Glad they didn’t hire Gruden.

  6. Is It September yet?

    I’m glad they didn’t hire Cutcliffe. That old man ripped our arses every time it seemed. The article failed to mention that we have beaten them 4 straight. Personally I don’t see them improving much this year either losing ALL of their OL starters.

  7. Haywood Jablome

    So they are truly sucking yet Georgia is only 6-4 against Tennessee in the last ten years. Things that make you go hmmmmmm…

    • Merk

      6-4 is a winning record vs them, with a 4 game streak currently going on. When during that 4 game span Richt had 2 of his worst seasons win wise. Things that do make you go hmmmm… As for the 4 losses, one is laid at the feet of ole “Beyond Crompton” Willie. Guy did not know how to prepare for a F’in bootleg play. That was a sad, sad day. On the flip side that was also the last time we lost to UT.

      • As for the 4 losses, one is laid at the feet of ole “Beyond Crompton” Willie. Guy did not know how to prepare for a F’in bootleg play. That was a sad, sad day.

        Yet another is on Richt, the 2004 game. He didn’t see Fulmer coming, and he should have. I chalked that one up to Richt’s SEC inexperience at the time.

        I screamed futile Dawgosphere warnings all week and almost made a few phone calls, afterwards regretting I that I didn’t. Though I doubt it wouldn’t have done any good, even if Butts-Mehre heeded, as by Wednesday night it was probably too late anyway.

        Sure enough, it was evident from the first snap we were in trouble. That was a tough loss, because it was the first game under Richt (excluding the 2001 Bowl Game) that showed a weakness in preparation. We just weren’t ready to play, and most of all, weren’t prepared for what Tennessee was bringing.

        And we should have been. There’s no way Dooley would have missed that. Fulmer was backed into a corner fighting for his life and had 2 weeks to prepare for us. Plus, coming off the big win against LSU made us double-vulnerable.

      • Haywood Jablome

        So the two teams mentioned in the story are 10-0 and 8-2 during the same time frame and you are content that Georgia barely managed a wining record against them? Yay, mediocrity.

    • Mayor

      Georgia is 9-4 over Tennessee during the Richt era. Don’t try to play little “record games.” The real record is 9-4 for UGA under CMR and 10 wins out of the last 14 games in favor of Georgia.

      • Mayor

        The overall record for UGA against UT: Georgia-20 wins…UT-21 wins…2 ties. That also includes an 0-5 record under Ray Goof and a 1-4 record under Jim “Wanna Invest?” Donnan which put Georgia in a 1-9 hole against the Vols. That’s why UT still is 1 up in the all-time series. That will be remedied this season.

        • The overall record for UGA against UT: Georgia-20 wins…UT-21 wins…2 ties.

          That’s one series I’d love to get up on, get a good lead, and stay up on them. They’ve had it on us all of my life, and I’m probably the oldest one here. It’s taken a long time to catch up, and we’re not there yet.

  8. Macallanlover

    I dislike the Vols intensely and am very happy to see us get a chance to even the all-time record so the only part of the above is how they diminish the accomplishment of winning the East. I don’t see how they do any better than 6-6 this year and 5-7 looks more likely.

    I suppose if I had the Gator mentality I would claim the overall series record is meaningless and go with recent history but you either have to take the overall record or the past 4-5 years, you just cannot selectively slice and dice a piece of the series to make your point. If you have to admit that Spurrier was better than Goff in the nineties, fine I admit to that, even Phat Phil beat up on UGA in the nineties. That is so “yester-year” and irrelevant gator fans. The history of both series have been competitive and, like Auburn, LSU, Bama, the East is still about a Big 3: UGA, FU, and UT.

    • Mayor

      I respectfully disagree, Mac. The “Big 3” in the SEC East has changed and is now UGA, South Carolina and Mizzou. If you don’t believe me just look at who has won the SEC East the last 4 years. FU is a likely 6-6 team this season, maybe worse. Boom gets fired after (or maybe during) the season and FU will go through another coaching change. More losing seasons ahead before they right that ship. UT is going to have, as you said, a 5-7 or 6-6 season. Vols fans will be calling for a new coach by the end of the 2014 season. Ole Butch will be lucky to last through 2015. Neither program will contend for the SEC East again for years.

      • Macallanlover

        No question you are right given the past handful of years but that is too small a sample for me to say there has been a changing of the guard, Mayor. SC is definitely ahead of TN currently for 3rd now but I don’t see it sustaining it for much longer. Perhaps if TN is unable to get things reversed in the next few years. I don’t see Steve remaining at SC much longer, he is 70 now and not really close to winning an SEC in the next few years. FU fans pronounced UGA dead prematurely, I would be calling for the Last Rites in KnoxVegas just yet.

        • Mayor

          You make a good point about South Carolina and the Ole Ball Coach, Mac. How much longer will Spurrier coach? It can’t be more than a couple of years. When he leaves, unless USCe hires Urban Meyer, the Dicks…er…Cocks probably fall back to earth.

  9. I am not convinced that “Butch Please” is much more than a great recruiter/motivator. Some of the reason for that signing class ranking was due to the large number they signed. At any rate I see 5-7 out of uT. I give them a lot of credit for that game last year. They came out fired up and ready to hit us in the mouth… or knee. 😦

    • Macallanlover

      True, they sold their soul for that game to make a mark in the sand (strange unis) but we were dominating them early until the rash of injuries and a weird call on STs got them back in it. Have to give them credit, they targeted us and it almost paid off completely. Might have been better to focus on beating Florida more than UGA, guess they determined based on history that we were more “gettable”, plus we had to go to Neyland. Our game shouldn’t have been within 2 TDs except for the shock to our system with all the injuries.

      I agree with 5-7, could even be 3-8, they lost every starter on the offensive and defensive lines. Not sure why the stud LB even came back, and I respect him for that, but they don’t have much outside of him. Sgt. Carter needs a big win this year to continue the recruiting momentum, he will not get it Between the Hedges….hope it is at night.

  10. Derek

    UT’s situation shows that firing a previously successful but currently underachieving coach is no sure bet. It can lead a program to total implosion. That tailspin is harder for ut to pull out of because they aren’t exactly located amongst a lot of hs football talent. They have to recruit regionally to compete for the east and nationally to compete at the highest level.

    • Mayor

      You are right Derek. Fulmer has an all-time winning percentage that is about the same as CMR. I am amazed that somebody (UK or Vandy in the SEC or a wannabe in the ACC like a Wake or NC State or even a Pitt or Syracuse) didn’t snatch him up but it’s like he has the plague. In the meantime UT sinks deeper and deeper into mediocrity.

  11. Mudcats Impala...

    And a tidbit from Phil Steele…

    of returning OL starts in the SEC by team…

    Auburn 113 (#11 CFB)
    South Carolina 113 (#11 CFB)
    Texas A&M 89 (#30 CFB)
    Vanderbilt 83 (#36 CFB)
    Mississippi State 81 (#39 CFB)
    LSU 75 (#44 CFB)
    Kentucky 74 (#46 CFB)
    Missouri 72 (#52 CFB)
    Florida 66 (#61 CFB)
    Ole Miss 61 (#68 CFB)
    Georgia 54 (#81 CFB)
    Arkansas 51 (#86 CFB)
    Alabama 37 (#107 CFB)
    Tennessee 6 (#128 CFB)

    • Mudcats Impala...

      Thats Number of returning starts on OL in SEC

      • Mayor

        IMHO that can sometimes work for for a team, though–getting rid of bad old players used to losing and replace them with good young players used to winning (in HS). See Saban, Nick.

  12. Noonan

    Oh the tears of unfathomable sadness, mmm yummy, yummy.

  13. Deutschland Domiciliary Dog

    Not proud to say my wife’s sister-in-law is a Vol. Not mine, though, hers.

    I can put up with my wife (a Gator), my son (Bama pays him to go to Tuscaloosa), and my brother’s wife (LSU).

    My wife’s sister-in-law, not so much.

    • Mayor

      GOOD LORD!! My deepest sympathies, sir! I suffer a similar fate with family members on my wife’s side being Bammers and Auburnites. It is tough to take at times.