After Butch Jones’ first season as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers in 2013, college football experts tabbed the Vols the following season as the next up and coming contender in the SEC.
It seemed liked a reasonable prediction given the talent—back-to-back top 10 recruiting classes (2014, 2015), and the decline of other programs in the SEC East. While everything is right there for Tennessee to make that jump to contender, the Vols always get in the way of themselves somehow and miss out on the opportunity to win a SEC title.
After going 5-7 in Jones’ first season, the Vols went 7-6 (4th in SEC East) and 9-4 (2nd in SEC East) the following seasons. Although the Vols improved from year to year, and 2016 is supposed to be the break out year (predicted to finish first in the East), last night’s overtime win over Appalachian State gave fans and college football observers the feeling that Tennessee is the same Tennessee from last season and seasons prior.
The No.9-ranked team in the nation had to come from behind to tie a game and send it into overtime against Appalachian State. Yes, Appalachian State in a good team and have beat a ranked team before.
However, Appalachian State is NOT supposed to take a top-ranked SEC contender to the wire.
I know…it’s just the first game, but I don’t blame Vols fans for feeling wary about this season. Tennessee will have put on a good showing against Virginia Tech next week to ease fans’ worries.
Sep 1, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones during the first quarter against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports