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Predicting the 2014 SEC Football Season: Tennessee Volunteers

With less than 60 days until the college football season begins, it's never too early to look at the 2014 football schedules and make wild blind predictions.

Kevin C. Cox

The second in a series leading up to fall camps takes us to Rocky Bottom Top.


Tennessee Volunteers 5-7 (2-6) in 2013

In Knoxville, they are calling it "The Dark Ages". It's the tire fire that has been raging since Fat Phil Fulmer's 5-7 2008 season up to today. It is a term some longtime Bama fans are familiar with but the Crimson Tide never had four straight losing seasons (For the record, Bama hasn't had consecutive losing seasons since "Ears" Whitworth's debacle back in the 1950s). Most Tennessee fans seem to have faith in second year coach Butch Jones and gave him a pass for last season's 5-7 dreck. Could this season result in the Vols' return to a bowl game?

Year Record Coach
2008 5-7 (3-5) Fulmer
2009 7-6 (4-4) Lane Kiffin
2010 6-7 (3-5) Derek Dooley
2011 5-7 (1-7) Dooley
2012 5-7 (1-7) Dooley 4-7/Jim Chaney 1-0
2013 5-7 (2-6) Butch Jones
2014 ?-? (?-?) Jones

The Vols showed some spark against UGA in 2013 but a late goal line fumble was their undoing. The upset of South Carolina gave them hope but three straight blowout losses to the Crimson Tide (45-10), Mizzou (31-3), and Auburn (55-23) brought them back down to earth. A home win against Vandy probably could've gotten them to a bowl game but the 'Dores had other ideas.

Key Losses:
OT Ja'Wuan James, (Dolphins - 1st round), DT Daniel McCullers (Steelers - 6th round), OG Zach Fulton (Chiefs - 6th round), RB Rajion Neal, OT Antonio Richardson (undrafted junior), C James Stone, LB Dontavis Sapp, OG Alex Bullard - Note that UT lost all five starting offensive lineman.

Key Returners:
Butch Jones, LB A.J. Johnson (surprised he did not go pro), WR Marquez North, WR Alton "Pig" Howard, LB Curt Maggitt, S Brian Randolph, CB Cameron Sutton, who will win the QB job?

WR Josh Malone, ATH Jalen Hurd, S Todd Kelly, LB Dillon Bates, DE Dewayne Hendrix, APB Derrell Scott, WR Von Pearson, S Cortez McDowell.

The Schedule:
Aug. 31 Utah State - W - This is no gimme.
Sept. 6 Arkansas State - W - Neither is this.
Sept. 13 at Oklahoma - L - Lawd, have mercy.
Sept. 27 at Georgia - L - see above.
Oct. 4 Florida - L - call the riot police.
Oct. 11 Chattanooga - W
Oct. 18 at Ole Miss - L - call in the National Guard.
Oct. 25 Alabama - L - do you think they will boo Lane Kiffin?
Nov. 1 at South Carolina - L
Nov. 15 Kentucky - W - lose this one and they should just give up football.
Nov. 22 Missouri - L - home game could tilt in their favor but where will their heads be at?
Nov. 29 at Vanderbilt - W - Could they REALLY lose to Vandy 3 years in a row? Last time VU beat UT even twice in a row before last season was 1925-26.

Let's go Bowling! Nope.

Wow, another 5-7? Could it be? There is an outside chance that the Vols could surprise Florida, Ole Miss or Mizzou.

For your viewing enjoyment.