It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every major program, and it is a big deal
Really … why isn’t Tennessee better at this?
There’s the general assumption that the program is supposed to be among the powerhouses of powerhouses, mainly because it’s bound by next to nothing.
The facilities are there, the revenue isn’t an issue, the fan base will put over 100,000 butts in the house even if the team is merely showing promise, and recruiting has never been a problem.
But now we’re working on the 12th year since the Vols went to an SEC Championship, and most of this year’s freshman class wasn’t even born the last time the program was legitimately in the national championship chase back in 2001.
The last time Tennessee won the SEC Championship was … 1998. It was the year it won the national title, and it was the first year of the BCS – and CFN, BTW. Had there been a College Football Playoff in the mid-1990s, the Vols likely would’ve made it in 1995, 1997 and 1998, but …
We’re talking about the 1990s here. No one cares.
You ready for pain? Since 2008, Tennessee has as many bowl wins as Vanderbilt.
And it gets worse.
After last week’s loss to BYU, Tennessee has gone 9-17 since opening up the 2017 season with a thrilling win over Georgia Tech. Over that time, the Vols have a grand total of two wins over Power Five programs.
And it gets even worse than that.
Even with the losses to Georgia State and BYU, Tennessee barely gets on the radar to be among the nation’s biggest early disappointments, mainly because no one really expected anything in the first place.
It’s not like the SEC needs Tennessee to be a powerhouse again, but it would sure be nice if there were some realistically decent expectations going forward. This isn’t a zero sum game when it comes to bringing in the talent – it’s possible for Florida, Georgia and Tennessee to all be outstanding at the same time.
How much more fun would it be if the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry meant something again?
For those of a certain age who remember when they ruled the world, how crazy were the massive fan bases when Florida-Tennessee was among the three must-see games of the season?
Come back soon, Tennessee. College football misses you.