The Vols have played football for 121 seasons, starting in 1891; their combined record of 833–383–53 ranks them twelfth on the list of all-time win-loss percentage records .677 and ninth on by-victories list for college football programs as well as second on the all-time win/loss list of SEC programs 390–253–33 .601. Their all-time ranking in bowl appearances is third (52) and sixth in all-time bowl victories (28), most notably four Sugar Bowls, three Cotton Bowls, an Orange Bowl, and a Fiesta Bowl. They have won 16 conference championships and six national titles in their history and their last national championship was in the 1998 college football season.
The Vols play at Neyland Stadium, where Tennessee has an all-time winning record of 464 games, the highest home-field total in college football history for any school in the nation at its current home venue. Additionally, its 102,455 seat capacity makes Neyland the nation's fifth largest stadium.
Tennessee has won six national championships from NCAA-designated major selectors.:112–115 Tennessee claims all six national championships. The Associated Press has acknowledged Tennessee as National Champions twice, but the #1 Vols lost in the Sugar Bowl in 1951 after being named AP and UPI National Champions due to the polls being conducted before the bowl season prior to 1968 and 1974 respectively. The 1938 and 1950 championships, while not AP titles, were recognized by a majority and a plurality of overall selectors/polls, respectively. Tennessee has also been awarded national championships by various organizations in eight additional years of 1914 1927, 1928, 1931, 1939, 1956, 1985, and 1989, though the school claims none.
Tennessee has had 24 head coaches since it began play during the 1891 season. Robert Neyland is the leader in seasons coached and games won, with 173 victories in 21 seasons (spread out over three stints). John Barnhill has the highest winning percentage of those who have coached more than one game, with .846. James DePree has the lowest winning percentage of those who have coached more than one game, with .306. Of the 23 different head coaches who have led the Volunteers, Neyland, Wyatt, Dickey, Majors, and Fulmer have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The current head coach is Jeremy Pruitt.
The Volunteers began wearing orange pants in 1977 under coach Johnny Majors. His successor, Phillip Fulmer, discarded the pants upon becoming Major's full-time replacement in 1993. The orange pants were worn three times under Fulmer: in the 1999 homecoming game vs. Memphis, the 2007 SEC Championship game vs. LSU, and the 2008 season opener at UCLA. Lane Kiffin wore the orange pants full-time on the road, except for the 2009 season finale vs. Kentucky, and selected home games.
On October 5, 2013, the team debuted its "Smokey Gray" uniforms in an overtime loss to the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium.
The three new Mach Speed uniforms, which are part of a department-wide contract with Nike that was announced in 2014, introduces a taller, sleeker number font and striping that is half-checkerboard—matching the famous end-zone art at Neyland Stadium.
The orange and white colors worn by the football team were selected by Charles Moore, a member of the very first Tennessee football team in 1891. They were from the American Daisy which grew on The Hill, the home of most of the classrooms at the university at the time (now housing most of the chemistry and physics programs et al.).
The orange color is distinct to the school, dubbed "UT Orange", and has been offered by The Home Depot for sale as a paint, licensed by the university. Home games at Neyland Stadium have been described as a "sea of Orange" due to the large number of fans wearing the school color; the moniker Big Orange, as in "Go Big Orange!", derives from the usage of UT Orange.
In addition to the famous orange and white, UT also has had the little-known Smokey Gray color since the 1930s and debuted the color in the October 5, 2013 rivalry game against Georgia in an alternate jersey.
Tennessee first sported the famous checkerboard design in 1964 under Dickey and remained until artificial turf was installed at Neyland Stadium in 1968. They brought the design back in 1989. The idea was inspired by the checkerboard design around the top of historic Ayres Hall.
The checkerboard was bordered in orange from 1989 until natural grass replaced the artificial turf in 1994. The return of natural grass brought with it the return of the green (or grass colored) border that exists today.
Rocky Top is not the official Tennessee fight song (Down the Field is the official fight song), as is widely believed, but is the most popular in use by the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. The Band began playing the fight song during the 1970s after it became popular as a Bluegrass tune by the Osborne Brothers. The fight song is widely recognized as one of the most hated by opponents in collegiate sports. The song became one of Tennessee's state songs in 1982.
Smokey IX before a November 2007 game against Vanderbilt.
Smokey is the mascot of the University of Tennessee sports teams, both men's and women's. A Bluetick Coonhound mascot, currently Smokey X, leads the Vols on the field for football games. On game weekends, Smokey is cared for by the members of Alpha Gamma Rho's Alpha Kappa chapter. There is also a costumed mascot that appears at every Vols game, which has won several mascot championships.
Smokey was selected as the mascot for Tennessee after a student poll in 1953. A contest was held by the Pep Club that year; their desire was to select a coon hound that was native to Tennessee. At halftime of the Mississippi State game that season, several hounds were introduced for voting, all lined up on the old cheerleaders' ramp at Neyland, with each dog being introduced over the loudspeaker and the student body cheering for their favorite. The late Rev. Bill Brooks' "Blue Smokey" was the last hound announced and howled loudly when introduced. The students cheered and Smokey threw his head back and barked again. This kept going until the stadium was cheering and applauding and UT had its mascot, Smokey. The most successful dog has been Smokey VIII who saw a record of 91–22, two SEC titles, and 1 National Championship.
The Vol Walk
Head coach Johnny Majors came up with the idea for the Vol Walk after a 1988 game at Auburn when he saw the historic Tiger Walk take place. Prior to each home game, the Vols will file out of the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex, down past the Tennessee Volunteers Wall of Fame, and make their way down Peyton Manning Pass and onto Phillip Fulmer Way. Thousands of fans line the street to shake the players' hands as they walk into Neyland Stadium. Through rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine, the Vol faithful are always out in full force to root on the Vols as they prepare for the game. The fans are always pumped up with Rocky Top played by The Pride of the Southland Band.
The Pride of the Southland is in formation while the UT team runs the T.
5 min video of the opening sequence of a football game
The "T" appears in two special places in Vol history and tradition. Coach Doug Dickey added the familiar block letter T onto the side of the helmets in his first year in 1964; a rounded T came in 1968. Johnny Majors modified the famous orange helmet stripe to a thicker stripe in 1977.
The Vols also run through the T. This T is formed by the Pride of the Southlandmarching band with its base at the entrance to the Tennessee locker room in the north end zone with team personnel holding the state flag and the UT flag, Smokey running in on the field, and the entire UT team storming in to loud cheers and applause from the 100,000-plus Vols fans in Neyland. When Coach Dickey brought this unique and now-famous tradition to UT in 1965, the Vols' locker room was underneath the East stands. The Vols would run through the T and simply turn back to return to their sideline. However, beginning in 1983, the team would make the famous left turn inside the T and run toward their former bench on the east sideline when the locker room was moved from the east sideline to the north end zone. It was announced on January 24, 2010 that the Vols would switch their sideline from the east sideline to the west sideline for all home games from then on. This resulted in the Vols making a right out of the T instead of a left. This change took effect with Tennessee's first home game of the 2010 season against UT-Martin.
Davy Crockett waving the UT flag during a November 3, 2007 game against Louisiana–Lafayette
The Volunteers (or Vols as it is commonly shortened to) derive that nickname from the State of Tennessee's nickname. Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State", a nickname it earned during the War of 1812, in which volunteer soldiers from Tennessee played a prominent role, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.
Around 200 or more boats normally dock outside Neyland Stadium on the Tennessee River before games. The fleet was started by former Tennessee broadcaster George Mooney who docked his boat there first in 1962, as he wanted to avoid traffic around the stadium. What started as one man tying his runabout to a nearby tree and climbing through a wooded area to the stadium has grown into one of college football's most unique traditions. Many fans arrive several days in advance to socialize, and the Vols have built a large walkway so fans can safely walk to and from the shoreline. UT, the University of Pittsburgh, Baylor University, and the University of Washington are the only schools with their football stadiums built next to major bodies of water.
The Vols' three main rivalries include the Alabama Crimson Tide (Third Saturday in October), Florida Gators, and Vanderbilt Commodores. Tennessee also has a long and important rivalry with Kentucky Wildcats. Since the formation of the SEC Eastern Division in 1992, the Vols have had an emerging rivalry with the Georgia Bulldogs. None of their games have trophies, although Kentucky–Tennessee used to battle over a trophy called the Beer Barrel from 1925 until 1999. From 1985 until 2010, Tennessee held a 26–game winning streak over Kentucky. The streak ended on November 26, 2011 when Kentucky defeated Tennessee 10–7 in Lexington. The Volunteers had important rivalries with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Auburn Tigers, until Georgia Tech left the SEC and realignment forced them to drop Auburn from the schedule.
Alabama on offense versus Tennessee in Tuscaloosa during the 2009 season
Despite the heated in-state rivalry with Auburn, former Alabama head coach Bear Bryant was more adamant about defeating his rivals to the north, the Tennessee Vols. The series is named the Third Saturday in October, the traditional calendar date on which the game was played. Despite the name, the game was played on the third Saturday just five times between 1995 and 2007. The first game between the two sides was played in 1901 in Birmingham, ending in a 6–6 tie. From 1902 to 1913, Alabama dominated the series, only losing once, and never allowing a touchdown by the Volunteers. Beginning in 1928, the rivalry was first played on its traditional date and began to be a challenge for the Tide as Robert Neyland began challenging Alabama for their perennial spot on top of the conference standings. In the 1950s, Jim Goostree, the head trainer for Alabama, began a tradition as he began handing out cigars following a victory over the Volunteers.
Between 1971–1981, Alabama held an eleven-game winning streak over the Volunteers and, between 1986 and 1994, a nine-game unbeaten streak. However, following Alabama's streak, Tennessee responded with a seven-game winning streak from 1995 to 2001. Alabama has won the last twelve meetings from 2007 to 2018. Alabama is Tennessee's third most-played opponent, after Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Tennessee is Alabama's second-most played opponent after Mississippi State.
The Tigers and Vols first met in 1900. Both teams met annually from 1956 to 1991. In 1991, the SEC split into two divisions, ending the rivalry. Both teams continue to meet occasionally, with the last meeting being October 13, 2018 (Tennessee 30-24 victory). Both teams have also matched up in two SEC Championship Games, the 1997 SEC Championship Game (Tennessee 30–29 victory) and 2004 SEC Championship Game (Auburn 38–28 victory). Auburn leads the series 28–22-3.
Vols vs Gators 2007
The Gators and Vols first met on the gridiron in 1916, and have competed in the same conference since Florida joined the now-defunct Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1912. However, a true rivalry has developed only relatively recently due to infrequent match-ups in past decades; in the first seventy-six years (1916–1991), the two teams met just twenty-one times.
This changed in 1992, when the Southeastern Conference (SEC) expanded to twelve universities and split into two divisions. Florida and Tennessee were both placed in the SEC's Eastern Division, and have met annually on the football field since 1992. The rivalry quickly blossomed in intensity and importance, as both squads were perennial championship contenders throughout the 1990s. The games' national implications diminished in the 2000s, as first Tennessee and then Florida suffered through sub-par seasons. However, the intensity of each meeting still remains one of the highest in college football. Florida won the 2017 meeting 26–20 on a pass play as time expired.
The Bulldogs and Vols first met in 1899, a UT victory in Knoxville. The teams, which have played 46 games through 2016, played sporadically over the next several years before playing 5 straight games from 1907 to 1910, 4 straight from 1922 to 1925, and then putting the rivalry on hiatus for more than 30 years after the 1937 game in Knoxville, a UT victory. When the two played each other in 1968 in Knoxville, the game ended in a tie (only the second tie game after the 1906 game in Athens). The two teams continued to play each other sporadically through the 1970s and '80s, with Georgia winning 4 straight games from 1973 to 1988. The Volunteers won at home against the Bulldogs in 1989, a full 52 years after the '37 game. The 1989 game was the last game between the two teams before the SEC split the conference into two divisions, West and East, with South Carolina and Arkansas entering the conference in 1990, effective the 1991–92 basketball season. From 1992 onward, the Vols and Bulldogs have played each other every year, with Georgia having a 5–game winning streak through 2014. Tennessee ended Georgia's streak in 2015 with a 38–31 win over the Bulldogs in Knoxville. Tennessee brought more fireworks in the next year, beating the Bulldogs in Georgia by the score of 34-31, coming from behind to win on a hail mary pass as time expired. Tennessee leads the series at 23–22–2, with the largest win coming in 2017 when Georgia won 41–0 in Knoxville, resulting in Tennessee's worst Knoxville loss in 112 years
Georgia Tech and Tennessee have played 45 times since 1902; Tennessee has a winning record of 25–17–2. When Georgia Tech was part of the SEC, both teams met very often. When Georgia Tech left the SEC, the annual rivalry still continued until 1987. The two teams renewed their rivalry on September 4, 2017 in a game that ended in a thrilling 42-41 double overtime win by the Volunteers.
Tennessee vs Kentucky 2007
Tennessee and Kentucky have played each other 108 times over 114 years with Tennessee winning 75 to 24 wins by Kentucky (.736). Tennessee has won the most games in Lexington with 35 wins to 14 by Kentucky (.702). Tennessee also has more wins than Kentucky in Knoxville with 45 wins to 10 (.787). Tennessee has the most wins in the series at Stoll Field with 19 wins to 11 Kentucky wins (.621). The Series is tied at 3 a piece at Baldwin Park. Tennessee leads the series at Neyland Stadium with 35 wins to 7 Kentucky wins (.792). Tennessee leads the series at Commonwealth Field with 17 wins to 3 Kentucky wins (.850).
Like many college football rivalries, the Tennessee-Kentucky game had its own trophy for many years: a wooden beer barrel painted half blue and half orange. The trophy was awarded to the winner of the game every year from 1925 to 1997. The Barrel was introduced in 1925 by a group of former Kentucky students who wanted to create a material sign of supremacy for the rivalry. It was rolled onto the field that year with the words "Ice Water" painted on it to avoid any outcries over a beer keg symbolizing a college rivalry. The barrel exchange was mutually ended in 1998 after two Kentucky football players died in an alcohol-related crash.
Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt 2007
Vanderbilt and Tennessee have played 108 times since 1892; Tennessee has a winning record of 73–30–5 (.699). When the rivalry first started, Vanderbilt dominated by taking 19 of the first 24 with 3 ties (.854). Vanderbilt and Tennessee played two games in 1892 both won by Vanderbilt. Tennessee's first victory over Vanderbilt was 1914 in Knoxville 16—14. From 1892 to 1927 Vanderbilt out-scored Tennessee 561–83 (23.4) to (3.4). From the 1928 season, UT has dominated the rivalry with numerous win streaks and since then UT has a record of 71–10–2 (.867). The largest margin of victory for Vandy was by 76 points in 1918 at Old Dudley Field in Nashville, 76–0. Tennessee does not recognize the 1918 team as an official team for them and does not count the loss to their records. So they largest margin of victory by Vanderbilt would be 51 in the 1909 season in at Vanderbilt Stadium. The largest margin of victory for UT was by 65 points in 1994 at Vanderbilt Stadium, 65–0. The longest winning streak with out a tie for Vanderbilt is 9 from 1901 to 1913. The longest winning streak for Tennessee is 22 from 1983 to 2004.
As of 2017 Tennessee is ranked thirteenth all-time won-lost records by percentage and ninth by victories. The all-time record is 830–375–53 .682. At Neyland Stadium, the Vols have a record of 464–127–17 (.777).
The UT football season records are taken from the official record books of the University Athletic Association. They have won 13 conference championships and six national titles in their history and their last national championship was in the 1998 college football season.
The Vols play at Neyland Stadium, where Tennessee has an all-time winning record of 464 games, the highest home-field total in college football history for any school in the nation at its current home venue. Additionally, its 102,455 seat capacity makes Neyland the nation's fifth largest stadium.
The 1914 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1914 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. The team won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the first championship of any kind for the Tennessee program. Winning all nine of their games, the 1914 squad was only the second undefeated team in Tennessee history. The 1914 Vols were retroactively awarded a national championship by 1st-N-Goal, though this remains largely unrecognized.
The 1916 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1916 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. John R. Bender served his first season as head coach of the Volunteers. Because of World War I, Tennessee did not field another varsity squad until 1919.
The 1916 Vols won eight games and lost none. The only blemish on Tennessee's record was a scoreless draw with Kentucky in the last game; and the Vols won a share of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title for the second time in three years — sharing the title with Georgia Tech. This season also saw the first homecoming football game in Tennessee football history, hosting rival Vanderbilt, against which Tennessee achieved a then-rare victory..
The New York Herald ranked quarterback Buck Hatcher as the season's premier punter. Captain and end Graham Vowell was the season's only unanimous All-Southern selection, and was a third-team All-America selection by Walter Camp. Next to him on the line was his older brother, Morris Vowell. Next to him was Chink Lowe. At the other end was Lloyd Wolfe.
The 1927 Tennessee Volunteers football team (variously "Tennessee", "UT" or the "Vols") represented the University of Tennessee in the 1927 Southern Conference football season. Playing as a member of the Southern Conference (SoCon), the team was led by head coach Robert Neyland, in his second year, and played their home games at Shields–Watkins Field in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 1927 Vols won eight, lost zero and tied one game (8–0–1 overall, 5–0–1 in the SoCon). The only blemish on Tennessee's schedule was a tie with in-state rival, Vanderbilt. Playing seven home games, the 1927 Vols outscored their opponents 246 to 26 and posted seven shutouts.
The 1932 Tennessee Volunteers football team (variously "Tennessee", "UT" or the "Vols") represented the University of Tennessee in the 1932 Southern Conference football season. Playing as a member of the Southern Conference (SoCon), the team was led by head coach Robert Neyland, in his seventh year, and played their home games at Shields–Watkins Field in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The 1932 Vols won nine, lost zero and tied one game (9–0–1 overall, 7–0–1 in the SoCon) and were Southern Conference champions. It was their last year in the conference before moving to the newly formed Southeastern Conference. The team was led by its backfield with Deke Brackett and Beattie Feathers.
The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1938 college football season. Head coach Robert Neyland fielded his third team at Tennessee after returning from active duty in the United States Army. The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers won the school's first national championship and are regarded as one of the greatest teams in SEC and NCAA history. The team was named national champion by NCAA-designated major selectors of Berryman, Billingsley, Boand, Dunkel, College Football Researchers Association, Houlgate, Litkenhous, Poling, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)In 1938, The Vols went 10–0 in the regular season and then shut out fellow unbeaten Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, 17–0, snapping the Sooners' 14-game win streak and beginning a long winning streak for Neyland. Tennessee was selected by a majority of polls and selectors as the national champions with 24 crowning the Vols. Heisman Trophy winner Davey O'Brien and his undefeated TCU Horned Frogs were second with 14.
The 1938 Volunteers were the first of three consecutive Tennessee squads that had undefeated regular seasons. Tennessee won three consecutive conference titles before Neyland left for military service in World War II in 1941. Tennessee also began a historic streak in 1938. By shutting out their last four regular season opponents, the Vols began a streak of 17 consecutive regular season shutouts and 71 consecutive shutout quarters, still NCAA records. Athlon Sports has named the 1938 UT team as the third best college football team of all time.
The 1939 Tennessee Volunteers represented the University of Tennessee in the 1939 college football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Robert Neyland, in his 13th year, and played their home games at Shields–Watkins Field in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of ten wins and one loss (10–1 overall, 6–0 in the SEC), as SEC Champions and with a loss against USC in the 1940 Rose Bowl.
Tennessee entered the season as defending national champions and coach Neyland led the team to their second of three consecutive undefeated regular seasons. The 1939 Vols were also the last team in NCAA history to go undefeated, untied, and unscored upon in the regular season. Tennessee had two All-American performers that year: George Cafego, a single-wing halfback, and Ed Molinski, a guard.
The 1940 Tennessee Volunteers represented the University of Tennessee in the 1940 college football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Robert Neyland, in his 14th year, and played their home games at Shields–Watkins Field in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of ten wins and one loss (10–1 overall, 5–0 in the SEC), as SEC champions and with a loss against Boston College in the 1941 Sugar Bowl.
This team won the school's second national championship after being recognized as national champion under the Williamson System, a power rating system created by Paul Williamson, a New Orleans geologist, and the Dunkel System, a power index system devised by Dick Dunkel, Sr.
The 1946 Tennessee Volunteers (variously Tennessee, UT, or the Vols) represented the University of Tennessee in the 1946 college football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Robert Neyland, in his 15th year, and first since the 1940 season, and played their home games at Shields–Watkins Field in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of nine wins and two losses (9–2 overall, 5–0 in the SEC). They concluded the season as SEC champions and with a loss against Rice in the 1947 Orange Bowl.
The 1951 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1951 college football season. In his next to last season as head coach, Robert Neyland led the Vols to their second consecutive national title and the fourth during his tenure. The 1951 title was also the first undisputed, at the time, national title in school history. Maryland has since been retroactively credited with the 1951 national championship by several selectors, including analyst Jeff Sagarin, as they went undefeated that year and beat Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. At the time, the AP awarded the title before the bowl games were played. 1951 was also Neyland's ninth undefeated regular season in his career. The 1950 Tennessee team had gone 11–1, winning its last nine games and capping the season off with a victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl. In 1951, The Vols put together a 10–0 regular season and were voted national champs by the AP Poll before the bowl season began, as was the convention at the time. In addition to AP, Tennesse was named national champion by NCAA-designated major selectors Litkenhous, United Press International (coaches poll), and Williamson, leading to a consensus national champion designation.The game against Alabama on the Third Saturday in October that season was the first ever nationally televised game for both teams. The Vols were a dominant team in the regular season, winning their first nine games by a combined score of 338 to 61 before thwarting a spirited effort by in-state rival Vanderbilt in the last game of the regular season, 35–27.
The 1956 Tennessee Volunteers football team (variously Tennessee, Utah, or the Vols) represented the University of Tennessee in the 1956 NCAA University Division football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Bowden Wyatt, in his second year, and played their home games at Shields–Watkins Field in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of ten wins and one loss (10–1 overall, 6–0 in the SEC), as SEC Champions and with a loss against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. The Volunteers offense scored 275 points while the defense allowed 88 points.
The 1967 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1967 NCAA University Division football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Doug Dickey, in his fourth year, and played their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of nine wins and two losses (9–2 overall, 6–0 in the SEC) as SEC Champions and with a loss against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. The Volunteers' offense scored 283 points while the defense allowed 141 points. At season's end, Tennessee was recognized as national champions by Litkenhous.
The 1969 Tennessee Volunteers football team (variously "Tennessee", "UT" or the "Vols") represented the University of Tennessee in the 1969 NCAA University Division football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Doug Dickey, in his sixth year, and played their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of nine wins and two losses (9–2 overall, 5–1 in the SEC) and a loss against Florida in the Gator Bowl.
Tennessee's defense featured Jack Reynolds and All-American Steve Kiner while the offense featured quarterback Bobby Scott throwing to end Ken DeLong. Chip Kell was an All-American guard on the offensive line.
Florida Gators coach Ray Graves' final game saw his club beat the SEC champion Volunteers, 14–13, in the Gator Bowl. The game, which marked the Gator Bowl's silver anniversary had added drama because two days before kickoff word leaked out that Volunteers head coach Doug Dickey, the SEC Coach of the Year, would return to Florida, his alma mater, after the game.
The 1989 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1989 NCAA Division I-A football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Johnny Majors, in his 13th year, and played their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of eleven wins and one loss (11–1 overall, 6–1 in the SEC), as SEC co-champion, and with a victory over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl Classic. The Volunteers offense scored 346 points while the defense allowed 217 points.
The 1990 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1990 NCAA Division I-A football season. Playing as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the team was led by head coach Johnny Majors, in his 14th year, and played their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. They finished the season with a record of nine wins, two losses, and two ties (9–2–2 overall, 5–1–1 in the SEC), as SEC Champions and with a victory over Virginia in the Sugar Bowl. The Volunteers offense scored 465 points while the defense allowed 220 points.
The 1997 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee during the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season. Quarterback Peyton Manning had already completed his degree in three years, and had been projected to be the top overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, but returned to Tennessee for his senior year. The Volunteers opened the season with victories against Texas Tech and UCLA, but for the third time in his career, Manning fell to Florida, 33–20. The Vols won the rest of their regular season games, finishing 10–1, and advanced to the SEC Championship Game against Auburn. Down 20–7, Manning led the Vols to a 30–29 victory. Throwing for four touchdowns, he was named the game's MVP, but injured himself in the process. The #3 Vols were matched up with #2 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Had Tennessee won and top-ranked Michigan lost to Washington State in the Rose Bowl, the Vols would have been expected to win the national championship. However, the Vols' defense could not stop Nebraska's rushing attack, giving up more than 400 yards on the ground in a 42–17 loss. As a senior, Manning won numerous awards. He was a consensus first-team All-American and won the Maxwell Award, the Davey O'Brien Award, the Johnny Unitas Award, and the Best College Football Player ESPY Award, among others. However, he did not win the Heisman Trophy, finishing runner-up to Charles Woodson, a CB from Michigan, and the only defensive player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
The 1998 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season. Tennessee entered the 1998 season coming off an 11–2 record (7–1 SEC) in 1997. The Volunteers were given a preseason ranking of No. 10 in the AP Poll.
The Vols won their second undisputed national title, and sixth overall, after defeating Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl, the first BCS National Championship Game. The '98 Vols beat eight bowl teams, including six January bowl teams, four top ten teams, and three BCS bowl-bound teams. The 1998 Tennessee Volunteers were ranked as the No. 3 college football team of all time by the Billingsley Report computer ratings.Tennessee was expected to have a slight fall-off after their conference championship the previous season. They had lost quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Marcus Nash, and linebacker Leonard Little to the NFL. Manning was the first pick overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. Tennessee was also coming off a difficult 42–17 loss to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, and were in the midst of a five-game losing streak to the rival Florida Gators. Nonetheless, the Volunteers ended their season in Tempe, undefeated, becoming only the fourth school in modern college football history to complete a 13–0 season.
The 2001 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2001 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Phillip Fulmer. The Vols played their home games in Neyland Stadium and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Vols finished the season 10–2, 7–1 in SEC play and won the Florida Citrus Bowl, 45–17, over Michigan.
The 2002 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2002 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Phillip Fulmer. The Vols played their home games in Neyland Stadium and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Vols finished the season 8–5, 5–3 in SEC play and lost the Peach Bowl, 30–3, to Maryland.
The 2013 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2013 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Volunteers played their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee and competes in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team was coached by Butch Jones, who was in his inaugural season with UT. Jones was hired on December 7, 2012 to replace Derek Dooley who was fired on November 18, 2012 after an embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt. On August 31, 2013, UT earned its 800th victory in program history against Austin Peay and became only the eighth school in the nation to reach that plateau after Michigan, Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Alabama.
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