Butch Jones’ Tennessee is 1 loss away from an amazing(ly bad) SEC accomplishment


Tennessee could achieve concurrent losing streaks against every other team in the SEC.

Which of these two things is worse?

Being a 10-point underdog to the 2017 version of the Missouri Tigers is certainly not ideal (that line’s up to 11).

But a quick rundown of Tennessee’s schedules over the last few years confirms that the Vols, without an upset on Saturday, will have lost their last game against all 13 of their fellow citizens in the SEC. That feels impossible, but it’s real.

The Vols’ most recent result against each SEC program:

  • Alabama: a loss in 2017
  • Arkansas: a loss in 2015
  • Auburn: a loss in 2013
  • Florida: a loss in 2017
  • Georgia: a loss in 2017
  • Kentucky: a loss in 2017
  • LSU: a loss in 2011 (to be fair, this was under Derek Dooley, not Jones)
  • Mississippi State: a loss in 2012 (also under Dooley)
  • Ole Miss: a loss in 2014
  • South Carolina: a loss in 2017
  • Texas A&M: a loss in 2016
  • Vanderbilt: a loss in 2016

And, for the moment:

  • Missouri: a win in 2016

This isn’t the same as a 12-game losing streak, but it’s still bad.

It primarily points to how much Tennessee has cratered under Jones since starting the 2016 season 5-0. That was the Vols’ record after Jauan Jennings caught a Hail Mary at the buzzer to beat Georgia in Athens. They were ranked ninth in the AP Poll when they visited Texas A&M the following week, on Oct. 8, 2016.

UT lost that game in College Station. It finished the season on a 2-4 run in SEC play, and it’s run that drought to 2-9 by starting this year 0-5 in the league.

Jones is already basically fired.

He had to beat Kentucky in Week 9 to save his job for the long haul, and he didn’t. A win over mid-major Southern Miss last weekend — after an effort by Vols fans to boycott the game and force his firing — won’t move the needle at all.

That game included Jones oddly burning a QB’s redshirt, which seems like the kind of thing a coach would do when he’s fairly certain he’s not long for a given job.

Reaching simultaneous losing streaks against 13 other SEC teams would be humiliating, even if it’d be trivial amid all the Vols’ problems. It’d still be a fitting milestone.

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