Tennessee has played some of the toughest schedules in the nation since Butch Jones took over in 2013, but the 2017 slate might offer a bit of a reprieve.
ESPN’s Phil Steele came out with his list of the toughest schedules in 2017 (insider) and Tennessee checked in tied for 44th nationally and 10th in the SEC in strength of schedule, according to his methodology.
Steele’s criteria was opponent win-loss record from the 2016 season. Tennessee’s is 84-69 (54.9%), which is significantly lighter than a team such as LSU, which has the toughest schedule in the SEC with teams with a 62.8% winning percentage waiting in 2017.
Steele also notes that the Vols fave seven opponents that had a winning record in 2016, nine that made a bowl game and three that finished in the final Top 25 ranking.
Here are Tennessee’s 2017 opponents with their 2016 record:
Georgia Tech (9-4) (@Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta)
Indiana State (4-7)
at Florida (9-4)
South Carolina (6-7)
at Alabama (14-1)
at Kentucky (7-6)
Southern Miss (7-6)
at Missouri (4-8)