When the Vols play host to South Carolina this Saturday, it will mark the 13th time in the Butch Jones era that Tennessee has kicked off a game at noon. And Tennessee is currently on an extended winning streak for noon games.
The Vols have won their last five noon games dating back to 2015. Overall, the Vols are 9-3 in noon games under Butch Jones, and they already have one win against South Carolina on a noon kickoff. Tennessee defeated No. 11 South Carolina 23-21 in 2013 in Neyland Stadium on a noon kickoff.
While Tennessee’s overall record in noon kickoffs is solid, their record against SEC foes in noon games isn’t the greatest, however.
All three of Tennessee’s losses on noon kickoffs have come against SEC teams. The Vols lost 55-23 to No. 9 Auburn in 2013, 35-32 to Georgia on the road in 2014, and 10-9 against Florida in 2014 as well. Tennessee does have wins against the aforementioned South Carolina team in 2013 and Kentucky in 2016 in SEC play during noon games, however, bringing their record to 2-3 in SEC games when it’s a noon kickoff.
The Vols’ lone noon kickoff this season was ugly, but it resulted in a win. Tennessee defeated UMass 17-13 earlier this season.
Tennessee’s noon game this weekend will be significantly tougher than their match-up with UMass earlier this year. South Carolina is riding high off a 48-22 rout of Arkansas last weekend. The Gamecocks are 4-2 overall and have a 2-2 conference record. Tennessee is still searching for their first conference win and just suffered a 41-0 loss to Georgia.
But the Vols are coming off a bye week when they take on South Carolina this weekend. Although that didn’t work out for them last year, and Butch Jones hasn’t had a lot of luck coming off bye weeks lately with the Vols.
If Butch Jones wants to save his job with Tennessee, it starts with the South Carolina game. The Vols have been good in noon games the past few years, and they need that trend to continue if they want to stop the bleeding this season.