9. at Florida 2001
I don’t care if they were playing in the Swamp. And I don’t care how good Florida was. It still blows my mind that Tennessee was an 18-point dog that day. To put that in perspective, today’s Vols are coming off of three consecutive five-win seasons and four straight losing campaigns and are playing a team in Oklahoma that is ranked comparably to where Florida was ranked that year. Yet today’s Vols are catching just three more points than the very formidable team of 01?
Put another way, a one-loss, top-five team playing its most hated divisional foe on the road just two seasons removed from winning it all was nearly as big of a dog as today’s Tennessee team? That’s a joke, y’all. My only question? Who had the damn moneyline? Because UT walked away with an epic (and rare) win in The Swamp in what would be Steve Spurrier’s last ever game there. At least as the Gators’ head coach.
Casey Clausen converted a key fourth down on a bootleg left (pictured above), keeping alive a drive that produced a long Travis Stevens run that set up the clinching score.
I actually don’t consider this one that huge of an upset for all the reasons I stated above, but I threw it on the list out of sheer outrage that the Vols were so widely disrespected. That’s one reason why it appears so low on the list — that it wasn’t that big of an upset in my mind. The other reason is because UT folded the following week against an inferior LSU team which rendered the big win a bit hollow. For had they beaten LSU, Tennessee would have faced the Miami Hurricanes for a chance to win their second national championship in just four years, the last legitimate look this program had at winning it all.