Tennessee is headed for a January 2nd matchup with Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl. A quick examination of recent history shows that bowl wins have been a mixed bag for both Butch Jones and the Vols.
Butch Jones at Central Michigan
In 2007 at Central Michigan, Jones led the Chippewas to a 1st place finish in the West Division of the MAC. They beat Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship Game and advanced to the Motor City Bowl, where they were an 8.5-point underdog to a Purdue team which beat them 51-48.
The 2008 season saw Central Michigan finish tied for 2nd in the MAC West and earn another Motor City Bowl berth. This time, Jones’ team was favored by seven points over Florida Atlantic. Jones’ squad lost 24-21.
Central Michigan earned a GMAC berth in 2009 after leading his team to a 10-2 regular season record and MAC Championship Game victory. The Chippewas were slight favorites over Troy and won 44-41. Jones didn’t coach in the GMAC bowl because he had taken the head coaching job at Cincinnati. Current Tennessee defensive line coach Steve Stripling was the interim head coach and earned the bowl victory in 2010.
Butch Jones at Cincinnati
Jones’ first year as the head man of the Bearcats, 2010, saw the team go 4-8. The 2011 Bearcats took a giant leap forward and won 10 games – including a 31-24 win over James Franklin’s favored Vanderbilt team in the Liberty Bowl. In 2012, Cincinnati went 10–3 and defeated Duke 48-34 in the Belk Bowl. The Bearcats were favored by double-digits in that game and Steve Stripling, again, served as interim head coach while Jones was getting things going at his new job in Knoxville.
Overall, Jones is 1-2 in bowl games as a head coach, but his teams are 3-2 – with Stripling going 2-0 as interim head coach.
Tennessee Since 2000
The Vols narrowly missed a bowl-berth last season, Jones’ first on Rocky Top. Tennessee has played in 10 bowl games this millennium and has posted a 3-7 record in those games.
Every bowl win since 2000 came with Phillip Fulmer leading the team. His Vols posted victories over Michigan (45-17 in the Citrus Bowl – 2001 season), Texas A&M (38-7 in the Cotton Bowl – 2004 season) and Wisconsin (21-17 in the Outback Bowl – 2007 season – UT’s last bowl win).
During the same time period under Fulmer, the Vols lost to Kansas State, Maryland, Clemson and Penn State. The Vols also have bowl losses to Virginia Tech (34-13 in the Peach Bowl under Kiffin) and North Carolina (30-27 in the 2010 Music City Bowl under Dooley).