It’s no secret that Butch Jones coached teams have won fairly consistently following a bye week, but we decided to take a deeper look at these stats and find out how reliable he truly is following the bye.
We dug deep into the archives and went all the way back to his days at Central Michigan to kick it off. So travel back with us now to a time before the Dark Derek Dooley Days, way back to 2007 when Butch Jones got his first crack at being a head coach:
2007: In his first year at Central Michigan there wasn’t a true “off week” for his team but there were a couple of instances where they had 10 days between games so for our purposes that’s what we’ll use. In 2007 after 10 days of rest following a shootout victory over Kent State, Butch Jones and the Chippewas traveled to Western Michigan and pulled off what could be considered an upset victory 34-31 – giving Butch Jones his first victory following a “Bye” week as a head coach and bringing him to 1-0
2008: In Coach Jones’ second year as head coach, the Chippewas got a true off week and once again came out on top. After just edging out Buffalo 27-25 two weeks prior, Butch Jones and Central Michigan won decisively 24-14 over Temple. This brought Butch up to 2-0 following the Bye Week
2009: It was another year of the 10-day rest week instead of a true off week for the Chippewas in Coach Jones’ final year as head coach, but it was the same result. Following a tough 31-10 loss to Boston College, Jones and his Chippewas had a few extra days of rest and preparation for the next matchup against Toledo. The Chippewas would make this game a no contest as they sailed to the victory 56-28, leaving Jones at 3-0 after off weeks at Central Michigan.
2010: In Jones’ first season as head coach for the Bearcats, he got a liberty that he didn’t receive in his first year at Central Michigan – a legitimate bye week. Following a nail-biter against Oklahoma where the Bearcats lost 31-29, they had a week of preparation and rest heading into their matchup with Miami Ohio. The Bearcats showed no mercy as they trounced the Red Hawks 45-3 keeping Butch perfect at 4-0 coming off the bye.
2011: In his second year with the Bearcats, Jones had his team rolling into the off week in mid-October with only one loss. Heading into the bye, Butch’s Bearcats throttled Miami Ohio 27-0 and then had the extra week to prepare for then conference foe Louisville. Cincinnati handled this matchup by two scores, winning 25-16 and improving to 5-1 on the season.
2012: In 2012 the Bearcats had an early off week following only the second game of their season against Delaware State, who they handled 23-7. Following the week of not so needed rest, but much needed preparation, Butch Jones and his team would travel to the nation’s capital and play in the Redskins’ stadium against Virginia Tech. A touchdown by the Bearcats with only seconds remaining would lift Cincinnati to a victory over the Hokies 27-24 and moved Jones’ record to 6-0 coming off a bye.
2013: In 2013 Butch Jones took over his biggest project yet – rebuilding Tennessee. This team was the most depleted talent wise he had probably ever had to face and yet still got a lot out of it. In 2013 the Vols lost a tight overtime thriller 34-31 to Georgia on a Pig Howard fumble. Following that loss, the Vols headed into a bye week before facing another strong conference foe in South Carolina. The extra week of prep would prove to be just what the Vols needed as they hit a game-winning field goal as time expired to lift Tennessee to a 23-21 win over the Gamecocks –also lifting Jones to 7-0 following the off week.
2014: In Jones’ second year as head coach of the Vols, Tennessee had a pair of bye weeks. Following the first week off, the Vols faced Georgia, and just like the year before, this one came down to the wire. But this year the extra week would prove to not be enough as the Vols would lose 35-32 in another close call. The second off week came after an unbelievable come-from-behind overtime victory over South Carolina. The week of rest would help the Vols let the emotional win settle as they would play host to Kentucky and coast past the Wildcats 50-16. This victory would extend Butch Jones’s post off week record to 8-1
2015: In 2015 Tennessee’s bye week fell after an emotional win again Georgia that had eluded the team for two years now. Following the 38-31 victory, the Vols again had the week off to let the emotions subdue and turn their focus to their next opponent, the Crimson Tide. The Tide came into the game playing their eighth game in a row, whereas Tennessee was fresh off a week of rest. This would prove to not be enough as the Vols would lose 19-14 in what was one of the better played games of Jones’ tenure at UT even though it came up just short.
Overall Record After Bye: 8-2
This bodes well for Tennessee heading into this week’s matchup against the Gamecocks, not only has Butch proved that his teams consistently do well following the off week, but also that he seems to have South Carolina’s number.
It also helps that games following the bye week where his teams were overall more talented than the opponents they took care of business and handled their opponents with ease, see years 2009, 2011, and 2014 if you need a refresher. Look for Tennessee to run South Carolina ragged and use that victory to start their five-game winning streak that very well could lead to Atlanta.