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Butch Jones is Looking for Rare Victory as Underdog on Saturday

When the Vols host the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, September 30th, it will be the first time since the Alabama game last year and only the fourth time since 2014 that the Vols will be underdogs at home. And the Vols haven’t had much luck as underdogs in the Butch Jones era regardless of location.

According to data compiled by Twitter user Matt Dixon (@MattDixon3) from lists of favorites and underdogs from football statistician Phil Steele, Butch Jones is just 3-13 as an underdog while at Tennessee heading into this season.

Jones had won at least one game as an underdog every year at Tennessee until last season. The Vols were underdogs against both Alabama and Texas A&M last season, and they dropped both of those games. Jones’ Vols were 1-1 in 2015 as underdogs, 1-4 in 2014. and 1-6 in 2013.

Dating back to his time at Cincinnati, Jones is just 5-20 as an underdog. His Cincinnati squads were 0-5 as underdogs in 2010, 1-1 in 2011, and 1-1 in 2012.

With the Vols, two of Jones’ victories as an underdog have come at home. His first with Tennessee happened in 2013 when the Vols hosted South Carolina, then his other home victory as an underdog came in 2015 against Georgia. His only other win as an underdog while at Tennessee was on the road against South Carolina in 2014.

The last time the Bulldogs came to Neyland Stadium as favorites, the Vols sent them home with a loss. In that game, however, Georgia was just a one-point favorite. The Bulldogs opened up as 7.5-point favorites over the Vols for this year’s match-up. Jones is just 1-13 as an underdog at Tennessee when the opposing team is favored by seven or more points.

On the flip side, Jones is 27-6 at Tennessee when his teams are the favorites to win prior to this season, and his Vol squads have lost both “toss-up games” he’s coached in. Those pick ’em games were both in 2015 when Tennessee played Oklahoma and Florida.

This season, the Vols are 3-0 as favorites and 0-1 as underdogs, bringing Jones’ record as a favorite to 30-6 and 3-14 as an underdog.

Tennessee desperately needs a victory on Saturday to stem the tide of negativity around the team. Butch Jones especially could use a win to help cool the hot seat he’s on. A win against the Bulldogs would be the first time a Jones-led Vol squad defeated a top 10 team too. That would be a big boost for Jones himself and the team as a whole.

A victory as an underdog has been rare under Butch Jones, but the Vols have done it once before against Georgia. And Jones and his players are hoping for a repeat performance of that this Saturday.

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