Last year, the Vols were able to end several different streaks during the season. Tennessee ended their losing streak against Florida, won in Athens, GA for the first time since 2006, and defeated both Florida and Georgia in the same season for the first time since 2004.
This year, Tennessee hasn’t been able to end any streaks as of yet. But Saturday will provide them with the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Georgia comes into Neyland Stadium as the No. 7 team in the country according to the AP Poll. That’s the highest Georgia has been ranked when they’ve played the Vols since they came into Knoxville in 2013 ranked as the 6th-best team in the country.
For Tennessee, a win on Saturday would break a decade-long streak of futility against opponents ranked inside the top 10.
The Vols haven’t beaten a team inside the top 10 since 2006 when they went down to Athens, GA and defeated No. 10 Georgia 51-33. Since that time, the Vols have played 24 teams ranked inside the top 10, and they’ve lost every single one of those games.
If you’re wondering why Tennessee’s victory over South Carolina in 2013 doesn’t count, it’s because the Gamecocks weren’t ranked inside the top 10 in the AP Poll that season. South Carolina was No. 9 in the Coaches Poll but only No. 11 in the AP Poll at the time. So Tennessee’s losing streak against top 10 teams technically didn’t end on that day.
Tennessee is 0-10 against top 10 teams under Butch Jones, and they’ve played at least two top 10 teams every year except one (2015) since the start of the 2007 season. But every single time the Vols have gone up against ast top 10 opponent over the last decade, they’ve come up short.
In the 24 match-ups against top 10 opponents since their last win in 2006, the Vols have lost by an average score of 38.4 to 15.1 in those contests. Tennessee has scored 13 or fewer points 14 times in those 24 games, and they’ve lost by 20 ore more points 15 times in those 24 match-ups. The Vols have only played top 10 teams to one-score deficits six times in their 24-game losing streak.
The last time the Vols defeated a top 10 team period came on the road when they took down Georgia in 2006. But the last time Tennessee managed to defeat a top 10 team at home in Neyland Stadium was even further back than that.
Tennessee hasn’t beaten a top 10 team at home since they knocked of No. 10 Georgia 37-20 in 1999.
Both of the Vols’ last victories over top 10 teams have come against Georgia interestingly enough. The Vols would like nothing more than to take down the Bulldogs this weekend and add another win against Georgia while the Bulldogs have been ranked inside the top 10.
The Vols ended several streaks last season. And if they want to turn their season around this year, they need to end another one this Saturday.