After Saturday’s 30-10 loss to LSU, the Vols have done something this season that has only happened one other time in Tennessee’s entire program history. And it’s not a good thing.
When the Vols lost to No. 20 LSU by exactly 20 points, it marked the fourth time this season that Tennessee had lost a game by 20 or more points. In the program’s entire history, the Vols have only ever done that one other time in a season, and it was also in the Butch Jones era.
Tennessee lost four games by 28 or more points in 2013, dropping blowout contests to No. 2 Oregon, No. 1 Alabama, No. 10 Ole Miss, and No. 7 Auburn. The Vols lost to Oregon by 45, to Alabama by 35, Ole Miss by 28, and Auburn by 32.
This year, Tennessee has lost to a top 10 Georgia team by 41, a No. 1 Alabama team by 38, an unranked Missouri team by 33, and a top 20 LSU team by 20.
In SEC games this year, the Vols are being outscored by an average of 33.7 to 12.7. The Vols have managed 20 or more points in only two conference games, and they’ve given up 30 or more points to SEC opponents four times.
The Vols had never lost more than three games by 20 or more points in a single season until Butch Jones took over as head coach. And while he wasn’t the coach last night as the Vols took on LSU, that was still his roster and his coaching staff. He’s still responsible for the other three blowout losses even if he’s not credited with the loss to LSU.
Tennessee’s 2017 season may go down as one of the worst in program history. The offense has already set low marks for their performances in several games, the defense has made history in the wrong way as well, and now the team as a whole is ending up on the wrong side of history.
The Vols will look to avoid being the first team in school history to lose five or more games by 20 or more points when they take on Vanderbilt this next Saturday. The odds of that happening against the Commodores are very low, however. Vanderbilt, just like Tennessee, is winless in conference play. And they’ve lost by an average score of 46 points to 19.7 points in their seven SEC games.
Tennessee hasn’t been competitive in a third of their games this season. That should never happen at Tennessee, and it’s now happened twice in the last five seasons.