The Vols suffered their worst season in program history this past year with the team’s first ever eight-loss season and first ever winless season in conference play since joining the SEC. But Vol fans still showed up and supported their team.
According to attendance information released by the NCAA, Tennessee still finished inside the top 10 in average home attendance in 2017 despite going 4-8 on the year and only winning three of their seven home games. The Vols finished seventh nationally with an average attendance of 95,779 at each home game.
Tennessee finished fourth in the SEC in attendance average, coming in behind Alabama (4th), Texas A&M (5th), and LSU (6th). Michigan topped the charts with an average attendance of 111,589 at each home game.
Vol fans may have outdone several other big schools in attendance, but it was actually a down year for the Vols historically speaking. The average home attendance of 95,779 was the lowest since Tennessee averaged 95,584 in 2013, Butch Jones’ first season as the Vols head coach. Ironically, Jones’ final season as head coach had almost the exact same attendance average as his first season as head coach.
The fans that showed up to home games this season weren’t treated to high quality football from the Vols, though. Vol fans saw Tennessee defeat FCS opponent Indiana State 42-7, struggle to beat a lowly UMass squad 17-13, and win an ugly game against Southern Miss 24-10 as the only home victories this season. They had to sit through four losses, and three of them were blowouts.
Tennessee lost to Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, and Vanderbilt in Neyland Stadium. They lost those four games by a combined score of 128 to 43, and Tennessee’s 41-0 loss to Georgia was the largest loss in Neyland Stadium history.
Despite the historically bad season, Vol fans still supported the team and helped Tennessee stay inside the top 10 for average home attendance. But the average dropped by 5,189 compared to the average during the 2016 season, and the product on the field was why. Tennessee may have disappointed in 2016, but they still went 9-4 and defeated Florida at home.
The Vols will have several prominent home games in 2018 during Jeremy Pruitt’s first season as head coach. Tennessee will host Florida and Alabama this season and also has home games scheduled against ETSU, UTEP, Charlotte, Kentucky, and Missouri.