Is Tennessee Football Back?

Tennessee Football’s late season success in 2019 could have their fans thinking they’re back, but their schedule puts them in a “wait and see” reality.

Sure there were plenty of blow out wins but they didn’t beat anyone notable to close the stretch. Moreover, the three games against ranked opponents had the Vols being outscored 112-30. So (despite’s Clay’s highest optimism) they aren’t worth the spotlight attention just yet.

“We have a tremendous challenge going on the road playing South Carolina,” head coach Jeremy Pruitt said.

He’s right. The Vols need to get ready for South Carolina because a loss here will damped expectations in a hurry. As such, the real tests start in October when the team lines up with Georgia, Kentucky, and Alabama.

Many fans are done with simply competing in a couple of these games and until Tennessee starts giving ranked teams resistance, the wins and optimisms comes off like Kellen Moore’s undefeated Boise State squads.

Jarrett Guarantano returns as a redshirt senior — that should help lead the team, in theory — and maybe his experience will keep their eyes on the prize. No one is more primed to ditch the shortcomings of last year more than a quarterback in his last season. Guarantano finished the 2019 campaign throwing 16 TD’s and eight picks, but the Vols will need more to take the next step.

Verdict

If Tennessee football wants to be taken seriously going forward, it needs to show fans that it is ready for the national stage.

One this is for sure, Pruitt has done a tremendous job instilling some toughness as well as recruiting at a very high level. That is half the battle. Now it will be on his — and the staff — to grow on gameday and on the sidelines.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

2 Comments

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  1. They’re back whenever they can beat Florida – and not in some weird, fluky ass way like in 2016 when they ran entirely all year on fool’s gold, looked like a MAC team in the first half and then scored 35 points in the 2nd thanks to Jim McElwain being hapless.

  2. As an outsider, this is such an interesting fan base to observe up close. Like every rabid fan base there is an expectation of excellence every year, but with this set of fans there is a dread lying under the surface almost expecting failure. Neyland is an insanely hostile place to play when the crowd is lit, but when it’s not you can hear a pin drop. I was at that Georgia State (not Southern) disaster last year…we’ll see what Pruitt’s actually worth as a coach this year. A come from behind win against a mediocre Indiana team last December is less than inspiring.

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