Derek Dooley somewhat infamously presided over the first back-to-back losing seasons for Tennessee in a century in 2010-11, marking a milestone that hadn't been reached (or had been avoided, depending on how you want to look at it) since 1910-11. The Vols also had a losing record in 1909, so his third consecutive sub-.500 effort didn't set or even tie a program record, even if it did get him fired.
No, tying the mark could come this year, and could take Tennessee all the way back to the Theodore Roosevelt Administration, from 1903-06, an era in which you will not be surprised to learn that the Vols had three different football coaches. At that point, we would literally be talking about nearly unprecedented territory for the football program, and certainly unprecedented territory for the living memory of all Tennessee fans.
The problem is, I can't figure out where the wins are going to come from. The offense for last year is, for all intents and purposes, gone. And I simply don't trust that defense, at least until I see that the switch from the 3-4 back to the 4-3 has restored competency to that side of the ball. In the meantime, Tennessee is facing a suddenly more rugged SEC East, with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina now joined by a surprisingly strong Vanderbilt.
There are winnable games on the schedule -- but some of them, like the annual showdown with Missouri, are on the road. And there are no gimme games on this schedule. So I'm picking the floor here for the Volunteers, simply because I see no reason not to.
Place: 6th in the SEC East
Record: 4-8, 1-7 SEC
Could be: 4-8 to 7-5
Best chance for an upset: at SOUTH CAROLINA
8.31.13 | AUSTIN PEAY | WIN
9.7.13 | WESTERN KENTUCKY | LIKELY WIN
9.14.13 | at OREGON | LOSS
9.21.13 | at FLORIDA | LIKELY LOSS
9.28.13 | SOUTH ALABAMA | WIN
10.5.13 | GEORGIA | PROBABLE LOSS
10.19.13 | SOUTH CAROLINA | PROBABLE LOSS
10.26.13 | at ALABAMA | LOSS
11.2.13 | at MISSOURI | POSSIBLE LOSS
11.9.13 | AUBURN | POSSIBLE LOSS
11.23.13 | VANDERBILT | POSSIBLE LOSS
11.30.13 | at KENTUCKY | POSSIBLE WIN
Key (from least likely to win to most): Loss, Likely Loss, Probable Loss, Possible Loss, Possible Win, Probable Win, Likely Win, Win