Written by: Cody Conrad
Following Saturday’s convincing win vs. Missouri, I pondered to myself; what would a win against Georgia this Saturday mean for not only this team, but the program as a whole?
First off, The Vols will be coming into Saturday’s matchup ranked as the #14 team in the country with a chance to beat a #3 ranked Georgia team in Athens. As we all know by now, Tennessee has not recorded a victory against a single opponent ranked in the top 10 since the Nixon Administration, but this would give them yet another crack at ending that long, painful drought. While that is obviously an exaggeration, the Vols did not record a top 10 win ALL of the last decade. Not surprising that known football masterminds Lyle Jones and Vince Dooley’s son were not able to accomplish this feat. To find the last time that the Big Orange recorded a win of this magnitude, we have to go all the way back to October 7, 2006 when now Knoxville radio host Erik Ainge lead the troops to a 51-33 win vs. the #10 Georgia Bulldogs… in Athens. If luck falls on our side, we may get the chance to see history repeat itself.
The dramatic change in the atmosphere that Jeremy Pruitt has caused since he arrived on campus deserves to be talked about and praised constantly. We all know what happened at the beginning of last season with the, let’s just say, less than ideal start. But despite all the negative energy and rumors that swirled around following the 0-2 start in 2019, Coach Pruitt kept the team together and closed the season strong. The Volshave continued their good fortune that struck in the second half of 2019 as they will ride an 8-game winning streak into Athens. However, they will be taking on by far the best team they have faced during that stretch. While no one in Knoxville is exactly shaking in their boots or losing sleep at night at the thought of playing Stetson Bennett, this is still a very good Georgia team. That being said, this may or may not be as dominant of a Georgia team of the past 3 years despite what they did to #7 (LOL) Auburn. But I think I can speak for everyone when I say that this is certainly a different Tennessee team than what we have seen in the past three years, and I mean that for the better.
So, what would a win vs. Georgia Saturday mean for this program? It goes without saying that this program is hungry, borderline desperate for another big-time win. We, as a fanbase have milked out every single ever-livin’ drop out of the wins vs. Florida and Georgia in 2016. While those wins will never not be hilarious, they continue to get further and further in the rearview every day. This fanbase needs a win in the worst of ways vs. one of the big three again. This year, Georgia happens to be first in line of the those big three, and for the first time in a long time the Vols are going into the contest with a half-decent shot at the W. This is the most confidence that I have seen around the fanbase since the first half of the 2016 season, and that alone shows the improvement that Coach Pruitt has made already here early in year 3. A win against the Dawgs on Saturday would clean out the last of the junk in the garage that Lyle left behind. I think that is truthfully why this program needs a win like this; it will get the last little bit of taste of B*tch out of our mouths, and set the tone for the future and what’s to come under Coach Jeremy Pruitt.