Jimmy’s blog: Vols have struggled in SEC play over last decade

By Jimmy Hyams

By Tennessee’s football standards, the last decade has been a debacle.

The Vols haven’t won the SEC East division since 2007, and challenged only once.

They’ve had one winning SEC record in the last 10 years and three conference records of 1-7 or worse.

During that time, they’ve had a winning record against just two SEC teams – Kentucky and Vanderbilt – but the Commodores have won four of the last six. That hasn’t happened since before Gen. Neyland was hired to run the UT program in 1926.

A series of misfortune and mis-hires have led to Tennessee’s decline since Phillip Fulmer was fired.

Not since 1973-82 has Tennessee been in such a funk when it comes to SEC play. During that 10-year span, the Vols never won more than three SEC games in a season and the high-water mark was 3-2-1 in 1982.

But the Vols were only six games under .500 against SEC teams during that time frame.

Since 2008, the Vols are 24-56 in SEC play: 24-32 against East opponents, 2-22 against the West.

It’s hard to believe but UT has a losing record against South Carolina over the past decade and a losing record against every team in the West, except Mississippi State (1-1).

Tennessee has been woeful against the West in part because most of the West teams UT has faced have been strong at the time of the encounter.

Of the 22 UT losses to the West, 15 came against teams ranked in the top 10 (six were No. 1.) Four defeats were to top 25 teams. Thus, UT is 0-19 against ranked West foes.

Tennessee is 2-3 against unranked West teams with wins over Mississippi State (2008) and Ole Miss (2010).

Here’s a breakdown of UT’s SEC record against league opponent since 2008:

East Division

Florida `                      1-9

Georgia                       3-7

Kentucky                    8-2

Vanderbilt                   6-4

South Carolina            4-6

Missouri                      2-4

TOTAL                       24-32

West Division

Alabama                      0-10

Auburn                        0-3

LSU                            0-3

Ole Miss                      1-2

Mississippi State         1-1

Texas A&M                0-1

TOTAL                       2-22

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