The Vols’ season was “win the SEC East or bust”. The Florida Gators went into Baton Rouge and beat LSU 16-10, to clinch their second straight SEC East title.
Tennessee’s season is a bust.
Butch Jones tabbed 2016 as the season UT would “be back” among the elite in college football. It started with back-to-back Top 5 recruiting classes when Jones arrived to UT. Then, the Vols won their last six games to end the 2015 season, including another bowl blowout of a Big Ten team.
Tennessee returned 17 starters from last season’s 9-4 team. Quarterback Josh Dobbs was primed for his senior year. Jalen Hurd was going to become the school’s all-time leading rusher. Derek Barnett was going to become the school’s career sack leader. The losing streak to Florida would end, and the Vols would be in Atlanta.
Some of these things happened, or could still happen. But, not winning the SEC East makes the ones checked off the list feel empty. The Vols beat Florida in a crazy game; however, it will be those pesky Gators who make it back to the SEC Championship game.
Vol fans are sick to their stomachs. The season that began with so much optimism will come up short.
The first coach in SEC history to reach the SEC Championship in his first two seasons…
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 19, 2016
No, Butch Jones will not be fired. He will not be on the hot seat when the season is over. But, whoever is named as Tennessee’s new Athletic Director in the coming months will have some things to think about. It’s too early for the hot seat talk, but Jones will need to win over the new AD, who isn’t the guy that hired him.