Decade's best wins and worst loses in UT football

Decade's Best wins

1. 34-32, at No. 2 Florida, Dec. 1, 2001.

Comment: An 18-point underdog, Vols clinched SEC East title and ruined Steve Spurrier's final game in The Swamp.

2. 10-6, at No. 6 Miami, Nov. 8 2003.

Comment: UT, a 13-point underdog, ended Miami's 26-game home win streak.

3. 45-17, No. 17 Michigan in Citrus Bowl, Jan. 1, 2004.

Comment: Vols dominate first meeting between national powers.

4. 19-14, at No. 3 Georgia, Oct. 9, 2004.

Comment: UT, 12-point underdog, takes command in SEC East.

5. 51-43, at Alabama, 5OT, Oct. 25, 2003.

Comment: Thriller win against arch-rival, one year after 'Bama ended UT's eight-game win streak.

6. 30-28, vs. No. 11 Florida, Sept. 18, 2004.

Comment: Kicker James Wilhoit goes from goat to hero with 50-yard game-winner.

7. 52-50, at Kentucky, 4OT, Nov. 24, 2007.

Comment: Heart-pounder puts Vols back in SEC Championship Game.

8. 41-38, vs. Arkansas, 6OT, Oct. 6, 2002.

Comment: Six overtimes, enough said.

9. 45-19, vs. Georgia, Oct. 10, 2009.

Comment: Lane Kiffin's first signature win, saves season.

10. 51-33, at No. 10 Georgia, Oct. 7, 2006.

Comment: Rally from 24-7 deficit lands Vols on Sports Illustrated cover.

Decade's Worst losses

1. 31-20, to LSU in SEC Championship Game, Dec. 8, 2001.

Comment: Cancel the reservations in Pasadena.

2. 21-14, to LSU in SEC Championship Game, Dec. 1, 2007.

Comment: Interception return kills Fulmer's last shot at SEC title.

3. 27-24, OT, at UCLA, Sept. 1, 2008.

Comment: Win slips away against bad team. Start the dominoes tumbling.

4. 59-20, at Florida, Sept. 15, 2007.

Comment: Illustrates gulf between UT and Urban Meyer-era Gators.

5. 13-7, to Wyoming, Nov. 8, 2008.

Comment: Unthinkable under any circumstances.

6. 28-24, to Vanderbilt, Nov. 19, 2005.

Comment: It's official - losing season, no bowl. Vandy releases commemorative video.

7. 27-23, to Florida, Sept. 16, 2000.

Comment: Did Jabar Gaffney really catch it? Most controversial finish.

8. 31-14, at Arkansas, Nov. 11, 2006.

Comment: Night of the Wild Hog. Did a UT defense ever look more flustered?

9. 30-3, to Maryland, Peach Bowl, Dec. 31, 2002.

Comment: Ineptitude. Worst bowl margin ever.

10. 6-3, to Alabama, Oct. 22, 2005.

Comment: Snatching defeat from jaws of victory.

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Comments » 16

car3wil#347786 writes:

Michigan game was Jan 1, 2002

Vols4Ever writes:

Was @ the U game. Also ended their 86 game home streak of scoring a TD at the Orange Bowl. Thank God for SEC officials.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Vols4Ever:

Was @ the U game. Also ended their 86 game home streak of scoring a TD at the Orange Bowl. Thank God for SEC officials.

I was at the UCLA game.Still crying.

CrankE writes:

#8 Arkansas, 2002.

Not sure I agree with this one. Arkansas was a team UT should have been able to beat without a lot of trouble. Instead, a late fumble recovery gives Arky a tie game and hope. (a sadly recurring theme of this decade)

Long story short; Protect the ball and put Arky away in 60 minutes, Clausen is not injured during the interminable OT, and UT probably has a better than even chance of defeating Georgia. This would have set up a three way tie for first in the SEC East. This was a costly win.

CrankE writes:

#7 Kentucky, 2007

Same thing as before. An opponent UT led by a pretty big margin, but couldn't put away in 60 minutes.

You think spending an extra 4 OT's on the field with Kentucky affected the Vols the next week in Atlanta? Another very costly win.

CrankE writes:

#4 Georgia, 2004
I would actually move this one up at least one spot. This wasn't the last time that UT would sit a higher ranked, extremely talented UGA team on the couch for the SEC Championship game.
___
Where's the 2001 win over the Tide!? That was 7 in a row which is the longest losing streak Alabama has ever had to ANY opponent.

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

Um, I think it's spelled "losses."

CrankE writes:

#7 FL-U, 2000
Gaffney's nanosecond of possession gets all the press. But the real story was UT's and failure to finish. Leading 23-20 with very little time remaining, Tennessee needed only one more first down to be able to take a knee and the win. Even the awful pick 6 could have been overcome with just one more first down by the Vols at this point. Travis Henry converted....but there was a flag that brought it back. You know the rest. Even though they dominated the game, the inattention to detail and failure to finish cost them the game-a sadly recurring theme of the naughties.

A win here would give UT a 6-2 SEC record and a trip to the Dome by virtue of their win over UF.

This loss also ended something like a 27 game home win streak for the Vols that dated back to 1996? The senior class of 2000 missed their chance to leave with an undefeated record at Neyland Stadium.

I put this one at #3 or maybe even #2.

CrankE writes:

One loss that should have made the cut;
Notre Dame, 2004

A useless play at the end of the half accomplishes the following:

-Season ending injury for Ainge.
-Enter Rick Clausen.
-Vols lose to Notre Dame-missing out on a chance to crack the AP top 10.
-Vols face 11-0 Auburn without Ainge and predictably lose.

With Ainge's planting into the turf at Neyland stadium, the seeds of the 2005 disaster (not to mention the QB controversy) are also planted. How much different would 2005 have been if not for this one play?

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

Thinking about those losses is too painful! Let's add a December 31rst win over VT that vaulted the Vols back into SEC and national prominence to the big win list . . . .

vol88 writes:

NO GAFFNEY DID NOT CATCH IT!!!

joshinseattle writes:

I'm so glad I don't live in knoxville anymore. Vols fans are crybabies. Is it hard to except the fact that Tennessee is not as good as you think. I'm still a UT fan, but I don't cry when they lose. Just remember.... win or lose, they have to go back to knoxville... I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Southland writes:

good article to think about and argue about most enjoyable and painful one in a long time The losses to LSU took the program down a great deal or showed we were going down. The losses to Florida are always painful but hey they have been at the top of the pecking order for a few years. Don't like that but its true. Can't say that I am happy Bama is taking back over as the top dog. They will win this year's NC and the next as well. Yep, we had them beat and let it go on special teams. Maybe the coaching staff needs to review General Neyland's game maximums and really do them. Coach Fulmer went over them but didnt do them. The game is won or lost in the kicking game.

LiveFaith writes:

Hey! We actually won #10. I'm still sick @ it tho.

WLafIndianavol writes:

The 2002 Citrus showcased a very pissed Vols team led by a very determined Jason Whitten who ran all over the Wolverines secondary. To this day, still one of my favorite wins since my wife is a Michigan native and graduate!

volboy81 writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

I was at the UCLA game.Still crying.

Me too. Me too.
that loss changed history.

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