Athlon Sports has released it's mid-season report card for the 31 new coaches in college football's top level, and Tennessee’s Butch Jones came out in the top fourth.
Of Jones, who ranked seventh, with a B+ rating, the writers said:
“Even though Tennessee’s record is just 4-3, there are plenty of signs the program is on the right track. The Volunteers took Georgia to overtime on Oct. 5 and followed up that performance with an upset victory over South Carolina last Saturday. Tennessee’s offense is starting to show some signs of life, and the Volunteers rank second in the SEC with a +4 in turnover margin. The upcoming schedule isn’t easy, but Tennessee should play in a bowl this year.”
The top spot in the list went to Auburn's Gus Malzahn, whose 6-1 Tigers have already won twice the games that they did last season. Auburn and the Vols play on Nov. 9 at Neyland Stadium, one of the games in the “upcoming schedule” to which Jones' assessment referred.
In fact, Tennessee also faced the No. 3 coach on the list, Oregon's Mark Helfrich, who, like Malzahn, earned an A+ rating, as well as the No. 9 coach, Western Kentucky's Bobby Petrino, who charted with a B.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, whose Wildcats are the Vols' regular-season finale opponent on Nov. 30, came in with a C, in 15th place.