1. 1992: Tennessee beats Florida 31-14
Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer
Just like Bill Battle in 1970, Phillip Fulmer in 1992 had two signature wins that we can’t ignore. Tennessee football’s win over the Georgia Bulldogs may have gotten the Vols rolling and given them confidence. This game put them in the national title picture and changed everything even more.
The week after the Vols shocked the Dawgs, the No. 4 ranked Gators were heading to town. Steve Spurrier’s team was the defending SEC Champions, and they would be back to back champs were they not on probation in 1990.
As heavy favorites, everybody expected things to come crashing down for the Vols. A young team with an interim coach couldn’t beat these Gators right? Right? Wrong! Tennessee football took it to another level.
With help from a torrential downpour that cut out the signal from a nationally televised ABC game, the Vols delivered an onslaught. A blocked punt, a couple of forced turnovers and big plays made them impossible to beat.
The most famous play was when Heath Shuler hit Mose Phillips in the pouring rain on a short out pass, and Phillips took it the distance for a score. The Vols stifled the Gators offense thanks to an amazing game by Todd Kelly. And in the end, they scored a huge 31-14 upset over Florida.
With two wins over SEC East teams who were in the Top 25, Tennessee football finally got into the Top 10 the next week. Phillip Fulmer was 3-0 as an interim coach, and the entire nation took note of that fact.
As a result, Johnny Majors returned with his offensive coordinator more famous than him. The distractions caused a three-game losing streak which got Majors fired and had Fulmer promoted to head coach. It all happened because of this early winning streak. And the game against Florida was the biggest one of all. That’s why it’s No. 1 on the list.