2. Beat Florida
With any decent coaching, Tennessee football would have a five-game winning streak against the Florida Gators right now. Butch Jones threw Nathan Peterman to the wolves back in 2013 when he wasn’t ready, and his first-half mistakes were the difference in the game.
He then devised a ridiculous strategy of throwing all over the field in 2014 against a defensive-oriented Florida team, only to see it result in three turnovers by Justin Worley and a 10-9 loss as a result. Then there are the two games in The Swamp, where Jones managed to make a series of bad decisions both times, which covered up for the incompetence of Jim McElwain.
So the only win they have against UF is in 2016. Now, with Jeremy Pruitt at the helm, the Vols shouldn’t expect to beat Florida every year. But they should expect to win this year, and the overhype of the Gators makes no sense.
Just like the Vols, Florida only won four games last year. Sure, they beat Tennessee. But it was off of a Hail Mary in Gainesville after Jones gave away the game, as we mentioned. This year, the game is in Knoxville.
But what about the schematic changes? Florida is transitioning to a 3-4 just like the Vols, so they should struggle just as much on defense. And while Tennessee is going back to a pro-style offense, Florida is switching to a spread, which is more difficult.
Simply put, the Vols and Gators are at least on even playing field this year. So with this still being the most important game of the year on Rocky Top, Tennessee football should expect to win. It may be a bit lofty, but it’s crucial to a successful first season.