16. Texas A&M Aggies (No. 8)
Year: 2016 (Away)
Final score: No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers lose 45-38 (2OT)
Every team who is or once was in the SEC has beaten Tennessee football twice with the exception of two schools. The Texas A&M Aggies are one of those schools. However, they are the only team the Vols haven’t beaten since they joined the SEC.
UT did beat Texas A&M in the 1957 Gator Bowl, when Bear Bryant was coaching them, and in the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 2004 season. Those were their only two meetings before A&M joined the league, and this game was their only meeting since they joined. Since it’s A&M’s only win, it makes the list by default.
But this game was also the beginning of the end for Butch Jones’s tenure on Rocky Top. The Vols had just come off a Hail Mary to beat the Georgia Bulldogs one week after ending their 11-game losing streak to the Florida Gators. They were 5-0, had beaten their top two division foes and in complete control of the SEC East.
Losing this game wouldn’t be devastating, but winning it would give them ample amount of breathing room at 6-0. Well, in typical fashion this year, A&M jumped out to a 28-7 lead. But the Vols consistently came back all year and did it again here. They made it 28-21 and then 35-28.
In a year that at first seemed magical, then more magic happened. A&M got a first down with Trayveon Williams that would allow them to run out the clock, but Williams kept running toward the end zone, and at the last minute, Malik Foreman knocked the ball out for a touchback. So UT had one last chance, in which they went down the field and scored.
At this point, Jones made another dumb decision. His team was down one, seriously injured and on the road. The Aggies got an offside penalty on the extra point. It was blatantly obvious for him to go for two and the win. But he went for one and the tie. Then he lost in double-overtime after Joshua Dobbs threw an interception, the Vols’ seventh turnover of the game.
As a result, UT blew a golden opportunity. But this is still the least bad loss on this list because it didn’t impact the season that much. The Vols lost three more games on the year and didn’t even drop after this ranking. This game was the first of a three-game losing streak.