10. At Alabama Crimson Tide
In normal years, this game would be near the top of the list. Tennessee football still views the Alabama Crimson Tide as a major rivalry, and being on a 12-game losing streak to them only makes things worse.
However, given the state of the program, the Vols should just accept a loss to Jeremy Pruitt’s former team and his alma mater this year. Alabama on the road is clearly their most impossible game to win.
If the Vols were back in the national picture and thinking about SEC and national titles, then this would obviously be a much higher game on the list. However, they are in the have a winning season and make a bowl game picture.
Even if a top 25 finish were the goal, this game would still not be important. Winning it would be the upset of all upsets and worthy of major celebration. Losing it, however, is just something that everybody expects to happen. The only storyline behind this game, scheduled for Oct. 19, will be the Vols record, as they will have played six games by this point.
This is a nothing to lose everything to gain type of game. We do these rankings based on a combination of how much there is to lose and how much there is to gain. And when there is literally nothing to lose based on what we expect from the Vols this year, this game belongs near the bottom of our list.
Simply put, this is as automatic of a loss as the Georgia State Panthers and Chattanooga Mocs are automatic wins. That’s why we have all of those teams near the bottom of this list, and we’re not done with those foregone conclusion games either.