7. UAB Blazers
The UAB Blazers should be a circled win for Tennessee football like the Georgia State Panthers and Chattanooga Mocs. But there is a circled win and circled loss this year for the Vols that has legitimate potential to flip.
UAB is the circled win that could potentially flip. And there are numerous reasons for that. To begin with, the Blazers went 11-3 last year and won the Conference-USA Championship. It’s worth pointing out that they looked better against the Charlotte 49ers than the Vols did.
Bill Clark has done a tremendous job with that program, and of the three teams the Vols play that have no Power Five designation, UAB would definitely be the best win of them. There’s another part that makes this tricky, though.
Jeremy Pruitt is very familiar with all the coaches on UAB’s staff, and they are familiar with him, as they all have deep roots coaching in the state of Alabama. As a result, there could be coaches on there good enough to know Pruitt’s tendencies, whatever they may be, and exploit them. Those combined factors make this an important game than the previous five we mentioned.
Now, one factor that could matter here is that this is the ninth game of the year and won’t be until Nov. 2. We will have a solid idea of where the Vols stand overall by that point. UAB is still basically an automatic on this list, as the other ones are.
But there’s a slight bit more to gain while there’s still everything to lose here, as UAB could be a quality win. They should be a lot worse this year after losing lots of talent, but they are still decent. So this game is important.