Johnny Majors: 5-5-1 (3-3)
No postseason accomplishments
After a dose of reality hit Tennessee football during Johnny Majors’s first year, 1977, Vols fans had to reset their expectations. However, things did not get much better his second year, which is why this is only No. 10 on the list.
Coming off the worst season in modern history at the time, UT opened up 1978 0-2-1 with losses to the UCLA Bruins and Auburn Tigers while a tie with the Oregon State Beavers. After beating the Army Black Knights, losses to the Alabama Crimson Tide and Mississippi State Bulldogs had these guys down to 1-4-1.
But in what would become a staple under Majors, the Vols rebounded in November. It was a month to provide hope for the future, and it started by beating the Duke Blue Devils at home. A loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the road the following week hurt, as they were left at 2-5-1 on the year.
The Vols then won out, though, beating the Ole Miss Rebels, Kentucky Wildcats and Vanderbilt Commodores. Sure, those were the three worst teams in the league. And yes, after missing a third straight bowl game in 1977, they missed a fourth straight this year.
Those things is why this season is down here on the list. However, it signified improvement and momentum in the program. That’s why it’s ahead of the 1963 team that went .500 under one-year head coach Jim McDonald. Majors showed he truly had something growing, however slowly it would take.