3. Win at least two games over five key rivals
Right now, Tennessee football is suffering through a 12-game losing streak to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 13 of 14 losses to the Florida Gators, and seven of nine losses to the Georgia Bulldogs. Those are bad streaks, but to make them worse, they have also lost three straight to the Vanderbilt Commodores.
The only team considered an official rival they have beaten within the last two years is the Kentucky Wildcats in 2018. So they are 1-9 against the five schools who matter the most over the past two years. Okay, to be fair, Florida and Alabama are barely rivalries at this point given how much the Vols are owned in those two series.
This year, the Vols need to set a goal for at least two wins over rivals. Given what Jeremy Pruitt is working with right now, it’s okay to lose to Florida, Georgia and Alabama again. The Vols simply aren’t on the level of those schools yet.
However, if they lose all three, they have to handle their business against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Vandy lost Kyle Shurmur and heads to Knoxville. That streak needs to end. UT beat UK 24-7 last year and got better while UK lost a ton of talent. That should give the Vols the edge despite playing in Lexington.
If they stumble in one of those games, they need to find a steal elsewhere. But beating Vanderbilt and Kentucky accomplishes this goal and the previous goal of winning a road game. So the Vols can kill two birds with one stone here.