Tennessee football’s one FCS opponent just happens to be the one opponent on its schedule led by a first-year head coach. Rusty Wright is a former player and assistant coach for the Mocs, but now he replaces Tom Arth, who left to become head coach of the Akron Zips after two years in Chattanooga. He went 3-9 and 6-5 in those years.
We have no idea how Wright will work out. Akron’s hire of Arth was based more on his success in four years with the John Carroll Blue Streaks, when he made the NCAA Division III Tournament three years. Arth replaced Russ Huesman, who was head coach the last time Wright was an assistant there.
During the four years Wright was with Huesman, 2013-2016, the Mocs won three Southern Conference Championships and never lost more than four games a season. They also advanced in the FCS Playoff for three straight years.
After that, Wright was assistant coach for Shawn Elliott and the Georgia State Panthers, another UT foe this year, in 2017 and 2018. He helped GSU to a surprise 7-5 season in 2017, so he clearly has connections to success. But since we have no idea what to make of him, he’s at the bottom of this list.