To many people, Tennessee football hit the lottery by drawing the BYU Cougars as their major non-conference opponent this year. BYU is a solid program, but they should be no match for Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols heading to Neyland Stadium this year. Well, this is another defining game. If UT loses, they will be in trouble Pruitt’s second year.
Meanwhile, this is a chance for Kalani Sitake to show how great of a head coach he is. Sitake is the first coach on our list to not be in his first year or not oversee any drop-off from his predecessor. In fact, he has pretty much hit even pars related to what Bronco Mendenhall did.
His first year on the job in 2016, he went 9-4, which Mendenhall went in 2015. In 2017, Sitake’s program fell apart and went 4-9. But it replaced a ton of talent and was inexperienced. So last year, with a bit more experience, it returned to 7-6.
Now, this year, expectations are for BYU to take another major step. That will also define how good of a coach Sitake is, and the Vols are a great program for him to measure what leaps his program has taken. Still, he deserves credit, even with that losing season, for maintaining what his alma mater has done so far under him.