A horrible Southeastern Conference week was highlighted by Tennessee football’s loss to the Georgia State Panthers. But the Volunteers weren’t alone.
Yes, it doesn’t get much worse than losing 38-30 to a team who went 2-10 in the Sun Belt last year. But Tennessee football can take solace in its 0-1 start with the fact that it wasn’t the only SEC team to start things off horribly. Hey, misery loves company, right?
Two other teams the Vols were competing with to finish at the top of the middle of the pack teams in the SEC East also suffered bad losses. The South Carolina Gamecocks lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels 24-20, and the Missouri Tigers lost to the Wyoming Cowboys 37-31.
Now, we can say that UNC is a Power Five school. And S.C. played them much closer than UT did. But it’s also true that the Tar Heels also had two wins last year, and they are undergoing a major transition period with the return of Mack Brown. On the other hand, Georgia State is in its third year under Shawn Elliott and returned a ton of talent.
Meanwhile, Wyoming was a road game for Mizzou. That gives them a bit more of an excuse than the Vols, especially since they were breaking in a new quarterback. However, it’s still a loss to a Group of Five team, and the scores were relatively similar.
What about other teams who just scraped by? The Mississippi State Bulldogs just barely held off the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, winning 38-28. They are on UT’s schedule this year, and while they won, it wasn’t pretty. The same is true for the Kentucky Wildcats, as they only put away the Toledo Rockets 38-24.
Then there are SEC teams Tennessee football won’t play this year but who still looked horrible. The Ole Miss Rebels lost to the Memphis Tigers. To be fair, they were underdogs in that game, but their high-powered offense lost 15-10.
Finally, you have the Arkansas Razorbacks, who only beat Portland State, an FCS school, by a score of 20-13. That was embarrassing in its own right, and UT is pretty unlucky about not getting to face the Hogs this year.
Tennessee football was outplayed and outcoached at home in embarrassing fashion. And to be clear, nobody in the SEC head a worse loss than they did. But they can still say they weren’t alone in looking bad. And maybe that’s just enough to salvage what happened.
They can acknowledge that upsets do occur, and they are in the same boat with everybody they’re trying to compete with. Although there’s is by far the worse, it was clearly indicative of something larger happening in the SEC. So maybe, just maybe, that can be enough to give them some encouragement going forward.