4. 1992-93 Hall of Fame Bowl
No. 16 Boston College Eagles vs. No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers
Final score: Tennessee wins 38-23
This game represented the end to a very bittersweet season and the start of the Phillip Fulmer era on Rocky Top. A dominating victory over another Catholic school set the tone for Tennessee football’s future. Lots of turmoil existed before what happened on New Year’s Day in 1993, when this matchup took place.
The Vols began the season with Fulmer serving as interim head coach while Johnny Majors recovered from open-heart surgery. Fulmer guided UT to a 3-0 start behind new quarterback Heath Shuler, including two upset wins over the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs. Majors then returned and coached the Vols to two more wins.
Suddenly, a rebuilding team was 5-0 and ranked No. 4. But then the Vols lost three straight. One was 17-10 to the eventual national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. However, it was sandwiched between two one-point losses to SEC newcomers, the Arkansas Razorbacks and South Carolina Gamecocks, and both finished the year with losing records.
As a result, during an open date, UT fired Majors. Knowing Fulmer would be his replacement and with bitterness running deep, the Vols somehow had to unify. They did to win their final three games and get to 8-3.
That’s the backdrop for this game. Majors was done after the regular season, and Fulmer took over full-time for the bowl game, allowing the distractions to be in the rearview mirror. Against an 8-2-1 Boston College team, the Vols dominated 38-23.
It was a fitting end to a difficult year that got the Fulmer era off on the right track, as Tennessee football would win this game to finish 9-3 and in the top 12. The total domination of a team led by Tom Coughlin was thrilling to watch.