Ranking Tennessee football’s 10 years after coach’s first bowl game

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Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images

Jeremy Pruitt returned Tennessee football to postseason play in 2019. Here is a ranking of Volunteers seasons after a head coach’s first bowl appearance.

Heading into his third season as head coach of the Tennessee football program, Jeremy Pruitt is looking to build on his first bowl appearance as a head coach. There is plenty of reason to believe he will be able to do that.

An 8-5 season that ended with a six-game winning streak anda Gator Bowl win over the Indiana Hoosiers followed by a top 10 recruiting class has everybody on Rocky Top excited about the program’s future. Pruitt is the 11th coach in history to lead the Vols to a bowl game, and the history of seasons coming off the previous 10 is a bit mixed.

In some cases, Tennessee football had legendary years after a head coach’s first bowl appearance. Other times, however, the ensuing year actually put a coach on the hot seat. And yes, there were a few cases in which the season appeared to signal a program on the rise only for it to turn out to be a complete facade altogether.

Nonetheless, there is a wide range of directions Vols could head in for 2020, which would be a season coming off Pruitt’s first bowl appearance. In this post, we’re going to look at that range by ranking all the other previous seasons.

There are obviously some Pruitt would love to replicate, and then there are some that could turn disastrous for him since he’s entering his third year on the job. If his tenure is anywhere similar to the top half of this list, he’ll be in pretty good shape, especially if he’s in the top three.

Just what did those years look like? How bad were the ones at the bottom of this list? Let’s break all of that down here. This is our ranking of Tennessee football’s 10 seasons coming off a head coach’s first bowl appearance with the Vols.

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