Tennessee football should remember these five non-conference November upset losses before overlooking South Alabama

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MICHAEL PATRICK/KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL – Saturday, November 8, 2008 Tennessee wide receiver Lucas Taylor (12) is knocked off his feet by Wyoming’s Quincy Rogers during first half action Saturday in Neyland Stadium. Tennessee lost 13-7.
Tnwy12 Mp10619

Just because Tennessee football is a 28-point favorite against the South Alabama Jaguars, according to the WynnBET betting odds, doesn’t mean everything will work out. The program is no stranger to November upsets or upsets to really bad non-conference foes. Just two years ago they lost their two openers as heavy favorites over the Georgia State Panthers and BYU Cougars.

Both South Alabama and UT are 5-5. The Vols should win their final two games to guarantee a winning season Josh Heupel’s first year, but they can’t take anything lightly. November upset losses have cost them bowl berths in the past.

Johnny Majors always said they remember what you do in November, and the Vols have always been known for dominating that month. However, the slate has always been easy, which lends itself to upsets. Let’s look at a bit of history for why UT can’t overlook South Alabama. These are Tennessee football’s five biggest upset losses in November to non-conference teams.

Wyoming Cowboys
Tennessee Volunteers

Nov. 8, 2008

The first game on here is one that cost the Vols a bowl game. Earlier in the week, UT fired Phillip Fulmer after a 3-6 start to the season. He announced he would step down at the end of the year, and the focus was going to be trying to get to a bowl game with three matchups left, all against bad teams. It started with the Wyoming Cowboys.

At the time, Wyoming was 3-6, just like the Vols. However, playing in the Mountain West, their 3-6 record was significantly worse, so as they traveled into Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., nobody thought UT would lose. They would beat Wyoming, the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Kentucky Wildcats to send Fulmer off in style.

Well, that didn’t happen. Tennessee football’s offensive woes all year culminated with one of the most embarrassing losses in school history. Wyoming pulled off the upset, costing the Vols a bowl. They closed out the season beating Vanderbilt and Kentucky, but that didn’t undo this game.

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