Tennessee footballs previous 7-0 starts hint SEC title is guaranteed

4 Jan 1999: the Tennesse Volunteers celebrate during the Fiesta Bowl Game against the Florida State Seminoles at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Tennessee defeated Florida State 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport
4 Jan 1999: the Tennesse Volunteers celebrate during the Fiesta Bowl Game against the Florida State Seminoles at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Tennessee defeated Florida State 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport /
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Sep 1, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; A Tennessee Volunteers helmet is seen pregame before the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 1, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; A Tennessee Volunteers helmet is seen pregame before the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports /

6. 1929: 9-0-1 (6-0-1)

Two years before that tie against Kentucky, Tennessee football was in the midst of its longest unbeaten streak in school history. That included 33 games from 1926 to 1930 in which they went 30-0-3, which helped Robert Neyland become a larger than life figure on Rocky Top during his first stint with the Vols.

This year, UT still had Herman Hickman, but the stars were Bobby Dodd and Gene McEever. If the Heisman voting had existed in 1929, McEver would’ve been the first and only Vol to ever win it. He was that elite this season and really brought Rocky Top onto the national stage as their first ever All-American at the end of the year.

Once again benefitting from not playing the other three teams among the top four of the Southern Conference, the Vols roared off to a red-hot start. That included a huge win over Alabama and also a blowout win over Auburn to get to 6-0. To reach 7-0, they had a historic offensive performance over the Carson Newman Eagles, winning 73-0.

However, just like 1931, Tennessee football tied Kentucky at 6 on the road. A Rose Bowl wasn’t likely on the line here, but Georgia Tech did make it a year earlier, so the Vols may have had a chance. They still had a great win over a good Vanderbilt team before UK, and McEver ran for a record five touchdowns after the UK tie against South Carolina to finish the year.