5. 1928: 9-0-1 (6-0-1)
Again, one blemish in November continued to plague Tennessee football during this era. This one definitely could have cost them a trip to the Rose Bowl since Georgia Tech, who finished half a game ahead of the Vols, ended up going and winning the Southern Conference. They at least would have had a case.
Still, history was made in this one for two reasons. As the Vols roared off to an 8-0 start, their fourth game was a 15-13 win at Alabama. That game marked the start of the rivalry, as it was the first time the teams began playing annually, which they have done since with the exception of 1943 when neither school fielded a team due to World War II.
Then came what happened after that 7-0 start. The Vols beat Vanderbilt on the road 6-0. It was just their third win in the series against Vandy at the time and their first in 12 years. Robert Neyland had been hired to beat Vandy, and this was his first win in the series. At the time, Vandy led the series 19-2-3, but this sparked a four-game winning streak.
Unfortunately for UT, the Vols tied their next game agains, you guessed it, Kentucky, who made a habit of ruining championship seasons for the Vols during this time period. However, they did make history with a 13-12 win over Florida to close out the year, making them Florida’s only loss of the season.