All of these numbers are awesome

Man, am I happy to see Tennessee-Martin at the end of this week.

Tennessee’s Top 5 Wins, Last 50 Years

  • #1: 1985 Auburn
  • #2: 1982 Alabama, 1985 Miami, 1998 Florida, 1998 Florida State, 2001 Florida
  • #3: 2004 Georgia, 2022 Alabama
  • #4: 1989 Auburn, 1992 Florida, 1995 Ohio State, 2005 LSU
  • #5: 1991 Notre Dame

This baker’s dozen is, as you’d expect, as good as it gets. Remember that graphic they always run about, “No Top 10 wins since…”? We skipped that one entirely and went straight to this one, even though the difference was only one year from 2006 Georgia to 2005 LSU. Your mileage may vary on your favorites, and we need the rest of this season for full context. But put last night in the conversation for anything you consider to be our biggest win.

Most Ranked Wins in a Season

  • 6: 1998 (#17 Syracuse, #2 Florida, #7 Georgia, #10 Arkansas, #23 Mississippi State, #2 Florida State)
  • 4: 1991 (#21 UCLA, #23 Mississippi State, #13 Auburn, #5 Notre Dame)
  • 4: 2001 (#14 LSU, #12 South Carolina, #2 Florida, #17 Michigan)
  • 4: 2022 (#17 Pittsburgh, #20 Florida, #25 LSU, #3 Alabama)

The 1991 team played a record seven ranked vs ranked games. All the other comparisons right now, on this and multiple levels, are 1998 and 2001. The Vols will get at least two more of those opportunities with #19 Kentucky off this week, and the Vols and Georgia ranked so high. If those two teams stay at #1 and #3, it will be the highest ranked game Tennessee has played in outside of the 1998 BCS title game.

Offense Yards Per Play vs Ranked Opponent (since 1989)

  • 2021 at #18 Kentucky, 9.81 yards per play
  • 2006 vs #9 California, 8.43
  • 1997 vs #13 Georgia, 8.26
  • 2022 vs #20 Florida, 8.23
  • 2022 vs #3 Alabama, 8.10

Hello, Josh Heupel. Hendon Hooker’s yards per attempt in these games: 15.8 vs Kentucky, 12.5 vs Florida, 12.8 vs Alabama. Mercy.

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Isaac Bishop
Isaac Bishop
1 year ago

Winning at Georgia would be a nice feather to put in the cap of that first stat. I didn’t realize that Tennessee only beat one number one ranked team.

However, that second stat is the most intriguing. The current records include bowl games. Not only does Tennessee have two regular season opportunities to add to that stat, but also up to three post season games to add on top of that.

Can you imagine an undefeated Tennessee National Champion team with 9 wins over ranked teams? That would have to be a record for any team, right?

Isaac Bishop
Isaac Bishop
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Shelton

Oh yeah, I didn’t think about beyond the last 50 years. Still, reading your list puts things in perspective. The win against bama yesterday is the biggest game that I could comprehend. Outside the LSU 2005 game, I was either not born yet or younger than 10. I’ve always heard or rewatched the biggest games in Tennessee’s history. For the first time I got to watch a game that will be immortalized in Tennessee lore. When the kick went through and after my frenzied celebration I watched every clip on Twitter of the goal posts coming down, going through the… Read more »