How will the new (improved) Vols do this season? Naturally, we asked the real experts to give us their prognostications—local musicians who happen to be raving Vol fans.
Not sure how the season will play out specifically, since there are too many unknowns with new coaches and players. I will say that I am completely on board with Coach Jones, though, and think he was a perfect hire for the program. The way he’s embraced the tradition of Tennessee football, how he treats the current and former players, and just the general respect he shows everyone associated with the program says a lot about the man’s character. And his resume shows he knows how to win games as well. It will take a few years, but I believe he will get Tennessee back to a being one of the more competitive programs around.
—Jeff Bills, the French and Suns of Phere drummer
Let it be said that I’m quite bullish on Butch Jones’ prospects for success at UT. He’s done an outstanding job with re-energizing a moribund fan base and has pulled off major recruiting coups that we haven’t seen here since Phil Fulmer’s stellar late-’90s classes. But the combination of a brutal schedule (beware a potential trap game early in the season vs. Bobby Petrino’s Western Kentucky squad) and a lack of experienced skill position players will create some tough sledding for Jones’ inaugural season. If UT’s excellent offensive line is able to win the time of possession battle and keep the defense off the field, a seven-win season is not out of the question. Much better days are just around the corner.
—Gray Comer, Westside Daredevils/Stolen Sheep guitarist/drummer
I love the big time energy that BuJo has brought back to the program, and I only hope it is matched by a large amount of patience by the Big Orange Nation. I believe we will have a successful season at 6-6, and an appearance in the Music City Bowl, or one similar to it. We need to keep injuries to major contributors to a minimum, find some playmakers on both sides of the ball, and pray that George Cafego is watching over our kicking game, from above. GBO!
—Benny Smith, WUTK general manager and program director
Wins-Losses: No prediction
I predict equal parts euphoria and heartbreak.
—Todd Steed, of Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere
We are looking forward to football season and are excited to see what Coach Jones has in store. While we think that he’ll need some time to implement his system and get the right players on board, we’re expecting a hopeful season that we can build upon. We’re gonna go with 7-5. The schedule isn’t too kind but we think we will win a game that we shouldn’t—we’re calling either South Carolina or Georgia at home. Also, we see a freshman QB taking charge. This team has a lot of question marks but will show some heart this season, starting the road back to where Tennessee football should be.
—The Dirty Guv’nahs
Tough schedule this year for the new coach and young team. When you are dealing with youth and talent there are a lot of variables—attitude and determination are two big ones. I am looking forward to a couple of big surprises that will keep the fan base energized. Prediction: six wins, six losses, and a bowl win. Go Vols!
—Tony Lawson, WDVX program director