The struggles continued for Tennessee football last year. For the fourth straight year, UT finished hanging around the .500 mark. During this stretch, the Volunteers' record is 23-27, with two bowl losses and two years without bowl invites.
Last year, it seemed as if the sun was finally beginning to shine through on Derek Dooley in his second year as head coach. UT went into the Georgia game at 3-1, with their lone loss to conference foe Florida. Despite their most dangerous offensive playmaker, Justin Hunter, being out for the year, spirits were high.
It was during this gritty, defensive-minded game that the wheels fell off the Big Orange bus, and UT began their downward spiral. When the spin finally ended, the Vols were 5-7 and going nowhere for bowl season.
Since the disappointing 10-7 loss at Kentucky, much of the reporting has been gloomy on the Big Orange. One expert after another has pontificated on why UT is a year, two years, or a coach and two years away from being relevant again.
We have all heard the doom and gloom. But I say many of the experts have it wrong. Here are six bold predictions for the 2012 Tennessee Volunteers.