The Tennessee Volunteers football program has been on a downswing since Philip Fulmer's final season at the helm. Those who follow the program closely know that it has been very difficult to watch.
Fans are also well aware of the factors that lead things to how they are, especially Lane Kiffin leaving after one season and the Derek Dooley debacle.
With this article, I am presented with the task of projecting why the Tennessee football program will return to prominence by 2016—an extremely daunting task, to be certain.
When looking at something like this, there is an enormous amount of variables that have to be looked at, some that can be seen and others that cannot—things like players leaving school early, transfers, the level of recruiting or potential NCAA violations, just to name a few.
With all those factors to consider, we'll do our best to give the reasons that Tennessee will be "back" by 2016.
New Coaches Bring New Life
This is something that is never guaranteed, but the right coach can go a long way in bringing a faltering program back from the dead.
The hiring of Butch Jones has the potential to do just that.
From all appearances, he is extremely energetic and excited about the challenge of bringing Tennessee football back to life.
He said as much in his introductory press conference.
This is usually not something that happens right away. In most cases, it does take a minimum of two seasons for teams to get back on track.
Even with this, it looks to be good for now. Anything more definitive will have to wait until games are played.
College Football is Cyclical
Simply put, this means that in college football, it always comes back around.
Most schools have gone through the exact thing that the Vols have. Up years followed by a downswing, then right back up.
You only have to look at recent history to see this. The teams that are currently at the top have had their shares of down seasons.
Look at Alabama prior to hiring Nick Saban as an example of this.
- Alabama under Mike Shula 26-23 overall and 13-19 in SEC play, 62-13 overall and 36-9 in the SEC under Saban
This is in no way comparing Jones to Saban, just an example of what hiring the correct coach can do to turn a program around.
This also goes to the above reason as well. It all hinges on the hiring of the right coach. Is Butch Jones the right person to lead the Vols back to the top?
It's too early in the process to answer this question, but the prospects are exciting and should be enjoyable to watch.