The Tennessee Volunteers hoped Saturday's season finale against Kentucky would mean something. But after a last-minute loss to Vanderbilt, both the Vols and Wildcats will conclude their football seasons Saturday night.
A downward spiral has been tough to stomach for a UT team that had so much hope after upsetting South Carolina in October. Since then, the Vols have fallen to Alabama, Missouri, Auburn and Vandy to miss on a bowl for the third consecutive season.
This will mark the second season in a row that this game has featured a matchup of teams without bowl aspirations. Last year, the Vols won 37-17 under interim coach and current Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney after Derek Dooley was officially fired. It was the largest margin of victory in the series in 10 years, dating back to UT's 24-0 win in 2002.
UT's Butch Jones hopes to match last year's 5-7 record as the Vols try to continue their streak of having never lost eight games in a season. Fellow first-year coach Mark Stoops is looking for his biggest win of the year for the 2-9 Cats.
The Vols simply must play for pride and show they've still got heart after having theirs ripped from them last week. If they lay down and lose, the forecast for the Jones regime gets a little cloudier. Jones talked this week about ending the season 1-0, and that's what these seniors must do.
It may not be a big game for the present, but a win at least ends the season on a somewhat positive note for the Vols' youngsters. Winning would be a catalyst to an important developmental offseason for UT.
Here's everything you need to know about the game.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 30
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Place: Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
Radio: Vol Network, UK IMG Sports Network, Sirius Premiere Channel 119/XM Channel 199
Spread: Tennessee by four points, according to Sportsbook.com