Tennessee Volunteers Football logoTennessee Volunteers Football

Music City Bowl 2010: Will Tennessee Ever Get Back to SEC Prominence?

James EvensCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2010

Music City Bowl 2010: Will Tennessee Ever Get Back to SEC Prominence?

1 of 8

    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    Tennessee has had a few rough years.  The once dominant SEC program is now faced with winning or facing its first below .500 season since 2008.

    Last season the Volunteers finished 7-6 and were expected to do great things in the future under Lane Kiffin.  When Kiffin left for the University of Southern California this summer, all of that changed.  They were left without a coach and with their future looking bleak. 

    Tennessee enters the Music City Bowl with a record of 6-6 and will face the 7-6 North Carolina Tar Heels.

    That leaves us the question, "Will Tennessee ever get back to SEC prominence?"

    James Evens is a Purdue student and Basketball/Football Featured Columnist for the Boilermakers, along with being a Writing Intern at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook.

Tyler Bray

2 of 8

    tennessee football volunteerStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Tyler Bray is currently the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers.  He earned the starting job after playing exceptionally well in the two quarterback system for a number of games, and beat out Matt Simms for the starting spot.

    Bray, the 6'6", 210-pound freshman quarterback, is the future of the Volunteer program.

    This season Bray has thrown for 1,537 yards for 14 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, while completing 54 percent of his passes.

    Bray could be the next Peyton Manning, and will be excellent for the program in the next three seasons.

Newfound Stability (Hopefully)

3 of 8

    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Hopefully the Volunteers have found a coach who wants to be there.  They have Derek Dooley, who seems like the right man for the job.

    If Dooley stays with the team, it could mean great success for the Volunteers.

    Inheriting a team that many considered to be one of the worst in Volunteers history, Dooley led them to a record of 6-6 and a bowl berth.

Depth

4 of 8

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The depth of the team will continue to grow as the team does.  Right now the Volunteers are a very young team and are looking to capitalize on that in the future.

    Their depth will grow and they will once again be one of the nation's elite.

Recruiting

5 of 8

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It's Tennessee, that's all that needs to be said.  If the Vols can win this bowl game, they will prove that they are back.  Even though it is a lower-tier bowl game, it would still be a big deal for the program and its future.

    It will help Tennessee recruit.  Let's face it, almost everyone in the south plays football, and it will not be that hard to get high-caliber players to come to Tennessee.

Tough Conference

6 of 8

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Tennessee fans will need to be patient to once again find themselves atop the SEC.  The SEC is the best conference in America and is loaded with talent.

    It might take a few years for the Volunteers to get back on top, but they will be eventually.

Fans

7 of 8

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Tennessee fans are still very loyal even when the program is in shambles.  This loyal fanbase will help the program succeed in the future.

    So fans, continue to cheer your Volunteers.

They Will Be Back in the Next Five Years

8 of 8

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    In the next five years, the Volunteers will once again be competing for a SEC title.  It may be hard to see, but if you look at the young talent and great coach they have, it is hard to count out the Volunteers in the future.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices