For the first time maybe ever, the Vanderbilt Commodores are favored to beat the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium this weekend.
Following an embarrassing beat down at the hands of the Top 10-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, the Volunteers are reeling and their coaches are looking for answers.
Tennessee has lost to Vandy just once since 1982. That loss came at Neyland Stadium just six short years ago. Given the fact that Tennessee had owned the series for more than 50 years, that game was easily one of Tennessee's most embarrassing losses since the year 2000.
Here is the rest of that unfortunate list of the most embarrassing Tennessee losses since 2000.
Just two days after three important Volunteers were arrested for holding up two men at a gas station in Knoxville, Tennessee made the trek to Oxford, Miss., for an important date with the Ole Miss Rebels.
During the first half, it appeared that the game had all the makings of a potential classic as the teams went back and forth for much of the first 30 minutes. Ole Miss took a 21-14 lead into halftime after Rebels running back Dexter McCluster ran for a 32-yard touchdown.
The second half was all McCluster. The senior's 71-yard run early in the fourth quarter put the Rebels up 35-17. McCluster ended up with 282 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the 42-17 rout of the Vols.
Coupled with the embarrassment of the foiled robbery attempt, the weekend of Nov. 14, 2009, was an all-time shake-your-head moment at Tennessee.
Two weeks after completely demolishing No. 12 Georgia in Knoxville, the Vols went to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama and their new head coach Nick Saban.
Alabama was 6-2, unranked, and a home underdog to the visiting Vols. Before the game, it was announced that Alabama had to suspend a handful of players for their roles in a textbook scandal.
To seize momentum right off the bat, Saban called an onside kick on the opening kickoff. Alabama recovered and ran out to a 10-0 lead. The Vols came back to take a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter, but Tennessee had no answer for quarterback John Parker Wilson and receiver D.J. Hall, who guided the Tide to a 24-17 lead at the half.
The Tide then rolled off 17-0 unanswered points in the second half and won the game 41-17. Alabama lost its next four games, including a home contest against Louisiana-Monroe. Tennessee went on to win the SEC East.
The 2002 season was marred by injuries, discipline problems and a massive failure by a veteran group of Vols to meet lofty expectations.
Many predicted the Vols among the top two teams in the country in the preseason, but an 8-4 finish landed the unranked Vols in the Peach Bowl vs. No. 20 Maryland.
Despite out-gaining the Terps in total offensive yards and passing yards, the Vols fell victim to many of the issues that had plagued them all season long. There were ridiculous penalties and turnovers at the worst possible moments.
An outstanding Maryland defense, led by linebacker E.J. Henderson pounded the Vols all night long in the 30-3 win over Tennessee.
In what was his final year as head coach of the Irish, Tyrone Willingham brought his Notre Dame squad to Neyland Stadium to face the No. 9 Vols (7-1).
In 2004, Tennessee had the stellar freshman quarterback duo of Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer. One week before the Notre Dame game, however, Schaeffer broke his collarbone against South Carolina, leaving Ainge as the Vols' only real option at quarterback.
When Ainge suffered a separated shoulder on the final play of the first half—an over-ambitious play from his own 30 that should have never taken place—Tennessee had to rely on Rick Clausen, a transfer from LSU and younger brother of Casey.
On just his fourth pass attempt in the second half, Clausen threw an interception to Notre Dame linebacker Mike Goolsby, which he promptly returned 26 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
The 5-3 Irish tacked on a field goal and held on for the 17-13 upset.
After finishing the season 10-2, Tennessee probably deserved better than the bowl in Atlanta. But the Peach Bowl was their destination for the second straight year.
The No. 6 Vols struggled at stopping Clemson running back Chad Jasmin, who ended up with 130 yards on the ground.
But it was a disastrous second half that doomed Tennessee in this one. The Vols were hit with four gigantic penalties (two for unsportsmanlike conduct and two for roughing the quarterback) in the second half alone.
Lack of discipline was a staple of the early 2000s for the Vols. Those issues culminated in 10 penalties for 119 yards in the Peach Bowl. Tennessee never led the game and only crossed the 50-yard line twice in the second half.
One of the worst on-field moments of Derek Dooley's tenure happened this season. The Vols were not expected to beat Arkansas. Tennessee opened a 13-point underdog in Fayetteville.
It was the lackluster display by Tennessee's defense and special teams that made this one leap up the embarrassing scale. Razorbacks punt returner Joe Adams had a Houdini of a punt return for a touchdown in the first half thanks to a multitude of missed tackles from the Vols.
The Razorbacks ran all over Tennessee's defense in the 49-7 rout. Arkansas ended up with 254 yards rushing, with 97 of those yards coming on touchdown runs of 71-yards and 26-yards.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson had his way through the air as well, throwing for three touchdowns. Including the Adams punt return, Arkansas had five plays of 40 yards or more and eight that went at least 25 yards.
The No. 18 Vols, fresh off a 2007 SEC East championship, were a 7.5-point favorite at UCLA to open the season. The Bruins, debuting a new head coach in Rick Neuheisel, were down to their third-string quarterback after a rash of offseason injuries.
That third-stringer, Kevin Craft, threw four interceptions in the first half of the game. Tennessee only took advantage of one of those INTs, however, returning it 61-yards for a touchdown. The Vols punted and missed two field goals following the other three first-half turnovers.
Tennessee should have had a nearly insurmountable lead at halftime but went into the break leading only 14-7. Craft got his act together in the second half and led the Bruins on an incredible drive to get the go-ahead score with just 27 seconds remaining in the game.
Tennessee got into position to tie it with a last-second field goal that sent the game into overtime. UCLA kicker Kai Forbath made a 42-yard attempt in the Bruins half of the first OT and Tennessee kicker Daniel Lincoln missed a 34-yarder minutes later.
The upset was complete. It was the beginning of the end for longtime UT head coach Phillip Fulmer.
Most losses are embarrassing because of the quality of the opponent, or lack thereof, or the blowout fashion in which the team lost. This game, however, was only embarrassing for the way it ended. The Vols were given no chance to defeat the No. 12 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, yet they led 14-10 with mere seconds remaining.
Quarterback Jordan Jefferson was stopped on the 1-yard line with 25 seconds remaining and no timeouts. While the clock ticked away during a moment of mass confusion, LSU sent three substitutes onto the field. Tennessee, in an effort to match those substitutions sent four players of their own onto the field for the game's final play.
However, only two Vols players left the field, leaving the Vols with 13 players.
The LSU snap sailed past Jefferson with three seconds left, and a group of Vols landed on top of him to ensure the victory. Players rushed the field and first-year head coach Derek Dooley went bananas.
After a review, the Vols were penalized and LSU received an untimed down from inside the one. Tigers running back Stevan Ridley bulldozed his way into the endzone for the win.
Before the 2005 season, Vanderbilt had not defeated Tennessee since 1982. From 1964-82, the Commodores only defeated Tennessee twice. Suffice it to say, the Vols owned this series.
Vanderbilt was the little step-brother when it came to football. Tennessee was nearing the end of another disappointing campaign that began with high hopes and top-five expectations. The Vols were 4-5, and in need of two wins to even become bowl eligible.
Vandy, led by senior quarterback Jay Cutler, had already been eliminated from bowl contention, and the Commodores were forced, again, to treat the Tennessee game as their bowl.
Tennessee took the lead for the first time with about eight minutes remaining in the game. With less than two minutes to play, Cutler connected on passes of 15 yards and 31 yards to set the 'Dores up deep in UT territory. After a pass interference call against the Vols, Vandy scored to take the lead 28-24 with barely a minute left.
UT quarterback Rick Clausen led the Vols to the Vandy 11, but a delay of game penalty and two incomplete passes forced a fourth and 10 attempt from the Vandy 16. That attempt was intercepted, clinching the Commodores' first win over Tennessee in 23 years.
Less than one week after head coach Phillip Fulmer was informed that he would be fired after the season, the team had to take the field against the 4-6 Wyoming Cowboys on homecoming.
Regardless of the Vols' 3-6 record at the time, this game should have never been close. With the loss of the longest-tenured head coach in the SEC looming, Tennessee players barely went through the motions in this most embarrassing display.
Wyoming scored 13 points in the first half and that was all it needed to pull off the shocker and officially make the 2008 season one of the worst in Tennessee history.
It was just the second time in Tennessee history that the Vols finished a season with seven losses (1977).