After a long and brutal eight months of uncertainty and doubt, the Tennessee football season finally starts on Saturday night.
This season will be unlike any other we have ever seen before with a conference-only schedule. For the first time since 1988, Tennessee will open up the season with an SEC opponent. This is the earliest Tennessee has faced South Carolina in a season since 1942.
A win on Saturday against the Gamecocks would mean a lot for Jeremy Pruitt and this football team. For Pruitt, it would be his first ever season opener win as a head coach. It would be the first time Tennessee started off the year 1-0 since 2017. For this Tennessee football program, it would mean even more than that.
A win on Saturday for the Big Orange would be the Vols’ first win at Williams-Brice Stadium since 2014. A victory over the Gamecocks would also be the first time Tennessee started off SEC play 1-0 since 2016.
But in general, a win over South Carolina would show that this program is heading in the right direction. These are the games that Tennessee is expected to and should win. Tennessee should be beating teams like South Carolina year in and year out. I mean for goodness sake, we are Tennessee.
While beating South Carolina is not a big win, it is an important game. In fact, you could argue that this is the most important game of the season. A Vols win on Saturday would set the tone for the rest of the season. If the Vols win and take care of business against Missouri, they would roll into Athens undefeated with a potential top-10 matchup against Georgia.
But if Tennessee fails to snap their losing streak in Colombia, this could set back the program for years to come. To finally get over the hump, Pruitt can’t afford a loss.
A win is a must for the Tennessee program to be back where it belongs.