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Doc 5: College football teams that could learn from their Sweet 16 counterparts -- No. 4 Tennessee

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday
Vols aiming to avoid 4th straight losing season

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Tennessee coach Butch Jones walks away from the huddle during a timeout in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 in Knoxville, Tenn. Auburn won 55-23. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.



The Tennessee basketball team has proven that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

After squeaking in as one of the last teams in the NCAA Tournament, the Vols have won three games in convincing fashion to get to the Sweet 16 for the first time since making the Elite Eight in 2010.

Tennessee basketball didn’t exactly light the world on fire this past season. It had bad loses to Texas A&M (twice), UTEP and Vanderbilt and was trying to make the tournament from a league that wasn’t highly regarded this season.

But all it needed was an opportunity and a little momentum.

The Tennessee football team is in a similar boat. It was 5-7 in coach Butch Jones’ first season and dealt with injuries at quarterback, which stopped the Vols from gaining any sort of consistency. But there were moments, especially in games against Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt – games in which the Vols went 1-2 – where Tennessee was competitive. It looked like it got it. Played with passion and poise and looked like a team that could once again contend in the SEC East.

It looked like Tennessee basketball looked before the team finally put everything together.

It won’t be easy for Tennessee football to get back to the top, especially with a daunting schedule that includes Oklahoma and Alabama. It loses every starter on the offensive and defensive line and is looking to the 14 early enrollees it added this spring for immediate help.

Perhaps the clean slate of personnel will do the Vols some good. There hasn’t been a lot to cheer about in the past few years and simply getting back to a bowl game would be a huge step up for this Tennessee program.

And who knows? Perhaps that will be the opportunity Tennessee is looking for to finish strong.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter

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