2020 Tennessee Volunteers football
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
2020 record3–7 (3–7 SEC)
Head coach
Offensive coordinatorJim Chaney (6th season)
Offensive schemePro-style
Defensive coordinatorDerrick Ansley (2nd season)
Home stadiumNeyland Stadium
(Capacity: Limited Attendance Due to COVID-19 Restrictions)
Seasons
← 2019
2021 →
2020 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
No. 13 Florida x   8 2     8 4  
No. 7 Georgia   7 2     8 2  
Missouri   5 5     5 5  
Kentucky   4 6     5 6  
Tennessee   3 7     3 7  
South Carolina   2 8     2 8  
Vanderbilt   0 9     0 9  
West Division
No. 1 Alabama x$#^   10 0     13 0  
No. 4 Texas A&M   8 1     9 1  
Auburn   6 4     6 5  
LSU*   5 5     5 5  
Ole Miss   4 5     5 5  
Arkansas   3 7     3 7  
Mississippi State   3 7     4 7  
Championship: Alabama 52, Florida 46
  • # – College Football Playoff champion
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • * – ineligible for postseason due to self imposed ban
    Note: Due to COVID-19, the SEC played a conference-only schedule.
Rankings from AP Poll.

The 2020 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2020 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Volunteers played their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

In a season initially questioned whether it would be played because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Southeastern Conference ultimately decided to go through with the season, the Volunteers compiled a 3–7 record, all in conference games. While the team did not have a winning record, the NCAA had waived bowl eligibility requirement for the season,[1] and Volunteers accepted a bid to the Liberty Bowl. However, the team had to withdraw on December 21 due to positive COVID-19 testing.[2] They were led by third-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt, in what would turn out to be his final year. Pruitt would later be fired in January 2021 following an NCAA investigation for recruiting violations. He would leave Knoxville with a 16-19 overall record.

Previous season

Main article: 2019 Tennessee Volunteers football team

Tennessee finished the 2019 regular season at 7–5 overall, 5–3 in the SEC, and were bowl eligible for the first time since 2016. On January 2, the Volunteers won the Gator Bowl over Indiana, 23–22,[3] to finish at 8–5 for the season.

Preseason

SEC Media Days

In the preseason media poll, Tennessee was predicted to finish in third place in the East Division.[4]

Media poll (East Division)
Predicted finish Team Votes (1st place)
1 Florida 624 (53)
2 Georgia 613 (43)
3 Tennessee 434
4 Kentucky 405
5 South Carolina 287
6 Missouri 224
7 Vanderbilt 101

Schedule

Tennessee had games scheduled against Charlotte, Furman, Oklahoma, and Troy, which were all canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5][6][7][8]

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 267:30 p.m.at South CarolinaNo. 16SECNW 31–2715,009
October 312:00 p.m.MissouriNo. 21
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN
SECNW 35–1221,159
October 103:30 p.m.at No. 3 GeorgiaNo. 14CBSL 21–4420,524
October 1712:00 p.m.KentuckydaggerNo. 18
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN (rivalry)
SECNL 7–3422,519
October 243:30 p.m.No. 2 Alabama
CBSL 17–4823,394
November 77:30 p.m.at ArkansasSECNL 13–2416,500
November 217:00 p.m.at No. 23 AuburnESPNL 17–3017,490
December 53:30 p.m.No. 6 Florida
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN (rivalry)
CBSL 19–3122,943
December 124:00 p.m.at VanderbiltSECNW 42–17849
December 1911:00No. 5 Texas A&M
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Knoxville, TN
ESPNL 13–3422,232

The SEC postponed Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt to facilitate the rescheduling of the Vanderbilt-Missouri game. The shuffling allows for the opportunity for all 14 SEC teams to play 10 regular-season games.[9][10]

Tennessee accepted an invitation to play in the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TN held on December 31, 2020, but was forced to withdraw due to Coach Pruitt and several players testing positive for COVID-19.[11][12]

Game summaries

at South Carolina

See also: 2020 South Carolina Gamecocks football team

Tennessee at South Carolina
1 2 34Total
#16 Tennessee 7 7 10731
South Carolina 7 0 14627

at Williams–Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

  • Date: September 26
  • Game time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 79 °F (26 °C)
  • Game attendance: 15,009
  • Referee: Ken Williamson
  • TV announcers (SECN): Taylor Zarzour (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (color) and Alyssa Lang (sidelines)

Missouri

See also: 2020 Missouri Tigers football team

Missouri at Tennessee
1 2 34Total
Missouri 0 6 6012
#21 Tennessee 7 14 7735

at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

  • Date: October 3
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Sunny, 55 °F (13 °C)
  • Game attendance: 21,159
  • Referee: Steve Marlow
  • TV announcers (SECN): Dave Neal (play-by-play), D. J. Shockley (color), and Dawn Davenport (sidelines)

at #3 Georgia

See also: 2020 Georgia Bulldogs football team and Georgia–Tennessee football rivalry

Tennessee at Georgia
1 2 34Total
#14 Tennessee 7 14 0021
#3 Georgia 7 10 141445

at Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA

  • Date: October 10
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 79 °F (26 °C)
  • Game attendance: 20,524
  • Referee: David Smith
  • TV announcers (CBS): Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color), and Dawn Davenport (sidelines)

Kentucky

See also: 2020 Kentucky Wildcats football team and Kentucky–Tennessee football rivalry

Kentucky at Tennessee
1 2 34Total
Kentucky 0 17 10734
#21 Tennessee 0 7 007

at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

  • Date: October 17
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Sunny, 85 °F (29 °C)
  • Game attendance: 22,519
  • Referee: Marc Curles
  • TV announcers (SECN): Tom Hart (play-by-play), Jordan Rodgers (color), Cole Cubelic (sidelines)

#2 Alabama

See also: 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide football team and Third Saturday in October

Alabama at Tennessee
1 2 34Total
#2 Alabama 14 14 14648
Tennessee 0 10 7017

at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

  • Date: October 24
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 72 °F (22 °C)
  • Game attendance: 23,394
  • Referee: Alex Moore
  • TV announcers (CBS): Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color), Jamie Erdahl (sidelines)

at Arkansas

See also: 2020 Arkansas Razorbacks football team

Tennessee at Arkansas
1 2 34Total
Tennessee 3 10 0013
Arkansas 0 0 24024

at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR

  • Date: November 7
  • Game time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Clear, 57 °F (14 °C)
  • Game attendance: 16,500
  • Referee: Mark Loeffler
  • TV announcers (SECN): Tom Hart (play-by-play), Jordan Rodgers (color), Cole Cubelic (sidelines)

at #23 Auburn

See also: 2020 Auburn Tigers football team and Auburn–Tennessee football rivalry

Tennessee at Auburn
1 2 34Total
Tennessee 7 3 0717
#23 Auburn 0 10 101030

at Jordan–Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL

#6 Florida

See also: 2020 Florida Gators football team and Florida–Tennessee football rivalry

Florida at Tennessee
1 2 34Total
#6 Florida 3 14 7731
Tennessee 0 7 01219

at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

  • Date: December 5
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Game weather: Clear, 51 °F (11 °C)
  • Game attendance: 22,943
  • Referee: Steve Marlowe
  • TV announcers (CBS): Carter Blackburn (play-by-play), Aaron Murray (color), Jenny Dell (sidelines)

at Vanderbilt

See also: 2020 Vanderbilt Commodores football team and Tennessee–Vanderbilt football rivalry

Tennessee at Vanderbilt
1 2 34Total
Tennessee 7 21 7742
Vanderbilt 7 3 0717

at Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

  • Date: December 12
  • Game time: 3:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Partly cloudy, 66 °F (19 °C)
  • Game attendance: 849
  • Referee: Marc Curles
  • TV announcers (SECN): Taylor Zarzour (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (color) and Dawn Davenport (sidelines)

Texas A&M

See also: 2020 Texas A&M Aggies football team

Texas A&M at Tennessee
1 2 34Total
Aggies 7 17 01034
Volunteers 7 6 0013

at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

  • Date: December 19
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 38 °F (3 °C)
  • Game attendance: 22,645
  • Referee: James Carter
  • TV announcers (ESPN): Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Dusty Dvoracek (color) and Quint Kessenich (sideline)

Rankings

Further information: 2020 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. т = Tied with team above or below. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
AP 25 25* 15 16 21 18 RV  
Coaches RV RV* 17 21 20 17 RV  
CFP Not released Not released

Players drafted into the NFL

See also: 2021 NFL Draft

Round Pick Player Position NFL Club
3 77 Josh Palmer WR Los Angeles Chargers
6 226 Trey Smith OG Kansas City Chiefs

References

  1. ^ "DI Council approves football bowl eligibility requirements waiver". NCAA.org (Press release). October 14, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  2. ^ "Tennessee Football Pauses Team Activities, Completes 2020 Season". utsports.com (Press release). December 21, 2020. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "Indiana vs. Tennessee - Game Summary - January 2, 2020 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
  4. ^ "Preseason SEC media poll, All-SEC Team announced". SECSports.com. Southeastern Conference. September 23, 2020.
  5. ^ Talty, John. "SEC moves to conference-only 2020 schedule, pushes back start of season". AL.com. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  6. ^ Dellenger, Ross. "Sources: SEC Adopts Conference-Only Schedule With Sept. 26 Start". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  7. ^ Dellenger, Ross (7 August 2020). "SEC's New Schedule: Winners, Losers and... Mizzou". si.com. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  8. ^ "2020 Tennessee Football Schedule". FBSchedules.com.
  9. ^ https://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/college/university-of-tennessee/football/2020/11/23/tennessee-football-vanderbilt-game-postponed-missouri-vandy-vols-game/6401082002/
  10. ^ https://www.secsports.com/schedule/football/tennessee-volunteers/_/year/2020
  11. ^ https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/30574860/sources-tennessee-volunteers-liberty-bowl-due-covid-19-issues[bare URL]
  12. ^ https://utsports.com/news/2020/12/21/tennessee-football-pauses-team-activities.aspx