Here’s the rundown on how Tennessee’s 12 opponents finished the season.
BOWLING GREEN: Finished 9-3, 7-1 MAC. Only losses were to Tennessee, Memphis and Toledo. Plays Northern Illinois for MAC championship. Quarterback Matt Johnson led the nation in total passing yards and was second with 41 TD passes. Coach Dino Babers is reportedly leaving for a Power 5 league job.
OKLAHOMA: Finished 11-1. Only loss to Texas. No. 3 in this week’s AP poll and almost certainly will make the College Football Playoffs. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is a surprise Heisman contender. Samaje Perine wasn’t much of a factor against the Vols but he’s passed the 3,000-yard rushing plateau and he’s only a sophomore.
WESTERN CAROLINA: Finished 7-4, 5-2 Southern Conference. Did not make the FCS playoff bracket.
FLORIDA: Finished 10-2, 7-1 SEC. Only losses were to LSU and Florida State. The offense has profoundly struggled in six games since quarterback Will Grier was supsended. Against Florida State, a safety saved the Gators from being shut out at Florida Field for the first time since 1988. Headed to the SEC championship game for the first time since 2009.
ARKANSAS: Finished 7-5, 5-3 SEC. Won five of the last six games for the program’s first SEC winning record since 2011. Alex Collins was the workhorse in the rushing game. He has 3,518 career yards and is 53 short of second place on the career chart.
GEORGIA: Finished 9-3, 5-3 SEC. Losses were to Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. The season changed when Nick Chubb was lost for the year on his first carry against the Vols on Oct. 10. Mark Richt was terminated on Sunday after 15 years.
ALABAMA: Finished 11-1, 7-1 SEC. Only loss was to Ole Miss. Derrick Henry broke the school single season rushing mark set by Trent Richardson. A prohibitive favorite to beat Florida in the SEC championship game and be the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.
KENTUCKY: Finished 5-7, 2-6 SEC. After a 4-1 start, the Wildcats lost six of their last seven, beating only Charlotte. In three years Mark Stoops is 4-20 in SEC play, the same as Joker Phillips was before being fired. Drew Barker finished the year as the starting quarterback, leading Patrick Towles to transfer.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Finished 3-9, 1-7 SEC. Steve Spurrier resigned in October. Interim coach Shawn Elliott beat Vanderbilt then lost the last five games. The Gamecocks will name a new head coach soon. One of their three wins was against North Carolina on opening day. The Tar Heels finished 11-1. The Gamecocks also beat winless Central Florida.
NORTH TEXAS: The Mean Green finished 1-12, beating only Texas-San Antonio. The program is looking for a new head coach to replace Dan McCarney, who was fired in October. The 24 points scored by Tennessee on Nov. 14 were the second-fewest allowed by North Texas. UTEP scored 20 in the finale.
MISSOURI: Finished 5-7, 1-7 SEC. Mizzou started the season ranked No. 24 and won its first three games. Then a loss to Kentucky was an ominous sign. The Tigers had their best defense since entering the SEC in 2012 but struggled to muster any kind of offense. Mizzou did not score a touchdown in four of eight SEC games. Gary Pinkel announced his resignation the week before a 19-8 loss to Tennessee.
VANDERBILT: Finished 4-8, 2-6 SEC. The Commodores beat Mizzou and Kentucky. A highlight was nearly beating Florida in The Swamp but the Gators prevailed 9-7. Derek Mason’s second season was a slight improvement over his first (0-8 SEC) but the offense is awful. Freshman quarterback Kyle Shurmur had some success against Tennessee, offering a glimmer of hope.